by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Shopping for beauty and personal care products can be tricky if you are living with vision loss. Identifying products on shelves and figuring out how to open and use them can be frustrating. Now, “the beauty sector is showing signs of taking action,” according to a Vogue Business article entitled “Beauty’s accessibility shift: Inside the new priority.” One example is progress made by the giant consumer products company Proctor & Gamble (P&G), whose accessibility leader Sumaira Latif lost most of her vision to retinitis pigmentosa by the age of 16. Latif advocates internally and externally to improve beauty offerings for consumers with disabilities. P&G has launched a People with Disabilities network, where employees with disabilities can share experiences with each other and with the company, to help break down access barriers to their brands. Employees and consumers with disabilities are being included in product design, packaging, and marketing. Partnerships with other businesses also help to “expand opportunity and provide accessibility and inclusion…” Practical advances include P&G’s introduction in October 2021 of Navilens technology on Pantene products, using QR codes scanned by a smartphone app to provide product information audibly. Also, tactile markings on Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners make them easier to identify. Other companies are also making strides in inclusivity and accessibility. Unilever-owned Degree has introduced a prototype “Degree Inclusive (deodorant) that removes the need to twist off a cap, turn a stick or push down on an aerosol,” making it easier to use by those with vision loss or upper limb motor disabilities. The indie brand Guide Beauty uses universal design principles to create “makeup that is easy to apply regardless of a user’s dexterity, grip or skill level.” For more information, please read the Vogue Business article, “Beauty’s accessibility shift: Inside the new priority,” or the ABC News article, “Degree Inclusive deodorant is designed for people with disabilities and visual impairment.” For more information about Navilens, check out their website, here. To use Navilens, download it in the Google Play store, here, or in the Apple App Store, here.