Handicapable beauty experts and disability advocates are creating adaptive makeup and tools that address the needs of these largely underserved consumers.
How inclusive is the beauty industry? While “diversity” has become a buzzword in the past few years with many brands making strides to ensure their products are suitable for all gender identities, skin tones and body types, this conversation has largely overlooked the needs of the disabled community. Considering one in four adults in the U.S. has some type of disability, this is a huge oversight (not to mention a massive missed business opportunity). Now, a new crop of companies backed by handicapable beauty experts and disability advocates are making adaptive makeup and tools that address the needs of these largely underserved consumers.
The first issue with traditional beauty options is the usability of the products themselves.
“Depending on your vision, mobility and dexterity, many of us in the disability community need help with things like makeup or our personal care routines. This is simply because the products have not been made with us in mind,” explains Xian Horn, a disability advocate who herself has Cerebral Palsy. (She’s also the founder of Give Beauty Wings, a non-profit that runs self-esteem courses for those from marginalized communities.)
“Most of us need help to even engage with makeup or cleanser. Overwhelmingly, beauty and care products and packaging are not simple enough for us to use ourselves. If you’re leaving it to a personal care assistant or family member to help you, you may have less choice — especially if they have other ideas or are in a rush,” she adds.
“Often the disability is in the design, not the person,” Terri Bryant, a celebrity makeup artist and founder of accessible makeup brand Guide Beauty, concurs. After 25