As an above elbow amputee who loves beauty, I spent a lot of time researching products to find ones that are excellent in terms of quality and ease of use with one hand. There’s nothing worse than struggling to open your lip gloss and finally dropping the wand on your white pants. But in my efforts to find accessible products for myself, one thing constantly bothered me: some things that were great for me were sometimes not accessible to those who had other needs, like people with low vision.
When I started looking at products from a different angle, many questions came to mind regarding accessibility on this front. I can’t speak from personal experience regarding inclusivity in the world of beauty for people with visual impairments, so I reached out to some members of the blind community who shared their thoughts on product accessibility and helped me understand what could make a makeup, skin-care, or hair product more accessible for someone who is blind or visually impaired.
Cailey Darling is a plus size influencer and makeup enthusiast. Darling became disabled and visually impaired with a rare eye condition in 2012, and as her vision changed, so did her approach to products. “I was someone who became visually impaired after being interested in beauty products before. As my vision problems shifted and deteriorated, I noticed that this was the first time that I had new standards when researching products,” says Darling. “I’ve stopped shopping with brands that didn’t include detailed color and formula information on their website and brands that didn’t include skin color swatches.”
She also no longer used products without color indicators on the packaging. “I much preferred products that I could see through the packaging,” says Darling. “Starting with normal vision showed me how many products are not accessible to me.” Now its standards include transparent product packaging to avoid having to wade through a little color label to find out what you’re looking for, makeup palettes that have a color story listed on the packaging, products with indicators of texture that are either visible due to see-through packaging or presented with fairly large writing, and travel sizes to avoid getting poked when working very close to a mirror.
mackenzie strong is a legally blind college swimmer and social media influencer who says products need to be accessible from a shopping perspective. She becomes anxious about shopping in person rather than online, where she can research the product, zoom in, and have complete confidence in what she is buying. “However, when I go to a makeup store, it’s overwhelming because there are so many products everywhere,” she says. “Usually the names in the brands section are large enough that I can tell which store area is in. Yet once I get to the products themselves, I either have to take a picture of each product just to read their labels, or put my face very close to the shelves to read the price, the product name and the color of the shade. It’s embarrassing for me.
Strong pointed out that the lack of accessibility and the need to ask for help takes away from her independence and, as she puts it, “it’s a tough pill for me to swallow.” But, as with the products featured below, accessibility is clearly increasing. “I believe inclusiveness in the beauty industry is growing, especially in representation,” she says. “I love makeup and the confidence it gives me. I hope over time we as a beauty community can find other ways to make makeup more inclusive for people. disabilities, because we should all be able to feel beautiful.”
Mackenzie’s accessibility priorities include product packaging with sufficiently large writing, good product descriptions online (since that’s where she does a lot of her beauty product research, and products colors that catch her eye because the small details are difficult for her to distinguish.
So, with the help of Darling and Strong, I was able to highlight the Seduce The Best of Beauty Award winners who offer the accessible components shared by these two voices. With their help (as well as advice from many YouTube videos and tutorials from the blind community), the list below has been put together specifically with visual impairments in mind.