My right arm was out of action for weeks last year and it caused me to ponder again how ill-served those with long-term and more serious motor difficulties are by consumer industries, including beauty. It’s extremely hard to remove shiny screw-top lids, operate pipettes and prise open stiff palettes when you have only one or no working hands.
Despite its feted 2019 inception, Grace Beauty – a brand specialising in stylish ergonomic grips for everyday makeup – has all but vanished, so for the time being, it’s a matter of seeking out existing products with accidental benefits. I found the matte finish of the lids and (refillable) plastic bottles from Skingredients easy to lift off and replace one-handed, and the pumps sufficiently sturdy for good purchase. Skin Good Fats, from £44, a creamy, barrier moisturiser for all skins, is my most used.
Almost all Drunk Elephant products (C-Firma, £52.80, is an outstanding vitamin C serum) feature twist-up pump dispensers that can be operated one-handed and dispensed directly on to the face. Milk Makeup has similarly accessible packaging: its chubby, non-slippery sticks of colour (Mini Lip+Cheek, £16.50, is an essential) can be twisted up easily, then daubed and blended without the need to grip a brush (though Kohl Kreatives has an extensive line of makeup brushes designed for those with motor disabilities, from £8.99).
Makeup palettes can be tricky to handle, but Viseart’s Pro and Petits Fours shadows come in gatefold cardboard-lidded palettes that flip open without a clasp, then sit flat, so you won’t have to chase it around the tabletop with a brush. The eyeshadows are impeccable.
To finish the look, Lottie London’s wing edition stamp liner, £5.95, requires less dexterity than a traditional eyeliner. You simply press the rubber stamp nib on to each eyelid for identical feline flicks.
All this comes at a cost, inevitably, and there is gross unfairness in being penalised for the privilege of using everyday items.
Hope came in Olay’s December piloting of its easy-open lid, a limited run of chunky tops with winged handles that will fit all Olay moisturisers, as part of manufacturer P&G’s pledge to make its packaging more accessible for people with disabilities. The new lids are so far available only in North America, but hopes are high for a UK release. Big change comes from huge brands, and this one is overdue.