Unlocked: the best beauty products for people with reduced mobility

·2 min read

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.

It’s extremely hard to remove shiny screw-top lids when you have only one or no working hands

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.

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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.

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