Terri Bryant Makes Makeup Accessible For Those With Disabilities

by Rachel Sanoff


FORMER CELEBRITY MAKEUP artist Terri Bryant had difficulty applying makeup with traditional tools after a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Utilizing her new experience, Bryant launched GUIDE Beauty in 2020 to develop make- up products created with designs that are accessible to the greatest number of people, regardless of their ability. (Actor and advocate Selma Blair, who has multiple sclerosis, is the brand’s chief creative officer.) The brand is especially known for its Guide Wand, an eyeliner applicator that features an elongated handle and a flat, curved, soft tip that helps users draw a precise cat-eye. These innovations are more than welcome in an industry that often markets inclusivity while ignoring people with disabilities.

Another beauty brand, Meloway, makes a mascara with a bendable wand that helps users apply the product without relying on their hands. Its Hi-Rise Lipstick doesn’t have a separate cap. Instead, the lipstick is nestled deep within a tube that can be opened and applied without difficulty by people who have use of only one hand.

Accessible beauty also means designing products with, and for, people with blindness, low vision, and vision impairments. British beauty brand Kohl Kreatives offers an eye-brush kit that has non-rolling cuboid handles and a raised numerical system for identification. Another U.K. brand, Blind Beauty, was created after founder Hazal Baybasin lost her sight due to a brain disorder. The company’s packaging includes braille, while formulas emphasize scent and texture to help users differentiate between products.

Meloway’s Your Way Mascara features a flexible wand that bends up to 90 degrees in four directions

When accessibility is prioritized in all aspects of culture—from building entrances to mascara wands—infrastructure and consumer goods improve for society as a whole. “There has long been a misconception that you either create products for those who are ‘able-bodied’ or for some niche market with a specific disability and physical limitation,” says Bryant. “We want to dismantle that antiquated lens product by product, and reframe the narrative around inclusion in the beauty industry. The truth is that we are all unique with different features, skin tones, skill sets, and abilities. Leaning into diversity through inclusive design methods not only recognizes but also values different points of view and lived experiences, and leverages them to create products that allow us to share our love of makeup.”

Top Image Photo Credit: Selma Blair by Paul Romo using the GUIDE Beauty Define & Smudge Brush

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