The Importance of Braille in Beauty: Making Skincare Accessible for All

Helen Keller said "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision". This applies very much to the beauty industry.  

In the UK, more than 2 million people are living with sight loss. Of these, around 340,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. Many beauty brands are completely excluding this huge blind community, from how products are designed and packaged to how they’re marketed and sold. This oversight not only limits access but also ignores the profound impact beauty products can have on individuals' lives. Beauty is about ritual, creativity, self-care, and identity as much as it is about appearance. Everyone, regardless of their visual ability, deserves the opportunity to experience these benefits.

Most people cannot fathom why a blind person would contour, fake tan, or dye their hair. However, beauty routines offer much more than just a change in appearance. They provide a sense of normalcy, empowerment, and an avenue for personal expression. Not everyone was born blind, so many know the beauty of color and the stunning artistry of makeup. For these individuals, beauty products help them feel confident and put together, allowing them to be the person they want to be.

How Can the Beauty Industry Be More Accessible?

The beauty industry has the tools to include blind and severely sight-impaired (SSI) individuals but is not widely using them. To start, brands could label their packaging with Braille to help blind people accurately identify their products. Currently, only a few brands, such as L’Occitane, Bioderma, and Dr. Jart+, use Braille on their packaging. This deficit is partly due to the high production costs associated with implementing Braille.

Another reason why brands see little value in Braille packaging is that only about 10% of blind and SSI people can read Braille. This statistic makes the cost seem not worth the investment to many companies. However, this perspective overlooks the importance of inclusivity and the impact such measures can have on the lives of those who rely on Braille.

When discussing accessibility, we cannot ignore the financial barriers faced by blind people. Only 25% of blind and SSI individuals in the UK are employed, meaning most do not have disposable income to spend on beauty products. This economic reality further marginalizes them from a market that is already difficult to navigate due to a lack of accessible options.

The Responsibility of Beauty Brands

The beauty industry has the funds and technology to improve the lives of a minority group but is not acting on it. There’s no shame in being uneducated about a disability you’ve never personally encountered, but more beauty brands need to start listening to the millions of blind people crying out to be catered to. Knowing you have the capability to make a positive change and choosing not to is unacceptable.

Beauty brands have the power to extend the joy of beauty to the blind community, and it’s time we hold them accountable. By incorporating Braille on packaging, they can ensure that all individuals, regardless of their visual ability, have the opportunity to participate in beauty rituals that promote self-care and confidence.

Steps Towards Inclusivity

At Upgrad'd Labs we're making practical steps to become more inclusive:

  1. Braille Labels: We've implement Braille on all product packaging to ensure blind and SSI individuals can independently identify and use their products on both the bottle and box.

  2. Accessible Websites: We're working to make our website compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies, allowing visually impaired individuals to shop online easily.

  3. Inclusive Marketing: We're working to feature more blind and SSI individuals in marketing campaigns to promote inclusivity and raise awareness.

  4. Community Feedback: We're recahing out to engage with the blind community to understand their needs and preferences better, ensuring that new products and initiatives truly cater to their requirements.

  5. Affordable Options: Our 28 Day Skin brand offers more affordable beauty product lines to cater to blind and SSI individuals who may have limited disposable income and we're looking at how we can better support blind and SSI individuals with their purchasing of our products.

The Broader Impact

Incorporating Braille on skincare packaging and other beauty products is not just a matter of accessibility; it’s a step towards a more inclusive society. It educates the sighted population about the challenges faced by the blind community and fosters empathy and understanding. Additionally, it encourages other industries to adopt similar inclusive practices, creating a ripple effect that benefits many minority groups.

Beauty is for everyone. By making small changes, beauty brands can have a significant impact, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their visual ability, can enjoy the transformative power of beauty. It’s time for the beauty industry to embrace inclusivity and make their products accessible to all.




Photo by Thirdman: