One in four Americans has a disability, but many products don’t take that into account. Degree Deodorant has created Degree Inclusive, which it calls the world’s first deodorant for people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities. The bottle shape features a hooked design for one-handed use, as well as magnetic closures, enhanced grip placement, a braille label and a larger roll-on applicator.
Christina Mallon, a disabled inclusive designer, worked with the company on the new product. She said it was inspired by her own desire to take care of grooming needs independently and her belief that the 22 million Americans with permanent disabilities affecting their arms and/or vision feel the same.
The new product is visibly different than standard deodorant especially with the hooked top and wide area where the bottle can be gripped.
Those without disabilities may not see any problem with a standard deodorant bottle, which is why Mallon said it was important to have people with different abilities and experiences working on the redesign. The Muscular Dystrophy Association was involved in helping test the prototype.
“Two hands with both grip and force are required to open and apply a regular deodorant, which currently 3 million Americans do not have,” Mallon said. “Users with severe vision impairment run into issues easily identifying the deodorant when braille is not added. They also reported that the sounds from the magnets when the cap is placed correctly on the base gives them reassurance that it is applied.”
The accessibility of personal-care products to all is important, Mallon said.
“Most non-disabled individuals do not realize how important grooming is to people with disabilities and how that affects our ability to confidently engage with society,” she said.
You can’t buy Degree Inclusive yet. The redesigned product is a prototype going through trial phases, but the company says it will be available commercially in the US soon, selling for the same price as Degree’s earlier products. Those interested can sign up for email updates about when the product will be for sale.