Identify the product you want. Pull off the cap—twist up the small swivel at the bottom of the tube to release the product. Put the lid back on. These are all daily motions for many of us when it comes to our beauty routines—but for some, it’s an accessibility barrier that’s kept them from using specific products.
“There is currently no deodorant designed for people with upper body disabilities or visual impairment to use,” says Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO of Beauty & Personal Care Unilever North America (which owns Degree). “That’s why we set out to create a revolutionary deodorant application process that ensures usability for everyone―however you move.”
That product was announced today: Degree Inclusive. It took the Degree team, who co-created every single prototype alongside about 200 differently-abled consultants, about a year to perfect the design currently in beta testing. This version includes a hooked top and enhanced grip placement so you can apply in a myriad of ways, a magnetic lid for easy opening and closing, a braille label, and a larger applicator area, so you get more surface area per application. Inside the Degree Inclusive packaging, you’ll find the same sweat-and-body odor demolishing formula that shoppers love.
Two of the 200 people who helped create the current design of Degree Inclusive are author and journalist Keah Brown and Christina Mallon, the head of inclusive design at New York-based communication agency Wunderman Thompson.
“I was working at an ad agency on a major competitor of Unilever when my arms became paralyzed [because of a motor neuron disease],” Mallon says. “I was frustrated with not being able to see myself in the advertising and not being able to use the product. Rather than being discouraged, I recognize the opportunity to help brands create inclusive communications and products.”
Now, with the release of Degree’s inclusive deodorant, Mallon finally feels seen. Brown adds, “The truth of the matter is disabled people use beauty products as well, and we need things like deodorant to be accessible so that we don’t always have to find workarounds.”
Degree Inclusive is currently in beta testing, and the Unilever team is taking feedback from users to perfect the model and make it as helpful as possible.
“We’ve learned the value of putting something out there that’s still evolving,” Bracey says about this phase of production. “We can truly listen and learn and take a collaborative approach to create the most effective product.”
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