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Boticário is handing out grippy tools to make beauty products more accessible

Most people open a jar of moisturizer or apply lipstick without a second thought. But for people with limited dexterity, those routine interactions with cosmetics and skincare can be a daily struggle. Aiming to remove a few common barriers, Brazilian beauty conglomerate Grupo Boticário designed two simple accessories.

The first is a thin piece of natural rubber that resembles a flexible coaster. It can be used under a container to hold it in place or over a lid to provide extra grip. The second tool, also made of rubber, is a tube that fits over cylindrical packaging — like a mascara wand or a lip pencil — to create a thicker, more ergonomic handle for easier, steadier application.

Boticário is distributing the accessories free of charge and spent two years developing them in collaboration with Mercur, a Brazilian manufacturer of rubber products. The development process involved individuals with upper limb motor limitations, physiotherapists, designers, engineers and occupational therapists. Boticário's own Beleza Livre community, a co-creation group featuring people from marginalized communities, was instrumental in testing and improving the tools.

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While there's been a rise in cosmetics and skincare brands taking accessibility into account, inclusive products still represent a tiny fraction of the vast number of beauty items released annually. Grupo Boticário's new 'acessórios inclusivos' might be the way forward. Making every mascara wand thicker and every jar lid grippier would be far from sustainable, requiring more plastics and other materials for each product sold. So why not offer smart add-on solutions free of charge?

Declaring the current campaign a pilot, Boticário will only provide its accessibility accessories free of charge through 23 March 2024, but the group's innovative move might could well become standard practice, setting a precedent for how other FMCG companies can approach product design with empathy, inclusivity — and pragmatism.

Innovation of the day