Adaptive Clothing and Beauty Products are Rare Finds—But These 5 Brands are Changing the Game
One in five Americans living with a disability—these brands cater to their needs.
Every morning I wake up, look at my closet, and decide what I'm going to wear depending on my mood. The questions I ask myself are about how an outfit looks, if it's weather appropriate, and whether or not it has pockets (a must). I go on to quickly do my makeup, applying several coats of my favorite mascara, and head out the door. Like millions of other Americans, getting ready in the morning is something I have the luxury of not putting too much thought into, and it's a privilege that can often be taken for granted.
For one in five Americans living with a disability, simple actions like applying makeup and getting dressed can be a serious challenge.
For example, a study by the American Diabetes Association says that approximately 400,000 people with type 1 diabetes use an insulin pump every day—that's more than the entire population of Miami—and they need to find clothing that will accommodate their medical devices. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 3% of Americans (or 3.4 million people) are either legally blind or visually impaired, so something as simple as differentiating between shampoo and conditioner can be nearly impossible. It also reports that 54 million Americans live with arthritis, which is 23 percent of all American adults.
That's why we need to applaud adaptive clothing and beauty products and give them the attention and love they deserve.
I could go on and on with stats that illustrate the needs for more adaptive clothing and beauty brands, but ultimately, the message is that more brands should be catering to the millions of people who need adjusted products. Below, some of my favorite adaptive clothing accessories, clothing lines, and beauty products.
1. The Aerie Abilitee Line
Aerie's adaptive line has taken over the internet for good reason—it caters to people who have to wear ostomies, feeding tubes, and catheters. The armbands secure PICC lines & IVs. The waistband can be used to hold feeding tubes, catheters, and ostomies close to the body without adding bulk. The ostomy covers create a layer between the ostomy bag and clothes, are water-resistant, and feature a lower flap to easily empty the bag without having to remove the whole cover. The clips are designed to secure tubes, caths, and cords. My only caveat is that the waistbands only run in sizes S-L and the armbands up to size XL, leaving out the millions of plus size people with disabilities.
2. Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Shampoos & Conditioners
For the visually impaired, differentiating a shampoo from a conditioner can be nearly impossible unless they come in different shapes, which can make showering a frustrating experience. To tackle that feeling, all of Herbal Essences Bio:Renew shampoos and conditioners have product descriptions in braille on the back of their bottles—the stripes indicate shampoo and the dots indicate conditioner. Also, their formulas are EWG-verified, so for those looking to have a clean beauty routine, this drugstore brand is a godsend.
3. Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive line
For years, Tommy Hilfiger has pioneered the fashion industry for his expansive adaptive collection, inspired by his children with autism. The clothing is designed with easy closures, fits for prosthetics, extra cushioning for seated wear, and sensory-friendly materials.
5. ABLE Cosmetics No Mess-Cara
Ask your friends what their top three beauty staples are, and odds are they'll all mention mascara. Long, luscious lashes are often coveted, but mascara can be hard to apply. I mean, how many times have you accidentally gotten it on your lid or under-eye area? I know I have often, and so have many others. The ABLE Cosmetics No Mess'Cara comes with a mascara shield for a mess-free application, and its formula helps give lashes sky-high volume. The brand creates solution-orientated designs for their makeup products, which is why it's Cat-Eye 101 eyeliner, which features a rubber edge that can be used as a stencil or a stamp, is perpetually sold-out.
5. CA Souls Morse Code Jewelry
Morse Code is an antiquated communication system that uses a series of dots, dashes, and correlated spaces that are signaled in either a visual (light) or auditory (clicks) form to relay a message. For those with visual impairments and/or people who can't speak, it can be an effective way of communication. The brand offers jewelry that read words such as love, friendship, and family, but you can also customize your own to create a personalized message. Me? I got a gold bracelet that reads "pursue" as an inspirational reminder to keep moving forward.