Lifestyle & Culture

Herbal Essences Designs Shampoo Bottles for the Blind

Sam Latif, inclusive designer for Herbal Essences, has announced that tactile markings will be added to the shampoo and conditioner bottles from January 2020.

14.10.2019 | by Christy Romer
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

There are many challenges, small and large, that people with low or no vision have to overcome every day. Have I grabbed the right tin from the cupboard? Is this the right street? Is my pregnancy test positive?

Even apparently small solutions can have an immeasurable impact on confidence and independence.

This is where Herbal Essences comes in. The shampoo and conditioner brand has just announced a new set of measures to help people with visual impairments in the US to distinguish between shampoo and conditioner bottles.

This involves adding tactile stripes onto the back of shampoo and tactile circles onto the conditioner.

The initiative was sparked by Herbal Essences’ “inclusive designer,” Sam Latif, who herself lives with a vision impairment.


Photo of Tactile packaging


“When you design products with accessibility in mind, it means that more people can use your product,” she explained in an interview with Kathy Ireland. “It’s good for business, it’s good for society. And by putting disabled people in the design, you’re actually going to create products that delight everybody.”

Around the world, 253 million people live with low to no vision — equivalent to the entire populations of Mexico and Japan combined.

“Tactile indentations are crucial for blind people,” Latif added. “It’s just a small thing, but it makes a big difference because it helps us to independently and confidently identify something.”

Proctor & Gamble (P&G), the company that owns Herbal Essences, has also announced plans to team up with Be My Eyes — the smartphone app that pairs seeing volunteers with low vision users for help with finding the right sort of milk and other daily challenges.

In particular, the new collaboration—with P&G’s product Clearblue—will allow women who buy Clearblue pregnancy tests to call an expert advisor and hear their results or ask questions about using the test. Latif says this will alleviate the stress of having to rely on friends or family for help and make the pregnancy tests accessible to everyone.

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