Take a stroll down the deodorant aisle at any drugstore and you'll no doubt see rows and rows of rectangular tubes. And while this type of packaging has become effectively universal, it wasn't conceived with everyone in mind, most notably people with visual impairment and/or upper limb motor disabilities. FTR, that includes a lot of folks — one in four people in the U.S. have some form of disability, about 14 percent of those adults have a mobility disability (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs) and about five percent have a vision impairment, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Noticing this gap in the market, Degree set out to create the world's first "adaptive deodorant" specifically designed for people living with visual and motor disabilities. (Related: Yoga Taught Me I Am Capable As a Woman with a Disability)
The brand partnered with a team of design experts, occupational therapists, engineers, and people with disabilities to develop the new deodorant design, according to a press release. The result? Degree Inclusive: a prototype (meaning the revolutionary deodorant has yet to hit the market) that solves some of the shortcomings of traditional deodorant designs. For starters, twisting off a cap or turning a stick to reload product can be harder for people with limited arm mobility. So, instead of a traditional cap, Degree Inclusive features a hook at the end for one-handed usage and magnetic closure for easier opening and closing. Meaning, you can hang the deodorant by its hooked lid and pull down on the bottom part to seamlessly open the product. When you're done applying (via the roll-on applicator), snapping the bottom back into place is a no-brainer thanks to the magnets.
Additionally, the applicator was created with people with limited grip in mind, with a wider than average base with curved handles on each side. The deodorant features a braille label and directions, which can be helpful for those with vision impairment. On top of all that, Degree Inclusive is also refillable, making it a more sustainable option than the single-use one you'd toss in the trash once empty. (Related: The 8 Best Deodorants for Women, According to Thousands of Reviews)
Degree is joining a select few major personal care brands that have set out to make their packaging more inclusive toward people with disabilities. For example, L'Occitane includes braille on about 70 percent of its packaging, according to Vogue Business. And in 2018, Herbal Essences became the first mass hair brand to add tactile markings (vs. braille, which can take years to learn) to shampoo and conditioner bottles. By and large, though, companies haven't kept people with disabilities in mind, as evidenced by the fact that it took this long to give deodorant a revamp. (Related: #AbledsAreWeird Exposes the BS People with Disabilities Endure On a Daily Basis)
If you're excited to try Degree Inclusive (and who wouldn't be?), you're going to need to sit tight as the product has yet to hit shelves. At this point, the prototype is in beta testing so that people with disabilities can provide additional feedback on the design before its launch. Still, it's promising that an adaptive deodorant design is finally on the horizon — and from one of the most widely available deodorant brands, no less.