Applying eyeliner can be a challenge when you have a disability or health condition that impacts your mobility, fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination. One makeup artist, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, used her experience to create accessible products so achieving the perfect brow or eyeliner look is a breeze.
Terri Bryant worked as a professional makeup artist and educator for years, which included a dedication to making the art form more accessible to beginners. She eventually noticed symptoms of what turned out to be Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition that primarily impacts your motor skills.
Bryant noticed how her Parkinson’s symptoms, like a tremor, exposed the challenges many people face when applying makeup.
“As a makeup artist I understand the mechanics of application and what it takes to achieve great results,” Bryant told The Mighty. “My experience with Parkinson’s has allowed me to actually feel where traditional tools and products can fall short in achieving those results.”
As a result of her experience, Bryant started Guide Beauty, a company that creates beauty products using universal design to make them more user-friendly for everyone.
“Makeup artistry requires a high level of precision and fine motor skills,” Bryant said, adding:
Drawing a straight line of eyeliner across the lid and defining symmetrical brows are just a few examples of techniques that most makeup users find challenging and time-consuming. … We’re creating universally designed products that make achieving precision level artistry better and easier across a wide range of skillsets and abilities.
Guide Beauty currently sells three products. The products include Lash Wrap mascara and Brow Moment gel, which come in containers with a grip to more comfortably steady the mascara or gel during application. The Guide Eyeliner Duo features a flexible tip applicator and steadying handle design that make it easier to apply eyeliner.
Many disability advocates have highlighted that oftentimes universal design or adaptive products price people with disabilities — who are more likely to qualify as low-income — out of the market. Guide Beauty’s mascara and brow gel sell for $26 and the Guide Eyeliner Duo will cost $50. Bryant said they had a lot of conversations about pricing.
“We knew we wanted to design a line of beauty products that are not only functional but also beautiful and offer luxurious, makeup-artist-quality formulations,” Bryant said, adding:
Luxury, beauty and universal design don’t need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they are better together. From the start, we were told we were below the price point for a luxury line, but we felt strongly that our pricing within the prestige makeup space needed to stay as accessible as possible.
Guide Beauty launched with its mascara and brow gel earlier in February. And while the Guide Eyeliner Duo isn’t available yet, Bryant said it should be ready in a few weeks. She added that overall, the Guide’s universally designed products have been met with enthusiasm.
“The immediate and overwhelmingly positive response is amazing,” Bryant said. “We knew the need was there. To hear from and connect one-on-one with people so excited about what we are doing has been beautiful and humbling.”
For more on Guide Beauty, visit the company’s website.