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Changemakers: Making the beauty industry accessible

Posted: 6:18 PM, Jan 06, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-06 18:19:49-05

SOHO, Manhattan — Have you ever reached for the shampoo in the shower, only to discover that you grabbed the conditioner instead?

A quick glance at the label can end the confusion. But for someone who is vision impaired, everyday tasks like this can be a challenge.

Our changemaker is one of those people. She's using her disability as an opportunity to make life a little easier for millions of people around the world just like her.

Sam Latif started going blind as a young child.

“I have a condition called RP, or Retinitis pigmentosa, it's like looking through a window, I can see the bright lights, but it`s very blurry.”

Latif works for Proctor and Gamble, where four years ago she conducted a social experiment with some colleagues that included having them wear glasses that simulated sight loss.

“I asked them to navigate their world, navigate the office with the disability and navigate our products and packaging.”

That turned into an opportunity as the company's new accessibility leader working to make their products more inclusive for people with disabilities.

She teamed up with Herbal Essence where she focused on a familiar frustration buying and using shampoo and conditioner.

“When I did buy products, telling them apart was very difficult knowing what`s what.”

She came up with a simple solution.

“These tactile markings that I've created, so there's four tactile stripes on the back of the label S for stripes, S for shampoo and then for conditioner they`re just circles or little dots.”

Latif's dream, that her small change here is adopted by other companies and has a ripple effect on all hair care bottles helping visually impaired people around the globe.