Herbal Essences Furthers Commitment to Visually Impaired

Cyndi Loza
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
Cyndi Loza profile picture

Procter & Gamble's Herbal Essences is expanding its use of tactile markings on its shampoo and conditioner bottles, and launched a new Alexa skill to further its efforts of making hair care easier for consumers with low to no vision.

Ahead of the Oct. 10 designation of "World Sight Day," Herbal Essences pledged that by January 2020 all its shampoos and conditioners, such as the brand's Hello Hydration, Color Me Happy and Smooth collections, will have tactile differentiations on the bottles to alleviate in-shower confusion and help consumers, especially those with low vision, confidently perform daily tasks. The bottles’ special tactile differentiations are simple: shampoo containers have four tactile vertical lines on the bottom of the back label; conditioners, which are packaged in an identically shaped bottle, have two rows of dots. Introduced last year, the innovation was spearheaded by P&G’s accessibility leader Sumaira “Sam” Latif, who has been with the company for more than 18 years and is herself blind. 

“A universal tactile marking seems like such a small thing, and yet as a blind woman it’s the little things that make such a big difference in my life," Latif said in a media release. "I’m excited to broaden the positive impact this has had for the vision impaired community and deliver on our mission to help everyone experience the positive power of nature every day.” 

Beyond its packaging, Herbal Essences also rolled out an Amazon Alexa skill that lets shoppers ask questions about Herbal Essences' products, ingredients and personal recommendations. The skill is enabled by saying “Alexa Open Herbal Essences.” Then, consumers can ask questions such as “Alexa, what Herbal Essences shampoo is good for curly hair?” 

Moreover, Herbal Essences offers specialized help via the By My Eyes mobile application, which connects blind and low vision people with sighted volunteers through a live video call. Through the app, Herbal Essences offers a specialized help feature that directly connects blind users with in-house experts to get assistance as they shop in-store, get ready at home or have hair-care questions throughout the day.

“We get a lot of questions through the app about people’s appearance – do my clothes match, does my make-up look right, do I have any fly-aways? It’s great when we can have experts from a specific, in-demand field, like hair care, to provide an elevated level of service for our community,” said Will Butler, Be My Eyes' vice president, community. “We hope other brands will take note of this effort in making their products and themselves more accessible to this community in an effort to truly serve all consumers.”