Drunk Elephant skincare offers one-handed accessibility
The packaging is more accessible than most skincare lines.
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A couple of years ago, I was involved in an accident that caused my left arm to become paralyzed from the elbow to the fingertips. Going from two functional arms to just one meant relearning how to do everything I usually did with two arms. Finding adaptations for the tasks I did every day was a priority for regaining my independence. As someone who loves skincare, I began my search for products that were not only accessible to a one-handed user but high quality—because a need for accessibility shouldn't be a cause for compromise on product efficiency. With skincare, my biggest struggle was opening and even sometimes dispensing products. If I was layering multiple products such as serums and creams, that meant battling it out with several containers, morning and night.
All of that wound up adding a lot of time and frustration to something I did to begin and end my day. Drunk Elephant was the product discovery that not only eliminated those concerns, but also reduced the number of steps I was taking in my skincare routine. Its packaging is innovative and one-hand friendly, and the products work. The clean formulas combined with accessible packaging—my favorite part—make Drunk Elephant one of the most inclusive brands I've come across. As a bonus, all of its serums and creams (excluding sunscreen) can be mixed and applied in one step versus layering.
What makes Drunk Elephant so accessible?
Most of its products come in one of four types of one-hand friendly packaging:
Twist n’ Pump
Twist n' Pump is the "Bend n' Snap" of beauty products for people relying on one hand. It's a fool-proof way to make something entirely attractive to us.
You’ll find this packaging with every single Drunk Elephant serum (there are a total of five), eye cream, and retinol cream (they just changed up the packaging on this one to make it easier to dispense versus the tube it used to come in). The twist pump is my favorite packaging type because the container is all one piece which means no runaway caps. To dispense, I like to hold the bottom portion of the bottle with my middle, ring, and pinky fingers and use my thumb and index to twist the top (colored) part of the product. This twisting mechanism reveals a pump that you can use to dispense the product directly onto your skin!
- Get Drunk Elephant serums starting at $60
- Get Drunk Elephant eye creams starting at $60
- Get A-Passioni Retinol Cream for $74
The micellar water, jelly cleanser, small shampoo and conditioner, and small body cream and wash all come with a flip cap. Since some of these products are meant for shower use, a flip cap is beneficial. In the shower, soap and water serve as extra obstacles because they make things slippery. So if you’re already working with one hand, you don’t want to have to worry about wrangling products with caps you need to unscrew. A flip lid is designed for use with one hand. You can pop it open with your thumb while you can use the rest of your fingers to hold onto the bottle.
- Get the E-Rase Milki Micellar Water for $28
- Get the Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser for $32
- Get the Cocomino Glossing Shampoo for $25
- Get the Cocomino Marula Cream Conditioner for $25
- Get the Kamili Cream Body Cleanser for $20
I love products that work with a pump. A pump eliminates the need to squeeze a tube. And the thing with tubed products is that you’re often looking to dispense them into something—something such as another hand that, in this use case, you either don’t have or can’t use. A pump lets you distribute product wherever you want it, whether that be straight onto your face or, if it’s a larger bottle with a pump, right into your one hand.
Face masks are often tricky when it comes to accessing them with one hand. You either have sheet masks, which are a nightmare to unfold, or you frequently find masks that come in large jars that are a challenge to open. Face masks are also my only flip-cap exception! Using one hand to apply a mask coming out of a tube usually ends with the container (and your hand) coated in product.
But all of Drunk Elephant’s face masks use a pump so you can distribute small amounts of the product all over your face and then evenly spread it around. They are also compact enough and adhere to the airline liquid requirement, so, like sheet masks, they are great for traveling—because the one-handed community deserves accessible on-the-go skincare, too.
Drunk Elephant’s large shampoo and conditioner, large body wash and lotion, and face creams all work with a pump, and so do its “Twist n’ Pump” products, of course.
Nearly every Drunk Elephant travel product uses a pump, making them perfect accessible choices for travel. The travel sizes do have caps. However, since the products are tiny, you can easily pop the lid off with two fingers (like you would with a chapstick).
- Get the F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask for $52
- Get the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial AHA + BHA Mask for $80
When you rely on doing everything with one hand, prism-shaped containers are your friend. And for that, Drunk Elephant is great because almost every single container they use has four flat sides, usually a rectangular shape. Containers with edges are much easier to grasp with one hand. So, for example, if you're dealing with a cap, you'll have an easier time unscrewing the cap without needing to worry about a spherical container spinning around in your hand (or legs if you sometimes use your legs to hold onto things you need to open).
So with the few products the brand has to offer that don't come with either a pump or twisting mechanism, the edges help you grip the product. For Drunk Elephant, this will be its Rosi and Sunshine Drops as well as its Marula Oil and deodorant. These all have caps. But the caps are still accessible for single-hand use because the cap itself is a continuation of the container. Like with the Twist n' Pump products, you can easily use your thumb and index to unscrew the cap while securing the container with your other three fingers. Once the lid is loosened, you can use your thumb to loosen it all the way.
The prism-shaped component makes Drunk Elephant's Twist n' Pump mechanism particularly successful. The flat sides keep the product from twirling around between the bottom three fingers I like to use to hold onto the base.
Drunk Elephant simplifies my routine without compromising
After my accident, I realized I sometimes skipped tasks or steps throughout my daily routine (not necessarily just within my skincare routine). For example, sometimes I’d wear slip-ons to avoid wearing shoes I’d have to tie. Or I’d leave my hair down instead of trying to wrangle an unsuccessful ponytail with one hand. Skincare is often a multi-step routine that requires consistency. When I realized I started skipping steps in my skincare because I wanted to limit my tasking amount with one hand, I felt like I was robbing myself of something I considered pleasurable, just because of my disability.
The unique thing with Drunk Elephant is that you can mix its creams and Marula Oil with any of their serums. The brand’s founder deemed these mixes as “skin smoothies.”
The benefit to mixing is that you can combine whatever you’d usually layer and turn what would’ve been many steps into one. Its cream containers double as a mixing surface. The cream itself dispenses onto this surface, and then you can add whatever other product you’d like to that mixing surface, swirl it together, and apply. Since my one hand gets greasy when using products, this usually means washing my hand between opening and closing containers to avoid making them slippery and subsequently harder to open. That’s what makes mixing such a useful accessibility hack for one-handed users. You dispense everything at once and apply in one step.
The combinable component was one of the adaptations that changed my daily life. When you have a disability, it’s essential to continue doing what you love while finding new ways to do these things that won’t increase the frustration you might experience from time to time.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.