Selma Blair Said Ability-Inclusive Makeup Tools Helped Her Feel 'Alive' Again After MS Diagnosis

The actress, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018, opened up about the role adaptive products have played in helping her reclaim her love of beauty.

Selma Blair
Photo: Getty Images

Selma Blair is undoubtedly a '90s style icon. She starred in classic movies, such as Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions, and who could forget her trademark chin-length bob? So, in 2018 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disease that can disrupt the communication between the brain and other parts of the body, Blair began providing much-needed disability representation by walking red carpets and posing in photo shoots with her cane as a fashion accessory.

But that doesn't mean her experience with the autoimmune disease hasn't affected her relationship to style and beauty. "After I had treatment [a stem-cell transplant], I'd honestly, like, stopped looking in the mirror," Blair told InStyle in a recent interview. "My hair was short, I was bloated, I had alopecia on my lashes and my face. And it was all so much effort — I sometimes don't see well — so I just stopped, and I didn't think I missed it".

Now, the actress is reclaiming her love of beauty and style — and she's helping other people who live with disabilities and chronic conditions do so as well. In June of this year, Blair announced her role as chief creative officer of Guide Beauty, a brand that makes ability-inclusive beauty products and tools designed to guide your hand as you use them.

The star spoke about how deeply the brand, its mission, and her involvement with it have influenced her in the recent InStyle interview. For Blair, discovering the brand, which was founded by celebrity makeup artist Terri Bryant after she began experiencing loss of dexterity in her hands due to Parkinson's disease (a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements), was a game changer. "It was a real turning point for me," said Blair. "It was like, 'Okay, let's start waking up again.'"

Guide Beauty's focus is on accessibility and universality: The brand was made for everyone, including makeup novices and experts. Of course, special consideration was given to those with mobility issues, such as Bryant and Blair. Its product lineup features mascara, brow gel, eyeshadow brushes, and more tools that are easier to hold and use thanks to their ergonomic designs.

Now, instead of adapting to use mainstream products, Bryant, Blair, and their consumers are discovering what it's like to use products made with a whole new set of considerations in mind. "When something like this comes along, you're like, 'Oh, actually, this is easier," said Blair.

For the actress, fashion and makeup have always held a deeper power than they might seem to on the surface. "I've never thought of fashion, makeup — really, any of our ways of self-care and presenting ourselves — as frivolous," Blair told InStyle. And now, Guide Beauty's tools that have allowed her to reclaim her ability to apply makeup seem to be having a transformative effect on her attitude. "I started really coming alive," said Blair. "And that's what we love about makeup."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles