Beauty refills are the future: From refillable shower gels and hand washes to refillable face creams, makeup products, perfume and much more. How to help the environment.
Sustainable beauty isn’t just about the ingredients listed on the box, or how the packaging is made, it’s also about looking at the amount of ‘new’ products shoppers need to buy and how brands can help us shop savvier. Every brand has a different ethos and a different set of rules they abide by but refillable beauty is the future – it’s popping up so much more now and soon it’ll just be the norm.
Earlier this year, just before 2021’s World Earth Day, Jackie Bauer from Hairstory spoke at the Sustainable Beauty Summit, and said: “It’s about making decisions on how things come into the world, rather than dealing it with it when you’re trying to get rid of it. It’s overconsumption. It’s crazy, and I’m a culprit, too. But it’s to try and reduce as much as we can. Try to reduce, try to reuse. For us, especially, that’s the most effective of the three Rs. The more we reuse, the less you consume.”
She added: “The idea that plastic literally disappears once in the ocean or littered on land or in landfill is nice, but it’s not actually possible. Nothing disappears completely. Something might dissolve or evaporate, compost, or degrade, but it doesn’t cease to exist.”
With this in mind, we’ve scoured the shops for the best reusable beauty products – from pouches to lipstick refills, perfume and lots more.
Fenty Skin Refills
Fenty Skin eliminates excess outer packaging whenever possible, and while some products still require protective paper boxes, these are recyclable. Refillable systems are also in place. If you buy Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturiser Broad Spectrum spf 30 Sunscreen or Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream once, you just need to purchase the refill. It’s less packaging and less expensive, but a more luxurious experience.
Fenty Skin Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream, £36, and refill, £32, Boots
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Kiehl’s 1L refillable pouches
Kiehl’s has introduced 1L refillable pouches in a bid to reduce plastic and continue its efforts for a ‘Future Made Better.’ Kiehl’s Pouch Refillable save on average 81% more plastic than a typical Kiehl’s single-use product and contain 2-5x the formula of a standard 250ml bottle. Like every other Kiehl’s product, the pouches can be brought in-store once empty and be recycled through Kiehl’s Recycle & Be Rewarded scheme.
Grapefruit Body Cleanser, £19, and 1L Refill £52, Kiehl’s
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Hourglass refillable lipstick
Hourglass, the cruelty-free luxury beauty brand, is known for its innovation and commitment to reinvent luxury cosmetics. The Confession Lipstick – Red 0 is an exciting launch as it’s encased in an exclusive red applicator adorned with a beetle – representing Hourglass’ commitment to animal welfare. The special edition refillable applicator is designed for interchangeable use with the entire collection of confession refills.
Hourglass The Confession Lipstick- Red 0, £39, and refills,£22, CultBeauty
Isle of Paradise refill pouches
Now available in an eco-friendly refillable pouch, Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Water Refill Pouch means no more unnecessary wastage but more sunless, sunkissed glow! Made with 81% less packaging than buying a brand new bottle, this earth-friendly design is a no-brainer. Each pouch is infused with intelligent colour-correcting actives to help give serious glow-getters their best glow ever and is also packed with organic tanning actives such as avocado, chia seed and coconut oil for a healthy, happy and hydrated glow that you’ll absolutely adore.
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water, £16.10, and refill pouch, £14.95
MAC Cosmetics Pro Palette
Forget buying a new eyeshadow palette on a whim, you can channel your inner makeup artist and use your own palette and interchange with individual MAC Cosmetics refills. By saying no to single-use items and packaging, and choosing products made from recycled materials and ingredients, you’re helping to preserve natural resources.
Pro Palette, from £5, MAC Cosmetics
Zara Beauty refillable products
British makeup artist Diane Kendal, who has created some of New York, Paris and Milan’s most memorable runway looks, as well as having collaborated onsome of the world’s most iconic fashion photography. It is the result of deep thought and consideration, born of more than a year’s development with virtual interactions between the team in Spain and Diane in New York.
Diane said: “When Zara approached me to lead the creative direction of Zara Beauty, I saw an opportunity to make something that everyone would want to use. Zara has always reached such a diverse audience, and I wanted to bring that same big vision to beauty with a collection that is clean, refillable and accessible to all. I am really proud of what we have created.”
Refillable face palette, £17.50, Zara
Aluminium-free deodorant brand Wild has come to the rescue with a revolutionary product that’s both eco-friendly, 100% effective and aesthetically pleasing. The Wild cases are designed to last a lifetime and their range of refills are biodegradable, vegan-friendly and free from nasties such as aluminium salts, parabens and phthalates. You choose your case colour, then choose your subscription plan, where the subscribe & save option is just £12, then you choose a unique (and deliciously smelling!) refill scent: Lemon Meringue (limited edition), Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt, Jasmine & Mandarin Blossom, Orange Zest, Lavender Haze, Mint & Eucalyptus & Bergamot Rituals. Wild gets posted straight to your door in 100% recyclable packaging.
Wild, from £12, Wearewild.com
If you’re looking to quit your habit of disposable razors, this unisex razor is what you need. It can be used on the face as well as the body, and comes with two complementary blades in the box but if you’re looking for refills you’ve got options. The brand has a razor blade return scheme: Simply send your old ones to be disposed of and recycled. For every five blades returned you’ll get £1 off your blades refill pack!
Left: Safety Razer, £24.99, and razor refills for a pack of 10, £3.49, Upcircle
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Infused with green, floral and woody notes, the diptyque Exfoliating Hand Wash formula is filled with ground olive stones to help soft, cleanse and purify the skin. The liquid soap is encased inside a (very Insta-friendly) glass bottle that’s refillable.
diptyque Exfoliating Hand Wash, £46, and the diptyque Exfoliating Hand Wash refill, £27, Space NK
Ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, leading hairstylist and LOreal Biolage ambassador Neil Moodie says we need to buy better, and buy less. “The number one sustainability rule in terms of everything we consume can be applied to hair care. Don’t overindulge in plastic brushes or have a bathroom cabinet full of every brand under the sun. Invest in pieces that will last, and that you know work for your hair – and stick to it.”
He added: “Style it out with a reusable bottle. We all love having our hair care bottles close to hand by the bath or shower, but let’s face it, they don’t always look the prettiest. Investing in a reusable glass or aluminum bottle (and refilling it from a refill pouch) not only looks chic but it’s much more eco-friendly.”
Biolage Hair Mask, £9.80, LookFantastic
La Mer refills
La Mer’s The Luminous Lifting Cushion Foundation provides quick-touch, buildable coverage with a naturally radiant finish—all in one chic compact – a compact you only need to buy once. Buying a refill ensures fans can say no to single-use items and packaging.
La Mer The Luminous Lifting Cushion Foundation SPF 20 refill, £44, Selfridges
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Charlotte Tilbury refills
Charlotte Tilbury is smashing it when it comes to refillable beauty. Whether you’re after a refill for your Airbrush Flawless Finish Bronzer or a new red Hot Lips bullet for your lipstick. With this in mind, this Hot Lips Kit is ideal so get puckering up. You save 6% and you get a snazzy lipstick AND a refill of your choice.
Hot Lips Kit, £44 (saving 6%), Charlotte Tilbury
Tata Harper refill pods
The recyclable pod refill was made to be locked into your Water-Lock Moisturiser jar – so you can keep on top of your routine while caring for the environment.
Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer, £59, and refill pod, £54, Selfridges
Hermes lipstick refills
The Hermes beauty refill is compatible with all Rouge Hermes objects (matte lipstick, satin lipstick, lip care balm and lip shine).
Rouge Hermes lip shine, £58, and refill, £33, Selfridges
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Best known for shampoo-alternative ‘New Wash’, this eco brand pushes hair care and styling boundaries and is very much ‘anti-shampoo’. New Wash now comes in three variants for different hair types so no hair is excluded from the joys of a shampoo-free lifestyle. A refill subscription service is available.
HairStory Starter Kit, £83, Hairstory
This is the first and only powder to liquid handwash delivered plastic-free. The packaging is both recyclable and compostable and refills arrive in a thin paper envelope. It is a sustainable subscription-based personal care service that uses fewer materials to revolutionise the personal care category. Oh, and in case you’re interested: FORGO means ‘to do without’. The refills arrive in packs of 3 and can be posted through your letterbox.
Hand wash starter kit, £40, Forgo
Kilian perfume refills
Each Kilian fragrance is designed with a removable or unscrewable lid and the refill kits come with a dropper and funnel to ensure an easy refill.
Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Extreme Eau de Parfum, £185, and refill, £155, Selfridges
Rahua’s refill sets
Rahua sustainable pouches are made from 60% renewable plant-based resources, which break down to healthy, biodegradable compost. By using them you also reduce your personal carbon footprint and plastic usage by 90%.
Rahua Color Full Shampoo and Conditioner Refill Set, £154, Rahua
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