The beauty industry is in need of a serious makeover. What was once considered aspirational is now out of touch. From encouraging consumerism to lax labelling laws and unnecessary waste, consumers’ values are shifting, and so too are our standards when it comes to how our favourite products are produced and packaged.
According to a report released in Zero Waste Week, it is estimated that the global cosmetics industry alone produces 120 billion units of packaging each year – most of which cannot be recycled. What’s more, by the year 2050, this contribution to landfill is predicted to reach 12 billion tons.
While beauty-specific programs like TerraCycle have been created to facilitate getting rid of our empties with ease, the target we should be striving for is consuming less altogether.
“Where we are today with the awareness around plastic, we’re continuing to look at what are those new solutions that might not be the obvious solution today”, explains Saskia van Gendt, senior director of sustainability at non-toxic soap brand Method.
“It’s a huge unlock around sustainability if you can get a consumer to reuse the bottle that they’ve already purchased”.
Enter: refillable beauty, products designed to be topped up time and time again. The benefits are endless: reduce plastic usage and reliance on finite resources, improve brand loyalty and increase our awareness of conscious consumption. Plus, refillable options are a portion of the price, costing the consumer and the planet less in the long run.
Here, we’ve rounded up a couple of stand-out refillable brands we have on our “to try” list.
The team at Foile Skincare saw the impact the beauty industry was playing on the environment and decided “the change starts with us”. They proceeded to create a range of non-gendered cleansers, serums, and face and body oils that are entirely refillable, clean, and cruelty-free. While made out of plastic, their refill pouches are 100% commercially recyclable and make a great lightweight travel option. Their sleek signature re-fillable bottles were designed with longevity in mind, and are a perfect permanent addition to any beauty cabinet.
Since 2014, elate cosmetics has been disrupting the beauty industry. Not only are their products cruelty-free, vegan and free from any nasties 75% of their products are waste-free. You can purchase refills for everything from eye shadows to mascaras and blush, and their signature bamboo palette allows you to create your own perfect palette using refills and magnets.
As a brand, KVD Beauty is constantly evolving. In 2016 they reformulated their whole line to be vegan and now they offer customisable, refillable makeup for every form of self-expression. Their refillable blush and foundations are must-tries.
What started with a simple mascara launched in Bondi Beach, is now a 41-product sustainable beauty range. Ere Perez specialises in natural formulations which are good for you and the planet. They also offer a refillable range of eye shadows, blushes and so much more.
Inspired by her sister in law’s motto, “whatever you put on your body, you may as well be putting in your mouth”, Kate McLeod used her baking background to create Body Stones. As the name suggests Body Stones are palm-sized bars used to nourish and moisturise your body, they are made from natural ingredients and replace plastic bottles of moisturiser. You purchase your first stone in a bamboo case then simply buy refills after that.
Isle Of Paradise
Isle of Paradise aren’t faking their sustainability credentials, offering refillable self-tanning pouches made with 81% less plastic. The range created by Jules Von Hep, tanning expert and podcaster, is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, leaving you with a natural glow and less guilt about your impact on the environment.
Emma Lewisham combines science, skin and sustainability to craft a truly unique and effective range of products for every beauty lover’s makeup bag. Their signature Skin Shield SPF 30 is reef safe and like many of their products, is part of their Beauty Circle initiative where products can be returned, sanitised and refilled for customers.
Australia’s own ASUVI is the world’s first refillable deodorant. Their reusable tubes are made from 100% post-consumer plastic and come in biodegradable, cardboard packaging. But it’s not just what’s on the outside that counts – their Australian made formula is vegan, cruelty-free and free from SLS.
LUSH Cosmetics is known for being planet-positive with their naked bars, cruelty-free ethos and signature recycling program, but now they’re entering the refill sector with their all-new lipstick line. Simply purchase a case, and then each colour comes “naked” in a wax wrapper, helping to cut down on more beauty waste.
Humanrace is the brainchild of Pharrel William, who “created Humanrace in the belief that taking better care of ourselves can teach us to take better care of each other”. The range of products includes plastic-free body bars but also a three-step refillable beauty regimen.
KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr
KORA Organics has made the pledge that from 2021 all products “will only use recycled, recyclable or biodegradable materials in all primary and secondary packaging wherever possible”. This has seen the introduction of refills for their Turmeric Glow moisturiser and Berry Bright Vitamin C Cream, as well as new products like the glass-packaged Mushroom Gentle Cleansing Oil.