Fragrance products

Don’t Call Refillable Beauty Products ‘Sustainable’ | Report

It’s the year 2097 and your great-great-grandchild has gone to their local Sephora for a new lipstick, having sold out Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk (hey, we told you the rosy beige shade was timeless).

It’s become summer, and today your descendant is looking for something brighter and bolder – he chooses Dior’s Rouge 999, a fire engine red. After making their purchase, they recycle the empty cartridge from Charlotte Tilbury and insert the new one from Dior – because your great-great-grandchild has a universal lipstick tube in which they can easily swap shades of any brand.

In the year 2022, we are far from a world in which, to eliminate excess waste, beauty product packaging has been standardized at all levels – and the use of refills is no exception. , but the norm.

Just two years ago, there was a sudden surge in the number of beauty brands launching refillable products. (This new wave of pre-existing brands shouldn’t be confused with brands — like Kjaer Weis and Surratt — that have built refill capability into their lines from the start.) another beauty company — whether it’s pharma giant like Dove or a major luxury player like Chanel – announcing that something in their range is “now refillable!”

The idea was, and is, that after purchasing the initial container and completing the formula inside, one can simply buy a refill for a product – often in the form of a pod, pouch or dab. a less packaging-intensive cartridge – instead of another full-size jar, bottle or tube.

In marketing said refills, some brands tout cost savings (refills usually cost less than original products), others convenience – but just about all point to the fact that using refills generates less waste than repurchasing the primary packaging again and again. again.

And here’s the good news: it’s true. The bad news? It is not so simple.

Like recyclability, refillability is great in theory, but not always in practice. Just as some materials are able be recycled, some packaging models are able fill. The question on both counts, however, is: will be they are? (Here’s your daily reminder that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced was turned into something that we could then reuse – as in, recycled.)