Refillable Beauty Products Will Help Save The Planet — & Your Money

Designed by Meg O'Donnell.
While trying to make my beauty routine plastic-free, there was one thing I picked up on pretty quickly: Refillable was better than recyclable. Of course, recyclable packaging is certainly preferable to throwaway plastic, but it’s even better if you can avoid waste altogether by using products that can be refilled.
In terms of sustainability, recycling is problematic. Due to the long lifespan of plastics, including those designed to be recyclable, disposing of them is difficult, and can often place huge pressure on resources and the environment — whereas if you buy a refill instead of a completely new product, you save 70% on CO2, 65% on energy, and 45% on water, according to research conducted by The LCA Centre. Up until earlier this year, China dealt with the majority of the world’s recycling (the UK alone shipped 2.7 million tons of plastic to China and Hong Kong in the last five years, Greenpeace reported), but with the Chinese government banning imports, the recycling problem is set to get worse.
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This is why, when makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis created her eponymous beauty line, Kjaer Weis, investing in a refillable system was key. Each of the brand's luxe products is housed in a weighty keep-forever metal case which can be refilled when finished. “Refillable packaging is very important to me because it really cuts down on the overall amount of waste that we produce and leave behind on this planet," Weis says. "We see the consequences of not recycling everywhere, especially in the oceans with the enormous amount of plastic buildup. It has had serious ramifications that haven’t been paid enough attention to."
While Kjaer Weis is one of the big names pioneering this movement, with more and more consumers now looking for eco-friendly alternatives, a whole host of beauty brands are starting to offer refillable options. Even better, refills are often also wallet-friendly; much like when you get a discount for bringing a reusable coffee cup for your latte, buying refills is often cheaper than a brand new product.
Convinced yet? Click through to discover some of the best refillable beauty brands out there.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.
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L'Occitane

From its truly therapeutic foaming lavender bath bubbles to its spa-worthy almond oil body wash, L'Occitane knows the products you can't get enough of. To make sure those products never run out, the brand stocks a whole array of wallet-friendly refills of its best-sellers that will have you smelling like the French countryside until the end of time.
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Myro

Even the deodorant industry is keen to this zero-waste trend. Thanks to the direct-to-consumer company Myro, you can pick out a cute little deodorant case, a deodorant scent of your choosing, and then sign up for its subscription service, which periodically sends you new scent cartridge refills that are ready to be popped in whenever you're running low.
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Kjaer Weis

Chances are you’ve spotted Kjaer Weis' innately Instagrammable metal packaging on your feed. Designed by Marc Atlan (the creative force behind the iconic Comme de Garçons and Helmut Lang packaging), the beautiful silver compacts can be used again and again. Simply pop out the cartridge and refill with a fresh new one (sold separately for $32). This buttery-soft blush blends like a dream — it lends cheeks a subtle hint of dewy color and that natural-looking flush we all crave.
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Le Labo

Cult-favorite fragrance brand Le Labo, known for their minimalist shelfie-worthy bottles and standout scents, offer a refillable service in stores. Take your much-loved perfume into one of their boutiques, where they'll refill the bottle and give you 20% off the original price. This fragrance offers a modern take on the classic Grasse rose, with the addition of warm and woody notes such as cedar and centifolia. It's a fragrance that always gets compliments.
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Rituals

Ayurveda-inspired bath and body brand Rituals has recently committed to a number of greener practices, and now offers eco-friendly refills for their body creams, day and night creams, hand washes, and fragrance sticks. Packed with hyaluronic acid and Indian rose, this deeply hydrating night cream works while you sleep to ensure you wake with plump and glowing skin. When you're finished, pop out the bottom of the jar and replace with a refill, available online for $37.
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Surratt Beauty

The brainchild of celebrity-favorite makeup master Troy Surratt, the high-performance yet skin-friendly products from the artist's eponymous brand have earned a loyal legion of fans. The company is taking steps to reduce packaging, starting with selling refillable cartridges for eyeliners and brow pencils. Inspired by the tools used in Japanese calligraphy and artistry, this inky black eyeliner lets you create a super sharp cat-eye that stays put all day — and, at $18 a pop, the refills are a downright steal.
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Buxom Cosmetics

Do you struggle to find an eyeshadow palette where you actually use all the shades? Buxom might just have the solution. Their refillable palette, which costs $13, lets you pick your very own colors from the brand's wide range, and then simply repurchase as singles when you’ve hit pan on one of your favorites. Highly pigmented, every one of these shades gives amazing good color payoff. Throw the primer-infused formula into the mix, and you have the makings of the perfect long-wear eyeshadow.
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