Refillable Beauty Is the Future: 15 Brands Offering This Sustainable Solution

As a beauty editor, I love the industry that I work in. There is so much innovation in the world of beauty, and with that comes many exciting new product launches. However, I'd be remiss to not mention the industry is not kindest to the environment and our efforts towards sustainability. Several new products and brands are launching every single day, and with overconsumption comes a colossal amount of waste. In an office discussion just this week, I shared how I often get overwhelmed with the number of new launches that land on the beauty desk each week—I simply don't have enough skin or hair to test everything. And while colleagues, family and friends are very happy to test on my behalf, I'm becoming more and more selective around what I test and recommend, and how the said beauty product affects our planet, including whether it is easily recyclable. A 2018 report by Zero Waste Week found that the beauty industry produces a shocking 142 billion pieces of packaging each year. And as you'll already have noticed, it's not that easy to recycle your empty beauty products. According to The British Beauty Council, only 14% of packaging actually makes it to a recycling plant, and then only 9% is recycled—the rest heads directly to landfill.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

As such, you'll only ever find our beauty team recommending the products they truly love and have road-tested themselves on Who What Wear. We don't recommend a product for the sake of it being new—we share it because we really do rate it. In the spirit of becoming more of a minimalist in my beauty routine, (which not only does wonders for the skin—raise a hand if your skin barrier has been personally victimised by a 10-step skincare routine?) I'm streamlining the products that I use. It means there is less clutter in my bathroom and dressing table, and most importantly, less waste. One way I'm doing this is by prioritising brands that offer refillable beauty products. 

Beauty refills are becoming more and more popular, and even the mainstream beauty brands are taking notice, and I'm here for it. Choosing refillable products is one way that you can minimise your beauty waste (versus buying a whole new bottle or compact each time you run out) and the refill is often far more cost-effective too, making it kind to the planet and your bank account. It's certainly not going to solve the wider sustainability issues, but is a small step that you can make to minimise the waste you create from new packaging when you replenish your favourite products. Ahead, you'll find some of our favourite brands who offer refills on your favourite beauty products so you can shop more sustainably.

The Best Refillable Beauty Brands

1. The Body Shop

2. La Bouche Rouge

3. Tata Harper

4. Dermalogica

5. Ouai

6. Byoma

7. Charlotte Tilbury

8. L’Occitane

9. Diptyque

10. Bobbi Brown

11. Le Labo

12. Molten Brown

13. Isle Of Paradise

14. Susanne Kaufmann

15. Kjaer Weis

Next up, If You Want to Make Your Beauty Routine More Sustainable, This Is a Good Start

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.