17&18 April 2023 THE BREWERY - London Better for the People and the Planet

Refill revolution

everything-you-need-to-know - 25/10/2022

Slowing down global warming and environmental pollution in order to create a
brighter future is in everyone’s hands. We are all aware of this fact, and the beauty
industry has a crucial role to play in that fight. Many brands have already made a
conscious decision to change their packaging to be more eco-friendly and more circular.
Some have gone as far as to adopt frugal packaging, using refillable containers.

But does all refillable packaging have the same purpose? Are there differences between the
different types of refillable packaging?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the various trends we can observe.



The use of refillable packaging in the clean beauty industry seems like a logical
decision. Customers today want to feel good about every purchase they make. And that
means choosing eco-friendly products with sustainable packaging. Indeed, it is no longer
enough to simply focus on the product and not the packaging. That might have worked a
decade ago, but not anymore. Refillable products encourage consumers to be more
responsible when it comes to their consumption. They are usually made of durable
materials for the outer case (the one that we need to keep) and recyclable material for the
refillable part. This minimizes the amount of waste created while also saving consumers



When it comes to beauty packaging, we also observe a growing amount of interest
in containers as accessories. Not only does the cream, serum or makeup you buy can be
refilled, but its design turns it into an object you want to keep using. Clean beauty brand
Oquist Cosmetics uses terracota ceramics as containers and encourages consumers to
use the packaging for other purposes when it is empty, calling it skinterior design. These
packaging turned accessories usually have a sustainable raison d’être and aesthetic
quality to them, but they can also serve as branding tools for some companies. Product
packaging can, for instance, be used to show a brands’ roots, like Korean brand Innisfree
and its re-stay dispenser, inspired by ancient Korean porcelains.



Last but not least, while clean beauty is all about human and eco-friendly products,
it does not mean it shies away from tech and innovation. The refill movement also
benefits from new tech advancements. Biotherm, for example, introduced a fountain to
refill bottles in stores and added an innovative step. After being refilled, the bottle is
custom-engraved with a delicate wave motif, symbolizing its regeneration and indicating
how many times the bottle has undergone the refill process. Technology can become a
great asset to support circularity with apps finding the closest refill station or the best
place to recycle used packaging.


If consumers are more open than ever to refillable beauty products, they also are
very attentive and knowledgeable about the material used and true circularity. They are
not afraid to call out brands who pretend to offer refillable options while not really
reducing their environmental impact. Greenwashing doesn’t go unnoticed anymore.


Monia MERABET, Founder of We Out Wow


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WeOutWow is a beauty trend and strategic innovation agency.

Contact us for intelligence reports and consulting services at hello@weoutwow.com.