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 Refillable Beauty 

Trend description:

Beauty brands are turning to sustainable packaging because consumers now demand it. Refillable body care is trending, with searches for refillable deodorant and body wash up by 522% and 212%. Switching to refillable beauty has become a common attractive step in businesses' journey towards becoming more eco-friendly. Switching to refillable beauty will give the customer the "keep forever" feeling of the desired products. Furthermore, it costs less for the customer to refill the product than repurchasing it.


Trend drivers:

Gen Z is one of the generations most concerned with global challenges. According to a study by First Insight, 73% of Gen Z reported that they were willing to pay more for sustainable products, with 54% saying they would pay more than a 10% increase in price for a sustainable product. Gen Z, born in the digital age, seems more concerned with global challenges, more health conscious, and socially aware, growing up in a time when our impact on the planet has become visible.


According to a study by Nielsen in 2018, 80% of Gen Z feel that companies should help the environment, 82% of Southeast Asian Gen Zers claim they prefer products from ethical brands, and 68% of US Gen Z shoppers made an eco-friendly purchase. Furthermore, according to a global study conducted by Trivium Packaging in 2021, 83% of consumers among younger generations showed a willingness to pay more for sustainable packaging. Furthermore, the study found that 67% of consumers find it necessary that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and 64% of consumers find it essential that the products they buy are packed in recycled content.


Across the three studied regions, the US, Europe, and South America, the study found that South American consumers are the consumer group most likely to adopt sustainable purchasing behavior. Europe also continues to be a key determinant of green purchasing intentions for the majority of respondents. However, the US falls behind in both sustainable purchasing behavior and green values.


Consumers have a reason to worry, as the beauty industry is a major environmental sinner. According to studies conducted by the global market research company Euromonitor, the global beauty and skincare industry is responsible for creating 120 billion plastic packaging units annually. Only 9% of that plastic is recycled, and 79% ends up in landfills. Furthermore, 95% of beauty packaging is thrown out after just one use, and only 14% makes it to a recycling center.

Refillable makeup cases

Brands in the beauty space are moving toward refillable eco-friendly product packaging. Refillable product packaging is adopted by mass-market brands as-well as luxury brands. Quadpack and Aptar Beauty + Home have joined together to develop a refillable lipstick that pushes the boundaries. With a full-wood patented technology, the eco-friendly lipstick tube offers rotations and the opportunity to be refilled as needed. It is made from 100% certified ash wood from sustainably managed forests and has blended the expertise in wood and stick mechanisms together to create The Iconic Woodacity® lipstick.


High-end brands such as Dior have also started to tap into refillable Beauty by releasing 35 new shares of their Dior Addict lipstick line, with four refillable cases, seeking to target Gen Z.


Picture: Adapt

Picture: Dior

Refillable beauty subscription 

Brands are tapping into subscription models to take advantage of this business model's benefits when combined with the refillable concept. SOSHE Beauty takes a different approach to refillable beauty with its refillable subscription model. Their GLAM mascara is a mascara in a refillable case that customers can subscribe to and have refilled when needed. Founder Sahar Rohani told Forbes, "SOSHE Beauty's mascara is made differently. I think the largest hurdle with refillable products is user experience. We designed the case to make the refill process as seamless as possible."


Scent-bird is a fragrance destination marketplace where one can discover, explore, learn about, and experience different fragrences. The platform offers over 600 designer fragrances on subscription. The designer perfumes come in a refillable eight-milliliter bottle containing "roughly 140 sprays each," according to the brand.


Picture: Soshe

DIY beauty 

A shift toward minimalist ingredients in cosmetics and the demand for refillable beauty products, are opening up opportunities for brands to create DIY beauty experiences at home.


Blueland, known for its eco-friendly approach to cleaning essentials, has now tapped into skincare and introduced a waste-reducing skincare set: The Facial Cleanser Starter Set. The kit consists of an eight-ounce refillable beauty bottle and 0.6 oz. Powder Refill. It transforms from powder into a whole bottle of non-foaming gel with a skin-balanced pH when water is added. The brand is tapping into the waterless wellness trend with the "our powder" + "your water" approach. The waterless wellness, DIY, and sustainable packaging trend is starting to come together, opening brand opportunities.


Picture: Blue Land

Next-gen perfumes

The perfume industry has started to tap into refillable packaging; luxury fragrance brands in particular see the potential in refillable bottles.


Aeir and the Extrait Molecular de Parfum have introduced the next generation of luxury fragrances. The Aeir Mini Fragrance Discovery Set. Air Eau de Perfume is the world's first fragrance made from air. The set has four molecular scents: Wet Stone, Grand Rose, Suede, and Virgin Olive, and it has a refillable component, offered with two cap variations; a gloss chrome cap and a satin-finish white cap. Arie will be available on Aeir ID, described as "an experience-driven Web-3-ready subscription platform that features Apple Wallet integration and 'Tap to Collect' functionalities via NFC technology."

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Picture: Aeir

Mono-dosing skincare in refillable packaging

'We have seen a noticeable rise in demand for mono-dosing products at NET-A-PORTER,' says the retailer's Global Beauty Director, Newby Hands to Elle. 'For ampoules alone, we have experienced double-digit growth on the year, and we have been multiplying our assortment ever since.'


Single-dose skincare ensures consumers use precisely the right amount of serum. Aside from the possible eco benefits, mono-dosing skincare provides a perfectly measured dose of serum, which means costumers get an expertly prescribed portion. It also reduces the waste of using too much of the product.

Bolt Beauty creates refillable, carbon-neutral, and biodegradable single-dose skincare products. The capsules are made from seaweed and they have made everything from cleansers to serums to moisturizers. The fully biodegradable capsules comes in refillable home jars and compostable refill bags that last a lifetime.


Picture:  Bolt


Picture:  We are wo

Action Steps


Consider switching product packaging to a refillable design. Explore how adopting a refillable subscription model could add value to your brand and the customer.





Explore the opportunities of mono-dosing your products in refillable packaging to offer a perfectly measured product dose. 

Consider tapping into the DIY waterless wellness trend by having the customers add water to the product themself to have a more sustainable approach and engage the customer more in the process.

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