REFILL POUCHES THAT HELP SLASH PLASTIC WASTE BY UP TO 98% AND A ‘DRINKS CAN’ BODY WASH THAT’S COMPLETELY PLASTIC-FREE. ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY TODAY, AND EVERY DAY, WE’RE IN
When did we get so fixated on having our soap dispensed to us in liquid form? Yes, it has a luxurious feel compared to a utilitarian bar of or soap and makes less of a mess of your washbasin. But the packaging – for the most part, made of plastic – comes with an environmental cost. It’s particularly on our minds right now as soap sales have soared with all the handwashing that we’re doing. One brand, Dani Naturals, has reported a spike of 700 per cent in sales in just one week.
Thankfully, as we’re turning to plastic-free beauty, we’re learning to love soap bars again – and even embrace shampoo bars. However, for those of us wedded to liquids, there are now more soaps, shampoos and even self-tans available in less impactful ways – via refill pouches and ‘forever’ bottles.
The refillables model works best with items that we use lots of – such as soap and shampoo and that can be easily topped up. It’s not so simple for smaller skincare items such as serums, where meticulous cleaning of the bottle would be important so that remnants from your old batch don’t contaminate your new one. Skincare brands are for the most part opting for recycled and recyclable packaging for that reason.
However, that could be set to change with TerraCycle’s Loop refill scheme – already available in Paris and parts of the US and set to launch in the UK this year, 2020. It is partnering with brands such as Ren and Nivea to collect your skincare and other domestic item empties from your door, clean them hygienically and give them back to you full.
PLASTIC CAN ONLY BE RECYCLED TWO TO THREE TIMES BEFORE ITS QUALITY DECREASES TOO MUCH
Refill bars in stores and salons are becoming more common too. At Boots Concept Store in London’s Covent Garden (which reopened for beauty this week) Beauty Kitchen’s refill bar encourages you to buy an aluminium ‘bottle for life’ and (re)fill it with face wash, shampoo, conditioner or body wash.
Around the corner at Cara Delevingne’s hairdresser Windle London, you receive 30 per cent off if you bring your shampoo and conditioner bottles in to be topped up. Salons are set to reopon in early July. While over at Bleach London, bring in your refillable 500ml Pearlescent Shampoo or Conditioner bottle to one of their salons and save £4 on the full price of £14. Faith In Nature shampoos, body washes and conditioners are not only great value (mostly less than a fiver) they are widely refillable in independent health stores around the country many of which have stayed open as essential retailers.
If you want to minimize your environmental footprint, here are the brands that are leading the charge for refillables – allowing you to save on packaging and on price.
Now you can tan sustainably too! These chic pouches are made with 81 per cent less plastic than Isle of Paradise’s spray bottles. Simply pour the pouch into your original bottle and twist the cap to seal. Trust Isle of Paradise to make sustainability look so slick.
Olay is selling refillable pods of the cult Whip moisturiser; the pod comes in a set with a full jar of the product. The pod fits into the empty jar, reducing plastic waster by up to 94 per cent. In addition, £5 of every sale will be going to the Young Women’s Trust.
RAHUA CLASSIC CONDITIONER, £32 AND SHAMPOO, £30 REFILL POUCHES, 280ML
The hero ingredient of this sustainable hairdresser-founder brand is symbiotically harvested rahua oil from the Amazon rain forest. It’s grown wild in undisturbed virgin forest, prepared using ancestral knowledge by the indigenous people and bought from them at a fair price. Quite apart from that, this luxe clean haircare is as clean and gentle as it gets. Rahua oil is particularly light and nourishing making it great for glossing and repairing damaged ends (the full Rahua range is well worth a look).
Now they’ve entered the refillable game with their two original and bestselling products: the Classic Shampoo and Classic Conditioner. They come in pouches made from 60 per cent plant-based materials, which biodegrade to compost, reducing plastic usage by 90 per cent. They have snip off corners so you will need to dispense them into something. They work out £2 cheaper each than their bottled counterparts.
L’OCCITANE PRECIOUS DAILY CLEANSING FOAM REFILL, 300ML £31.50
L’Occitane has been doing eco refills since 2008 and this is a chance to buy a raved-about premium skincare product at knock-down price. It’s part of L’Occitane’s anti-ageing L’Imortelle range, it gets off every scrap of makeup and smells divine. The refill pouch offers is a significant saving on the original packaging (£22 for 150ml) but you do have to buy the plastic pot once as you need the foaming action of the nozzle to enjoy the product in all its lathery glory.
L’Occitane is committed to recycling and has partnered with recycling organisation TerraCycle to provide recycling station for beauty empties from any brand in its boutiques nationwide. They’ll give you 10 per cent off full-price L’Occitane purchases on the day if you do.
AUSTRALIAN GLOW ONE-HOUR EXPRESS SELF TAN MOUSSE REFILLS FROM £13.99, 200ML
Just launched in the UK, this Australian brand claims to be the first tanning brand to use refill packs. They use 83 per cent less plastic than the original plastic bottle, which you will need to buy once (£15.95 for 200ml) as it’s the nozzle that creates the foaming action. What’s great about these new eco brands is that they are setting themselves up from the get-go to be as sustainable as possible in every part of their supply chain. Australian glow uses Ocean Waster Plastic (OWP – you’ll see that label more and more) and each bottle is the equivalent of eight plastic bags removed from the ocean. Ingredients are vegan, cruelty-free and organic, natural nock-sticky and the smell is subtle. The one-hours express tans come in Dark and Extra dark and are for ‘experienced tanners’ (although I’m quite cack-handed and I didn’t have problems) and there’s also a medium which works in four to six hours but doesn’t (yet) have a refill.