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Refillable Beauty Has Made Its Way to Makeup Bags, Showers, and Beyond

Refillable beauty used to be hard to find. Now, it's coming to our makeup bags, showers, and beyond. Here are the brands to watch this year.

Written by
Angelica Pizza

From the toothbrush and toothpaste in our bathrooms to the trusty mascara that's with us at all times, our beauty and wellness routines contain a lot of waste. Just think about all those tubes and bottles. Now think about where they end up.

Fortunately, consumers are pushing for more sustainable packaging options. Research shows 54% of consumers consider the sustainability of packaging when purchasing a product. And 57% are less likely to buy products with unsustainable packaging. Because of this demand, we're seeing major changes in packaging. Specifically, we're seeing a boom in refillable packaging for all-things beauty and wellness.

According to Shannon Goldberg, Izzy Zero Waste Beauty's founder and chief zero waste officer, refillable packaging can help the beauty industry significantly decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills.

"With the average American going through 3.5 pounds of garbage a day, brands like Izzy need to lead the way for multiple industries to slow down and approach sustainability through a holistic lens," Goldberg says.

Thus, with the beauty industry taking more sustainable steps, we can fight global warming and the climate crisis and create a "brighter future."

"The global beauty industry is a $532-billion-dollar business that creates more than 120 billion units of packaging every year," Goldberg says. "This packaging is the number one contributor to plastic production in the world. By 2050, there will be an estimated 12 billion tons of plastic in landfills and more plastic than fish in our oceans."

While these figures may be intimidating, Goldberg says major changes are already taking place, signaling a hopeful transition in the way our world operates. She cites the emphasis on up-and-coming clean and sustainable brands, new recycling programs, eco-friendly solutions in packaging, and more carbon-neutral brands.

But one of the most significant shifts she's seen is the increase in collaboration to make sustainability mainstream.

"I have to admit that the coolest shift I’ve seen is the genuine collaboration within the industry," Goldberg says. "In order to launch Izzy, our vendors had to lower their minimum order quantities, their pricing, and be willing to reverse our entire supply chain to ensure a closed-loop process. This has never been done before in beauty, so the ability to pivot and say yes to a brand like Izzy speaks volumes: We're ready for change!"

Goldberg says Izzy completely eliminates waste, and the company is challenging traditional notions about supply chains. Izzy's mascara and lip butter are shipped to customers in reusable mailers made from upcycled materials. And the stainless-steel tubes can be cleaned and refilled over 10,000 times.

"Izzy Zero Waste Beauty is the world’s first circular and zero-waste beauty company," she says. "We’re taking big steps to reduce plastic waste with clean and cruelty-free products that are 100% reusable, 100% recyclable, endlessly refillable, and certified Carbon Neutral."

How does it work? Customers receive a 90-day supply of the product, and with a membership, they'll receive refills automatically. Then, empty containers can be sent back to be cleaned, refilled, and reused.

"Compared to the industry standard, our products have a 78% smaller carbon footprint after 25 refills," Goldberg says. "The more our products are reused, the smaller our relative carbon footprint becomes over time."

And Izzy isn't the only refillable beauty company out there. We're also seeing an increase in refillable deodorants, refillable shampoos (like those from Plaine Products and The Good Fill), refillable body wash from Bathing Culture, and zero-waste sunscreen.

Other cosmetics companies are also hopping on the zero-waste makeup trend, including refillable foundation and concealer containers from Elate. Even Rihanna's Fenty Beauty recently launched a refillable lipstick that's available in 10 shades.

Goldberg has one message to consumers: "We should treat this planet as if we intend to stay." So if you're looking for a sign to make the switch to refillable beauty, this is it.