Makeup is an important daily routine for many people, and choosing brands that showcase sustainable options, such as refillable packaging, is an important effort for the planet, too. If companies want to retain their loyal fans and welcome new ones, embracing eco-friendly initiatives will soon become a must.
We only need to look at the dramatic uptake in Plastic Free Beauty Day sign-ups to understand that sustainable self-care is more than a passing fad; it is a legitimate movement that is fast becoming a signpost of shifting consumer trends. Moreover, when the LCA Centre revealed that up to 70% of the beauty industry’s carbon emissions could be eradicated by switching to refillable packaging, it becomes a market sub-culture with purpose.
The cosmetics industry has always been influential, not to mention sometimes odd (let’s not forget the Chipotle x E.L.F. collab earlier this year). Dictating trends and supporting the seasons of the fashion world, it has long been a commercial force to be reckoned with.
Valuations of cruelty-free and vegan makeup markets continue to soar, with the latter expected to reach $21.4 billion by 2027, according to ReportLinker’s analysis. As a result, animal testing has been designated as deeply undesirable but now, there’s another major concern for the conscious consumer: packaging waste.
The perfect trifecta for makeup brands today is:
- Vegan (and cruelty-free)
- Zero waste
It’s a lot to ask, but we’ve found six that we think are setting the example for everybody else by including refillable packaging in their ranges.
1. Kjaer Weiss
It’s important to note that not all Kjaer Weiss products are vegan, but the brand as a whole is entirely cruelty-free—meaning it doesn’t test on animals. This allows you to cherry-pick a few refillable treats. Our favourites include:
- Powder shadow refills
- Liquid matte lipstick refills
Note: most of the foundation and blush refills contain beeswax, making them unsuitable for vegans, so base products are not viable here.
2. Jane Iredale
Cruelty-free across the whole range, Jane Iredale is also making inroads into vegan and sustainable product lines too. A nice touch is the vegan/gluten-free drop-down menu on each product page that allows you to quickly identify which shades are suitable for your ethics and/or needs. There’s also a foundation finder quiz to ensure the best colour match for your skin tone.
Sustainability-driven vegans can choose from the following refillable packaging options:
- Bronzer refills in Moonbeam and Sunglow
- PureMatte Finish Mineral Powder refills(all shades)
- PurePressed® Base Mineral Foundation refills (all shades)
3. Hourglass Cosmetics
Making it as simple as the click of a button, always cruelty-free Hourglass Cosmetics has a vegan section that allows you to filter out any unsuitable products, before zeroing in on the refillable items. As an added bonus, Hourglass also donates 1% of profits to the Nonhuman Rights Project which advocates for fundamental rights for all animals. We highly recommend the:
- Refillable lipstick duos
4. Charlotte Tilbury
Cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny approved, Charlotte Tilbury has long been admired for the combination of incredible products and gorgeous packaging that has become synonymous with this luxury brand. Now, fans can rejoice even more as a number of must-have products are not only animal-free and highlighted as suitable for vegans, but they also come in refillable compacts and cases that exude ‘golden era’ glamour, too. Some of our essentials include:
- Airbrush Bronzer
- Look of Love lipsticks (all shades)
5. MOB Beauty
Deeply committed to producing high-impact products that don’t harm the planet, MOB Beauty is explicit about its mission. Cue the Earth-First packaging mandate in place across the full range, which is designed to let makeup fans buy packaging just once (lipstick cases and palettes) and then refill them endlessly. MOB goes a step further by claiming to never launch a product until fully sustainable packaging has been designed for it as well.
With such a unique system in place, customers can build their own palettes, cutting down on waste (there’s always one colour you don’t use in a collection) while also supporting extensive recycling efforts.
We can’t choose any individual products from MOB as they are all vegan and cruelty-free and can be added to a custom palette. Though we are huge fans of the refillable lipstick capsules and everyone needs a bold red in their life, so M67 might be our favourite.
6. Elate Beauty
B-Corp certified, Elate Beauty prides itself on having saved countless plastic packages from ending up in landfill, thanks to its refillable containers. It also supports wild garden development with seed packing paper and tree planting. Bamboo and glass packaging allows for a zero waste and beautiful alternative to standard cosmetic cases and with a focus on natural beauty as well, Elate is a brand designed to make you feel and look good. Some of our favourite lines include:
- Pressed foundation (supplied in recyclable aluminium pans)
- Creme Revealer concealer
- Better Balm lip color
Covering a wide span of accessible and luxury, each of these individual brands is lending weight to the argument for sustainable and refillable packaging to become the norm throughout the cosmetics industry. It will be interesting to see how long it takes high street brands to follow suit.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.