Luxurious & Low Waste Sustainable Beauty Picks

“Keep young and beautiful.
It’s your duty to be beautiful.
Keep young and beautiful.
If you want to be loved.”

~ Annie Lennox

We’ve come to depend on our “bag of tricks,” an astonishingly vast collection of powders and paints all packaged in little plastic cases, in our efforts to maintain and enhance our outer beauty. Often all these products arrive from the store in a plastic sachet, inside a cardboard box, covered by yet another layer of shrink-wrap or cellophane.

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Even the most ardent recyclers admit that most of this packaging ends up in landfills when we’ve used our favorite products right down to the last glittery drop. If only there were a way to cut down on the vast volumes of waste! A handful of cosmetic companies have tackled the problem by “going naked” and reducing the amount of packaging surrounding their beauty care products to just about zero. It’s not a new idea: Lush Handmade Cosmetics developed their shampoo bars back in the ’80s and have consistently sold a large percentage of their products without any packaging. Their range of foundations, concealers, and lipsticks is life-changing in their pared-down presentations.

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But what if you still want a pretty little something to toss into your handbag?  The ultimate solution should decrease the amount of disposable packaging required while still providing the convenience of a compact cosmetic product. Kjaer Weiss are pioneers among a growing list of companies experimenting with refillable make-up products. Their elegant silver metal cases are designed to last a lifetime. Simply remove the empty make-up cartridge and replace with a minimally-packaged (and significantly cheaper) refill.

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Alima Pure is introducing refillable compacts, with magnetic color pans that can easily be replaced with refills. MAC, Nars, and Surrat are among other well-known cosmetics brands offering refills for their compacts. On the higher end, look out for refillable foundation compacts by Clarins and YSL.

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In the skincare sector, Olay has become the first worldwide brand to test refillable packaging. As of October 2019, each jar of Regenerist Whip moisturizer will sell with a recyclable refill pod to place inside the container. They’re also ditching the traditional outer cellophane wrapping, and have switched to recycled paper instead of cardboard packaging.

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Along with the rest of us, fashionistas and Instagram Influencers are becoming more demanding in our quest for an eco-friendly, low waste lifestyle. The result – more of our favorite brands are changing their packaging design to include recycled materials and re-usable containers. There’s a steady return to glamorous and stylish refillable metal or glass cases (favored in the 1940s) alongside a new wave of fast-growing and biodegradable plant-based materials such as bamboo.