While us Brits have ramped up how much plastic we recycle from our kitchens, personal care products account for a third of landfill waste. Unable to ignore growing consumer demand, beauty brands have embraced the war on waste by paring back on non-recyclable packaging or switching from plastic in favour of glass and aluminium with some items wholly reusable from pump to pouch. Some are going one step further still. Enter refillables, the answer to reducing the contents of our bathroom bins (and our annual expenditure on beauty, too).
Why choose refillable hair and beauty products?
Of course, refillable beauty is nothing new but the climate emergency has prompted more of us to seek out earth-friendly alternatives. Google searches for ‘refillable beauty’ have risen by 59% in the past year. The Body Shop was among the first brands to pioneer the concept back in the 1970s. Word has it that founder Anita Roddick used to refill her customers’ old bottles because she couldn’t afford new ones. “Why waste a container when you can refill it?” she questioned. “We behaved as my mother did in the Second World War: we reused everything, refilled everything and recycled all we could.”
Taking time to decant lotions and potions into reusable containers is a no-brainer being both more eco-friendly and easier on your purse strings. And whether you start off small by refilling your hand soap with a recycled pouch or make a commitment to overhaul your entire routine (you can also replenish your candles and perfume!), changing our mindset to multiple, not single, use is something we can all easily get on board with.
Where to refill hair and beauty products in-store
Today, refill stations are popping up in their droves at The Body Shop’s UK and Ireland stores, and by April 2026 there will be refill stations in the majority of its stores across the world. The concept is simple: grab an empty aluminium bottle (from £2 each) to fill – and refill – with 12 of its best-selling shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and handwashes. Sounds easy, right? And when it’s claimed that just one person making the switch could save up to 32 plastic bottles from going into landfill each year – and as much as £76 – it’s a win-win situation.
L’Occitane is also a trailblazer, having launched its first refill pouches back in 2008. Available to buy online and in-store, these eco-friendly options contain more product than its classic bottles, offering more bang for your buck. They also use up to 90 per cent less plastic. The French brand offers Refill Fountains inside its boutiques in London, Richmond, Cardiff and Glasgow, with more on the horizon. Bring your own empty bottle or buy L’Occitane’s aluminium Forever Bottle and Pump (available in two sizes, from £3), before filling them with a choice of five of its most-loved products.
Refill subscriptions: An easier way to reduce and reuse
As many of us buy our beauty online, there’s a significant move to more sustainable and smarter packaging to work in tandem with the growth on in-store refill stations. Brands such as Medik8 are using clever solutions in their refillable product designs, such as its iconic Press & Glow Tonic, to cut down on waste while preserving the active ingredients inside their formulas. Other online innovators are revolutionising beauty buying behaviour by making refills part of subscription packages that are delivered straight to your door. These include Wild Deodorants whose reusable applicator is said to “last a lifetime” while the refillable deodorant is praised for being zero waste, vegan and compostable. Signing up for regular replenishments can be convenient, cost-effective and greener. More of our bathroom supplies are taking this route, from responsible razors such as Estrid (packages start from £7.95) to upgrade your shave, to Here We Flo, which offers regular deliveries of its biodegradable tampons and plant-based applicators.
6 refillable hair products
Not to be outdone, the hair world is getting in on the refill act too. Bleach London first introduced refill stations inside its salons a few years back, offering clients XL glass refill bottles that can be used then refilled with shampoo for a reduced cost (from £10). Meanwhile, sustainable hair brand Authentic Beauty Concept rolled out new refill bars, offering refillable bottles made from 92 per cent recycled plastic (from £20). And for those looking for online convenience, Hairstory offers a subscription-based Refill Club for its hero product, New Wash. Pick from three sizes of its reusable aluminium bottles and then arrange to have refill pouches delivered directly to your door at a frequency of your choice (from £44).
Refillable beauty isn’t just for prestige beauty: high street favourites such as Pantene offers a refill pouch, £4, and reusable aluminium pump bottle, £9.99, for its Repair and Protect Shampoo. Plus, there are refillable options for AifFro, from £20, and Head and Shoulders Anti Dandruff Shampoo, from £4.80, too.
So, what are you waiting for? Cheaper products (and an empty bathroom bin) await.