From refillable concealers to scented deodorants, here's our pick. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Embracing a sustainable lifestyle goes beyond reusable grocery bags. The world of beauty is catching on, too.

The US-based University of Connecticut estimates that the cosmetics industry creates 120 billion units of packaging each year, 70 per cent of which ends up in landfills. But today, more and more beauty brands are finally recognising and reforming their role in this reckless cycle of waste. And you too, can make a difference in what beauty products you choose to buy. 

To help you out, we've curated a list of the best refillable beauty products available on Amazon, allowing you to indulge in your favorite skincare and make-up essentials even as you minimise your environmental impact. From luxurious refillable lipsticks to eco-friendly deodorant options, discover hidden gems and sustainable alternatives to elevate your beauty routine without compromising the planet. You can try out airbrushes, concealers or even relaxing facial toners.

We also spoke with Adriana Turner and Mukta Tewani, two experienced Dubai-based make-up artists and beauty stylists who practise sustainable beauty on the regular. They provide their top picks, as well, and share more about what makes certain beauty products sustainable - you might be surprised to learn it's not just the packaging that matters. Scroll below to read what they said.

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1. Best Concealer: Kosas Revealer Concealer 

Kosas's refillable Revealer Concealer, recommended by Turner, is a popular pick among make-up enthusiasts, owing to its high performance and eco-friendly packaging. The sleek, reusable case is made from durable materials, and the concealer itself comes in a separate, recyclable pod. This allows you to replace the concealer once it's empty, minimising waste. Infused with hyaluronic acid and peptides, the concealer has a whipped, creamy texture that feels comfortable on the skin and blends seamlessly. Apart from this, it allows you to achieve a natural, radiant look or full camouflage for blemishes and dark circles. It allows the delicate area under your eyes to be nourished and hydrated, too.

2. Best Deodorant: Wild Refillable Natural Deodorant

Looking for a deodorant that's as good for you as it is for the planet? Well, here’s an excellent choice. Wild's aluminum-free formula keeps you feeling fresh, while its refillable design minimises environmental impact. Moreover, the design allows you to replace the deodorant stick once it's empty, significantly reducing plastic waste. This deodorant also has natural ingredients to neutralise odour-causing bacteria. It’s also said to be gentle for your skin. The best part? You don’t have to settle for one scent. You have the option of choosing from different refill fragrances, which include fresh cotton and sea salt. There's also a floral-citrus combination that combines the sweet and sophisticated notes of jasmine with the fresh and sparkling notes of mandarin. Another option, coconut and vanilla, is also a compelling blend, promising to be gentle and sweet, with a mix of cocoa butter, coconut oil and shea.

3. Best Razor: Gillette Venus Radiant Skin Moisturising Women’s Razor

Don't miss out on Gilette's novel collaboration with Olay! The two brands teamed up to create their most affordable refillable beauty product that delivers a smooth shave. This razor features a built-in dispenser that releases a hydrating Olay serum with every stroke. This helps combat dryness and irritation, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple. With its five sharp blades, this razor delivers a close, comfortable shave that minimises nicks and cuts. It also has a lube strip that is enrinched with aloe vera, which is quite soothing for your skin. Moreover, you can bid goodbye to messy lotions and separate steps. There's a helpful button that dispenses a fragrance-free Olay moisturiser. So shaving and moisturising become a seamless experience. The razor handle is also reusable, and replacement blades with built-in moisturiser dispensers are readily available, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice in the long run.

4. Best Setting Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Refillable Airbrush Flawless Finish

Looking for a flawless, airbrushed finish? Turner recommends Charlotte Tilbury's Airbrush, which is a luxurious setting powder that delivers a power-packed performance, while maintaining a sustainable approach to beauty. The container features micro-fine powder particles that seamlessly blend into the skin. It blurs imperfections, controls shine, and sets up your make-up for a long-lasting, flawless look. Moreover, it's good for the environment! The mirrored compact is crafted from high-quality materials for lasting use. Once the powder is finished, simply purchase a refill pod, significantly reducing waste, compared to traditional powder compacts. "By opting for refills, you not only minimise environmental impact but also save money in the long run," explains Turner. "Refills are typically priced lower than purchasing an entirely new compact."

5. Best Toner: Medik8 Press & Glow Refill Daily PHA Exfoliating Facial Toner

Give your skincare routine a little sustainable rejig. A daily dose of gentle exfoliation in an eco-conscious package, Medik8's refill pouch allows you to replenish your favorite Press & Glow toner without discarding the entire bottle. Look for the reusable pump you already have to minimise plastic waste. One of the best aspects of this product is, the toner gently buffs away dead skin cells with the power of PHA (polyhydroxy acids). Unlike AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), PHAs work on the skin's surface, making them suitable even for sensitive skin types. By removing dead skin cells, the toner levels the field for subsequent skincare products, allowing them to penetrate more effectively and maximise their benefits. The toner isn't just for exfoliation, it also features hydrating ingredients that leave your skin feeling soft and supple, never dry or stripped.

6. Best Night Cream: Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Night Cream

Embrace a sustainable approach to anti-ageing with the Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Night Cream. This  moisturiser harnesses the power of natural ingredients to combat visible signs of ageing while you sleep, all while minimising environmental impact. At its core lies resveratrol, a potent antioxidant derived from grapevines, known for its ability to firm up and revitalise the skin. It also features vegan collagen 1, a plant-derived alternative to traditional collagen, which helps to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. This cream features two molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, working together to deeply hydrate and plump the skin, leaving it looking youthful and dewy. The good thing is that it comes in a chic, reusable glass jar. Look for refill capsules to replenish your cream once it's empty, significantly reducing waste, compared to purchasing entirely new jars.

7. Best Cleanser: Youth To The People Kale Superfood Age Prevention Cleanser

A powerful cleanser that clears your skin and pampers it? Sign us up. Youth To The People's Kale Superfood Age Prevention Cleanser possesses an antioxidant-packed formula that removes make-up, fights free radicals, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and balanced. This cleanser has a unique blend of superfood ingredients, like kale, spinach, and green tea. These powerhouses are packed with vitamins C, E, and K, minerals, and antioxidants that promise to help protect your skin from environmental damage and premature ageing. The cleanser features a gel texture that lathers into a gentle foam, effectively removing make-up, sunscreen, and daily impurities without stripping your skin's natural moisture barrier. It comes in a recyclable glass bottle, making it an eco-friendly option for your skincare routine.

What is sustainable beauty?

Sustainable beauty isn't just meant to be a fad or a "trend". It's a holistic approach to beauty, which is about celebrating Nature and connecting with the Earth, Turner says.

"It's not just about what ingredients are used in the products, and what can be considered toxic or harmful. That's a rather narrow way to look at it," explains Turner. It's the whole view that matters: What ingredients were used, in what packaging, and how these ingredients were sourced.

So, when we talk about sustainable packaging, we're talking about products that have been ethically sourced, and are known to be safe for the environment, with sustainable or no-waste packaging being defined as glass packaging, biodegradable packaging, or post-consumer recycled packaging, explains Turner.

Do your own research, shop sustainable beauty

But how do you determine whether a beauty brand is sustainable or not?

"Well, you would need to do your own research," says Turner. A quick Google search will tell you about the information that you need to know. Check the symbols on the packaging, too. Sometimes, you're likely to find an image of a bunny, which indicates a cruelty-free process that doesn't use animal testing. A recycling symbol shows that you can use the packaging again. Turner emphasises: "Refillable packaging is a key element of sustainable beauty, allowing consumers to reuse containers and reduce the amount of plastic and waste generated."

It's also essential to note how you dispose of your make-up kits, our experts add. Some common make-up ingredients, such as plastics, metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury, and synthetic chemicals like parabens and pthalates, do not easily break down in landfills and can persist for many years. This has an incredibly adverse impact, as it leads to the accumulation of waste and pollution, explains Tewani.

Moreover, there's a particular liquid that comes from make-up, usually called leachate, and it seeps into the soil, contaminating water sources. When make-up products are not disposed of properly, they can also pose a threat to animals, who may mistake the products for food or become entangled in packaging materials. So, instead of disposing of them, look into organisations that recycle make-up, or donate unexpired make-up, Turner suggests. 

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.