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When it comes to taking care of ourselves, our daily habits can be destructive to the Earth. An estimated 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry – and most of it is not recyclable. Some of the biggest culprits are containers for everyday staples such as soap, shampoo and deodorant: items usually made to be thrown out after they’ve served their purpose.

Thankfully, pioneering cosmetic brands have started paying due attention to the problem. Reusable, sustainable packaging is quickly becoming a mainstay of the cosmetic industry. And rising to the challenge of meeting this new standard, product designers are creating objects that consumers won’t want to throw away. We’ve selected five items that reinvent packaging design while avoiding the flow of plastic waste.

1
Reusable Deodorant by Dove

Dove’s newest launch is a reusable deodorant container, made of sleek and ergonomic stainless steel. Designed by Dutch agency VanBerlo, the packaging is simple yet substantial and mess-free. The deodorant, once used up, can be replaced with Dove’s refills, which are packaged in 98 per cent recycled plastic (already 54 per cent less plastic than regular Dove deodorant packaging). This change is significant: the amount of virgin plastic Dove will save with this new initiative would be enough to circle the Earth 2.7 times each year.

2
Humanrace

Music producer and design aficionado Pharrell Williams wanted to create a skincare brand in line with his own values. The result: HumanRace, a back-to-basics universal skincare line with a refillable packaging model. Made from 50 per cent recycled plastic acquired from landfills, the bright green containers are sturdy and pleasantly eye-catching. Their refills are designed to look like prescription bottles: a worthwhile reminder that our skin deserves to be treated and cared for as much as the rest of our body. Thoughtful details, such as an inscription in Braille that mirrors the brand’s name on each product cap, round out Pharrell’s vision for an accessible and sustainable skincare routine.

3
By Humankind

By Humankind’s personal care staples are astutely designed to become a permanent fixture of the home. Offering a wide range of products, from toothpaste tabs to conditioner, the brand caters to a minimalist aesthetic, with refills offered in recycled paper printed with eco-friendly soy ink. Its packaging could even be used to subtly accent your bathroom: expertly designed in a range of pastels, the refillable containers were hand-selected to compliment neutral colours. In fact, the brand offers a lifetime guarantee on their original packaging, so you can consider them an integral part of your home.

4
Forgo Hand Wash by Form Us With Love
Forgo Reusable Bottles
PHOTO: Jonas Lindström Studio

Swedish design studio Form Us With Love’s newest product design venture is Forgo, a sustainable line of personal care items. For now, they are focused on perfecting a single omnipresent and timely product: hand soap. Launching in February, Forgo’s version comes in a small paper sachet containing 12 grams of soapy powder, which is to be mixed with 250ml of tap water to create a liquid hand wash. This DIY approach facilitates the use of paper packaging over plastic, with the step of adding water easily introduced once the product has reached its final destination (your bathroom).

PHOTO: Jonas Lindström Studio
5
Deodorant by Myro

Myro’s only product on offer is its specialty: a plant-powered, refillable deodorant. The beveled, tactile cases are ergonomically shaped and made of reusable plastic (which can even run through the dishwasher) in a variety of rich pastels, balancing form and function. Refills are recyclable and offered through a subscription-based model in addition to one-time purchase options.

5 Innovative Personal Care Items with a Sustainable Packaging Ethos

Upgrade your self-care routine (and bathroom decor) while reducing plastic waste.

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