It’s official: there’s a refill revolution happening throughout the beauty industry. In 2022 alone, google searches for refillable beauty increased by a whopping 59%. And it’s a shift that’s showing no sign of slowing down, with brands like Glossier introducing its latest refillable deodorant (read beauty ed Becky’s honest review of it here), and Estee Lauder set to re-launch its iconic Pure Colour Envy Lipsticks in new refillable bullets later this year.
One thing’s for sure, I’m a big fan of a refill. And why wouldn’t I be? It’s an easy way to make your beauty routine more sustainable and, in some cases, stock up on a supersized version of your favourite product. Win, win.
If there’s one area that’s leading the way when it comes to refillable beauty, it’s perfume. Theirry Mugler, creator of the cult fragrance Alien, first started offering customers in-store top-ups way back in 1992, long before the buzzword of sustainable beauty had even passed our lips.
Since then, many brands have sat up and taken notice, not only offering in-store services but also at-home refills so you can keep your most-loved scents filled to the brim from the comfort of your home.
So, what are the benefits of a refillable perfume?
The most obvious reason to invest in a refillable perfume is to cut down on excess packaging; something which the beauty industry is notoriously bad at.
If you usually stick to a signature scent (and most of us tend to once we’ve found ‘The One’) instead of throwing away a perfectly good bottle every time you finish it, only to replace it with the same thing, simply refill it to cut down on waste. Easy, right?
A second, equally important reason to go for a refillable perfume is the cost, especially when you take into account the current cost of living. Let’s be blunt: perfumes certainly aren’t the cheapest item in our beauty routines. Thankfully, many brands price refills lower than the cost of a new bottle of the same size, meaning more money in your pocket and the same great scented experience.
How do you refill a perfume?
How you refill your perfume will depend on the brand and perfume refill format you’re using.
If you’re opting for the DIY approach, always check your original bottle is designed to be refilled as there’s nothing worse than taking it apart to realise you can’t get it back together again. This information will usually have been included in the product description when you purchased your perfume, or some brands like Mugler include it on the box. If in doubt, check with the brand’s customer service to avoid any unwanted (and costly) errors.
As I mentioned earlier, Mugler led the way in the movement towards refillable perfumes with its in-store refill service, and you can still take advantage of it now.
Simply search for your nearest refill store where you can top up the brand’s classic fragrances Alien, Angel and Alien Goddess from the Mugler fountain.
Don’t want to head outside? Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. You can also order 100ml at-home refills online, and they come in an even wider variety of Mugler scents than the three in store top-ups.
Lancome La Vie est Belle
For its most recent foray into refillable fragrance, Lancome has re-launched La Vie est Belle in an easy refillable bottle.
Pairing delicate florals alongside fruity pear and blackcurrant, it’s the perfect scent for warm spring evenings.
The recharge is available in 100ml, and if you want to make the scent last even longer, you can also layer it with the matching body lotion.
Thankfully, if you do manage to get your hands on one, you can also now keep it filled to the brim with a handy 180ml refill. Move quickly though, as I predict these will sell out just as often as their glass-bottled counterparts.
There’s something about spritzing yourself in a luxury fragrance that just makes you feel more put together. One thing it doesn’t make you feel however, is more flush in the cash department.
Enter Le Labo’s refill station, which can be found in selected stores and offers a 20% discount as opposed to buying a new bottle. Head to the brand’s website to find your nearest station.
Le Labo is also currently testing at-home refills in the US, and I’m hopeful they’ll reach UK shores soon, so watch this space.
Newly launched, Prada Paradoxe combines sweet amber, floral neroli and heady musk to create a fragrance that’s both comforting and uplifting at the same time (yep, it doesn’t sound possible, but once you smell it you’ll understand).
Alongside the unique triangular bottle, Prada also launched a 100ml refill, which is incredibly easy to use. Just unscrew the top of your glass bottle, place the refill on top and push – it really is as simple as that!
Maison Margiela Replica
Maison Margiela is known for creating some of the most unique fragrances around, but did you know the brand is also refillable? Alongside individual refill bottles, you can also opt for a refill set, which includes both a 30ml bottled fragrance and a 100ml refill for just £120.
Taking into account that a full-sized 100ml bottle is £102 alone, that’s a pretty big saving and a great way to treat yourself to even more of the scent you love.