As much as we reluctantly think it, there is usually an assumption that for beauty products to be sustainable, there must be a payoff. It won’t be nearly as chic as other luxury products on offer, surely? But in its biggest launch in a decade, the French brand revealed No.1, a whole new category that is produced with sustainability in mind, and formulated with 95 percent ingredients of natural origin – almost three-quarters of which come from the camellia flower (known for its hydrating and regenerating properties). With all the usual suspects of a serum, exfoliator, moisturiser and eye cream – amongst others – in the range, the thing that struck me the most was how the range is produced.
The weight of the bottles and jars have been reduced, while still feeling ultra luxe, and my favourite product of the range is the refillable moisturiser (it’s £84 for the first purchase, and then £71 for the refills). Nothing is wrapped in cellophane, there are no paper leaflets and only organic ink is used on the bottles. Also, cleverly, the lid to the jar of moisturiser is made from the discarded camellia seed shell. This attention to detail makes sense: the global packaging market is booming, set to expand by almost three percent year-on-year to 2028, reaching a value of $1.2tn.
It’s a focus on simplifying packaging that fashion and beauty trends forecaster WGSN notes as being one of the key drivers for beauty brands in the next three years. “Underpinning all future cosmetic packaging trends is sustainability. If a pack isn’t sustainable, it simply won’t exist,” says Emma Grace Bailey, Senior Beauty Strategist at WGSN. “Keepsake packaging is being sought after in the luxury market, as consumers invest in elevated, refillable packaging that’s meant to be seen. Shelfie ready refills and refillable packs are being adopted by the luxury beauty market in a bid to spark sustainability joy in the everyday.”
As well as this new range by Chanel, there are some other brands that really excel in this field. One such brand leading the way in luxury products with a focus on sustainability is the Italian hair care range Oway. Many of the ingredients for the high-performance products are picked, formulated and packaged at the brand’s farm in Bologna. And they’re seriously good, too. The shampoos and conditioners are used in Buller & Rice, the salon where I get my hair colour done, and I always walk away with ultra-shiny hair that feels much healthier than when I went in.
Another Italian brand, but a skincare line this time, Irene Forte has made a commitment to making all its packaging in Italy, with boxes made from recycled glass (with a chic stone finish, inspired by Mount Etna’s volcanic stone). They also have a recycling and refill programme, which I would certainly use for the Olive Eye Cream, which helps to diminish fine lines and darkness around the eyes with freshly-picked olive seed oil.
Finally, I can’t fail to mention one of my favourite luxury refill offerings from Kjaer Weis. One of the first beauty brands to offer refillable blushers and bronzers in a refillable metal pan (or a thick red cardboard, for less), these products are designed with great attention to detail and care.