All about: RAAIE’s beautiful new offering in the sustainable beauty space

When luxury brand Hèrmes announced it was entering the beauty sphere with a beyond chic lipstick collection, the news of its packaging garnered more attention than the actual makeup itself. That’s because the stylish cylinders—designed by the fashion house’s fashion and jewellery creative director, Pierre Hardy—were not only one of the chicest items to ever grace your bathroom cabinet or dresser, they also happened to be refillable. The idea was that the lipstick tube was an iconic item, meant to be collected and cherished as one would a piece of fine jewellery or pricey clutch.
Dior, another heritage luxury house, has also been experimenting with refillable models. First, back in 2007, with its L’Or de Vie skincare collection and most recently with the relaunched Rouge Dior refillable lipstick. The brand has also launched a refillable version of its Sauvage Eau de Toilette as a 300ml pour-out bottle made from 100 per cent recyclable aluminium, which can be used to refill both the full-size fragrance bottle and the travel version. For all intents and purposes, it appears that the beauty industry is experiencing a green revolution on a grand scale. And not a moment too soon.
There has never been a better time to sit back, reflect and most importantly act, when it comes to the amount of waste we generate as human beings. Yes, out there in the seas there are rugby fields’ worth of water bottles, milk cartons, plastic bags and takeout containers. But also: shampoo bottles, lipstick tubes, shadow palettes, powder compacts, lotion pumps, and fancy packaging that once held luscious creams that we hoped would be that elusive Miracle in a Jar. The United Nations has declared the current environmental trajectory as a ‘planetary crisis’, and the cosmetic industry is a gargantuan contributor. The majority of the beauty industry is anything but beautiful, and it’s imperative that leaders within the economy start driving positive environmental change.
Currently, the global cosmetic industry produces 120 billion units of packaging every year. The main source of emissions in the industry comes from this packaging, with only a small percentage accepted by local kerbside recycling programmes. Distressingly, the majority of this enormous figure is destined for landfill every year. If this level of consumption continues there will be 12 billion tonnes of plastic in landfills or scattered through our ecosystems by 2050 – that’s the equivalent of 35,000 Empire State Buildings – which makes for some pretty grim stats. Changes requires a little extra effort from us all, but a shift in routine is getting that little easier by the day thanks to constantly innovating brands.
Understanding the impact of waste and taking time to clean out packaging and recycle it in the correct way can make a monumental difference to how our waste is used for good. With billions of units of cosmetics packaging produced globally a year, many of which cannot be recycled in kerbside recycling, key brands are also increasing their efforts to personally help reduce the amount of waste entering landfill.
But, heritage fashion houses aren’t the only ones mixing luxury and sustainability. Many indie (or formerly indie) brands popularised the concept of mixing premium price points with environmentally friendly practices very early on. Hourglass has offered refillable products since the brand first launched in 2004, giving customers that option—to offer them beautiful packaging that will stand the test of time—and hoping that by offering it, they would begin to appreciate it as well. If you view a refillable item as a collectible, rather than a sacrifice in the name of environmental responsibility, it becomes much easier for a certain customer to accept the concept of refills as an upscale habit.
All of which brings me to another chapter in the book “our brands are better than your brands”, as the amazing Raaie has become the latest Aotearoa-born beauty name to embrace the at-home, effortless refill. Paired with the stunning sculptural vessel that houses their beautiful Cocoon Ceramide Cream, the pod refill not only takes the fuss out of embracing sustainability, but save you money too.
"Skincare is such a high consumption industry, but it doesn’t need to be,” says Katey Mandy, Founder of Raaie, who has offered refills since the beginning but in a different form. The brand’s cult sculptural vessels can be collected for free and then refilled in their lab, but the pod refill makes the step so much faster for the consumer.
“Refillable skincare is a win-win as not only is it better for the environment and can reduce your carbon emissions by 70 percent, but it's also cheaper,” says Katey, with the new Cocoon Ceramide Cream refill retailing for $125. Raaie also offers a 20 percent discount code for all other collected refills, making it that much easier to be green.


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