Refill revolution: Foile rolls out first refillable beauty retail outlet in Australia

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Foile is the first in Australia to operate a refillable beauty retail outlet, as beauty is set to join the refillable revolution traditionally dominated by food and household supplies ©Brigette Clark
Foile is the first in Australia to operate a refillable beauty retail outlet, as beauty is set to join the refillable revolution traditionally dominated by food and household supplies ©Brigette Clark

Related tags: Australia, refillable packaging, Skin care, Sustainability

An Australian retailer has launched what it believes to be the nation’s first refillable beauty outlet, with the firm stating that the refillable revolution traditionally dominated by food and household supplies is set to become more common for cosmetics.

Foile has a concept store in Sydney, offering its Foile Classics and Foile Friends range of products. They are predominantly skin care such as serums, cleansers, and masques, but also include hand and body washes, perfume, and a select range of make-up.

All of the Foile Classics products are refillable which means after you finish a product, you are encouraged to bring the bottle back to refill on-the-spot in-store.

Folie Classics consist of 14 products, mostly single-ingredient skin care such as blue clay, rose water, hemp oil, coconut oil and others, sourced from around the world.

Foile Friends is a more premium range featuring 10 luxury brands such as Lesse, Mukti Organics, Living Libations, Noto Botanics, Maison Louis Marie and Leif.

According to Alexandra Grima, co-founder of Foile, Forile Friends is a combination of international and Australian premium brands.

Currently, Leif and Lesse products are also refillable.

Grima said: “We were the first to offer refills for these brands. Mukti will repurpose the packaging back into their supply chain and we also offer a Terracycle program in store for other packaging from skincare or cosmetics to ensure it is recycled efficiently​.”

The Terracycle program partners with businesses to collect pre- and post-consumer waste and turns it into new products.

Refilling beauty

According to Grima, refillable services were more commonly seen in bulk foods and household products (laundry and cleaning) rather than the beauty industry.

She told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​: “Skin care and beauty are such high-consumption products, and we wanted to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging, instead instilling a greater sense of intention, connection and permanence​.”

In Australia, about 21 million tons of cosmetic packaging are wasted each year, reported the Huffington Post in 2016.

She described Foile as a “concept store where customers can experience the products, connect to a sense of place and the energy behind Foile. This experiential approach to retail was really important to us and in return we learn a lot from our customers and community, it helps foster that open dialogue between brand and consumer​.

Every refill you purchase is a bottle saved. Refilling means a progression towards a more positive future for skincare​.”

Foile also donates AU$1 (US$0.70) from every refill towards environmental, social and humanitarian projects on the customers’ behalf.

Grima added: “Brands were really responsive to our approach which was so encouraging, I think everyone wants to move forward and this was a small opportunity to do so and embrace a new model​.

There is research, innovations and technology emerging in the industry to make it more viable for brands to adopt, the brand can include this in their offering to make it easier for retailers whether online or in stores. It is great to see other brands finding their own solutions to respond to the challenge of the packaging waste associated with the product​.”

The concept for Foile started in 2019 and the firm had initially planned to open its physical storefront in April this year but the pandemic pushed back plans.

Foile then decided to open amidst the pandemic in late July as Sydney just emerged out of lockdown.

Grima told us: “We had to really sit with everything and decide if we were bold enough to continue amidst the current financial and social climate. We are so happy we did though and hope it acts as a small light to encourage others to continue progressing forwards​.”

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