We’re all suckers for the classic refillable eyeshadow or blusher palette; brands from Nars to Mac have been making them for years. But the more unusual refillables – eyeliners, lipsticks, even mascara – are only just starting to catch on.
The arguments for refillable makeup are strong: it’s cheaper for you, and less wasteful for the environment, plus there’s no reason why you shouldn’t buy multiple refills in different colours, offering customisation options and saving on weight when packing.
The choice is still limited, but there are some excellent products available nonetheless. These are our favourite, which win for being as good as any non-refillable product, and for ease of changing the refill. If you can manage an Ikea flatpack, you can more than manage these.
Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim Refillable Lipstick: One-Off £31, Refill £20, John Lewis
The perfect travel product with its super-slim casing, Hourglass's refillable lipstick comes in the luxe, weighty metal packaging we've come to expect from the hero brand, and it's small, slanted bullet offers precise application.
We love the perfect brown nude The First Time and blue-red I Crave, they are ideal for keeping in your handbag.
Kjaer Weiss Lip Tint: One-Off £35, Refill £22, cultbeauty.co.uk
Danish brand Kjaer Weiss is refill royalty: the entire line is designed for reuse. Its slick silver compacts are made to last and open with an innovative pivot.
You can’t go far wrong with any of it – but we love the lip tint, which is perfectly pigmented, light and creamy for a subtle finish.
Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick: Case £11.25, Bullet £22.05, escentual.com
This one is a bit of fun and makes a great present: you buy the bullet and the case for Guerlain's Rouge G Lipstick separately.
We love the jewel-tone luscious shades, which have a shiny but not too glossy finish, in everything from gorgeous Bright Coral to Blue Jean, which is, yes, blue. As for the cases, there are 15 of them, from red leather to neon glossy pink to this chic gold.
Suqqu Lip Defining Pencil: Holder £12, Cartridge £14; selfridges.com
Suqqu's setup is slightly different, as rather than buying a whole product as a one-off and then refilling it with later purchases, you buy the cartridge and holder separately from the start.
The lip pencil has quickly become one of our top two lip liners ever (the other is Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk). We love its silky smooth texture and long-lasting matte finish that doesn't drying your lips out, there's also an eyebrow pencil option in the same format.
Decorte Brow Pencil: One-Off £32, Refill £18; Selfridges.com
From the luxury Japanese brand, this fine twist-up eyebrow pencil is great for delicate work and has a spoolie on the other end for shaping and blending.
It's available in four shades, none of which are overly warm – a problem many brow products have. When the pencil is finished, simply replace the cartridge.
Surratt Auto Graphique: One-Off £40, Refill £16, spacenk.com
Liquid eyeliner is one of the products we find ourselves replacing most often, so a refillable one is a huge money-saver.
Make-up-artist-created brand Surratt offer a felt-tip-style casing with a brush applicator – our favourite combo – that produces an even, well-pigmented line, that doesn’t flake or smudge during the day. In black, brown, blue and purple.
Clarins Everlasting Cushion Foundation: One-Off £31, Refill £23, clarins.co.uk
Clarins’ Cushion Foundation requires only a gentle patting across skin for a glowy, airbrushed finish.
It lasts pretty well, too, and can easily be kept in your handbag for a touch-up on the go when you need it. The pad applicator means it's also mess-free for your hands. When it’s finished, reuse the white and gold compact with the cushion foundation refill.
Zao Refillable Aloe Vera Mascara: One-Off £20.75, Refill £13.50; zaoessenceofnature.co.uk
A popular brand among the green-minded thanks to its 100 per cent natural formulas and bamboo packaging, Zao offers refills for many of its products – the most unusual of which is for mascara.
It’s a nourishing formula with aloe vera, castor oil and shea butter and gives intense colour and great volume. Try berry 'Passionate’ or red-pink ‘Romance’.
The Verdict: Best Refillable Makeup Products
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