Olay To Become the First Mass Retail Skincare Brand to Test Refillable Packaging

olay whips
(Rendering only, not final packaging)

Announced by Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of P&G, and Virginie Helias, chief sustainability officer of P&G, at the 2019 Sustainable Brands Conference on June 5 in Detroit, Olay will pilot a new way of shopping for skincare that could dramatically reduce the amount of plastic used in the beauty category.

Beginning in October 2019 and running through the end of the year, Olay plans to offer its best-selling Olay Regenerist Whip moisturizer with a refill pod that fits right in the jar. If adopted, and the brand moved a significant portion of Olay Regenerist moisturizer jars to refillable pods (e.g., 5 million jars’ worth), then that would save over 1,000,000 lbs of plastic.

Consumers will be able to purchase the refillable Olay Regenerist Whip package that contains one full jar of Olay Regenerist Whip and one refill pod of moisturizer that can be placed inside the jar once it’s emptied. The package will be sold and shipped in a container made of 100 percent recycled paper and will not contain an outer carton in order to reduce the use of paperboard. The pods themselves are also recyclable[1].

Olay’s breakthrough refillable product concept is just one step in the brand’s commitment to making more of its packages recyclable or reusable and are part of P&G’s larger sustainability initiatives. P&G was the first CPG company to respond to TerraCycle’s innovative Loop concept, where its leading brands will redesign packaging and supply chain processes.

“The ultimate goal is to find and adopt many more sustainable packaging solutions, and the refillable Olay Regenerist Whip package is the first step of that journey,” said Anitra Marsh, associate director of sustainability and brand communications for skin and personal care. “It’s really important for us to get it right because only then can we bring this concept to market at scale.”

Olay will test its refillable Olay Regenerist Whip moisturizer on Olay.com in the U.S. and UK and select retailers online for a three-month period (pricing info to come), then evaluate the learnings to inform future packaging. Olay hopes to learn more about the way consumers interact with refillable products in beauty, e.g., whether or not consumers like the idea of refillable skincare products and whether or not Olay’s design is intuitive. Over time, the refills could be sold separately.