Pharma-Recharge, a refillable beauty initiative in French pharmacies
Photo by Ceyda Çiftci / Unsplash

Pharma-Recharge, a refillable beauty initiative in French pharmacies

Eva Lagarde

Launched in June 2023, the pharma-recharge initiative is led by 5 brands which are mainly distributed in pharmacies. WIth Garancia (Unilever Prestige), Bioderma (NAOS), Pierre Fabre, La Rosée and Mustela (Laboratoires Expanscience), the initiative intends to release a refillable beauty format accessible to all in the french extensive pharmacy network in France. The consortium was first launched in October 2022, with a single objective of boosting refillable beauty solution in the market, and the machine was released less than a year later.

Initially released as a trial test in one pharmacy - Carré Opéra - in the center of Paris. The consortium is working with experts from (RE)SET, a consultancy dedicated to environmental transition.

In concrete terms, they have developed a piece of furniture for product display and bulk delivery for 15 products! The design is from Mobil Wood, a company specialising in eco-designed furniture made from French wood. The refillable structure uses the Jean Bouteille technology, a company with a pioneering impact in the introduction of bulk and re-use solutions, for the fountains. The consortium also selected a common glass bottle for the trial, compatible with most of the products.

“ The  offer is conducted on existing products in the market, and Jean Bouteille was selected for efficiency, speed, and low maintenance.” explained to us Anne-Claire Morin, Marketing Director at Garancia.

The user journey is simple: 

  • consumers follow the steps in the order module, 
  • attach the bottle proposed for this trial to the fountain of the product of their choice, 
  • a predefined dose is poured automatically, 
  • they have to pick up their bottle at the end. 

The experiment complies with pharmacy health standards and the quality requirements for dermo-cosmetic products (stop dripping, no contact with the formula, traceability, etc.).

Products currently include 15 rinse-off product 

  • Mustela (Laboratoires Expanscience)
    • Gel lavant certifié bio corps et cheveux
    • Gel lavant doux à l’avocat bio
    • Eau nettoyante sans rinçage à l’avocat bio
  • Garancia (Unilever Prestige)
    • Micropeeling Pschitt Magique visage
  • La Rosée
    • Huile de douche lavante à l’huile de graines de tournesol BIO
    • Gelée micellaire démaquillante ultra-douce aux hydrolats floraux BIO
    • Gel lavant ultra-doux à la glycérine végétale BIO
  • Bioderma (NAOS)
    • Atoderm Huile de douche
    • Atoderm Gel douche
  • Pierre Fabre
    • A-Derma: Gel douche hydra-protecteur
    • A-Derma: xomega control huile lavante
    • Ducray: Extra-doux shampooing
    • Eluday: Bain de bouche quotidien
    • Klorane: Shampoing à l’Avoine
    • Klorane: Gel douche nutritif hibiscus

An expansion after a conclusive experience

After 4 months of successful implementation, the project has been released in more pharmacies in France since November 2023. The experience demonstrated a 90% satisfaction rate from consumers, and indicated that the main drivers of purchase were price and reduction of plastic waste.

The experiment also shows that in-store advise is key, and clear instructions, with a step-by-step guide on the machine makes the process easier and smoother for the end user.

Customers really appreciated the modernity of the concept (consortium of well-known

brands, furniture, use), the commitment to contributing to a better planet, and the price offering.

One of the success is the active partnership with the pharmacy and Pierre Morati, Managing Director at Pharmacie Carré Opéra, explained that “in addition to the experience, which customers appreciate and find easy, they are increasingly coming with a view to buying, not just testing; which is the key to making the project sustainable and transforming usage over time. “

Learn more about refillable beauty through our dedicated report:

Refillable Beauty 2023 - part 1 - Introduction & Definitions
From regulatory constraints to market demand, refillable beauty products are invading the market. They require a shift of paradigm from sourcing, supply chain with production and logistics, as well as retail all the way to recycling. The legal definition of refillable is available in Chapter 4. Jump here. The report
Refillable Beauty 2023 - part 2 - Market Figures
The report is released in several parts (for a digestible reading) * Introduction and Definitions - HERE * Market Figures - HERE * Consumer Expectations and Behaviours - HERE * Regulations - HERE * Brands Innovations in 2022/23 - HERE * Brands Case Studies - in progress * Conclusion & Key Takeaways - in progress The NPD
Refillable Beauty 2023 - part 3 - Consumers Expectations & Attitudes
We’ve been listening, reading, and watching what is happening on social media to understand what consumers think about refillable beauty. We saw more discussions surrounding packaging and the waste associated with it, so here is a snapshot of what people make of refillable packaging. The report is released in several
Refillable Beauty 2023 - part 4 - Regulations
The report is released in several parts (for a digestible reading) * Introduction and Definitions - HERE * Market Figures - HERE * Consumer Expectations and Behaviours - HERE * Regulations - HERE * Brands Innovations in 2022/23 - HERE * Brands Case Studies - in progress * Conclusion & Key Takeaways - in progress European definition
ARTDECO, a refill-native make-up brand?
This Case Study is part of a report about Refillable Beauty released in several parts (for a digestible reading) * Introduction and Definitions - HERE * Market Figures - HERE * Consumer Expectations and Behaviours - HERE * Regulations - HERE * Brands Innovations in 2022/23 - HERE * Brands Case Studies: * ARTDECO - HERE