Edwina Ings-Chambers: Why I’m ready for a refill…

…of Zara’s groundbreaking cosmetics collection.

Zara beautyHonestly, I haven’t felt this excited about the launch of a new make-up range in ages. But what Zara has created in the first stage of its beauty collection isn’t just brilliant but affordable, too. And it’s deserving of such praise not just because of the quality of the contents (the brand worked with top make-up artist Diane Kendal on everything from formulas to shades) but because this is a properly modern offering, which is to say it’s recyclable, vegan, cruelty-free and clean (no silicones or mineral oils) and almost entirely refillable. You’d think these factors would be fundamentals for any new cosmetics launch in 2021 but sadly, all too often, they aren’t.

Zara cheek paletteHighlights from the initial drop include a blush, bronzer and highlighter cheek palette in Leather, Bloom and Silk (£17.99, refill, £12.99); lipsticks in satin and matte (both £11.99, refill £6.99; pictured is Jackpot), as well as a more moisturising demi-matte formula (£9.99, refill £5.99; pictured is La Journée). This excellent offering (with refills from £3.99) also includes a brilliant bronzer with a dash of shimmer (£14.99); powder blush (£7.99); not-too-shiny highlighters for cheeks (£7.99); tinted lip balms (£11.99); eyeshadow duos (from £11.99); eyeshadow palettes (£17.99) and liquid liner (£7.99).

Zara lipstickAll products are housed in sleek white packaging with slanted edges – to mirror the slopes of the Z in Zara, apparently – and designed by leading creative Fabien Baron. There’s also an accompanying brush range (from £5.99). Foundations and more will come later but it’s taken longer to perfect these while still upholding vegan and clean credentials. The team has just found a formula for mascara that it’s happy with so hopefully that will be along soon.

Zara lipstickRefilling products has been made super easy: palettes just lift out, so no need to track down paperclips to poke out contents through tiny holes. And where items can’t be refilled – such as the lip glosses (£9.99), lip oils (£9.99) and nail varnishes (£5.99) – packaging is glass not plastic. You can take any packaging back to stores and Zara will recycle and reuse elements such as magnets. The refills can also be used as they are so you can ditch the main packaging altogether if you prefer.

Zara Beauty will be available from Thursday at selected Zara stores and online at zara.com. @edwinaingschambers

Top-up stars

Continuing the eco theme, change is afoot at haircare brands Herbal Essences, Head & Shoulders, Pantene and Aussie – all owned by Proctor & Gamble. The company has introduced a refillable system: simply buy a reusable aluminium bottle of your preferred product (£9.99 each, boots.com) and from then on you can buy a recyclable refill pouch made from 60 per cent less plastic (from £4, boots.com). Moves such as this from global businesses represent a very positive environmental shift in beauty packaging.

Pantene Pro-VPantene refillBeauty assistant: Alice Robertson