Dove Introduces Refillable Deodorant

Refills are inserted into a stainless steel case that can be used for life.

Dove refillable deodorant


Today is the first day that American shoppers can buy refillable Dove deodorant at Target and Walmart stores across the country. It marks the start of a new era for Dove, the major personal care brand owned by Unilever that pledged in 2019 to slash its virgin plastic use by more than 20,500 tonnes annually, enough to circle Earth 2.7 times.

Now, two years later, Dove is making good on that promise with its new deodorant launch. The ingredients are the same (no aluminum, but unfortunately still fragrance, which gives it a moderate-risk rating on the Skin Deep database), but the packaging is radically different. It comes in a stainless steel case that can be reused indefinitely, with refills added as needed. To quote a press release, the new deodorant is

"inspired by times before a disposable culture became mainstream, when things were built to last, [and] the result is a beautiful aesthetic, sleek, ergonomic design. [It] keeps the use of raw materials to a minimum, whilst creating a structure that feels substantial and very long lasting. The device is beautifully simple and mess-free."

Sjoerd Hoijinck, Design and Innovation Director at VanBerlo, makes an amusing comparison, saying that "Dove refillable deodorant gives you back an experience not unlike a Swiss army knife, a quality object that is personal and ages well over time."

Dove deodorant trio

While the deodorant refills still contain some plastic, there is 54% less than regular Dove Zero stick packaging, and the plastic that is used contains 98% recycled material. 

Dove partnered with international campaign group A Plastic Planet to design the deodorant. A Plastic Planet is perhaps best known for its launch of a "plastic-free" aisle in an Amsterdam grocery store in 2018, a move Treehugger questioned at the time for its reliance on biodegradable plastics as a replacement for conventional ones, when they're really not that much better.

But in the case of Dove's deodorant, using stainless steel and recycled plastic to create a product that can be reused for many years is a step in the right direction, and one that more beauty companies should be looking to emulate. With Americans generating 230 pounds of plastic waste per person every year (the highest rate in the world), it's more important than ever to redesign products to be kept and used. 

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