Dove just launched its first-ever refillable deodorant—and it's guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Available at Target and Walmart stores across the U.S., the launch is a part of Unilever's mission to help care for the planet by creating a closed-loop economy.
However, what makes this deodorant so innovative is how beautiful it is—and how pleasurable it feels to hold. The silver and white stainless steel refillable case has rounded corners. The top cap features a white matte finish that looks high-end, paired with a silver base. It is a thoughtful design that fits nicely in the palm of your hand.
“It’s taken years to perfect the sleek ergonomic design,” explains Dawn Hedgepeth, Unilever's general manager and vice president, Deodorants, Men's Grooming, Hand & Body Lotion. “I personally love it — sometimes I call it the iPhone of deodorants,” she says.
Dove worked with international campaign group A Plastic Planet to revolutionize its use of materials. Together, the partners worked with Dutch design consultancy VanBerlo to create the package.
Sjoerd Hoijinck, design and innovation director, VanBerlo says, "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.”
Sustainable By Design—And Made To Withstand 900 Pounds of Weight
Dove says its new deodorant fulfills its promise of 'buy once and use it for a lifetime.'
But can a deodorant case really last a lifetime?
"It is made from super durable stainless steel," Hedgepeth explains. "This stainless steel is able to withstand nearly 900 pounds of weight — which essentially means you can drive a car over it and not break it…that is something I consider beauty for a lifetime.”
How It Works
The device is beautifully simple to use and delivers a mess-free experience. Opening the box, consumers see the refillable case and one plastic refill. The refill package comes with two plastic containers in one box. Take the refill out of its plastic container, put it on the stainless steel base, then twist it to lock it in place.
"Often what we’ve seen with things like refillable products is that the cardboard that they use or the shape, or formulation, can lead to messiness or melting—and just a sub-par product experience that people don't enjoy," says Hedgepeth.
She continues, "We feel strongly that we should be creating solutions that don’t require people to make a trade-off between doing something great for the planet and doing something that they enjoy —something that just feels delightful and provides a great usage experience."
The team at Dove seems to have succeeded, without compromise. The refillable case is cute, portable, and works well. We were sent one to test.
Reducing Material Usage
The new deodorant's entire design and manufacturing process was designed around a mission to avoid excess material usage. "The miimalist aesthetic really keeps the use of raw materials to a minimum," Hedgepeth explains.
The Dove logo is lasered on the cover of the resuable stainless steel case, which is one example of reducing material usage. Using a label would have required an additional material.
The cartons are made from FSC-graded paper, which means it comes from well-managed forests.
"When it comes to the refill packaging, we do still have to use some plastic due to the need to preserve the freshness of the formulation and maintain the safety of the formula," Hedgepeth says. "...so we continue to use plastic, but we use plastic that is 54% less than what is in a normal Dove stick,” she explains. "
It’s also fully post-consumer recycled plastic. "So less plastic, better plastic, and with a refill system —ideally getting to a system of closed loop," Hedgepeth adds.
To be more precise, the refills use 54% less plastic than regular Dove Zero stick packaging. Of the plastic that is used, 98% percent is made from recycled content. "The intention is to reduce this further as material innovation progresses," says Hedgepeth.
Caring for the planet is a top priority for both Dove and Unilever. The average American produces more than 230 pounds of plastic waste each year – more than in any country on earth—so Dove announced in 2019 that it will reduce its use of virgin plastic by more than 20,500 tonnes per year.
Unilever says this is one of the biggest plastic reduction plans of its kind in the global beauty industry. The amount of virgin plastic Dove will save would be enough to circle the Earth 2.7 times each year.
"We will continue to innovate in this space — and challenge ourselves to create newer, better, and more thoughtfully designed products," says Hedgepeth. She adds, "We are committed to creating a closed-loop economy."