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Hong Kong's MONO delivers skincare in dissolvable pastilles

New skincare brand MONO wants people to buy just one bottle of its prebiotic-packed serum. And then use it forever — the bottle, that is. When first ordering, customers receive an empty bottle and a pastille or tablet. After adding water, each tablet makes 50 ml of solution. MONO's range currently includes a cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, deodorant, body mist and yoga mat cleaner. 

The Hong Kong-based beauty brand isn't the first to offer refillables, but most existing solutions consist of plastic cartridges, lightweight versions of the original jars, or pouches filled with fluids. Leaving out water means fewer trucks on roads and less packaging. MONO's pastilles come wrapped in aluminum and are shipped in plastic-free paper mailers.

In addition to their green credentials on the packaging front, MONO's products are also 100% natural, vegan and not tested on animals. They're made in Belgium and shipped to the US, Europe, UK, SEA, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.

Founder Laurie Mias isn't stopping at direct-to-consumer: "I also think about the part that businesses like hotels and restaurants are playing in the refillable game — after all, they get through a lot more product than the rest of businesses. For that reason we are going to launch our body and hair care tablets as refillable solutions for hotel amenities, too."

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Packaging accounts for just over 40% of total plastic usage, and the beauty industry is a major offender, often selling tiny amounts of fluids in outsized bottles and jars. Dilutable and dissolvable refills are a smart solution and one that eco-conscious consumers are starting to seek out.  

A challenge faced by MONO and other skincare brands is that people actually enjoy experimenting, ever in search of their holy grail products. But even if they replace just one element of their routine with a minimal-waste alternative, that's a step in the right direction.

Consumers who aren't swayed by environmental concerns might be convinced by new research that indicates plastics release many more toxic chemicals throughout their life cycle than previously thought.