In the world of cosmetics, plastic packaging is hard to escape. Factor in that out of all plastic ever to exist, less than 10 per cent of it has been recycled, and you’d be forgiven for needing a lie down.
There is a greener way however, and it comes in the form of refillable beauty products – which is where Fiils comes in.
Was it the metallic aesthetic that first drew us in? Probably. But compared to a typical shampoo bottle, the refills produce 70 per cent less plastic waste and take half the energy to make – and they’re far lighter which makes them less energy intensive to ship.
While recycling is nearly always left up to the consumer, Fiils takes responsibility for its refills, which need to be recycled in a certain way. All we need to do is wash, dry and return them (pre-paid postage of course) and recycling company Terracycle takes care of the rest. The bottle pumps are plastic, but the bottles themselves are aluminium which, unlike glass or plastic, can be recycled pretty much indefinitely.
Formula wise, they’re 99 per cent natural and entirely vegan and cruelty-free, with zilch sulphates and parabens for a gentler cleanse. Silicone is also a no-no, often blamed for dull hair that’s prone to breakage. Scented with pure essential oils, all products are also free from palm oil, one of the major drivers of deforestation.
With all these eco-credentials we couldn’t help but wonder – can this brand still nail both skin and hair care? We put its refills to the test to find out.
How we tested
Adjusting to more natural products can take time, so we tested the hair and body care formulas for just over three weeks. We looked for cost effectiveness, practicality and those all-important formulas, assessing their smell, application and how they made our skin and hair look (and feel), picking a range of scents according to our own skin and hair type.
As one of life’s simple pleasures it was crucial our routine felt just as cleansing, moisturising and pampering as ever. Read on to find out if the brand delivered.
Luxe and minimalist, we love the Fiils aesthetic. With a choice of copper, rose gold and silver, the metallic bottles (£6, Fiils.co) brought sophistication and uniformity to the mishmash of products in our bathroom, and felt robust enough to last.
You might want a different colour for each product though, as dinky labelling makes them hard to tell apart mid-shower. To use as little plastic as possible, you can forgo the plastic pump for screw caps too, but we found these made it harder to control the amount of product we used.
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If you prefer unscented products then this is not the brand for you sadly. There are three lush scents to choose from depending on your hair and skin type; lemongrass for oily, coconut for dry and pomelo, which smells similar to grapefruit, for normal – we just picked those that most suited our needs. Feel free to peruse the ingredients list with mini descriptions, which is a nice little guide to exactly what’s inside.
Our locks tend to be oily at the roots and dry toward the end, so we tried the zingy lemongrass shampoo first (£12, Fiils.co). Touted as a go-to for irritated scalps and dandruff, seaweed extract is on hand for damaged strands while green tea extract boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties to boost growth. While we got less of the foamy lather that we’re used to, this seemed to improve with every wash – as a quick tip, you probably need more water rather than more product, and going in for a second wash helps things along.
We also gave the pomelo shampoo a try – it’s a slightly sweeter smelling formula for all hair types and is enriched with vitamin C and moisturising jojoba oil – perfect for shinier tresses.
We tended to our dry ends with the coconut iteration (£12, Fiils.co), formulated with moisturising shea butter for rescuing brittle strands and sunflower seed oil which tends to itchy scalps, breakage and split ends. If you love the smell of coconut then this dreamily creamy formula will rock your world.
Something to note; sulphate free hair care sapps less of hair’s natural moisture, but in doing so delivers a gentler cleanse which can take time for your scalp to adjust to. As such, we felt our locks were definitely more oily than usual after the first few washes, but we’re so glad we stuck with it.
Our tresses felt nourished, healthy and smooth after a few weeks and, while usually quite flat, felt lighter. That slighty frazzled look towards the ends (after a few rounds of at-home bleaching) was also lessened and, after using the pomelo shampoo especially, we enjoyed a few compliments on how sleek our barnet was looking.
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Our favourite of the bodycare bunch is undoubtedly the coconut hand wash (£10, Fiils.co) for normal to dry hands. While many soaps leave our hands feeling dry and tight, this buttery formula left them baby soft – almost like a moisturiser in itself. Hydration aside, coconut essentials oil is famed for its myriad benefits, including being an antibacterial.
Enriched with skin hero vitamin C, the pomelo body wash (£10, Fiils.co) was also a real treat for our skin. Lathering up just enough it had a sweet citrusy scent for an AM shower pick-me-up. Just a few pumps left our skin feeling squeaky clean, healthy and not at all dry post shower. Fiils also touts the formula for addressing uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation and lost elasticity, but as these aren’t concerns we’ve noticed we couldn’t really comment on this.
We also plumped for the coconut hand and body lotion (£12, Fiils.co) for thirsty skin and found it sunk in fast, avoiding any excessive lingering greasiness. Plus, with skin and nail hero olive oil included among it’s ingredients, it is also on hand for a rejuvenating injection of vitamin E. We would say that, while the sweet coconut scent is delicious, it’s quite strong and lingers on the skin which might not be for everyone.
We’ll be honest this isn’t a budget affair, but going for the subscription (which is the plan anyway, given the brands refills) means you get more for less. A £12 shampoo becomes £9.60 for the shampoo, for instance, and you can subscribe for as little as once every three months.
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Customisation is part of the brand’s allure, as you can build your own stash whether that’s bodycare, haircare or a mix of everything. Dip your toe in with one bottle and refill, or go all in with the hair duo (£26, Fiils.co) or the body duo (£26, Fiils.co). It does work out cheaper to buy a set, and there’s plenty of combinations depending on your needs, but ultimately the choice is yours.
The verdict: Fiils
Whether you’re after a full blown bathroom overhaul or a small switch, Fiils formulas are worth their salt. All the scents are delicious and for us, the hair care really shone. As our first natural shampoo, patience was a virtue but we were so glad we stuck with it – our locks felt healthier and smoother, and looked glossier than they have in a long time. The body care was also a real treat that felt cleansing yet gentle, a more natural recipe for healthy, hydrated and smooth skin.
There’s no denying Fiils is slightly more spenny than your average body and hair care brand, but really you’re not only paying for a largely natural and organic ingredients list, but a more sustainable supply chain that you can feel good being a part of.
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