SKIN | Why doesn’t all skincare come in pump bottles?

In my last few posts I’ve been threatening to write an ode to pump bottles, so it was only a matter of time.

Beauty products, skincare in particular, come in all sorts of stupid delivery methods. The worst is bottles with droppers, but jars suck (exposing product to air and grubby fingers) and I can even find things to complain about with screw-lid squeeze tubes (let me pop the cap open with one hand, damnit!)

I get it, droppers are kinda novel and give products a sense of luxury, as though you’re meting out tiny measures of a valuable and potent formula. They also make products seem kinda medicinal—less “here’s some overpriced blend of glycerin and plant oils” and more “here’s a carefully balanced chemical formula that will fix your skin.” I don’t know if there’s a direct correlation, but it seems like products sold in dropper bottles have more pseudo-scientific names like ‘Intensive Hydrating Treatment” instead of “moisturiser”, or “High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula” instead of, I don’t know, “spot treatment”.

Droppers are a pain in the ass to use, though. You need at least three hands, or both hands and a flat surface, to dispense product and then apply it. You get a different amount each time depending on how careful you are to draw it up into the dropper, and they’re just not compatible with some product formulas (I’m looking at you, Josie Maran Argan Milk ~Intensive Hydrating Treatment~).

I paid fifty-six USA dollars for that damn Argan Milk, and I love it, but I never fucking use it because it’s such a pain in the ass to dispense. It’s also impossible to tell how much product you have left because the bottle is opaque white, and I could tell that with a dropper that doesn’t reach the bottom of the bottle, there’s no way I could ever use it all the way up in its current format.

In fact, I haven’t been very good with morning skincare at all, because I’m always rushing and don’t want to faff with bottles and droppers and jars.

And so, I bought a bunch of airless pump bottles from eBay. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. I bought two 30ml bottles and two 15ml bottles to begin with—the 30ml for new products and 15ml for ones I’ve already partially worked my way through.

The Ordinary’s 30ml serums fit into a 30ml pump, duh, as do most serums and more spendy moisturisers that come in 30ml bottles. I whacked all of The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1% into one of the pump bottles as it was virtually brand new and I hadn’t used it yet.

I made a total guess about how much was left of the Argan Milk and got it right on the money—you can see it almost filled up the 15ml pump. I definitely didn’t think I had that much product left, as like I said before, the dropper had totally given up dispensing any product to me.

Switching to pump bottles has definitely already made a difference in how likely I am to use skincare in the morning! The bottles don’t look anywhere near as pretty, so if you care in the slightest about having an Instagrammable makeup routine, then ~$1 airless pump bottles from eBay are not your solution. I… don’t, though—I want my skincare to work, first and foremost, and anything else is extra.

Now, sure, these are bringing extra plastic into my life that I didn’t technically need, but they’re reusable. Unlike many brands’ packaging which is difficult to get into to get the last drops out, let alone reuse, these have lids that just screw off and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to push the stopper back down to the bottom.

What’s your favourite skincare delivery mechanism? Do you hate droppers as much as I do?

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  • This is such an interesting post and something a little bit different, which I love! I hate skincare/makeup that comes in jars, as it is just so unhygienic, as you say, and I hate that you have to screw the lid back on tightly when you have slippery fingers! Pump bottles are definitely the best, but I don’t actually mind pipettes too much 🙂

    Alice / Alice Grace Beauty


    • Thanks Alice, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Jars can look pretty but are so impractical, especially now we have better packaging methods. x

  • Felicity Smith

    Funny you should mention pumps. I just got a new shampoo that has a pump and realised this is what I have been missing in the shower all this time. I was deciding to keep the bottles and decant other shampoo into them when they are done. Squeeze bottles you can’t actually squeeze are my pet hate in shampoo and conditioner (leaves lots stuck to the sides and I now keep an old pair of scissors to cut into squeezy tubes to scoop out the remains (usually lasts you an extra day or two that way). Thanks for the posts – kee them coming 🙂

    • I haven’t had a shampoo with a pump in years, until I got the L’Oreal Botanicals one I’m using at the moment. It’s a dream! I’m so used to slamming the bottle onto my hand to try get the last out, and spilling it all over the shower instead.

  • I prefer a pump or tube so that I can squeeze every last drop out! I hate the dropper dispensers, especially on foundations! xx


    • Dropper foundations are the worst!! Especially things like the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops – they get messy so quickly.

  • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates the packaging with droppers! Buying those containers from eBay is such a good idea though!xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

  • I love using dropper bottles, as it’s so hygienic xx

    • I guess so, but with a pump it’s even more so as the product isn’t exposed to the air at all until you’re just about to use it!

  • I wish they did, I always spill all my dropper bottles and lose a tonne of product. I am not tidy enough for the dropper life. Great post Morgan xxx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

  • laura anne

    haha I like the way you wrote this, it was like I could imagine you saying it! That’s a really good idea to get those bottles.. I only have one product that has a dropper and never use it! x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

  • Completely agree pump bottles would be so much more convenient x
    A Blushing Beauty Blog

  • LOOOOOL I love Argan Milk TOO but I FEEL YAH SISTER. The opaque bottle is my biggest annoyance. OH and that damn short-dropper problem. Yeah, it’s the worst. I’m glad to find someone else who is experiencing this. I mean, I’m not glad someone else is having this pain in the ass bottle design gum up their morning routine, but I’m happy I’m not alone 😉 Seriously your fix is GENIUS. I was losing hope and thinking I should change my Milk for another hydration serum but now I’m going to stick with it and just transfer it into a pump (I’m also losing it over these airless pumps? I have never seen this before!!?). Thanks for the advice!

    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

    • It’s so annoying, especially for something that’s so expensive! I’ve been hoarding foil samples of the Argan Milk too and I’m planning on transferring them all into the pump bottle. Some brands use airless pumps (like the Stila primers) but they’re not as common as they should be! Thanks for your comment! x

  • Frankly Flawless

    That’s such a good idea. I hate it when you can’t tell how much product is left…you end up really disappointed sometimes when that happens x

  • Jill

    Will these bottles work with liquid foundations? I hate that Nars doesn’t include a pump, it’s so frustrating.

    • They sure will! NARS do sell a pump separately for Sheer Glow, though, and iirc they’re only about $8. I think I got mine from a NARS counter!