Weekly review, Beauty Tool Edition: Airless Pump Bottles

That's right.  This week instead of reviewing the products I put on my face, I'm reviewing the containers I put my products in.  It's not as simple as you'd think.  A lot of products come in jars or tubs, which are unhygenic, messy to get out the product, constantly exposed to air and air-borne bacteria, and take up space.

Plus, when you have as many products as I do in my winter line-up (mentioned here) and a tiny sink counter, you've got problems.  Things-shattering-on-the-floor, you-or-your-spouse-knocking-things-over, no-space-for-your-toothbrush problems.

I prefer things to be in pump bottles so I can easily control the amount of product dispensed, minimize air exposure, and most of all stay hygienic.   So, I started researching and eventually stumbled on these little beauties:

Refill-ready bottle on the left, unused one on the right
In this post:

  • Product details
  • Full Review and Demo on how to fill them
  • Final Thoughts

Warning: this review contains a picture of the inside of my fridge.  Not for the pickle-phobic.  Just saying.


Full product name: Not branded, I got mine off ebay.
Purpose:  Air travel-friendly-sized individual refillable bottles meant to keep your lotions, etc, away from contact with air, in a convenient pump dispenser.
Texture: Mine were translucent plastic, but you can get them in opaque plastic if your lotions are sensitive to light damage.  You can also get them in glass, either clear or frosted, if you wanna get fancy.
Price: This really ranges, it can be from $2 a bottle to much more if you want the nice ones.
Rating:  5/5 They do their job well.
Repurchase:  You bet. I have several of these and will happily buy more as I need them.
Where to get it: The original seller I had linked has hiked the price, but you can find them widely available on ebay, where they range in price depending in you want plastic (cheap) or metal (fancy) ones.  Be warned that you want the ones with the disk that is drawn up as you use it; some say 'airless' but they don't have any airless function. You can also get them on Amazon in packs equivalent to less than $2 ea, or singles for more.  If you have a Daiso near you, I hear you may be able to get them there as well.

Full Review and Demo:

You might be thinking I am a little OCD at this point, but honestly, you'd be wrong.  I mean, look at where I keep my full-size jars of product ... yes it's a climate-controlled, light-blocking cold storage, but look at what they're nestled up next to:

If you're thinking that my Skin79 White Reviving Cream (reviewed) and my Nature Republic Aloe Gel (will be reviewed soon now that summer is here!) are snuggled up against some Oyster sauce, Sauerkraut, Club Soda, Ketchup, and a giant jar of Mango Pickle (extra hot), you'd be correct.

Mind you, the jars are sealed, so it's not like whatever sort of nebulous food particles that might be floating around are going to sneak their way into my precious skincare products.  But still.  It's a refrigerator, not a hermetically sealed sanitary containment field.

This does bring me back to my point about size.  Do you see that giant honking tub of Aloe Gel?  How am I supposed to keep my legion of skincare products in sight without causing an overcrowding disaster?

Not just space considerations drove me to this point, it was also my dislike of products in jars or tubs that required me to either dip my fingers into the product (ew, no) or fuss with q-tips and spatulas, which were messy and/or wasteful.  Plus, if you are reusing the spatula, that requires you to spend extra time cleaning it before and after use to ensure you're keeping things hygienic, and I have a bad habit of dropping mine or not having a good place to put it while I am fumbling open the lids of my jars.

I also don't like having a giant jar of something in my bathroom where it's subject to dramatic changes in temperature, humidity, and well ... it's a bathroom.  There's a reason why toilet bowl cleaners require you to wear rubber gloves.  However, if I keep things in my fridge, I completely forget to use them.  Out of sight, out of mind- even keeping things in the medicine cabinet makes me forget they exist.

So, these little bottles are so handy.  Not only do they save me a ton of counter space, but they're less likely to break if I happen to knock one off the counter.  They would be easy to label, although I haven't bothered-- all my current products are visually different enough for easy identification.

They're small enough to have several on my counter, easily refilled if you're willing to do a little DIY, are suited to dispensing most skincare products, allow you to keep the bulk of your product in the original jar stashed in the fridge, and best of all, they've got the hygiene bonus of a pump.

Here's what you will need:

- The bottle you are about to fill
- The product you're putting into it
- A pair of scissors
- A ziploc bag or a piece of saran wrap the size of your hand, if you want to fashion your own bag
- A spatula or something to scoop product from the jar into the bag
- Q-tips (not pictured) or something long and thin to push down the inner disk.
- A clean surface to work on and good light.  I used the lid from a storage bin liberally swabbed with Lysol wipes, because our bathroom has blown a bulb and the light in there sucks, so the counter was out.
Here's why you need the bag/scissors:

You can see that without the heat of your skin, this gel is
super thick when it's cold and doesn't flow easily.

See on the left how thick the gel is?  When I tried to put it (or any of my cream products) into the bottle, it just sat in the neck of the bottle and would not flow down into the bottle itself.

You could waste a bunch of time trying to jiggle it down by tapping the bottle on the counter or yelling at it (not that I did either before I figured out another solution) or you could just DIY yourself a icing-style bag and make it easy on yourself.

When  you unscrew the lid, you may notice the straw is very short, and that's because these stay "airless" by having the inner disk push/be drawn up as you use the product, which keeps it from being exposed to air.

 Take your Q-tip (hygienic, accessible, and disposable) and push down the inner disk until it's at the bottom.  Then you're ready to pipe in your product with your DIY icing bag.

I used the disposable spatula pictured above, but you could use a clean knife or spoon or whatever you have handy.  These bottles don't hold a lot of product, but you can easily pipe excess product back into the jar.  Once you've got your bag ready, snip a tiny corner off it, and pipe away:

Once you've filled as much as the bottle will hold, tap it against the counter to make sure you've settled any air pockets that could spoil the product or just plain take up room.

And here's the beauty of using the icing bag method, just pipe the excess back into the jar, because it is has been kept clean and you're not contaminating the product in the jar by re-adding the excess.

The Aloe gel I used for the demo is pretty inexpensive, but once you get into more expensive products, every drop is precious and you don't want to waste it!

And with that, you're done!  You've got your supply for a few weeks while the original jar and product sits safe and sound in the cool darkness of your fridge.  Not only will that keep your products free from constant exposure to air and whatever greeblies are floating in it, the cold temperature will keep your products stable longer.  I also keep some products in our medicine cabinet, because I don't worry about their exposure to temperature changes or humidity, such as the Holika Holika Soda Pore Cleansing BB Deep Cleansing Oil (reviewed here), or my toners, or of course my One And Only Beauty Love (Mizon Snail Gel, reviewed here), which I use up so quickly it doesn't have time to go bad.

Currently, I keep my cream cleanser, the Aloe Gel, and my Skin79 White Reviving Cream in these little bottles, but I can also see myself using these for travel- they will work great for BB creams, cleansers, oils, serums, creams, gels, you name it.

Final thoughts:

I may like these almost as much as my husband does, because our bathroom has been reclaimed from the stampede of products he was required to dodge just to brush his teeth.  Shaving was right out of the question.  Happily, counter space peace has been restored to our bathroom and all is well!

Leave me a comment if you have your own multiple product storage solutions, or tales of overcrowding gone wrong!
All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Genius-my husband gets cranky about my collection of products...I might try this after I recover from my latest Pretty and Cute binge.

  2. This comes at just the right time for me - I've been trying to find containers to depot my old-style UD Primer Potions. Can't find anything good though...whatcha think about these for that? They're a little large but the "airless" feature looks like it would take care of that. I feel like the primer might be a little thick for a pump though.

    1. Maybe try this 5ml size: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-150pcs-Airless-Bottle-Cosmetic-Plastic-Treatment-Pump-Transparent-Travel-Empty-/130719715625?pt=UK_HealthBeauty_Other_RL&var=&hash=item6422851228

      That should be small enough to handle depotting. As for thickness, it's possible that it will be too dried out if it's old, but my smashbox primer (which I disliked, much prefer UD) which is in a squeeze tube would have worked fine in one of these bottles. The nice thing is that it doesn't have to be suctioned up a long, thin straw before it reaches the pump. The disk just pushes the product right up to the pump mechanism.

      Only one way to find out! If you do try it, let me know how it works!

  3. You are a genius! I've always hated jar packaging, but wanted to try the Hada Labo Perfect Gel, which comes in a 90 ml jar. Thanks so much!

  4. You are a genius! I've always hated jar packaging, but wanted to try the Hada Labo Perfect Gel, which comes in a 90 ml jar. Thanks so much!

    1. Glad it helped! I have traveled a few times since getting these and it makes things SO EASY. I also love how easy it is to control how much product I dispense, and they hold a surprising amount of product.

  5. Thank you! this is a great idea, I have a few jarred items which I don't like to stick my fingers in.
    I sometimes put them in smaller jars but I would prefer a pump much better!

  6. Great minds think alike.


  7. How about a syringe instead of a ziploc bag?

    1. Yep, that would work fine! If you have one or don't mind picking one up, it would work great, if you don't mind cleaning it between products. :)

  8. Great post, Cat..
    Do you know about or use any refillable fine mist bottles/ atomisers, preferably plastic, that you can get online- or maybe repurpose an empty k-beauty mist bottle?
    How do you clean them? Rubbing alcohol? The above post mentions only about airless pump bottles..
    I have a few asian beauty duds that could be repurposed..i hate to simply throw them away..

    1. Ok so I originally replied to this with what I do, but then I got to thinking and realized that I really don't have any sort of expertise in this area and probably shouldn't be giving people advice on how to sanitize their bottles. D: I'd recommend googling it, as I have no idea if my methods are enough.

  9. Second on the interest of how to clean. I love the travel size (got the idea from you on reddit) and recently finished one, but wanted to switch the product that was in it, think hot water soak and alcohol rinse is sufficient?

    1. You know, I've been thinking about this, and I'm not a ... packaging sanitation expert, so I really shouldn't be giving advice on how to clean things. D: I'd google it!

  10. I love these space-saving see-thru containers but never knew they could come airless! Thumbs up for less contamination and longer shelf life :) Btw, what products in a general skincare routine would you recommend not to store in humid areas (or order during hot weather) other than those in your fridge?

    Thanks for all of your insightful reviews! There's so much to learn on skincare :)

    1. Hi Jay,

      I'd say anything that is unstable, has weak preservatives, or has a short shelf life. :)

      Take care,

  11. Does this work with HG Joseon Dynasty Cream? Or is it too thick?