November 7, 2022

Product Spotlight: Upcircle Beauty

True product sustainability goes beyond pretty outer packaging. As they say, it's what’s inside that counts. With increasing consumer awareness, we’ve seen beauty trends moving towards functional, whole, ingredients and away from the twenty ingredient face cream that you still aren’t convinced isn’t the remnants of a science experiment. 

How about upcycled ingredients? It’s time to swap out the plastic microbeads in your body scrub for coffee grounds that won’t cost the earth and might just be doing it a favor.

Upcircle Beauty: A Circular Beauty Concept Using Other Industry’s  Waste

A sibling team co-founded Upcircle Beauty in 2016 with the aim to disrupt the notion that beauty products can be high-performing, competitively priced and be earth forward in the process. Their face and body line features upcycled ingredients that would otherwise count themselves as waste. 

Upcircle Beauty is tackling this rampant waste problem while incorporating naturally holistic ingredients by pulling them out of the waste cycle. We’re talking about tree bark, discarded date seeds, coffee grounds, and mandarin oranges. All are made with natural benefits, and all are taking a hard u-turn away from the carbon emission emitting waste pile and into Upcircle’s face and body care products. 

Upcircle's face and body line currently feature other upcycled-inspired products such as:

Where Does Upcircle Get Their Ingredients

When they sold out of their first coffee ground face scrubs in 2017, they realized they would need more partners. Upcircle’s founders expanded their pick-up of discarded coffee grounds to include over 100 artisan coffee shops in their neighborhood. 

Chai spices were their next renewed resource as the byproduct of chai syrup manufacturing production. Then came green mandarin blueberry extract, and residual fruit waters came from the juicery industry. Soon after came spent chamomile leaves found new life away from the tea industry, while argan shell powder from oil production also became a key ingredient. Even maple bark found a new purpose where it was deemed unusable by the wood industry. 

The end result is high functioning, whole ingredient products that create a net “carbon positive” result. 

End To End Sustainability

Beyond being a holistically high functioning brand, Upcircle’s products are also vegan, cruelty-free, and utilize 100% recyclable packaging. In addition, many of their upcycled ingredients are sourced locally, and Upcircle has shown the concept can scale, collecting byproducts from over 100 producers. 

Going The Extra (Packaging) Mile

Repurposing ingredients lowers untold amounts of carbon emissions, from eliminating single-purpose growth of ingredients to minimizing logistics (they try to source locally from London cafes and production activity) and reducing waste. But they haven’t stopped there. 

Upcircle uses 100% recyclable packaging that is 99% plastic free. In fact, they are a `Plastic Negative’ certified brand, meaning they remove more ocean-bound plastic than their packaging creates.

Packaging includes glass, aluminum, Forest Stewardship Council certified cardboard, cornstarch packing peanuts, and marketing stationery made from recycled coffee cups. Not only is their packaging conscious of environmental impact, they as have a refillable business model and partner with TerraCycle for their difficult-to-recycle mixed media components like sprayers and pumps.

Upcircle Beauty is a brand that took circular beauty and ran it all the way through the lifecycle of its business model in a way that should make all other beauty brands realize that it is possible. Their next launch of bath products such as salts and bath bombs is funded in part by a grant from a UK Government grant showing that low-impact efforts can thrive.