The Circular Skincare Brand Saving the Planet from Food Waste 
It feels like there's a new beauty brand on the market every week. But the majority of them aren't considering their environmental impact on things like ingredient sourcing and packaging. Why aren't more brands doing this?
There are many ways that beauty brands can be more sustainable. We see it in brands like Dew Mighty with their waterless serum barKjaer Weis and their innovative refillable makeup palettes, and Āthr Beauty's zero-waste makeup palettes. Having zero-waste packaging is arguably the ultimate goal. But when we look at the bigger picture, it's not the only goalpost we should aim for. 
Take the food industry, for example. Even if we removed all packaging from the food industry, we would still have mountains of discarded food every year. One hundred and eight billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States (1), which equates to more than $161 billion worth of food thrown away each year.  So what's the solution?
Enter UpCircle Beauty. 
As the name suggests, UpCircle Beauty is a play on the word "upcycle." Upcycling reuses discarded objects or materials in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. In UpCircle Beauty's case, they're hyper-focused on giving food and beverage byproducts a new purpose by using them in their skincare products.
How it Started
Let's go back to when it all began: London, 2015. Siblings Anna and William got their morning coffee at their favorite café before work. They noticed that the café was discarding large amounts of coffee grounds through a third-party service. After inquiring about it, they learned that the third-party company collected the grounds at a cost to the café. Yet, the coffee grounds still ended up in landfills after all that.
The pair had a lightbulb moment. If just one café had such a massive amount of coffee grounds to dispose of, imagine the number of coffee grounds discarded from all coffee shops in all of London. 
After doing some research, they found that 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to landfills in the UK every year (2). And the US coffee consumption is even higher than that.
Anna and William saw this was unsustainable long-term, so they decided to do something about it.
They wanted to find a way to collect the used coffee grounds from cafés and repurpose them into skincare products. With Anna's storytelling background and William's finance skills, UpCircle Beauty was born.
The Coffee
A third of all food in the world is wasted. UpCircle Beauty's formulations contain byproducts from the food and beverage industries, including coffee, brewed chai tea spices, fruit stones, and salvaged fruit waters from the juice industry. 
UpCircle Beauty started by up-cycling used coffee grounds into a small range of products. They now have seven coffee-based skincare products.
Coffee Body Scrub with Peppermint
Coffee Body Scrub with Lemongrass
Eye Cream with Maple and Coffee
Floral Coffee Face Scrub
Herbal Coffee Face Scrub
Citrus Coffee Face Scrub
Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil
Just seven years later, the company now has a solid range of skincare products that include other byproducts from the food and beverage industry.
Best Sellers
The UpCircle Beauty brand has quickly become a cult favorite for its sustainable and ethical stance and simple and affordable skincare. Some of their best-sellers include:
Cleansing Face Balm with Apricot Powder: this unique cleanser contains rescued apricot stones milled into a fine powder and just a dozen other naturally-derived ingredients. 
The first ingredient, Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) Seed Oil, is high in Vitamin E, known for its hydration and antioxidant properties. Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, another notable ingredient, hydrates, has healing properties, and is a collagen stimulant. 
Then, there are apricot kernels, made up of over 50% oil and rich in oleic and linoleic acids, known for their hydration qualities. 
The balm's texture is luscious and luxurious, as it effortlessly emulsifies makeup and debris from the skin without drying it out. 
Hydrating Face Serum with Coffee Oil: another one of their best-sellers is their coffee oil face serum. 
Coffee seed oil is high in linoleic acid, which is excellent for hydration. Coffee also contains detoxifying properties, reducing inflammation on the skin and brightening the skin's complexion. 
Collagen-boosting astringent Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil also aids in skin brightening and hydrating. Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil is high in Vitamin A for skin clearing, and antioxidant-rich Vitamin E, for protection against signs of aging. This award-winning serum is lightweight in texture and suitable for all skin types. 
Use it on the face or hair, and beards for a hydrating and nourishing leave-in treatment.
Face Moisturizer with Argan Powder: UpCircle Beauty's face moisturizer is another superstar product. 
It's formulated using rescued argan shells from the argan oil industry. 
Argan oil comes from the fruit pips of argan trees, native to Morocco. Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, it's easy to see why this anti-inflammatory and hydrating ingredient has become one of the most popular ingredients used in hair and skincare. 
This moisturizer is nourishing, lightweight, and fast-absorbing, making it the perfect staple in any regime. 
The ingredients consist of varying organic and natural ingredients, including antioxidant-rich Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, for protecting the skin from external elements and free radical damage; Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange) Peel Oil to build skin resiliency and boost collagen production; Frankincense oil for healing and skin cell repair; and of course, finely-milled argan shell. 
Face Toner with Mandarin and Chamomile: An honorable mention goes to UpCircle Beauty's face toner. 
It contains salvaged fruit water from the juicing industry. For anyone unaware, the beauty industry is one of the most wasteful industries regarding water waste. Prediction forecasts a water shortage in ⅔ of the world by 2025, which is quite an alarming statistic. Skincare products are typically formulated with water as the top ingredient—roughly 75-90% of the formulation—and the process of creating and bottling the products also uses incredible resources, the main one being water. 
UpCircle Beauty's face toner is essentially a waterless product. 
The other benefit of using fruit water is the minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and functional actives present in the fruit water. They have far more benefits for the skin than mineral-filtered water. Mandarin, for example, is anti-inflammatory, skin-brightening, and circulation-boosting, giving the skin a more radiant complexion.
As mentioned before, UpCircle Beauty started by recovering one byproduct: used coffee grounds. But just a few years on, they now retrieve ten different byproducts from the food and beverage industry, with big plans to expand their sourcing and skincare menu to include many more byproducts. 
Not Just Skincare
UpCircle Beauty is known for its skincare cult classics. But they have also expanded their range to include other reusable and non-disposable bathroom items.
Hemp and Cotton Makeup Rounds: 70% hemp, 30% cotton.
Tube Squeezer: 100% metal alloy.
Muslin Cloths: handmade by a woman operative in India.
Bamboo Cotton Buds: sustainable bamboo, recycled paper box.
Cotton Wash Bag: 100% fair trade cotton.
Drawstring Bag: 100% fair trade cotton.
Accessible to All
When you think of unique skincare and wellness brands, you'd normally associate them with being expensive or exclusive. Not UpCircle Beauty. Anna's passionate about maintaining a high-quality brand with strong values and ethics that are accessible and affordable to the masses. What's the point of changing the world and making a difference if only the wealthy can afford your products? 
The price point for UpCircle's products ranges from $9 USD for their face and body bar cleansers up to $30 USD for their body cream. But most of their products sit around the $20 USD mark.
Keeping it Simple
UpCircle Beauty's products are accessible to most. They keep the formulations effective for all skin types. They use high-quality organic, naturally-derived, sustainably, and ethically sourced ingredients that are gentle enough for sensitive skin and effective for stubborn skin, with proven results.
UpCircle Beauty is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment. Their packaging is 99% plastic-free. Most of their products come in glass bottles or jars with aluminum lids. The only plastic they use in their products is the dropper or sprayer lids for their serums and toner—a decision they didn't take lightly, but without those mechanisms, the serums and toner would be pretty challenging to use. 
When customers receive their first bottle with the dropper or sprayer, they can keep them and purchase replacement bottles with aluminum lids. So from that point onwards, all purchases are plastic-free.
The boxes of the products also come in recyclable cardboard.
Pioneers of Circular Beauty
UpCircle Beauty believes that the future of skincare is circular and that repurposing and breathing life into existing products and ingredients is the fastest way to make an impact. With its innovation and core values at the forefront of its operation, UpCircle Beauty is pioneering a better world, one coffee ground at a time.

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