The zero waste movement is taking a lot of space in the clean beauty industry. Experts have outlined five key principles for it : Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Compost and Recycle. As a result, many brands have taken note and come up with concepts and products that combine several of these principles creating a new branch in the clean beauty world : upcycled beauty.
Upcycled beauty (or circular beauty) is about using natural & sustainable ingredients that are made entirely from nutrient-rich extracts from plants, flowers and seeds that would otherwise go to waste. It can be coffee grounds, discarded apricot stones, leftover argan shells or other foods that might otherwise get discarded after using or because of not being aesthetically pleasing enough for sale (think ugly fruits and veggies).
Food waste often represents a valuable source of raw materials for the development of natural beauty products. These ingredients have recognized beauty properties, providing various active components to hydrate and firm the skin or to even complexion. They also often are cheaper to buy than other raw materials and enjoy a very positive image in the eyes of consumers as they create interactions between various industries with a common goal : food waste reduction.
This trend has been gaining momentum since the pandemic accelerated consumers’ demand for conscious beauty products. Seeing brands finding ways to recycle food waste while still offering potent, quality products is something that resonates with many at a time where resources are getting scarce and sourcing is weighting in the purchasing decision. Upcycled beauty brands are trying their best to answer these concerns and will continue utilize upcycling across product development, not only in the ingredients and formulation but also in the packaging and shipping.