Coffee and chai cosmetics: UpCircle Beauty targets APAC by challenging conventional notions of waste

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

UpCircle Beauty offers a line of sustainable skin care products made out of used coffee and chai grounds. ©UpCircle Beauty
UpCircle Beauty offers a line of sustainable skin care products made out of used coffee and chai grounds. ©UpCircle Beauty

Related tags Australia Indie beauty Waste Coffee

Sustainable skin care brand UpCircle Beauty is eyeing expansion in the Asia Pacific region on the back of growing awareness for sustainability.

The brand offers a line of sustainable skin care products made out of used coffee and chai grounds. The British brand was founded in 2016, when founder William Brightman discovered the “dirty little secret”​ behind coffee.

“10 million tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to landfill every year, where they decompose to release methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 20 times worse that carbon dioxide.” ​he explained.

“Furthermore, the level of antioxidants in used coffee is actually higher than freshly ground coffee, so why not marry the two ideas together and reuse this coffee in a way that's both good for your skin, and good for the world.”

Brightman is optimistic about the company’s future in the market. “We are convinced that there is a huge opportunity to provoke new thinking around the sustainable sourcing of ingredients and challenging conventional notions of waste,” ​he said.

Expanding Down Under

In July, UpCircle Beauty launched in the Australian market, which Brightman believes is strongly aligned with the brand’s products and principles.

“The Australian market has a strong ethical and sustainability aspect to it, perfectly matching with our own values and beliefs. Furthermore, A-beauty is all about keeping it simple and doing less with more. It was one of the pioneers of natural beauty, something that UpCircle is passionate about when formulating new products,”​ he said.

In Australia, it is currently sold through a number of online retailers, including Look Fantastic and the brand’s own e-commerce platform. By the end of the year, the brand is expecting to expand offline via the health retail chain, Go Vita, across the country.

Brightman told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the firm has been very encouraged by the reception it has gotten in the Australian market.

“The brand has been received extremely well by the Australian public. The media launch generated a lot of buzz around the brand and the brand story.”

Brightman added the brand was performing well in Australia and the company planned to continue expanding its retail footprint.

“It has gained national distribution through online channels, selected pharmacy and health food store chains. The brand is also being presented to other major retailers this year.”

Once the brand has established itself in the market, it will begin to look into other markets, including New Zealand and some parts of Asia as well, said Brightman.

New products and innovations

Aside from expanding into new markets, the firm is actively looking into developing new ingredients.

“By challenging these notions [of waste], we can stimulate debate around ingredient applications and innovative formulations which can both help your skin and the world to prosper,” ​said Brightman.

“Building on the premise of promoting a circular economy through the use of ingredients that would otherwise be discarded, we have now expanded from coffee and chai into new industries, particularly the food and drink industry, where there is sadly still a huge amount of waste involved.”

Brightman hinted that consumers would be seeing more products from the brand very soon.

“We are delighted to be launching three new products, each incorporating an ingredient sourced as a natural by-product of the industry. We'll be launching a face mask, facial moisturiser and cleansing balm imminently. Keep your eyes peeled!”

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