Why Coffee Just Might Be the Missing Ingredient for Your Ultimate Skincare Routine

If you're the type of person who can't start the day without your morning cup of coffee, you may be surprised to find that coffee isn't just for drinking anymore.

In fact, it's become a highly popular skincare ingredient in recent years, and for good reason. Coffee has all kinds of fantastic benefits for the skin—and that's exactly why UpCircle Beauty has incorporated the ingredient into a number of its products. The brand, dedicated to vegan, sustainable and healthy products and packaging, is all about reducing waste while giving customers the best skin possible, and we got to chat with co-founder Anna Brightman to find out what makes coffee a truly unique ingredient.

Sweety High: What are the qualities of coffee that make it excellent for skincare products?

Anna Brightman: Coffee oil is fantastic for brightening the complexion, giving the skin a dewy and well-rested appearance—hence we use it in our Eye Cream to tackle dark circles! Unlike microplastics, coffee grounds will naturally decompose when they go down the drain—so you don't have to worry about them having any negative environmental impact after use.

UpCircle Coffee eye cream ingredients

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: What are the vitamins and minerals in coffee that are great for skin? What can applying them to skin do for you?

AB: Coffee is jam-packed full of skin friends, including antioxidants like vitamin E. High amounts of vitamin E and other essential nutrients found in coffee help to soothe and moisturize your skin. Combine coffee oil with a moisturizing oil like jojoba (like we do in our multi-award-winning organic Face Serum) and you'll be packing in a punch in terms of restoring your depleted moisture levels.

UpCircle Coffee face serum

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: What types of skin woes can be addressed by applying products containing coffee?

AB: The caffeine in our coffee scrubs helps stimulate blood flow, which in turn helps combat skin conditions like eczema, acne, cellulite and stretch marks.

We also extract the oil from the coffee grounds for our organic face serum. The high level of antioxidants helps minimize the appearance of the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles.

UpCircle Coffee exfoliant

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: What does caffeine do for skin?

AB: Caffeine is naturally found in coffee grounds. When applied topically, it stimulates blood flow to the area of application. Caffeine has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to calm swelling and redness as well. High in antioxidants, coffee grounds are a potent free-radical fighter, protecting skin against premature aging.

Plus, the research has shown that antioxidant levels in used coffee grounds are actually higher than in freshly-ground coffee! So, it can be argued that the coffee brewing process makes the coffee even better for your skin.

UpCircle woman applying coffee exfoliant to face

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: Why is exfoliation important? Why do coffee grounds make a great exfoliant?

AB: In the form of a scrub, applying in circular motions to the skin means you'll be giving yourself a mini body massage that will stimulate cell activity and collagen production.

The coffee grounds will buff away dry, dead cells to leave you feeling soft, smooth and refreshed—with no pesky microbeads! The texture is also perfect as an exfoliator as it's softer than most other natural physical exfoliants, like rice or sugar.

UpCircle Coffee peppermint body scrub

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: Why is it important to UpCircle Beauty that the coffee grounds in your products are upcycled?

AB: For all our ingredients, we intercept them before the point of them being thrown away and avoid this by giving them new life as UpCircle products. For coffee specifically, we source used grounds from artisan cafes in London. I would sum up our coffee transformation process as fresh, efficient and innovative.

It's also important to our brand fabric that we repurpose ingredients that are of no lesser quality than fresh ingredients, with real benefits for your skin. The performance of the ingredients within our skincare formulations is essential. No amount of pretty packaging or clever marketing can make up for a product that doesn't do what it's supposed to do!

Every ingredient we work with has to pass what we call our "win-win-win test." Is it a win for the skin? Is it a win for UpCircle as a business (cost, availability, supply)? Is it a win for the grower (fair trade, adding value to a plant already being harvested for another purpose)? Every ingredient we upcycle answers these questions with "yes," making them sustainable from ideation to creation.

The inspiration came to me five years ago when I asked a local coffee shop what they did with their waste coffee. I was shocked to hear that they were producing so much that they had to pay the council to have it removed and disposed of on landfill sites. Throughout my teenage years, I wanted to be a makeup artist, so always had a keen interest in beauty and skincare. I knew that coffee had loads of great skincare benefits, so that was my lightbulb moment! Why not repurpose the coffee into sustainable circular skincare products? We began our journey collecting coffee grounds from one coffee shop. We now collect from hundreds of coffee houses across the city—our list is always growing! Every day we're contacted by coffee shops all over the country asking if we can collect their grounds. There's clearly no shortage!

UpCircle Coffee eye cream ingredients

(via UpCircle Beauty)


SH: Is there anything else we should know?

AB: Most other scrubs are made with cheap, low-grade robusta coffee. At UpCircle, we use the highest-quality arabica grounds collected from specially-selected coffee shops and restaurants. If you wouldn't want to drink it, why would you want to put it on your face?


Coffee-obsessed? Click HERE to check out the coffee brands we're loving at the moment.