Coffee grounds, at the origin of the concept, kiwi, blueberry, and orange waste from the food industry, unsold items from the London flower market… the committed brand UpCircle now uses twenty upcycled ingredients, sourced from all over the world for their cosmetic products.

“Powders, oils, waters… we will continue to diversify the ingredients we work with and demonstrate there are endless possibilities with this kind of raw material supplied in very large quantities by different industries. Our latest launches contain new ingredients that we have never used before, such as rose petals infused in bath salts, or hibiscus flower acids for a hand cream”, says the co-founder.

A brand growing at lightning speed

Founded in 2016 by Anna Brightman and her brother William, UpCircle has already developed a range of almost 40 face care, body care, and recently, hair care products based on these types of ingredients.

“The brand has grown a lot over the past two years”, confirms Anna Brightman. Distributed in department stores, independent shops and online, UpCircle is present in forty countries, and claims affordable, environmentally friendly performance in several respects.

“Above all, products must be effective and offer high performance. We put a lot of effort into innovation. We will not use an upcycled ingredient unless its benefits are clinically and dermatologically proven”, says the founder.

Refillable jars

In addition, the brand commits to controlling the use of packaging. For its UK customers, UpCircle has set up a package return and refill programme through the postal service.

“We mainly use glass and aluminium, which are recyclable in most countries. We have also implemented a package return system. When you finish your product at home, you can buy it back 20% cheaper on the website: you will then receive a label by email for you to send us back the empty jar for free. We clean it, sterilise it, and refill it. You will then receive the product in your packaging after 4 to 5 days. Our packs are 99% plastic-free, and we offer a solution for the remaining 1%, such as pipettes”, explains Anna Brightman.

The system is currently in place in the UK and is about to be implemented in other countries.

A circular beauty model

With one product sold every 90 seconds, the brand keeps growing, in particular with the help of a GBP 480,000 (approximately EUR 545,000 or USD 580,000) crowdfunding campaign in 2022.

The funds will be used to expand distribution in other markets. “Our biggest markets are the UK and the US, but we are trying to grow in Europe, although it is difficult due to Brexit”, notes Anna Brightman.

Investments in communication and marketing and the development of products in new categories are also top priorities.

“We have reinvested all of our profits into our business and new product development”, she adds. UpCircle is planning to launch new ranges in the near future: hair products next month, then baby products and make-up.

Proof, if any were needed, of the cosmetic validity of by-products from circular supply chains, the British brand’s success is setting a new model to follow.