Upcycled Ingredients in Cosmetics



The concept of upcycled ingredients in cosmetics, which typically refers to vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic and palm-oil free products, goes hand in hand with thoughtful, environmentally friendly packaging, ethical sourcing, resource and waste management and charitable giving.


Having a fully sustainable production is not easy, as there are so many steps to consider in the supply chain. However it truly pays back, as we not only contribute positively to our planet, but we also become more thoughtful of the ingredients we use on a daily basis.

The cosmetics and beauty industry is doing significant improvements in the development of sustainable, eco-friendly and non-toxic products. More and more brands are responding to the sustainable beauty push and are changing their production system, as well as their ingredient list towards an eco-friendlier one. The global sustainable beauty market is estimated to increase from 34.5 billion dollars in 2018, to 54.5 billion for the year 2027, proving that the natural organic cosmetic market is becoming increasingly important


This year especially, studies have shown a heightened interest in natural skincare products. Due to the pandemic, businesses are experiencing higher transportation costs and delays, because of stricter measures at the ports. This has led towards the adaptation of a more regional if not local supply chain.

When talking about upcycled cosmetics, we typically refer to innovative cosmetic ingredients made from plant-based leftovers, which are generally too precious to waste. Here we discuss a few upcycled products that can be used as alternatives to a conventional ingredient list, which are often harmful to the environment and toxic to the human body. Some of those might surprise you and hopefully, you can watch out for some of those ingredients during your next natural cosmetic skincare purchase.



The chickpea brine that is normally thrown away, has made frequent appearance in the beauty industry, as it is rich in properties that are not only good for the skin, but also hair! The protein-rich brine draws out clogged-pores and soften the overall complexion. Lush is known for using natural ingredients and is using Aquafaba as their main component within several products, such as their "Angel Hair shampoo" or their “Good Day Sunshine soap." Lush claims that, “When blended into one of our handmade recipes, aquafaba helps to create a thick blend and emulsifies all the ingredients for a smooth product.”



Everyone enjoys coffee. Instead of throwing it away after we made ourselves a cup, we can save it and use it on our skin. Coffee is a source of nutrients and antioxidants that may benefit the skin, scalp, and hair. It can be used it to exfoliate, treat acne, increase blood flow, and balance pH levels. Here are some of our favourite products by trusted brands: The original coffee scrub by “The Frankie-Shop.” The Dr Botanicals Apothecary Coffee Superfood Renewing Facial Exfoliator by LookFantastic.



Oranges are not only one of the healthiest, vitamin C rich fruits, but the peel of the orange can be used in skincare as well and is known to help fight acne and blackheads, prevent wrinkles and tone the skin! Daylesford has launched a hand balm made with all natural ingredients—the main one is orange peel. 



Berries have excellent sources of antioxidants and provide our skin with excellent nutrients. Tonnes of berries are wasted everyday. "Upcycled beauty," saves 800,00 berries from waste, transforming them into radiant nutrient rich skincare products and wonderful berry oil extracted directly from the blueberry pulp. The company is also known for their berry powders made from upcycled berry seeds acting like natural physical exfoliators for the skin.


Nowadays, the advancement in technology, the conscious consumer and the companies enables us to implement a more sustainable production system. Thanks to methods such as upcycling, food can be saved from landfills and reused on our skin, positively impacting the planet and the people.

Finally, brands that are using upcycled materials have the opportunity to tell a unique story and build an extra special connection with the customer. We are big supporters of the upcycling movement!




+  Words: Sofia Sovera, Luxiders Magazine Editor