Upcycled cosmetics: what is this trend about?

The cosmetics business strengthens ties with sustainability, through practices such as giving new values ​​to materials or discarded products. This is what “upcycled” is all about.

The beauty industry is constantly searching for alternatives to curb the impact that its activities have on the pollution of the planet. Part of the initiatives for this purpose is upcycled cosmetics.

The trend is oriented towards sustainability, based on the creation of products using natural ingredients as raw material or responsibly obtained by-products.

Thus, ecology is making its way into the area of ​​personal care, with different brands added to “creative recycling” and encouraging users to stick to these alternatives.

Objectives of “upcycled” cosmetics

Upcycled cosmetics are just as effective as conventional ones. The difference lies in the manufacturing method. This innovative mechanic consists of recovering waste and materials so that they have a second life.

The main source of ingredients is the food industry. The purpose is to obtain the cosmetic assets generated in such processes, which used to be wasted because they were believed to be useless.

With the technique it is possible to offer new substances, whose added value is to protect the environment. The upcycled modality is well accepted , considering that food waste has countless flattering ingredients in skin care.

Upcycled cosmetics cover the following variety:

  • soaps.
  • scrubs.
  • facial serums.
  • Hydrating creams.
  • Body lotions.

Brands like Natana ® , Symrise ® and Keracol Limited ® take advantage of creative recycling.

Environmental responsibility expands to different industries. Among them, beauty and personal care.

Useful ingredients in “upcycled” cosmetics

It is common for those who have not yet tried upcycled cosmetics to doubt the capacity of the products, but the active ingredients used respect the same quality standards as conventional brands. Among the ingredients that they take advantage of, rice starch stands out, ideal for making powders.

The unsold salmon oil and protein serve to revitalize skin cells. Some organic dyes are prepared with the pulp of black currant.

Coffee grounds work as exfoliants or a mixture in the manufacture of eye contour creams. These are antioxidant and protective substances against ultraviolet (UV) rays. Other benefits are obtained in derivatives and concentrates of different foods.

Olive oil

Polyphenols obtained from olive oil waste protect the skin from oxidative damage and promote collagen production.


The fruit of this tree is related to the synthesis of collagen and the smoothing of wrinkles. They also attribute the ability to strengthen the skin to retain water; hence its inclusion in upcycled.

Avocado by-products

Creams that help fade dark circles and minimize the look of bags under the eyes may contain polyphenols derived from avocados .

Vetiver roots

These strains are generally used in the creation of fragrances for perfumes . After this work it is possible to recycle them and remove moisturizing and anti-aging active ingredients from them.


At the end of wine production, there is leftover grape pulp, fruit skin and seeds. Everything is transformed into postbiotics that protect the dermis from oxidative stress.

Apricot kernels

Apricot kernels are profitable in making scrubs and solid facial cleansers. The procedure consists of crushing them until they become granules and combining them with the rest of the components.

Orange and lemon juices and peels

The juice and shell of these fruits sometimes ended up in the trash. Now there are those who extract their antimicrobial properties to create natural preservatives. Likewise, these skins are potent sources of flavonoids and vitamin E.

Impact of upcycled cosmetics in the beauty industry

The United Nations (UN) Environment Program aims to achieve a global ban on microbeads in personal care products and cosmetics by 2022. These small pieces of plastic found in scrubs and toothpaste, for example, end up dirtying the oceans and harming marine life.

The UN highlights that these microplastics often carry toxins, posing a risk to food safety and human health. Through upcycling , business and social awareness is created, trusting in natural and ecological cosmetics.

An analysis by the consulting firm Grand View Research reveals that by the year 2030, the world market for organic personal care products should reach 42.19 billion dollars. The company points out that cosmetics of this type are gaining ground among a growing number of consumers attached to conservation ethics.

Circular fashion is another movement that adds to upcycled cosmetics to counteract the effects of fashion on the environment.

Why prefer “upcycled” cosmetics?

The innovative way in which the beauty industry recovers some food waste in its favor, involves hard work to guarantee cosmetics of the highest quality. Manufacturers have specialized equipment and technology for the selection and protection of fresh and germ-free raw materials, reducing the margin of adverse reactions.

And as the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria newsletter explains, the main reason for resorting to bio cosmetics is for health. This class of substances are not harmful to those who suffer from skin sensitivity.

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