Upcycled ingredients will play a larger and larger role in the future of beauty as more players in the industry realise that the age-old economic business drivers of unbridled production and consumption are unsustainable – and increasingly criticised by beauty shoppers too. Reusing what would normally be considered waste byproducts is not only an innovative way to repurpose a wide variety of materials, but also a smart beauty business move and good for our planet.
In the last guest episode, Lorraine interviewed Geoff Chapin, CEO of Carbonwave; an innovative company from the USA transforming Sargassum seaweed into a number of amazing products including an all-natural plant-based emulsifier for the cosmetic industry. He turned an environmental disaster into upcycling gold.
Join Formula Botanica CEO, biologist and Chartered Environmentalist Lorraine Dallmeier in this episode as she covers just three fascinating upcycling techniques already in use in the beauty industry. These are just a hint at the possibilities for upcycling and circularity in the beauty industry of the future.Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Spotify Subscribe on YouTube Upcycling waste for use in beauty is the industry's future. @FormulaBotanica podcast explores 3 innovative techniques in circular economy beauty. All good news for our planet. #circularbeauty #beautyinnovation #nomorewaste Click To Tweet
At the heart of upcycling, lies a core tenet of sustainability in the beauty industry – the concept of circularity. We discussed circular beauty back in episode 66. Do listen to that one for a simple guide to circularity.
Circularity is easier to understand in the context of beauty packaging, but how does this concept work for cosmetic ingredients? The answer is upcycling. And while we currently cannot keep waste materials in an infinite loop, we can give some of them another purpose in a useful after life.
First, we have extraction and purification as the most commonly known upcycling techniques. In episode 59, Lorraine interviewed Anna Brightman of Upcircle Beauty about her inspirational story that began by saving hundreds of tonnes of coffee grounds from the landfill to use them in beauty products.
Extraction and purification begin with collecting leftover materials, which include coffee grounds, seeds, peels, and even flower petals. The leftovers are processed using a various techniques such as steam distillation or cold pressing to extract their useful chemical compounds for use in cosmetics.
The second technique is fermentation. Fermented skincare is so popular now in the beauty industry that The Lab at Formula Botanica – the school’s membership site – has a Mini-Lab course dedicated entirely to this topic. Fermentation involves transforming raw waste materials into upcycled materials by adding specific microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and fungi.
The third technique is bioconversion or biotransformation. Similar to fermentation, this sees a wide range of biological agents like bacteria and fungi added to waste material, but the process can involve enzymes as well. This technique, also known as white biotechnology, breaks down waste streams and coverts them into different compounds.
There will no doubt be more innovative upcycling techniques discovered in the coming years spurred on by the evident effects of climate change and the urgent need to drive sustainability in all economic sectors. It is encouraging to know that upcycling is one beauty movement that is here to stay. So let’s get creative and see how much circularity we can bring to the beauty industry together.
Lorraine’s challenge to us as formulators is to think about an upcycled ingredient that we can use in our formulations. And if you are a beauty shopper, seek out a brand that uses upcycled ingredients and see what you think about their ethos and product performance. Let’s see how much circularity and creativity we can bring to the beauty industry together.Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.