what is upcycled skincare

What is upcycling?

You may have heard of upcycling furniture or perhaps even clothes. But the idea of taking something old and transforming it into something new is also an emerging trend in natural skincare.

Another string to sustainable beauty’s bow, upcycled ingredients are making waves in the skincare world - and with the climate crisis becoming ever more pertinent, using less and reusing more is crucial.

As a certified organic brand, sustainability is always at the heart of what we do – which is why upcycling is a trend we’ve already got behind.

But what is upcycling and what are the benefits? Read on to find out how upcycling works, and how we’re using upcycled ingredients in our products to make them good for you and the planet.

 upcycled apricots

What is upcycling?

Also known as creative reuse, upcycling is the process of transforming waste or unwanted products into something new and useful. Within beauty, this usually means taking produce from another industry - often food - that's going to waste, and using it as an ingredient that’s good for our skin or hair.

Upcycling involves two industries working together to help each other and the planet. One better than recycling, with upcycling you are not only reusing something – but improving the quality of the so-called waste product. For example, when you recycle plastic packaging, over time the product becomes degraded; with upcycling it’s always an upgrade.

So what can be upcycled? The list is endless. The skincare industry has started to use anything from coffee grounds to olive stones and apricot kernels that would otherwise be binned, to create products that are full of beauty benefits. For example, in our C-2 Believe Vitamin C moisturiser, we use upcycled Bilberry Extract which comes from seeds ditched by the juicing industry.

But upcycling doesn’t only reduce waste. It also reduces the need for production, which overall uses less resources. This is good news for the environment as we try to collectively create less emissions and slow down global warming.

 upcycled moisturiser

What is zero waste?

While upcycled ingredients follow a ‘waste not, want not’ process, they’re not the only way to cut back on landfill. Zero waste is another term that’s on the rise, and an important one that’s not to be confused with upcycling.

Whereas upcycling takes waste products and makes them into something new, zero waste refers to any ingredient that is grown without creating waste in the first place.

For example, our C-2 Believe moisturiser uses zero-waste Camellia Oil that’s been grown specifically for its oil – and any leftovers are then used for other purposes rather being thrown away.

 camellia oil

How to find upcycled and zero waste beauty products

Thanks to the ever-growing green beauty movement, getting your hands on sustainable products is becoming easier – and you shouldn’t need a magnifying glass to work out which ones contain upcycled or zero waste ingredients. If a brand is using them, they’ll likely shout about it; just make sure you look for markers of authenticity such as the Soil Association or COSMOS logos.

With the availability of these ingredients increasing all the time, they could pop up in all sorts of formulas in natural skincare products, from cleansers and oils to serums and masks.

At Pai, our entire range is certified organic or natural by COSMOS, so you can rest assured that every single ingredient is carefully selected – because using natural resources responsibly is part of the criteria. On top of that, we’ve been using upcycled Apricot Kernel Oil in our products for years. You’ll find it in The Anthemis, Virtuous Circle, Feather Canyon, Salvation Jane and more recently, C-2 Believe.

But we don’t just choose these ingredients for their eco credentials (impressive as they are). We pick them because they have incredible benefits for your skin. That’s why our Vitamin C face cream contains both upcycled and zero-waste ingredients.

Bilberry and Plum seeds and Apricot kernels from agricultural, food and juice industries that would otherwise go to waste have been extracted to create high-quality, nutrient-rich oils via cold pressing or CO2 extraction. The Bilberry extract in particular is an exciting one for sensitive skin; it’s rich in the omegas that your skin needs to build ceramides, AKA the building blocks of a strong and healthy barrier.

We’ve also added in zero waste botanicals: Camellia Oil and Mango Seed Butter. These raw materials are specifically grown for their oils; any waste is carefully managed and utilised for animal feed or as a natural fertiliser, so as not to go to landfill. And for your skin? They’re rich in antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids and flavonoids – another win for your skin barrier. Good for the planet, great for you.

Shop our certified organic skincare range here


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