The Ideas Factory

We're restlessly determined to make products that leave the planet better than we found it. We do things differently – and love sharing our ideas for making things better.

Each week we add to our blog, posting everything from DIY beauty recipes, waste-fighting tips, UpCircle guides and interviews with people and brands who inspire us.

Welcome to the UpCircle blog, we hope you enjoy reading…

Can coffee oil help your skin?

Our normal morning cup of caffeine is known for giving us a daily dose of energy, when all we feel like doing is crawling back to bed. But that’s only if you drink coffee, right? Turns out, coffee oil could be the answer to getting the benefits of coffee without actually needing to gulp it down.

An Optiat Guide to: Recycling

Let’s be honest, many of us don’t do as much recycling as we could do.  It's not easy to recycle, especially when we don’t see the harmful effects of it, but it’s high time we all turned a little bit more green.

So we've created a handy, go-to recycling guide to make being eco-friendly easier for everyone, including what the recycling symbols mean and some helpful hints on how to recycle smarter.

Chai five!

Masala chai, or chai tea to many of us, is one of the most well-loved drinks in the world. Born in India as an ancient remedy to aches and pains, it is now the new cafe staple. But what is chai? How is it good for us?

Read on to find all about what health benefits chai holds and how we give residual chai spices a new lease of life.

Palming off The Palm

Palm oil is one of the most widely used ingredients in the world, hiding away in everything from bread to shampoo. However, its use has made the news for all the wrong reasons, leading to more and more people jumping off the palm bandwagon. 

Read on to find out why palm oil is so controversial and what alternatives are out there. 

Avoiding the Dead Look With the DIY Spiced Pumpkin Latte Face Mask

Society deems it unacceptable to take sweets from strangers or terrify the neighbours, yet on Halloween it’s actively encouraged. However, all of the face-paint, sugar-laden goodies and repetitive grimacing can leave your skin looking a little worse for wear.

Bring your skin back from Zombieland with our original DIY spiced pumpkin latte facemask. Who says your pumpkin has to go to waste?

Behind the Scenes at Dragons’ Den – Our Experience

What was the biggest surprise for us going on the show? Spending over three hours being grilled by the Dragons! Standing the whole time, with bright lights beaming at you, answering question after question.

We had no idea what the BBC would decide to show on TV. It could be the worst moment of our lives: embarrassed in front of millions, laughed at and kicked out of the Den. It was terrifying!

An Optiat Guide to: Minimising waste

It's often been said that only two things in life are certain; death and taxes. However there is one more one thing that's for sure - the fact that no-one likes to see waste.

Keep that chin up though, there are plenty of ways in which everyone can minimise the amount of waste they produce. So delve into our handy guide and help yourself to help everyone. It’d be wasteful not to.

Calling Out For Hemp

Hemp is still a mystery material to many people, associated with the kind of baskets carried around by aged hippies - but it's so much more than that. It's an amazing, sustainable and totally vegan material that we just love.


In this article, the Optiat team are here to guide you into the unique world of hemp products.



An Optiat Guide to a Day at the Spa

To chill out, relax and take a load off your mind, there's nowhere better than a day at the spa. Aromatherapy, massages, body scrubs - being seriously pampered is always a great way to spend your time.


In this article, the Optiat team are here to guide you through the spa-going process, to take you to a seriously chilled out world.


Seriously Though, What is Activated Charcoal?

According to a quick scour of the internet there are many uses for charcoal, only some of them made up. However, throw into the mix the word 'activated' and suddenly there's a whole world of confusion. 


Read on to help tell the fact apart from fiction. 

Does Caffeine Help Your Skin?

Does caffeine-infused skincare really make you glow or is just your imagination saving you from the embarrassment of paying for snake oil?

Fortunately the boffins in the lab have worked long and hard to get to the bottom of this contentious issue. So grab a coffee, take a sip and read on. Their findings might just cause a bit of a buzz.

Welcome to Your Sustainable Future

It can often seem as though the world's gone a bit gloomy. Oil spills, smoke-spewing factories and unbearable temperatures forcing people to stock up on suncream. 

At Optiat we think a different future is possible, a better future. So throw open your blinds and look out. The year is 2040, it's bright outside. Welcome to another possibility. 

The Optiat Guide to All the Coffee in the World, for Beginners or the Forgetful.

We’re not one for hyperbole, but we don’t believe we’re exaggerating when we say coffee is quite literally the greatest thing ever. 

As such we feel like it’s our duty to help unmuddle the most impenetrable of subject areas - the coffee shop menu.

A Miniature History of Veganism

In the early days people used a fair bit of meat. Cavemen would sit around a fire after the sun had set, boasting about how many gazelles they’d brought home that night.

However nowadays veganism isn't just accepted, it's become a mainstream movement. Come join us on a journey to find out what changed over all those years.

How Used Coffee Became Gold Dust

The less coffee we waste the better. Fortunately, a number of clever companies have realised the great potential in leftover grounds.

Here at Optiat, we’re fully on board with that message, and in the spirit of innovation, have lovingly compiled a list of a few of our faves.


Blackheads, Whiteheads and the Grey in Between

Watch the TV for a while and, sure enough, you’ll likely be treated to an advert for some kind of acne skincare - normally involving a 20-something-year-old actor pretending to be a teen with a pimple. 

One question though. What actually is a pimple, and how do you get rid of them?

By Whatever Beans Necessary: The Coffee Journey

Where coffee comes from is still a mystery to many.  Regardless of the reasons, we feel it’s not only important, but fascinating to know a bean's journey from shrub to scrub.

So put on your adventure boots and join us, it's going to be quite the ride!

The Dramatic Rise and Fall of Microbeads

Microbeads, remember them? They’re those tiny dots that were all the rage a few short years ago. Open virtually any facial cleanser and there they were, glittering in the bathroom light.

Why did they become so popular though? And, more importantly, why did they fall from grace?

Getting Under the Skin of Organic Labels

In 2011 the first "organic water" hit the shelves of America, well and truly confirming the fact that people will, indeed buy anything. 

However, getting under the skin of organic labels shows that there's more than meets the eye, so come - have a peek with us.

The Hidden Benefits of Vegan Skincare

Have you ever picked up a bottle of shower gel and seen that little squiggly sunflower symbol on the bottle? It’s often small but the meaning behind it is huge. It's vegan skincare.

Here are just a few reasons that its benefits are more than skin deep.

"The Hemp Collection" Face Mask Reviews

Have a read of some of the reviews and feedback we have received on our organic hemp face mask range!

Green and Clean. A Paradox?

Kermit the frog famously once sang “it’s not easy being green” and if you were to glance on over at any newspaper lying nearby you might be tempted to agree.

But it doesn't have to be that way - thanks to these tips.

Our Favourite At Home Beauty Recipes

What better way to explore how beauty products are made than to make them yourself?

Here are just a few of our favourite DIY beauty recipes. You won't believe how simple they are. 

Optiat Features on Hoxton Radio!

Co-founder Anna spent the morning with the wonderful hosts of Hoxton Radio chatting about all things Optiat.

Listen to her radio debut here!

Optiat Podcast With The Clean Hub

The Clean Hub is a community of clean beauty enthusiasts that seek to educate the beauty world of alternatives to toxic ingredients.

We were thrilled when they contacted us to be a part of their 'Clean Chat' podcast series. Have a listen!

London Coffee Festival, A Look Back!

This weekend marked the official 2nd birthday of Optiat. 

We love looking back to see how far we have come between our three experiences at the show, from day zero, to year one, to year two. We thought it would be fun to take a look back at snapshots from each year!

Fran's Sweet Buckwheat Banana Waffles

After recently buying a waffle maker, we have been experimenting big time in the kitchen. The humble waffle maker can produce some incredible dishes when you choose to think outside the box! Take a look at our favourite recipes!

Our Hemp Collection Gallery

A collection of images of lovely people enjoying our "Hemp Collection" face mask range!

Introducing Henny & Joe's

As we get ready to release our new soap bars we caught up with Ash from Henny & Joe's, the chai tea company whose leftover spices have formed the base of our new range!

The Food Waste Series: nibs etc.

In the Food Waste Series we will catch up with some of our fave zero waste pioneers: third in the series we chatted with Chloe, founder of nibs etc., who make delicious crackers from juice pulp!

Optiat Coffee Scrub Reviews

Don't want to take our word for it? Have a read of some of this feedback on our "For The Love Of Scrub" range!

Fran's Vegan Pancakes

This Pancake Day we will be tucking in to yet another of Fran's delicious batches of vegan pancakes! Have a read and get ready to make your own!

The Food Waste Series: Snact

In our food waste blog series we will catch up with some of our fave zero waste pioneers! 

Second in the series we chatted with food waste Snactivists.

Optiat Launches into Topshop

We are extremely excited to announce that Topshop have now officially launched our scrubs into selected stores and on their website!

Optiat Events Calendar

Here's what we've got planned for the first couple of months in 2018! 

Have a read for event dates and information!

The Food Waste Series: ChicP

In our food waste blog series we will catch up with some of our fave zero waste pioneers! 

First up we chatted with Hannah McCollum, the founder of ChicP.

Fran's Homemade Vegan Mince Pies

These mince pies are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free and nut free – perfect for all sorts of allergies and dietary requirements. So, there is absolutely no reason not to make, eat and enjoy them!

Optiat are the Chosen Winners of £1,500 Investment

A couple of weeks ago we went to Vevolution festival to pitch Optiat at the Pitch + Plant Dragons’ Den Competition.

We were delighted to walk away as the winners!

Our #ScrubSquad Gallery - Part 2!

Another collection of images of lovely people enjoying our "For The Love Of Scrub" range!

Optiat is Endorsed by the Naturewatch Foundation

Naturewatch Foundation is a registered charity working to improve the lives of animals. We are proud to now be one of their endorsed cruelty free brands!

Read our guest blog!

Optiat Launches into As Nature Intended and Fenwick Bond Street

We've got two brand new stockists to announce! Optiat scrubs and face masks have recently launched in all five As Nature Intended stores as well as the beautiful Fenwick store on Bond Street!

Optiat Launches in Belgium

We recently launched Optiat in Belgium via fashion agency Acris Fashion.

Co-Founder Anna travelled out to Antwerp to present the brand!

'The Hemp Collection' Press Launch

We couldn't be happier to finally have our brand new organic hemp face mask range ready!

We launched the collection to press and bloggers at our own event this week!

Our #ScrubSquad Gallery!

A collection of images of lovely people enjoying our "For The Love Of Scrub" range!

Optiat Launches into Whole Foods

We are thrilled to announce the roll-out of our full range of natural, sustainable coffee scrubs across Whole Foods’ 7 UK stores. Whole Foods represents the second major supermarket chain to us, following hot on the heels of Planet Organic.

This Vital Ingredient Could Be Ruining Your Skin

Bad skin is becoming more common. However this trend is unusual given many of the people now suffering did not have spots as teenagers. So what is going on?

Fare Healthy - The Brands You Need to Know About

We had a blast exhibiting at Fare Healthy!

With so many fantastic brands at the show, we thought we would run you through some of our faves!

Sleep – A Waste of Time or the Secret to Lifelong Health and Beauty?

Some of the most successful people in the world claim to thrive off 3 or 4 hours a night. Is this realistic or sustainable?

We discuss the issue of sleep in our blog post below!

Paris - The Places You Need to Visit

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

There is a romance about Paris and a je ne sais quoi that fills the air.

We take you through our favourite places to visit, both old and new!

Problems in the Coffee Industry and How We're Fixing Them

It's no secret that an awful lot of us absolutely love drinking coffee. However, unfortunately the coffee industry isn’t as green as we’d like it to be.

Find out more about how we at Optiat are trying to make a change!