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…


UpCircle is now a business deeply ingrained in the olive ecosystem! How? Because we make our Face Mask from the fine powder of discarded olive stones. 

But what is the process that makes this by-product? And how does it go (literally) from farm to face? 

Join us for a celebration of all things olive. 


It's that time, you've used every last drop of serum, scrubbed on every last grain of coffee, there is no evidence your balm jar ever even had balm in it. 

But what now...? What should you do with the packaging? In this blog we go through each individual bit of our packaging so you're clear exactly what to do. 

You'll be pleasantly surprised how simple it is.

An UpCircle Guide To Exfoliating

What is it? Why should I do it? How do I do it? What types are there? What works best? How do I choose? 

Full of questions? Fear not. We'll bust through them all in this UpCircle exfoliation guide.

Get clued up, get scrubbed up, have a read!

How To Be Sustainable In Your Skincare Routine

With global warming and #zerowaste at the forefront of our minds in 2019, we’re all becoming increasingly aware of the environmental footprint we are leaving. 

Use our easy guide to assess the sustainability of your skincare routine with easy swaps to ensure minimum environmental impact and maximum results!

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?

Your Veganuary Survival Guide

2019 has been hailed “The Year Of The Vegan”. First, we had Beyoncé and Jay-Z asking us to go vegan. Then, Greggs launched a vegan sausage roll. We’re signing up for Veganuary in record numbers. Being vegan has never been more popular!

Becoming vegan, even temporarily, can be a daunting prospect. So we’ve written a handy guide with key information, easy swaps and things to consider for Veganuary!

New Year, new skincare resolutions


New Year, new skincare resolutions.

2020 is here, and we've got plenty of suggestions for easy-to-implement skincare regime upgrades!


The reputation: Pushy, desperate, wild-eyed, greedy, excessive... fundamentally unsustainable. 

Not ideal.

So, as a start up ethical brand, centred around sustainability, why have we chosen to participate in Black Friday this year?

Double cleansing – what is it and how do I do it?

Cleansing your skin is absolutely vital! Most of us are city-dwellers, constantly bombarded by airborne bacteria and pollution.

If we don’t properly clean our skin, these toxins and dirt accumulate, contributing to aging, spots and pigmentation.

Healthy-looking skin is clean skin!

Global Womxnhood: Women Creating Change

As a female founded brand, with a predominantly female team, what it means to be a woman in today's society is something we are passionate about here at UpCircle.

This week we have a guest blog from the girl power duo Hannah and Izzy, the founders of shado mag. Read on for a look into some of the different ways women around the world are creating change.

Love Food. Hate Waste. How you can be a guardian of grub!

We’re here to talk food waste. A recent Evening Standard article discussed how fears of climate change are gripping Britain, with over 85% of the population worrying about how our planet is changing!

Read on for top tips to save your food from ending up in the trash - including a couple of fridge-clearing recipes!


International Coffee Day. A global celebration of our favourite beverage... and our favourite skincare ingredient!

So what better way to celebrate than by sharing our top skincare recipes that all feature (you've guessed it) COFFEE!


We'll keep this brief, today a global climate strike is under way, with millions of people protesting for an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.

Team UpCircle is joining the strike, so forgive us for the radio silence - there was no way we were going to miss this.

If you'd like a little more detail on what all this is about, click below.


Our friends over at Little's Coffee have really come up with the goods... this blog contains their top 3 coffee-based cooking recipes. Because yes, you can drink it, you can scrub with it - and you can also eat it! 

And then, just to finish off, a boozy coffee tipple to tie things all together.

So. Click below and stay on board the coffee appreciation train. 

Are you getting greenwashed?

Let's not beat around the bush, being "green" is pretty trendy right now, meaning lots of brands are jumping on the bandwagon, making marketing U turns in a bid to be the most eco of them all. 

How can you spot unsubstantiated or misleading claims? Who is genuine? Who is just riding the wave?



We were invited to get involved with the Global Cosmetics news podcast. And with a title like this one ☝️ we practically ran to the studio. 🏃

Click the button below to listen in full!

The Optiat / UpCircle Rebrand - Our First 6 Months!

It's now just over 6 months since we switched up our brand, waving goodbye to Optiat and hello to UpCircle.

But how has it all gone? What have we achieved and what have we learned? And, perhaps most importantly, WHAT'S NEXT?

The UpCircle Guide To Smashing Zero waste week!

It's zero waste week - whoop whoop! We all know single-use plastic is a major issue, but here's the thing: we ultimately cannot recycle our way out of the plastic problem - we need to reduce our consumption. We need change!

So, we've put together a nifty set of tips to help reduce your single-use packaging materials. It may seem daunting, but remember - every little helps!

Sweat Vs. Skin. Can Both Sides Win?

Once we're off our bums and at the gym, there seems to be no downside to getting in a good workout — that is, unless post-workout pimples begin to appear.

We hand over to fitness correspondent Molly for her expert tips in managing the workout / breakout conflict.

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

ICYMI: We just dropped our brand new Cacao and Coffee Body Scrub and unsurprisingly the orders went flying out the door. Why unsurprisingly? Can you name one better pairing than chocolate and coffee? We'll wait.

These two are the GOAT. The MVPs. The OGs. So, in celebration of all things chocolate, we've gone into more detail about why it is that we're all so obsessed, and why its not just the taste that's drawing us in.

The harmful chemicals hiding in your house

We are often told "BEWARE: There are hidden toxic ingredients in the products you use everyday". It's certainly not comforting... particularly when you've got little to no knowledge on what those nasty ingredients may be.. or how to decipher them. 

Well, here to unpack it all for us is Natasha (AKA Forage Botanicals) with a guest blog just for us.

Let's get stuck in!

Ditch the Fast Fashion

It’s safe to say that more often than not, the clothes that we buy should probably be costing us more. If you properly factor in staff, overheads like rent, materials and global transportation, the price of a simple sweatshirt should be (a lot) more than £10. We really need to consider the true cost of the clothes that we take for granted every day!

UpCircle Wins FSB Ethical Green Business of the Year!

We are thrilled to have been named the FSB Ethical Green Business of the Year! Due to our win we will go through to the UK final in London on 23 May - wish us luck!

Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliants - Which Is Better?

For the past few years, skincare has been having a major moment. But with more interest comes a lot more information, and it can be a little difficult to keep up with the dos and don'ts.

In this post, we break down the options when it comes to exfoliation to help you feel confident in choosing what is the best form of attack when it comes to scrubbing!

UpCircle Wins Pitch To Sainsbury's Buyers!

Last week we took part in the inaugural Sainsbury’s Beauty & Wellbeing Live Innovation Pitch at Natural & Organic Products Europe. The team of buyers listened to fast-paced two-minute pitches from six beauty brands that had been shortlisted from over 60 companies.

Click READ MORE to watch a video of Anna's winning pitch!

The Roots of UpCircle - A Chat With Anna

I’m meeting Anna Brightman in a restaurant on the South Bank. She hugs me, asks me how I am, and if I found the place alright.

Anna’s office is located in a railway arch, and is stocked pile high with organic skincare products, with a couple of desks for her and her brother, William, crammed in too.

Listen to the Impact Hustlers podcast

The Impact Hustlers podcast features entrepreneurs and change-makers solving the world's biggest problems and creating massive social impact.

In this episode UpCircle co-founders Anna and William Brightman chat with host Maiko Schaffrath about their achievements to date. 

Zero Is Hero: The Zero Waste Movement

You may have seen blog diaries of eco-warriors cutting their waste down so much they can fit a whole year’s worth of rubbish into one small glass jar. These are the zero-wasters, championing green living by actively reducing their rubbish output by an astounding amount. But there is more to the zero waste movement than those stylised images of junk jars on your Insta feed.

Greenhouse Pioneers - Interview With The Founders

Pioneering natural beauty company UpCircle take natural ingredients and give them a new lease of life in their organic skincare range. As they say, good for the world, good for you. Read this interview with the founders of sustainable skincare business UpCircle to learn their story.

Cellulite later

Cellulite, a common bugbear that affects the majority of us – the vast majority of women will experience cellulite at some point over their lives. Yes, even the seemingly flawless “insta models”.

So, rather than agonising over how to banish cellulite (not an easy task), it’s crucial first and foremost to know that you don’t need to! Regardless, there are steps you can take to help minimise its appearance – so we thought we would share some insight.

What actually are face serums anyway?

Face serums. 5 years ago you might not have heard of them, whereas now it’s hard to hear about anything else. If you’re unsure what all this serum malarkey is about, don’t worry, you’re not alone. With so many skincare products out there, claiming to fix this and smooth out that, it can be confusing to know what they’re all for and which ones might work for you. We're here to unravel the mysteries of face serum for you.

Your Sustainable Valentine's Day Gift Guide

With Christmas and New Year firmly in the rear view mirror and the January pay check coming over the horizon, everyone is starting to talk about the next diary-worthy date – Valentine's Day!

We've put together a list of thoughtful and sustainable gift ideas for her and for him to suit all budgets.

An UpCircle guide to: DIY skincare

If you ask us, natural beauty is the way forward. DIY skincare is so easy, we think it’s mind-boggling that more people aren’t doing more of it.

So to encourage more of you to make the switch to natural skincare, we've put together our favourite DIY skincare recipes for you to try.

How To Save The World With The Circular Economy

The rumours are true. We need to do more to minimise waste, whether that’s recycling, reusing or remaking stuff from things that already exist.

New ideas and ways of thinking are required, so we've put together a list of handy tips and tools to help you promote a circular economy, just like us. Result!

Vegan Banana Choc Chip Cookies

These cookies are delicious: gluten free, vegan and very low in sugar. They are a perfect Veganuary snack!

In our opinion the cookies are sweet enough with the dates, chocolate and banana but feel free to add in a little coconut sugar if you like your cookies on the sweeter side!

All The Nasties: Toxic Skincare Ingredients To Avoid

What we put on our skin is important. But do you know what ingredients you should be avoiding in your skincare? Here are the toxic ingredients you don't want in your beauty routine.

Veganuary | What’s all the fuss about?

Whether it’s to help lose the insulation you put on over Christmas, to give your body a food detox or to start a healthier lifestyle, there are lots of reasons why we change our diets at the start of the year. This year, more people than ever are trying Veganuary.

Creamy Kale Vegan Salad

Every one knows about kale. But, it's surprisingly difficult to cook with, let alone taste nice. We reckon we've cracked it. Big call, we know.

This creamy vegan salad makes a deliciously simple lunch. It's so easy to make, you'll want it with everything!

Sprouted Vegan Everyday Porridge

Did you know that porridge has just overtaken toast as the UK’s favourite breakfast? Whilst we're always partial to a slice of toast slathered with nut butter, in the winter there really is nothing better than a warm bowl of porridge.

Check our vegan soaked porridge for the best recipe you'll ever try!

6 Reasons For Rebranding

As loyal followers of our brand journey we owe you a more in depth explanation. What, exactly, has happened over the past month? There’ve been a few changes and it’s only fair we share why. So, in this post we’ll lay bare our thought processes in the name of transparency.

The Christmas coffee conundrum: How to have high street Christmas coffees as a Vegan

Christmas is coming and the seasonal coffees are here. But don't worry, you can still have your Christmas coffee and drink it, even as a vegan – here's how

London's First Zero Waste Market


The newly re-branded UpCircle products debuted at London's First Zero Waste Market this December. The event was a huge success - check out the highlights video, featuring UpCircle co-founder Anna!

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 UpCircle 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 UpCircle 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 UpCircle team are here to guide you into the unique world of hemp products.