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…

OUTSIDE LANE PODCAST


Outside Lane tells the stories of the people and businesses inspiring coffee culture today. In this episode, Lane Eight owner George chats with Anna about the UpCircle journey to date, day to day life as a brand founder, and how the coffee collecting idea began!

Urban dwellers: what is skin pollution?


What is skin pollution and what are the effects of it on skin? In this post, we explain how to protect skin from sun and pollution naturally.

UpCircle Before and Afters


We use the highest quality ingredients, for the best possible results. You'll feel, and SEE, the difference!

But of course, this is all very easy to say... The proof is in the before and afters of our very own UpCirclers.

What is my skin type?

 
What is my skin type? The answer to this common question isn’t always clear-cut. We explain how to identify your skin type and choose products accordingly.

THE BUSINESS OF KINDNESS PODCAST

Curious about how our repurposed ingredients are transformed from their first life into their next life as an UpCircle product? Check out our interview for the "Business of Kindness" podcast!

What are parabens and why are they so bad?

 
It’s likely that you’ve heard of parabens and their bad reputation. But what exactly are parabens and why are they so bad? In this post, we explain all.

Our top tips for acne-free skin

 
We share our top tips to clear up acne and keep those blemishes at bay. From keeping your skincare regime simple to making some healthy lifestyle changes.

EASTER NO-BAKE MOUSSE CAKE!

 
What's Easter without chocolate? This is one of our favourite cake recipes for 3 reasons: it only requires 4 main ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to make and is a WONDERFUL vegan and gluten-free alternative to cheesecake!!

UPCIRCLE ON BBC RADIO LONDON!


Anna is interviewed live on BBC Radio London, following the huge response to our NHS pamper parcels send out - have a listen in full!

UPCYCLING INSPO: PLANT STAND!

As you might imagine we get through a LOT of rolls of paper tape at UpCircle HQ. We hired Barbs as our warehouse manager a few months ago and soon noticed that she had begun collecting up the inner cardboard tubes from the rolls and taking a box full home each Friday. Have a read to find out why!!

UPCYCLING INSPO: ALUMINIUM TINS!

Upcycling, the process of making something better from things that already exist. We do it in every single UpCircle product, but upcycling can be applied to much more than just ingredients. 

If you made the vegan chilli recipe that we posted last week you will have been left with a few empty tins. Read on to see how you can give them a another life in a new form!

"THERE'S NO FOOD IN THE HOUSE (OR SHOPS!)" RECIPES

Whether you belong in the panic buying crew or the anti-hysteria crew, we can all benefit from some creative home cooking recipes at the moment.

So, we thought we would share with you some of our favourite tasty meals made from pantry-essentials that you hopefully won't have to venture out to buy, but already have in the safety of your home!

WORKING FROM HOME WITH TEAM UPCIRCLE

UpCircle HQ is a pretty quiet place at the moment, as is to be expected. Half of our workforce (2 out of 4 of us!!) are working from home. However, when your job title is "Warehouse Manager" working from home is a bit tricky! Safe to say we've had to get creative and stay open-minded! 

So let's check in with the "at home crew" and see how they're adapting!

IWD: MEET THE WOMEN OF UPCIRCLE

One of the best things about working in a small team? Every one of us is our own boss. This International Women's Day is about how we each make a difference.

So, let's meet the team and celebrate the vital input of each of the UpCircle gals.

The Step-by-Step Guide To Clearer, Brighter Skin

Ever wondered how to create a full skincare regime using UpCircle products? How often to use them and in what order? We've put together a handy step-by-step guide so you can get clued up on how to create your very own skincare routine, with tips on which products to suit your skin type!

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 UpCircle, 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.

 

Deliciously Easy Vegan Pancakes

Easy, simple-to-make vegan pancakes that are a perfect way to start your day. Have a read and prepare to make your own!

UPCIRCLER TESTIMONY

It's easy for us to tell you how amazing our products are... but we're biased!

Have a listen to some vlogger reviews - because you don't need to take our word for it!

INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHT: OLIVE POWDER

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. 

HOW OUR PACKAGING SHOULD BE RECYCLED

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 BLACK FRIDAY CONUNDRUM

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: OUR FAVE COFFEE SKINCARE 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!

*OUTOFOFFICE* AT CLIMATE STRIKE

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.

SUPER TASTY LITTLE'S COFFEE RECIPES!

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?

PODCAST: TRASH TO TREASURE: RECYCLING FOOD WASTE

BUSINESS PODCAST FROM GLOBAL COSMETICS NEWS

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.