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…

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 – Why Is Palm Oil Bad For The Environment?

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.



An UpCircle 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 UpCircle 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 UpCircle 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 UpCircle 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.

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.

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. 

UpCircle Features on Hoxton Radio!

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

Listen to her radio debut here!

UpCircle 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 UpCircle. 

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!

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 UpCircle Food Waste Series we chat to 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!

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.