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Review supports upcycled coffee potential for cosmetics

Sustainability continues to dominate the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industry in 2023, and companies, in turn, continue to research and develop innovative offerings to meet consumer demand. In a competitive market that already offers a plethora of green beauty brands and products, a particular cosmetic ingredient readily lends itself to the upcycling movement in cosmetics: coffee.

Something big is brewing

Coffee is already well-regarded as a cosmetic ingredient because of its high concentration of naturally occurring polyphenols like caffeine and chlorogenic acid. Caffeine is often used in products like eye-brighteners as its benefits include anti-aging properties, and chlorogenic acid is incorporated into various products for its powerful antioxidant benefits.

As coffee is industrially processed, by-products like spent coffee grounds or coffee silverskin are produced in high-volume amounts; as “about 50% of the coffee fruit is discarded in its production, the coffee industry is responsible for generating large quantities of residues,​” according to the recently published scientific review​.

These by-products still contain “bioactive compounds and other chemical characteristics that can provide functional properties in cosmetic formulations​,” which means that as one of the most widely consumed beverages globally, there’s a significant amount of by-products available for potential reuse.

Disposing of these by-products is a challenge for coffee manufacturers as there are potential environmental hazards related to its high-polyphenol composition, which can “present a phytotoxic effect when improperly discarded in the soil.” 


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