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Get to Know Your Supplier - Full Circle (Upcycled Beauty Ltd)
1. Tell Us About Your Company? What Inspired You To Get Into The Cosmetic Ingredient Industry?
At Full Circle, we develop natural and sustainable cosmetic ingredients that are made entirely from nutrient-rich plant-based leftovers that are too good to waste.
The overconsumption of the earth’s resources (along with the amount of waste produced) is having a harmful impact on our planet. It got us thinking – imagine a world where every single beauty product is made from the resources we already have around us, without creating anything new. In fact, when you think about it, the origins of the cosmetics industry began with making use of animal-derived by-products such as lanolin, squalene or tallow. Although we have sensibly moved away from animal origin, there is no reason why we cannot use other forms of ‘waste,’ such as plant-based by-products and leftovers.
Despite there being some suppliers already developing upcycled cosmetic ingredients, it appeared that it wasn’t a core focus for them. So, in 2017, we set off on our mission to prove that the industry can thrive solely by upcycling existing materials. Our portfolio of upcycled ingredients gives brands and formulators access to unique high-performance ingredients and reduces our footprint on the planet by making better use of the resources that are already available.
2. Is Your Newest Ingredient (Gin TONIQ®) Sustainable? Are The Raw Materials Locally Derived In The UK?
Yes and yes! We work in partnership with a local zero-to-landfill brewery in the UK who obtain their feedstock (barley grains) from the surrounding area in the East of England.
As part of the gin production process, the barley grain is initially used to develop a strong beer, before being transferred into a copper distiller where the alcohols are removed. This process results in some leftover grain ferment; we capture it fresh, straight from distillation. For every bottle of gin produced, we can upcycle 4 litres of gin distillery leftovers.
As part of the manufacturing process, we incorporate sustainably sourced glycerine which eliminates the need for any preservative. The final product – Gin TONIQ® - is produced in the UK.
3. What Types of Formulas Benefit From Adding This Ingredient?
One of the stand-out benefits is skin moisturization; it has been shown to deliver 3x more moisture than glycerine alone and offers long-lasting hydration for up to 8 hours. Since it’s a great source of phenolic acids, carbohydrates, minerals and antioxidants (such as ferulic acid), it can help to promote overall skin health. Additionally, this water-soluble ingredient has been proven to reduce inflammatory marker IL-8 (in-vitro), making it particularly ideal for sensitive or anti-irritation skincare products.
Gin TONIQ® is also perfect for formulators looking to make a postbiotic or “fermented” claim, or for those looking for a better alternative to glycerine. It’s worth noting that for brands wanting to talk about the sourcing of the material, we’re able to give them full visibility of the supply chain.
4. What Is The Future Of Upcycled Ingredients?
Upcycling and ZERO WASTE BEAUTY® isn’t a trend - it’s a movement. Thankfully, it’s gaining momentum; we’re seeing brands of all shapes and sizes looking for ways to eliminate waste from all aspects of their supply chain and product development processes in order to reduce their environmental impact.
Our vision is that one day, every beauty and personal care product will be made from upcycled materials - from ingredients to packaging! The key is to ensure there is no compromise on cost, performance, or provenance; we want to help the industry reach the point where there is no reason not to use upcycled ingredients.
5. What Is One Thing That You Could Change In The Cosmetics Industry?
For everyone to be manufacturing and using upcycled products. We really believe that the industry can thrive by using mostly - or exclusively - upcycled materials and ultimately transition towards a circular economy.