Coffee scrubs are the latest beauty craze, and its popularity is fast increasing.
I don’t drink coffee, but I love how it smells and I’m a fan of coffee scrubs for exfoliating my skin.
Some skin benefits of coffee scrubs:
- Caffeine in coffee helps stimulate blood flow, increase circulation and help tighten skin, smooth puffiness, reduce acne breakouts, fight free radicals and help smooth the appearance of cellulite.
- Coffee helps plump the skin and adds a healthy glow to it.
- Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for the skin because they protect the skin against free radicals that damage the skin.
- Coffee also has skin softening, toning and brightening properties.
I caught up with the founders of
the nature-friendly skincare company to find out more about the brand and their products.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Optiat was founded by myself, Anna, and my brother William.
My brother and I are very different and have very different past jobs! Before forming Optiat, William was working in finance for a hedge fund and I was working as an area manager for a supermarket managing several stores. My brother and I have very different strengths, so we really compliment each other when it comes to heading up our own business.
How did it all start? What inspired you to start your own brand?
The idea to make sustainable coffee scrubs from re-purposed used coffee grounds came about from a culmination of different things. Firstly, William was bought a Cafetière and was making his own coffee every morning. He lived in Central London with no garden and so didn’t have enough plants to put the grounds on (as many people do) so instead he was simply throwing them away.
He got to thinking that if he alone was throwing away so many coffee grounds each morning, then, given the size of the coffee industry, on a wider scale there must be an awful lot of waste – and he was right!
After research we learnt that we are throwing away 500,000 tonnes of coffee to landfill each year in the UK alone. If we could create a product which could help to minimize this then that could only be a good thing!
We were also aware that people have been using coffee on their skin for many years around the world and that it was something that had taken off particularly well in Australia in recent years.
However, no one seemed to be making coffee scrubs from used coffee grounds. All of this came in parallel to the huge rise in awareness of the devastating impact of microbeads on our environment. I would definitely say that the microbead scandal was our final tipping point! As we all look towards natural alternatives for our exfoliators, repurposed coffee seemed like a brilliant option!
How did you come up with the name Optiat?
Our brand name Optiat is an acronym for the phrase “One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure”. We think it succinctly demonstrates what we are all about as a brand.
It is our focus on sustainability and making something out of nothing that we feel really sets us apart from the rest. We aim to show people that the unloved ingredients which we use in our products still have a huge amount to offer us. If we can produce high quality, effective skincare products by promoting sustainability as our core message, our hope is to demonstrate that we can all be more resourceful, that we can promote a circular economy and to inspire the beauty industry as a whole to be less wasteful.
What are the core values and goals of your brand?
We are committed to being the nature-friendly beauty company. We will never compromise on our ethics and we will never compromise on the quality of our products. We are committed to changing our current ‘take, make, dispose’ world by promoting a circular economy. We stand for beauty with a conscience.
How did you decide on what products to create? Tell us about your product range.
The range is formed of four naturally-scented sustainable coffee scrubs, made from repurposed used coffee grounds collected from cafes and restaurants across London.
Our second range, ‘The Hemp Collection’ is a range of certified organic face masks made from repurposed unloved hemp husks (a natural by-product of the manufacture of hemp seeds) which we collect from an organic hemp farm in the English countryside.
Relatively known as a superfood, hemp is a holistic ingredient used for a variety of purposes including for fuel, protein, fibre and medicine. The husks are an excellent source of minerals and a rare source of insoluble fibre.
We combine the hemp husks with clays, activated charcoal and other organic ingredients to create our range of three face masks: for oily/combination skin, sensitive skin, and for men! When used topically, the hemp husks act as a gentle exfoliator to lightly buff away dead skin cells and cleanse your skin for a glowing complexion.
Was it important for you to use natural and organic ingredients? Why?
Yes, absolutely! In recent times there has been a real increase of interest in all things health and wellness. This started with fitness, then moved on to food, supplements and protein and is now approaching beauty and cosmetics too.
If you look at an ingredients list for a food item and can’t understand what it says, then you would think twice about consuming it, and now we are applying the same critical, questioning eye to our consumption of beauty and skincare products. Our products encourage consumers to experiment with the burgeoning trend of food as cosmetics.
Whilst a lot of attention has historically been focused on what food we put inside our bodies, people are beginning to scrutinise more closely what they are putting on their bodies too.
Whilst we can’t make our coffee scrubs certified organic, owing to the fact not all the cafes and bars we collect coffee grounds from use Certified Organic coffee beans, we recognise the importance of organic certification.
We pride ourselves on being the nature-friendly skincare company, and so having organic products, where possible (i.e. wherever this does not compromise our use of more sustainable repurposed ingredients), is very important to us.
The merits of organic certification are numerous: from strict criteria on ingredients (e.g. no irradiation, testing on animals or treatment with toxic chemicals) and manufacturing processes to only using certain recyclable packaging and having a waste management process in place, it certainly analyses all parts of the supply chain!
Fundamentally it empowers us all to have confidence that what we are putting on our skin can be trusted. And that will always be a good thing.
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your own brand?
The main difficulty has been explaining to those responsible for the ingredients why we want to take them away! For example, if there is a new member of staff at one of our coffee shops, it is critical that we explain the process of our collections. When we go in and try to explain that we don’t want a latte or a cappuccino, but actually just want to collect their used grounds, there can be some confusion! Once they realise it is in the name of sustainability people are absolutely delighted to be involved.
Who are your products suitable for?
Optiat coffee scrubs can be used on all skin types as they are completely natural and made by hand using plant-based ingredients. Because our products are produced by hand we know that no nasties are being added at any stage – no chemicals, no parabens, no palm oil – and nothing that would be likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Due to the essential oils, almond oil and shea butter the scrubs are very moisturising, so they are particularly good for people with dry skin or for people who suffer from dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
It can be quite a challenge for people with very sensitive skin to find suitable skincare products that don’t have harsh ingredients. Our products are naturally scented and our ingredients lists are short and readable – which is always a telltale sign of an authentic, simple and natural product.
What are your top three tips for healthy, glowing skin?
– Drink lots of water
– Use natural, kind-to-skin products
– Always take your makeup off before bed! (I recommend coconut oil, it melts makeup right off!)
What’s next for Optiat and what products can we look forward to?
There are so many wonderful natural ingredients which are unfortunately going unused. We are keen to rescue these unloved, unwanted ingredients and continue to develop more skincare products from them.
Without wanting to give too much away, we will soon be releasing a lovely new range of products made from brewed chai spices which were previously used to make chai tea. By the time the chai production process is over, the spices are no longer needed yet they still smell amazing! We have taken the chai spices and used them as the core ingredient for an exciting new range. As always, our new products are vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable and 100% natural.
We are also revisiting our coffee scrubs and exploring some exciting new scents, we’ve been using our social media to ask our #ScrubSquad what scents they would like to see next!
I will be reviewing some products soon so stay tuned!