How do you take your coffee? It’s a question most of us can easily answer in cafés, but now it applies to your beauty routine, too. While coffee might be an integral part of your morning, it’s not usually considered a skincare ingredient. But lately, you might have noticed coffee grounds, oil, or extract on the ingredient labels of many skincare products.
One key reason why coffee keeps popping up in skincare products is caffeine. “Caffeine is a wonderful ingredient in skincare products because it is a vasoconstrictor. That means that it constricts blood vessels, or makes them smaller,” explains Parvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. Coffee is also secretly packed with good stuff for skin. “Coffeeberry extract is high in flavonoids and carotenoids and can help protect your skin from free radicals. It helps protect your skin from sunlight and photodamage,” says Dr. Patel, and adds that “coffee by itself has antioxidant properties as well.”
In an effort to use environmentally responsible production methods, some skincare brands are also repurposing used coffee grounds that would otherwise end up in landfills. UK-based skincare brand UpCircle Beauty works with London coffee shops to source its grounds. “In the UK, we send 500,000 tons of coffee waste to landfills per year, so there’s plenty for us to try to intercept before that happens,” says the brand’s co-founder, Anna Brightman. “Every day we’re contacted by coffee shops all over the country asking if we can collect their grounds.” And the brewing process may actually make the post-consumer grounds more potent, not less so. “The research has shown that antioxidant levels in used coffee grounds are actually higher than in freshly-ground coffee,” says Brightman.
We also have an emotional connection to coffee (seriously). When former fashion editor Sophia Chabbott was developing the hero products for her newly launched skincare brand, Testament Beauty, she looked to her grandmother for inspiration. “One of the things Grandma Frieda was known for was her Turkish coffee,” says Chabbott. “When I was a kid, we’d go to her house and pick grape leaves in her backyard garden, which we’d then roll in the kitchen. After that, my mom, my grandmother, my sister and I would sit with her while the adults had their Turkish coffee.” The memory is so close to Chabbott that it became part of her brand’s ethos. “The Turkish Coffee 3-in-1 Mask is a testament to her,” she says.
Intrigued? Keep reading below for more coffee-infused skincare products that you’ll love just as much as your daily cup of joe.