Coffee’s Secret Beauty Weapon: The Benefits of Using Coffee in Cosmetics

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Why is coffee so desirable in cosmetics? Coffee is increasingly used in cosmetics, from skincare and makeup products to bath bombs, coffee scrubs, and detoxifying masks.

The use of coffee as an essential step in skincare takes advantage of its natural properties to form an all-in-one product that can provide many benefits, including…

  • An excellent source of antioxidants
  • Anti-age effect
  • Hydrates and refreshes the skin
  • Firms and smoothes the skin
  • Reduces dark circles
  • Helps fight cellulite
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Reduces stretch marks, wrinkles and scars
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – reduces swelling and puffiness
  • Reduces redness
  • Antibacterial properties
  • It helps in treating acne

Coffee is well known for its antioxidant capabilities; high levels of antioxidants work to combat free radicals, helping keep your skin looking youthful and vibrant.

As we have seen in previous posts on this site, coffee also has many other health benefits, such as improving mental health, stimulating blood flow to the brain, and boosting alertness and energy levels while also improving moods.

Whether you’re looking for a beauty treatment or want to benefit from it as part of your overall health regimen, there are plenty of reasons why coffee makes a great addition to any cosmetic routine!

Let’s delve into the detail of some of these coffee skincare benefits from some of the best sources on the web…

Table of contents

Coffee and Cosmetics

The preparation and use of personal care products and cosmetics can be traced back to 10,000 B.C. in ancient Egypt and Persia, where scented herbal oils were used for moisturizing and hygienic purposes.

The cosmetics and body care market is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets; its value exceeded $500 billion in 2021 (Statista, 2021). The global market for “green cosmetics,” personal care products containing natural ingredients (e.g., extracts, natural oils, or by-products of fruits and grains processing plants) as substitutes for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and synthetic chemicals, is particularly buoyant and is predicted to increase to US$54 billion by 2027 (Statista, 2019).

Growing concerns and awareness of consumers about environmental risks and potential chemical toxicity are the main reasons for the ongoing development of the green cosmetics market.

Coffee, well-known for its unique and pleasant sensorial and organoleptic characteristics, possesses wide-ranging and beneficial properties. These are relevant to the personal care product industry as green credentials and functional, active ingredients increase in importance.

The study of coffee, or ‘coffeaology’ as Neto and others call it, has revealed over 1,000 different volatile and non-volatile compounds presenting a range of functional properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, and antimicrobial activities.

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

What Parts of Coffee are used in Cosmetics?

The mature coffee consists of the following parts…

(i) an external husk (exocarp), which is rich in caffeine, chlorogenic acids, and tannins 

(ii) an intermediary pulp and mucilaginous layer (mesocarp), a source of carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose, and pectin 

(iii) parchment, composed of cellulose, caffeine, and minerals 

(iv) silverskin (integument), composed of polysaccharides, such as cellulose and hemicelluloses, as well as proteins and phenolic compounds

(v) the coffee seeds (endocarp), containing significant concentrations of caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, and triacylglycerols (TAG), bioactive compounds with high antioxidant and antimicrobial activities

images showing parts of a coffee cherry (berry)

Please also read our previous post – Chemistry of Coffee: Science Behind the Black Nectar, for more details on the contents of the coffee cherry.

Why is coffee a cherry and not a berry? Cherries and berries are both considered fleshy fruits. However, cherries are drupes, a fruit that contains a single seed in the centre surrounded by a hard outer core. Berries are a fruit on which the seed (or seeds) are on the outside flesh. (Source: reference.com)

Coffee leaves also carry important bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, polyphenols, tannins, xanthonoids, and TAG, that the cosmetic industry can explore. 

The least explored are coffee flowers, which harbor several secondary metabolites with antioxidant activity, including trigonelline, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and caffeine.

The two most cultivated coffee species are Arabica (Coffea arabica), which comprises 60% of traded coffee, and Robusta (Coffea canephora), which comprises the majority of remaining industrial production; nevertheless, 124 wild Coffea species merit more attention, with some under threat of extinction.

‘Coffeaology’ has focused on cultivating, harvesting, drying, pulping, and roasting Arabica and Robusta beans for drinking coffee and issues relating to by-products from these processes.

Interest in sustainability issues surrounding the waste generated by the roasting, grinding, and percolation processes is increasing; silverskin and spent coffee grounds are the main residual wastes.

Over 8 million tons of residual coffee is disposed of in landfills resulting in serious environmental challenges, including toxicity in humans, animals and aquatic organisms.

These coffee residues can be a renewable source of active ingredients for the cosmetic industry.

These new uses of coffee can also provide new income streams for coffee farmers supporting multiple harvest opportunities, such as coffee wastes, leaves and flowers.

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

flow diagram of coffee byproducts from farm to brew

Coffee by-products, from the coffee fruit to the coffee beverage. (Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Coffee Silverskin

You are familiar with the spent coffee grounds left behind after brewing, but coffee silverskin is a thin delicate layer covering the green coffee seeds, detaches during roasting and therefore is the only coffee by-product generated during this processing stage. Silverskin is rich in protein and minerals, particularly potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Extensive research studies testing the cosmetic benefits of coffee silverskin report antioxidant and anti-aging benefits. In one study, 20 volunteers tested a silverskin extract cream against a hyaluronic cream, evaluating skin elasticity and firmness over a specified period. Researchers subsequently concluded that the coffee silverskin cream provided similar results to hyaluronic acid regarding skin hydration, firmness, and volunteer acceptance.

In subsequent studies, the same researchers further demonstrated that coffee silverskin extract is safe for topical use and retains antioxidant activity and stability during storage. Additional research into coffee silverskin’s anti-cellulite benefits showed improved penetration of nanoparticles into the skin’s surface for increased efficacy, which requires further investigation.

(Source: cosmeticsdesign.com)

In Switzerland, brands Koffee’ Up and SLVR Coffee both use coffee by-products in their product offerings: Koffee’ Up produces a cosmetic oil from spent coffee ground extract with antioxidant benefits, and SLVR Coffee is the first upcycled ingredient that is based on coffee silverskin.

(Source: cosmeticsdesign.com)

Spent Coffee Grounds

After brewing, spent or used coffee grounds remain. Like coffee silverskin, used coffee grounds are rich in proteins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

Used coffee grounds are rich in sugars which comprise about half of their weight. A further 20% comprises proteins, and 20% is lignins. The dry coffee grounds contain significant amounts of potassium (11.7 g/kg), nitrogen (2.8 g/kg), magnesium (1.9 g/kg), and phosphorus (1.8 g/kg).[4] The quantity of caffeine in used coffee grounds is around 48% of that in fresh coffee grounds.[5] There are significantly fewer tannins in used coffee grounds than in fresh coffee grounds. (Source: Wikipedia)

Research into spent coffee grounds examined different topical applications for their efficacy, including hydrogel and exfoliating creams. In the hydrogel formulation, spent coffee ground extract demonstrated promising results for anti-aging and skin-lightening formulations and concluded that the extract’s inclusion lowered apparent viscosity when compared with a control gel without extract addition, resulting in a more stable formulation structure.

In the exfoliating body cream topical application, researchers focused on spent coffee ground’s ability to mechanically remove dead skin cells and impurities on the skin’s surface while still providing antioxidant benefits. Three formulations of differing spent coffee ground concentrations (4%, 6%, 8%) were tested with researchers examining exfoliating capacity, antioxidant capacity, and sensory analysis. Results showed that while all three formulations demonstrated similar exfoliation capacity, the 6% “showed a high content of antioxidants and polyphenols combined with good texture parameters like adhesiveness and cohesiveness.

The tested hydrogel and exfoliating body cream formulations allowed the delivery and permeation of bioactive substances without toxicity.

Other studies examined the photoprotection benefits of spent coffee ground extract in sunscreen formulations. Compared to green coffee oil extract, spent coffee ground was the most effective because it better adhered to the skin’s surface for more complete penetration of the dermal layer. Based on these promising results, SCG oil was presented as an alternative in cosmetic use since no irritative or allergic reactions on the occlusive patch test occurred, and the formulation had broad SPF protection and good mechanical behavior.

(Source: cosmeticsdesign.com)

Kaffe Bueno, located in Denmark, recycles spent coffee grounds by processing them for use in skincare products. They partnered with Givaudan for their Koffee’ Up skincare products.

Green Coffee Beans

The green coffee bean is also often used as a source of oils or other chemicals that can be added to cosmetics, such as UV protection in sun protection creams (see below).

Defective coffee beans can also be used as a source for cosmetics and this could help farmers make a bit more money from their crops.

Coffee Is A Great Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants help stave off cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. They can also help with skincare!

Various studies have shown that coffee is the largest source of antioxidants that fight free radicals that cause damage and skin aging.

The American Chemical Society has found that coffee is the most popular source of antioxidants in the United States, even more so than other antioxidant-rich beverages, such as tea and wine. A person can use it to exfoliate, treat acne, increase blood flow, and balance pH levels. 

(Source: pharmatutor.org)

Other research has shown coffee’s high levels of antioxidants and antiradical activity.

At Scranton University in America, they measured the proportion of antioxidants in more than 100 different foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, vegetable oils and beverages. They then considered the usual consumption of each food analyzed and calculated the contribution to the total antioxidant intake.

It turns out that the average adult ingests 1299 mg of antioxidant coffee (the average American drinks 1.64 cups of coffee a day). In second place is tea with 294 mg, followed by bananas (76 mg), beans (72 mg) and corn (48 mg).

These results do not mean that coffee can replace fruits and vegetables, which is much better from an overall nutritional standpoint given the high content of vitamins, minerals and plant fibre, but it certainly pleases all coffee lovers.

Coffee contains all of these useful antioxidants, so it is good for your health and skincare.

For more detail on the main chemical compounds in coffee, please read our post What Gives Coffee Its Flavor? The Effects of Coffee Chemicals.

Coffee Has Anti-inflammatory Properties

Caffeine is a stimulant that narrows blood vessels below the skin’s surface, so coffee has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces swelling, puffiness and redness, thus restoring a shiny and healthy look to the skin.

Caffeine improves blood circulation in the cerebral vessels and suppresses ‘errors’ in brain function. Decaffeinated coffee has diuretic properties and prevents nephrolithiasis.

Coffee is rich in vitamin B3, which may be useful in preventing non-melanoma skin cancers.

(Source: lapielshop.com)

Coffee And Skin Care

Caffeine penetrates deeper layers of the epidermis when used as a cream or mask, stimulating metabolism and increasing blood flow.

Due to the increased outflow of lymph fluid, the skin becomes smoother, and swelling and puffiness disappear. The upper layer of the epidermis becomes more elastic and taut, and the small veins that appear on the surface with age become invisible.

Natural antioxidants in coffee extracts help smooth wrinkles and increase skin tone.

Chlorogenic acid, and other antioxidants in coffee extracts, help fight free radicals, which can damage the sensitive skin of the face and body. These polyphenols are also a natural protective barrier against exposure to ultraviolet rays in summer;

These essential oils give coffee its aroma, which most people find pleasant and soothing. Indeed, the smell of a cosmetic that contains coffee oils can affect a person’s mood and even be helpful as an antidepressant.

(Source: lapielshop.com)

Active ingredients in the coffee plant extracts offer wide-reaching application opportunities for personal care products and we will look at some of them in more detail below.

Coffee and Eye Puffiness

Caffeine in eye serum is reported to reduce eye contour pigmentation and puffiness.

Independent studies have shown that topical use of caffeine and EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate, a green tea extract that is a polyphenol and antioxidant) can help reduce looks of puffiness and dark circles in the eye contour.

However, no eye serum, including caffeine-based eye serums, can cure hollowness in the eye contour because the structure of sub-dermal tissues, like fat and bone, can result in visible shadows under the eyes. This shadow, which is not to be mistaken for dark circles, cannot be addressed with topical skincare.

Fat deposits under the eye contour can also create permanent puffiness in this area. This type of deposit cannot be improved with topical skincare.

Coffee Exfoliation Scrubs and Soaps

Exfoliating products seek to mechanically remove dead cells and impurities in the skin through the solid abrasive particles that compose them, decreasing the thickness of the stratum corneum and enhancing the penetration of active compounds from other cosmetics applied after exfoliation.

Coffee scrubs have been around for ages for exfoliation and have been popular. The people using coffee scrubs know they work but don’t often know how beneficial they can be.

A research project tested an exfoliating body cream using spent coffee grounds to obtain a cosmetic product with both exfoliating and antioxidant properties.

In this study 4, 6, and 8% of spent coffee ground formulations were developed and the exfoliating capacity skin pH was measured. 

The three spent coffee ground formulations showed similar exfoliating abilities. However, the 6% spent coffee ground cream showed a high content of antioxidants and polyphenols combined with good texture, adhesiveness, and cohesiveness.

The application of the exfoliating cream resulted in an anticipated improvement in skin softness and wettability, consistent with its skincare properties.

(Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

So, coffee grounds make a great exfoliant. The grounds do not dissolve in water, making them good at scrubbing dead skin cells.

Coffee-based peeling is also a good solution in the fight against acne, stretch marks, wrinkles and scars.

(Source: pharmatutor.org)

A novel use for coffee husks to make potash, a raw material for soap that can be used for personal hygiene. Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org

Coffee and Skin Hydration

Moisturizing cosmetics are developed to replace the intracellular lipids removed during the cleansing or exfoliation of the skin’s surface and retard the transepidermal water loss by forming a thin lipophilic (fat-loving) film on the surface of the skin.

This role is performed by occlusive substances, including hydrocarbons, stearic acid, linolenic acid, and sterols, commonly found in plant oils. Occlusives are moisturizing agents that form a protective layer on the surface of your skin and create a barrier to prevent moisture loss.

The coffee bean has been extensively investigated as a natural ingredient in moisturizing cosmetics due to its rich oil composition and antioxidant activity.

Recent studies also demonstrated the effectiveness of hydro-alcoholic extracts of coffee silverskin as an occlusive agent.

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

Coffee and Sun Protection

Coffee is also a soothing treatment for sunburned skin, so a coffee scrub is a good choice after the summer to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface while keeping it smooth and healthy.

(Source: lapielshop.com)

Coffee contains antioxidants and lipids (fats) that protect from ultraviolet rays such as UVB. In particular, polyphenols in coffee are potentially excellent additions to sunscreens because they can defend against harmful UV damage through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and radiation-absorbing ability.

(Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Wagemaker and other researchers analyzed coffee lipids and determined the sun protection factor (SPF) of 10 different species of coffee.

All coffees presented high content of oil and wax, a rich composition of unsaturated fatty acids and unsaponifiable matter. Coffea arabica exhibited the highest SPF when compared with the other species.

Oil from green coffee can replace some of the usual chemical sunscreen agents and reduce photo irritation and photosensitization.

Another advantage of using green coffee oil is that you can use green coffee beans (such as defective and immature beans) that are not used for normal coffee production. This helps increase coffee’s sustainability and potentially increase farmers’ income opportunities. 

(Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Oil from spent coffee grounds can also be used as an alternative in cosmetics because it doesn’t irritate and has no known allergic reactions. 

(Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

A cream containing 2.5% of a coffee leaf and seed extract showed an SPF effect 6.5 times better than a cream containing only ethanolic extracts of coffee leaves. Research suggests that green coffee extracts’ UVA and UVB protective effect is due to their polyphenol and chlorogenic acid content.

Coffee bean oil, rich in palmitic acid, also displayed strong potential as a natural sunscreen, revealing high sun protective factor when used as a sole active ingredient in cosmetic formulations.

Coffee silverskin extracts also seemed to help reduce UV damage.

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

Coffee and Cellulite

One of the bigger skincare challenges is cellulite, often called orange peel, which mainly affects the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and the area above the knees.

Cellulite is an alteration in the skin topography, resulting in swelling in the subcutaneous region, enlargement and thickening of the vascular endothelium, and alterations from the adipocytes.

The cause of cellulite is unclear, but studies indicate that fat deposition on the dermal-subcutaneous interface is one of the leading causes.

Cellulite affects millions of women worldwide, and the existent laser, ultrasound, and radial pulses treatments are considered expensive and their effectiveness doubtful.

However, studies evaluating the topical application of coffee extracts containing caffeine on the affected area showed promising results.

A clinical trial (n = 21) conducted in Thailand used a hot herbal compress containing milled coffee beans in the lateral, posterior, inner, and anterior thigh surfaces, and the results were compared with a placebo compress during a 9-week interval (Ngamdokmai et al., 2018). The results showed a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in the skin-fold thicknesses and circumferences measurements.

The action mechanism of caffeine seems to degrade fats and prevents them from being deposited in tissue. 

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

Caffeine may also penetrate into the deep layers of the skin, improving blood circulation to the skin and thus providing the cells with a better supply of nutrients.

(Source: lapielshop.com)

Coffee and Acne

Acne, popularly known as acne vulgaris, is one of the most commonly occurring disorders, majorly affecting youth and adults aged 11 to 30. This is an inflammatory disorder that gets initiated by Propionibacterium acnes under the effect of the usual circulation of dehydroepiandrosterone. Also, females are more vulnerable to acne (50.9%) than males (42.5%).

Some factors responsible for causing acne are reformed keratinization, changes in the immune system, hormones, inflammation, etc. Apart from being a dermatological condition, this disorder further leads to depression and anxiety. (Source: Alam and others)

The chlorogenic acids (CGA) in coffee have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities and may help treat acne.

Research on mice suggests CGA could be a potential anti-acne agent targeting sebum production and inflammation. (Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Many conventional formulations have been developed and widely used to treat acne, but these formulation results in causing irritation and allergic reaction.

To treat acne, various products of medicinal plants such as Achyranthes aspera, Allium cepa, Azadirachta indica, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Citrus sinensis have been explored. Citrus sinensis, a scientific name for sweet orange, is an excellent source of various components such as thiamine, niacin, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folacin. (Source: Alam and others)

Alam and others have recently developed chlorogenic acid-functionalized silver nanoparticles of C. sinensis to treat acne. They developed a gel containing an extract of sweet orange, chlorogenic acids and silver nanoparticles as a topical ointment to treat acne. 

The chlorogenic acid didn’t come directly from coffee but shows that these chemicals can be used to treat acne. 

Antioxidant and Anti-Aging Effects of Coffee

Degradation of elastin and type-I collagen are the main effects of prolonged exposure to UVB radiation and this leads to sagging skin and premature wrinkle formation.

Coffee leaf extracts, coffee beans, and spent coffee grounds have been seen to help restore some procollagen in tissue culture, indicating potential for skin care treatment.

Coffee oil is also being increasingly used as a substituent for mineral oil in the cosmetic industry. It doesn’t harm cells and seems protective due to its triacylglycerol (fat) levels.

Topical application of a basic cream formulation containing oil fraction of spent coffee grounds was applied to photoaged hairless mice. The results showed that the triacylglycerol from coffee wax prevented wrinkle formation by reducing epidermal thickness, decreasing erythema area, and increasing water holding capacity.

Coffee extracts have also been investigated to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and skin roughness. In one study, volunteers applied biocellulose masks containing Coffea arabica seed-cake extract three times a week for 1 and 2 months. They showed significant decreases in skin roughness and wrinkles and increased skin thickness and homogeneity.

A study of a commercial product CoffeeBerry, which uses Coffea arabica seed extracts, showed a significant reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and overall appearance in all subjects after 6 weeks. 

Coffee silver skin as a cosmetic active ingredient had similar effects to hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid helps skin stretch and flex and reduces skin wrinkles and lines.

A clinical trial evaluated the effect of a skincare system composed of facial wash, day lotion, night crème, and eye serum containing immature coffee bean extracts against wrinkles, blotchy redness, hyperpigmentation, tactile roughness, and flaccidity.

The trial showed a significantly improved appearance of photo-damaged skins, including improved hydration, skin extensibility, and reduced wrinkles, blotchy redness and hyperpigmentation without any adverse events. 

(Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

Coffee’s effect on all aspects of skincare, which help to remove wrinkles, tone the skin, and leave you looking fresh all create an ‘anti-aging’ effect. Of course, nothing can prevent aging but coffee cosmetics can help you look a little younger.

Coffee Emollients

Spent coffee grounds have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids and research has been carried out to see if this can be used as an alternative to vegetable oils used in cosmetic products.

A deficiency of ceramides, cholesterol, essential fatty acids, and triglycerides can increase transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin dryness. Substances with emollient action are often used to improve skin hydration and maintain skin barrier proprieties while providing softness to the skin.

Ribeiro and other researchers used the fat from spent coffee grounds to develop cosmetic formulations. 

Spent coffee oil cream was non-irritating to the skin, lowered water loss, increased sebum levels, and seemed more stable. However, volunteers who participated in the study didn’t like the oil smell. 

Another study by Sousa compared different vegetable oils in cosmetic formulations, including spent coffee ground oil. Volunteers assessed the effects of the formulations by measuring the epidermis water content and the TEWL two hours after application and 20 days after daily application.

The results suggested that the coffee creams had an acceptable pH and could be applied easily to the skin. The coffee cream was non-irritating and significantly increased skin hydration.  Importantly the volunteers in this study seemed to like the smell and feel of the coffee cream. 

(Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Coffee and Hair Color

Grey hair (canities) can impact the quality of life and well-being and result in psychological effects, including low self-esteem; hair loss (alopecia) can also impact everyday life.

Alternative hair-dying options are relevant as some are cytotoxic and associated with acute toxicity, contact allergy, and genetic toxicity. However, natural organic alternatives can lose their color relatively quickly.

Gonot-Schoupinsky and Gonot-Schoupinsky (2020) investigated using a pure instant coffee solution as an alternative stain for dark brown hair and to mask grey hair. Despite the low persistence in tone, the 7-month treatment was acceptable.

Singh et al. (2015) proposed fourteen hair colourants containing extracts from several plants, including roasted coffee beans. After assessments with wool fibres, six colourant formulations with the desired fixation were tested with volunteers. All but one of the five formulations containing coffee powder, including the most accepted with a percentage of 96%, were effective.

The toning capability of roasted coffee beans can be associated with melanoidin, a polymeric, high molecular weight molecule originating from non-enzymatic Maillard reactions between carbohydrates and compounds with a free amino residue during the roasting process.

These studies show that coffee can be a natural source of hair colorants. However, coffee by-products (including silverskin and spent coffee grounds) can be a more sustainable alternative, as residual wastes are also rich in coffee melanoidins.

The commercial product ECOHAIR which contains Coffea arabica and Larrea divaricate, improved hair appearance in 50 participants and the visual reduction of dandruff in 45. These characteristics were attributed to coffee bean extracts stimulating hair growth and inhibiting the growth of Malassezia furfur, a yeast associated with alopecia and dandruff, as reported in participants of the same group.

Another study showed a significant increase in eyelashes and eyebrows in 100 and 80% of their participants after a 2- and 3-month treatment with the product, respectively. (Source: Neto and others 2021 frontiersin.org)

Coffee and Wound Healing

A 10% extract from green and roasted press cake (a coffee residue after oil extraction) showed that it significantly reduced wound area size and wound reduction in mouse skin. However, coffee’s effect on human wound healing is yet to be tested. (Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Coffee and Foot Odor

Unpleasant odors in the human body can be caused by several factors, including normal sweat and sebaceous gland secretions. However, when the odors generate discomfort and embarrassment, it can be associated with the proliferation of common skin-resident bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermis.

Methylparaben is a common substance added to cosmetics with antimicrobial activity, but the cosmetic industry is looking at natural plant substances as a replacement.

Researchers in Indonesia showed that a foot sanitizer spray using the ethanolic extract from coffee beans and ginger showed significant antimicrobial activity against S. epidermis

(Source: Neto and others frontiersin.org)

Coffee Nutraceuticals

Coffee by-products can also be used as nutraceuticals for skin conditions rather than applied directly.

A study found that ingesting coffee phenolic extracts improved skin barrier function, microcirculation, and hydration. These results show that coffee byproducts containing similar would be useful for dermatological conditions associated with dryness and epithelial dysfunction. (Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Best Coffee Cosmetics

Coffee scrubs have been around for ages but using coffee extracts, and byproducts is still young. Let’s look at some of the best coffee cosmetics around today.

Coffee Scrubs and Soaps

There are lots of good quality coffee scrubs and soaps on the market because the idea of using coffee as a scrub has been around for ages. Only recently have we appreciated the health benefit of using coffee in these cosmetics.

Here are some of the best coffee scrubs and soaps with excellent reviews and presumably excellent results!

Brooklyn Botany Dead Sea Salt and Arabica Coffee Body Scrub - Moisturizing and Exfoliating Body, Face, Hand, Foot Scrub - Fights Stretch Marks, Fine Lines, Wrinkles - Great Gifts for Women & Men - 10.5 oz

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Scrubadub 10oz Coffee Body Scrub | 5 Natural Ingredients | Exfoliating Scrub For Face, Hands, Feet & More | Made in USA | Sea Salt Scrub

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Arabica Coffee Foot and Hand Scrub with Collagen & Stem Cell Exfoliating Body Scrubber & Face Cleanser Fight Skin Care Appearance Cellulite Fine Line Stretch Mark by M3 Naturals (1 Pack)

Amazon.com

THRIVE Natural Face Scrub for Men & Women – Exfoliating Face Wash with Anti-Oxidants Improves Skin Texture, Unclogs Pores & Helps Prevent Ingrown Hairs – Made In USA – Vegan Natural Facial Scrub Exfoliator

Amazon.com

Frank Body Express-O Coffee Scrub, 5.07oz | Natural & Cruelty Free & Mess-Free Exfoliating Body Scrub | Creamy Vegan Skin Care Scrub | Nourishing Scrub Smooths And Moisturizes Skin | 1ct

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Frank Body Lip Scrub And Lip Balm Duo have ground robusta coffee in this lip scrub. It will buff your pout to perfection while coffee seed oil plumps them for a fuller look. There is also a bonus Lip Balm in the pack.

Frank lip scrub and balm coffee cosmetic

Bear and Joey coffee scrubs are a diverse and attractively packaged range of coffee scrubs.

coffee scrub coffee cosmetic

Coffee Soaps

Olivia Care Exfoliating Bar Soap, Coffee Beans, 100% Natural, Organic Ingredients, Clean Energize Mind Body, Full of Vitamin, Antioxidants & Minerals (Mocha Latte)

★★★★★
Amazon.com

FALLS RIVER SOAP COMPANY with Cocoa and Turkish Mocha fragrance, sensitive skin treatment, Coffee 4 Ounce (Fal-2492)

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Aspen Kay Naturals Coffee & Oatmeal Exfoliating Soap, Natural and Organic Ingredients. A Wonderful Exfoliating Body Soap, For Men & Women. GMO Free. 4.5 oz Bar (1 Pack)

Amazon.com

Coffee Face or Body Masks

Cup O’ Coffee Face and Body Mask by Lush. Good for dry, dull skin looking for an invigorating, exfoliating and cleansing weekly mask to restore a healthy glow and leave you feeling fresh. 

tub of cup o' coffee a face and body coffee cosmetics maks

Wash With Joe‘ body washes contain 100% arabica coffee seed extract, essential oils, and other exotic ingredients for a refreshing organic experience.

bottle of wash with joe coffee cosmetics body wash

About seven body washes contain coffee extract (hence the name ‘Joe’ in the product name) but differ in the essential oils.

mCaffeine Coffee Clay Face Mask with Bentonite Clay, Argan Oil for healthy Skin, Blackhead Remover Facial mask for Tan removal & Pore Cleansing, Men & Women, Hydrating & Moisturizing Face Pack, 3.5 Oz

Amazon.com

Purederm Coffee Collagen Mask (12 Pack) - Easy sheet type Korean beauty essence mask - coffee extracts and soothing ingredients to care for your tired skin in a comfortable and the natural pulp sheet, which is derived from coffee essence, is filled with moisture to effectively deliver the active ingredients to the skin

★★★★★
Amazon.com

APPTI Peel Off Coffee Macaroon Jelly Mask for Facial Skincare,12 Packs Anti-wrinkle Hydrojelly Face Mask,Home DIY Spa Facial Mask Powder,for All Skin Type,Improve Skin Tone,shrink pore

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Coffee Face and Body Oils

Koffee’Up™ by Givaudan and Kaffe Bueno a new sustainable beauty oil crafted from upcycled Arabica spent coffee grounds with remarkable skincare benefits. Its balance between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids helps the oil to penetrate the skin layers quickly.

It isn’t yet available in retail stores but can be used for face care, eye care, and as an anti-aging product for reducing wrinkles, moisturising, hydrating, and protecting the skin.

Here is something you can buy immediately…

Caffeine Face Serum Oil with Pure Natural Organic Green Coffee Arabica Bean Extract, Rosehip & Argan Oil - Hydrating Anti Aging Face Serum for Women & Men - Java Skin Care

Amazon.com

Coffee Eye Serum

A popular and trending product on the internet is “The Ordinary Caffeine Eye Serum” which has over 8000 positive reviews on Amazon.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG (30ml): Reduces Appearance of Eye Contour Pigmentation and Puffiness

Amazon.com

This light-textured formula contains an extremely high 5% concentration of caffeine, supplemented with highly-purified Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG) from green tea leaves.

This eye serum is vegan and does not contain alcohol, oil, silicone, nut, sorry, or gluten.

Other popular caffeine eye serums include…

If you prefer a cream rather than a serum, then you may also like these popular eye creams…

UpCircle Eye Cream With Coffee And Hyaluronic Acid 0.5oz - For Dark Circles, Puffiness + Wrinkles - Glycerin, Maple Bark + Cucumber Extract - Natural, Vegan + Cruelty-Free

Amazon.com

100% PURE Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream Refresh & Hydrate Under Eye Treatment Reduce Puffiness, Dark Circles, Wrinkles with Green Tea, Rose Hip, Vitamin E - Youthful Vibrant Eyes - Vegan - 1 oz

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Coffee Hydrating Cream

Hydrating your skin and reducing wrinkles is a way to look younger and hence is an ‘antiaging’ strategy.

SLVR’ Coffee™, by Mibelle Biochemistry Switzerland, is the first upcycled ingredient based on coffee silverskin.

SLVR Coffee increases skin resistance by increasing the skin barrier’s functionality, decreasing transdermal water loss and increasing skin hydration. Therefore, SLVR’Coffee™ enhances the overall comfort level of delicate skin.

Coffee Perfumes

Coffee essence is used in some perfumes. This isn’t skincare, but it is still a coffee cosmetic.

An example of a coffee essence perfume is Tom Ford Private Blend Café Rose Eau de Parfum.

This perfume contains rose oil, coffee essence, incense resin, sandalwood, and patchouli, creating soft, crisp, exotic, warm &and intoxicating scent.

Tom Ford Jardin Noir Cafe Rose Eau De Parfum Spray for Women, 50ml/1.7oz

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Coffee Cellulite Creams

Advanced Clinicals Green Coffee Bean Slimming Body Cream Skin Care Anti Cellulite Firming Lotion For Legs, Arms, & Body, Antioxidant-Rich + Anti Aging Skin Tightening Cream, 16 Ounce (Pack of 2)

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Rich Coconut Coffee Body Cream - Concealing Cellulite Cream and Hydrating Body Moisturizer for Dry Skin with Shea Butter - Whipped Body Butter and Caffeine Eye Cream for Anti Aging Skin Care

★★★★★
Amazon.com

Industry Insights

The global coffee beauty products market size was valued at USD 590.1 million in 2018 and is projected to register a CAGR of 5.1% from 2019 to 2025. Increasing demand for coffee beauty products is attributed to rising awareness about caffeine benefits such as enhanced blood circulation for the skin and the presence of antioxidant and anti-aging effects. (Source: grandviewresearch.com)

This, in turn, is expected to boost market growth. Growing consumer concerns over the side effects of chemical content in cosmetics and their inclination towards natural-based products are driving the manufacturers to introduce beneficial coffee beauty products. (Source: grandviewresearch.com)

Coffee by-products are also used in the anti-aging market. According to market data source Statista, “the global anti-aging market was estimated to be worth about 62.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 and is estimated to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly seven percent between 2022 and 2027.” (Source: Rodrigues and others 2023 mdpi.com)

Some of the prominent players in the market such as Loreal Paris, Estee Lauder Inc., and Avon have been focusing on introducing coffee-infused beauty products to expand their offerings and serve customers with natural ingredient-based solutions. (Source: grandviewresearch.com)

Coffee Cosmetic Product Insights

In 2018, skincare led the global market with a share of about 35%. People are more concerned about their aging skin, which is driving them to use more coffee beauty products than others, which, in turn, is expected to contribute to the product demand. 

Loreal Paris has launched resurface and energize Kona coffee scrub, which helps reduce the signs of fatigue and removes dirt, oil, and impurities suitable for all types of skin. Bean Body Care provides coffee mocha mud masks that help clean skin and minimise pore size, grounded with coffee beans, macadamia oil, and kaolin clay. 

The Indian coffee cosmetics brand mCaffeine is a trending and popular company that sells only caffeine-based skin care products. Their products can also be found on Amazon.

mCaffeine face wash body scrub Head-to-Toe Coffee Kit (Pack of 9) | Complete Caffeine Experience for Hair, Face and Body | Cleanse, Exfoliate and Moisturize | Made in India

Amazon.com

Coffee-based hair care products are anticipated to be the fastest-growing category, expanding at a CAGR of 5.8%. Changing lifestyles of working millennials, pollution, increasing spending power, and inclination toward natural ingredient-based products are driving the demand for this category. 

Benefits such as improvement and strengthening of hair texture, enhanced blood circulation in the scalp, and prevention of hair loss are some factors expected to impact the demand for coffee-based hair care products. For instance, Masqueology has launched a damaged hair care mask containing coffee seed extracts to restore damaged hair and repair hair from the inside out. 

(Source: grandviewresearch.com)

Coffee Waste is a Carbon Light Cosmetic Ingredient

Most coffee wastes end up in landfills, creating about 340 cubic metres per tonne of coffee waste. 

Emissions from coffee waste only are equivalent to about ten million round-trips from New York to Paris. 

However, if coffee byproducts are used as a source of ingredients for the cosmetics industry, then it would offset these otherwise detrimental effects on the environment; hence coffee becomes a ‘carbon light’ ingredient.

The Kaffe Bueno company, in particular, aims to establish a decentralised system of biorefineries worldwide to source local coffee grounds that could be used as a source of powerful active, and functional ingredients. 

This would avoid unnecessary carbon emissions and provide innovative, sustainable products that are competitive and less volatile than other natural ingredients.

(Source: cosmeticsdesign-europe.com)

Some companies, such as Kaffe Bueno and Mibelle Biochemistry (see SLVR coffee above) have already started to adopt the upcycling concept in the cosmetic sector by developing ingredients based on coffee by-products.

Conclusions

Coffee by-products such as coffee silverskin, spent coffee grounds, and coffee seeds have a rich composition and beneficial biological properties. They are also usually safe to use with low toxicity and allergic reactions.

Most of the beneficial skincare properties are due to phenolic compounds in coffee (such as chlorogenic acid) and caffeine.

Considering the growing anti-aging market and the cosmetic industry’s focus on sustainability, coffee byproducts are an increasingly important resource for cosmetics.

Coffee and coffee byproducts such as coffee silverskin and spent coffee grounds are globally available. They can be sustainable, have a ‘carbon light’ footprint,  low toxicity, and low environmental impact, all pointing to the importance of finding more ways to utilize them in cosmetics.

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Similar Posts and References From Around The Web

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  • Rodrigues R, Oliveira MBPP, Alves RC. Chlorogenic Acids and Caffeine from Coffee By-Products: A Review on Skincare Applications. Cosmetics. 2023; 10(1):12.
  • Carvalho Neto, D. P. D., Gonot-Schoupinsky, X. P., & Gonot-Schoupinsky, F. N. (2021). Coffee as a naturally beneficial and sustainable ingredient in personal care products: A systematic scoping review of the evidence. Frontiers in Sustainability, 2, 697092.
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  • Making face creams from coffee beans as cosmetics get greener | Research and Innovation – ‘Plant ingredients have always been used in cosmetics,’ said Heiko Rischer, head of plant biotechnology at VTT, a Finnish research centre. ‘But in recent years, there’s been a revived interest in plant-based compounds. Consumers are interested in… (ec.europa.eu)
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