Why coffee scrubs are a sustainable skincare hack
Are you tired of being told that your morning cup of coffee is an evil tumbler that strangles turtles, cuts through the rainforest and heats up the atmosphere. This is quite understandable.
But for years, nearly every stage of coffee production and distribution – from sun-grown coffee trees to single-use K-cups – has saved money at the expense of the planet. And since the inhabitants of this planet do not intend to drink less coffee (see the constant increase of global coffee production since 2003), it’s important to find small wins where possible, and at least try to mitigate some of the impact our caffeinated love affair is having on the world. ‘environment.
Where to start ? And how can you play a role, given that you don’t make the operational decisions on any of the five million football pitches-value of coffee plantations in the world?
Consider a different endgame for your coffee grounds. If you make coffee at home, as 79% of American coffee drinkers do, chances are you’ll end up with a small pile of coarse soil after the process is complete. It’s easy to throw this byproduct in the trash – we’re certainly used to scraping food scraps off our plates, plus coffee grounds have a natural, dirt-like look and texture. What harm could they do?
Size, unfortunately. The ransacked soils end up in landfills, where they emit methane. The infamous gas of farmed cattle, methane has a greenhouse effect “28 times greater than carbon dioxide”. according at University College London. Methane is really sensitive to warming; it is responsible for 40% warming since the industrial revolution.
To combat this on an industrial scale, initiatives like bio-bean have sprung up over the past decade and have begun recycling hundreds of thousands of metric tons of leftover soil. Amazingly, they are able to convert soils into renewable biofuel.
You don’t have to craft a Pyrolysis Reactor in your garden. But you could start sprinkling your coffee grounds in your garden or create a batch of quality compost. (Away from a landfill, the coffee grounds are free to revitalize the ground instead of polluting the sky. You can thank their rich offer of “bioactive micronutrients”: nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium… you name it. Coffee grounds are also capable of facilitating a variety of random tasksLike growing mushrooms (a trendy diversion we’ve covered here), cleaning chimneys, tenderizing meat, ridding pets of fleas, or scraping pans.
Chores worthy of all, some more fulfilling than others. And for better or for worse, fulfillment is a salient and unavoidable factor when considering our individual willingness to do something for the planet. This relationship with Mother Earth is always at least slightly transactional. Consider the recent increase in the use of bidets, which on average reduces toilet paper waste by 75% (a spectacular statistic, given that it takes six gallon of water to create a single roll of toilet paper). However, those who swear by them probably took the time to install their device for a different reason. They want clean butts.
And really, who can blame them? If a habit tweak or addition helps the planet and leaves you feeling cleaner and healthier, it should be celebrated.
Coffee scrubs fit right into that happy medium, as another alternative way to get rid of earthy waste, without harming the Earth in the process. And for those who are hesitant to whip up home remedies for anything around the house, let alone the largest organ in your body, fret not. They’re quick to make, impossible to mess up, and when used in moderation, give skin an all-natural, energetic boost.
What does a coffee scrub contain? It’s largely up to you, but in the interest of simplicity, mix half a cup of your spent grounds with a quarter cup of olive oil and a few tablespoons of water. The formula melts into a paste that will cling to any area of skin you want to invigorate. This The decision is yours too, but a natural place to start is your arms, so you can get a feel for how the blend interacts with your skin.
This is also where you can play with the ingredients; adding brown sugar or rock salt creates a deliberately rougher exfoliant, while mixing yogurt, coconut milk or honey into the formula could provide the base for a ready-to-use mask. Either way, when you’re done, be sure to gently wash away all the dirt with lukewarm water.
Once immersed in the waters of DIY, we can ask ourselves: beyond the environmental mission, why coffee grounds? If you’re so motivated, couldn’t you create a blend with one of these ingredients without java?
You could, but you’d be missing out on a variety of coffee-specific skincare benefits, like polyphenols (antioxidant-rich compounds) that fight redness and sun spots, chlorogenic acid that helps unclog pores, or caffeine which is credited with reducing cellulite throughout the body and “deflation”, albeit temporarily, of the dark circles that accumulate under our eyes as we age.
In other words, coffee is an unlikely workhorse for the skin. This is not news for people who follow dedicated (expensive) skincare regimens; most cosmetic brands worthy of their pink Himalayan salt now offer some sort of coffee scrub or serum. There’s no shame in going this route, if only to add a caffeinated eye stick to your morning routine.
A few caveats, before you get started: try to keep your floors as cool as possible, in an airtight container. (They will eventually develop mold, given that they have no preservatives.) And do not make it a daily habit. Coarse coffee beans won’t just mess with your skin if rolled out daily in the shower or over the sink, they’ll mess with your pipes too. It’s a problem even Drano can’t solve. But that, when used in moderation, is an opportunity, no matter how insane or inconsequential it may seem, to garner an appreciation for reusing and recycling, while making your skin look a little better and brighter.
This article was published in the Inside hook newsletter. Register now.