For New York City-based skin-care brand Circumference, sustainability has always been top of mind. Just over two years ago, the line, which is helmed by husband-and-wife Chris and Jina Kim, debuted with a quartet of complexion heroes, all of which are powered by indigenous ingredients and arrive in recyclable glass bottles. Today, the couple is taking their environmentally-conscious vision even further with the launch of their sixth product: a nourishing cream that is made using leftovers of the winemaking process.
“Now that [Circumference] has been some time in the making, we really wanted to push innovation and progress to add another sustainability layer,” Jina says of the impetus for their new waste-not sourcing initiative, which was inspired, in part, by the book Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future, and, specifically, a chapter titled “Playing with the perception of waste as a future quarry—a starting point rather than an end point.” “It got us thinking,” recalls Chris. “Can we find value in what is seen as waste to be used towards a valuable skin-care resource?”
Such a question—along with a pro tip from a sommelier at Eleven Madison Park—eventually led the duo to Bedell Cellars, a sustainably-farmed vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island, which allowed Circumference to harvest its carefully cultivated grape plants’ leaves and vines—botanical byproducts that would otherwise have been discarded. “It’s a perfect partnership,” Chris says, noting that during the fall harvest, the discarded flora is brought to labs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where scientists extract its high-levels of nutrients for an everyday moisturizer that is rich in antioxidants, gentle enzymes, and polyphenols; closing the loop, the mulch is then returned to the vineyard to be used for the following season’s compost.
“Byproducts have a lot of untapped potential,” Jina explains, adding that she and Chris have already begun looking into other areas of waste that can be upcycled into luxe formulas that benefit both our epidermal layers and the planet. “Since the beginning,” muses Chris, “we’ve really wanted to leave a lasting imprint within the beauty industry and help redefine what sustainability can mean in skin care.” Consider this a step in the right direction.