CBD took the cake as the most hyped beauty ingredient of 2018. It has popped up in almost every stage of our beauty regimens—from lip balm and serums to aromatherapy and shampoo. CBD oil is non-psychoactive (it won’t get you high), and enthusiasts swear by its multitude of benefits. CBD oil contains fatty acids and an array of vitamins, and high-end creams, gels, and serums promise it will reduce wrinkles and nourish dry skin. As an added bonus, they’ll purportedly boost your mood and relieve stress, thanks to the ingredient’s anxiety-relieving properties. It is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and reportedly curbs excess sebum, reducing acne breakouts.
It’s no accident that CBD-infused products have migrated from the broader wellness movement into the beauty industry. As marijuana is increasingly legalized, marijuana’s public image has transformed. Canada last year became the second country to legalize recreational cannabis, and it’s currently legal for recreational and medicinal use in ten states and Washington, D.C., and for medicinal use in 32 states. Public awareness has grown concurrently—until recently, many people didn’t distinguish between CBD and it’s psychoactive cousin, THC. Stoner stereotypes have been replaced with widespread recognition of notable health benefits. All signs indicate that CBD in skincare, makeup, and wellness products is only going to grow. The recent change in the US Farm Bill means that it will soon be legal to grow hemp anywhere.
Still skeptical? Here are the basics:
Cannabis contains cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that can help the body regenerate and offer antibacterial and antiviral properties. Although both THC and CBD can be incorporated into an array of products, CBD is easier for beauty brands to use from a regulatory standpoint, as it has no psychoactive side effects.
Jeanette Jacknin, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in cannabinoids in skin care, references recent studies suggesting CBD could slow the aging process: “Affecting the endocannabinoid system — like with CBD — can help the skin look more radiant and youthful.” Other studies cite the value of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and their helpfulness in treating conditions like psoriasis and eczema. They also showed CBD limited sebum production and balanced overactive sebaceous gland cells — one of the main causes of acne.
Worth the Hype?
It’s worth noting that although there have been positive studies, the research around CBD is newer and more limited than skincare heavy hitters like vitamin C and retinols. There are no current studies that indicate the proper dose, and what’s more, the CBD products are unregulated—meaning no one is checking the ingredients on the label as compared to what’s in the jar.
Finding the right CBD product may require a bit of homework. A good place to begin is with a brand you trust. Dr. Jacknin notes that checking labels and holding brands accountable is required:
“There are some good companies out there, and the best way to identify those is to call the companies up and ask what they do to assure accuracy and consistency in product…. The ones that say how many milligrams of CBD are in the product are the best.” She also advises a close look at the ingredient list: “It’s listed from top to bottom in the order of the percentage of ingredients in the product. If you see hemp or cannabis sativa near the top or middle, it has quite a large amount. If you see it near the end of the ingredients, then the brand just put it in there for marketing purposes.”
It’s also a good idea to consider if the CBD in the product plays a valued role, or if the brand is just cashing in on the recent trend. Milk Cosmetics new KUSH mascara uses cannabis oil to replace beeswax and thereby make the product vegan. The brand claims that the oil “gives the formula a creamy texture that allows for smoother application and easier, tug-free removal, as well as an additional conditioning benefit.”
Full disclosure – your author uses said mascara and can’t speak highly enough of it (no pun intended). My bet is that CBD remains center stage in the beauty industry for years to come.