Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is making a name for itself in the beauty industry. Cannabidiol is now a featured ingredient in serums, lip balms, moisturizers, highlighters, cleansers, eye creams, and many other beauty products. But why is CBD suddenly the ingredient of the moment for makeup and skin care? We’re answering that question and more as we go over everything you need to know about CBD and beauty products.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids are compounds that can interact with the endocannabinoid system, a natural bodily system that’s thought to help modulate things like brain function, immunity, and stress response.
There are hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and researchers believe that each may interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system in its own unique way. You’re probably familiar with how the most well-known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), interacts with the human body. THC is famously responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, is completely non-psychoactive and interacts with the body quite differently compared to THC. Studies suggest that CBD may have a wide range of health benefits due to its potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties.
Why is CBD Used in the Beauty Industry?
Why is CBD suddenly in so many beauty products? There are two main reasons: hemp legalization and promising CBD research.
Hemp Legalization and CBD Products
Both hemp plants and marijuana plants are technically cannabis sativa plants, but they’re very different in the eyes of the law. Hemp plants, which can only contain 0.3% THC or less, were made federally legal by the 2018 Farm Bill. But marijuana plants, which can contain high amounts of THC, are still illegal at the federal level, despite the fact that many states have now legalized medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both.
The 2018 federal legalization of hemp had a huge impact on CBD products in general because, unlike THC, CBD is abundant in both hemp plants and marijuana plants. So, manufacturers can extract CBD from hemp plants in order to create CBD products that are federally legal. In essence, the 2018 Farm Bill made it possible for businesses to create and sell CBD products, hence why they’ve flooded the market over the past few years.
It’s worth pointing out that the federal legalization of hemp and the state legalization of marijuana (in certain states) has also changed public opinion about CBD and cannabis products. Legalization has greatly reduced the stigma connected to cannabis products, so far more people are now open to trying them.
The Potential Beauty Benefits of CBD
CBD beauty products have become popular recently as more people have become aware of the cannabinoid’s potential beauty benefits.
Many studies suggest that CBD could have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties. And some more recent studies suggest that the potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydrating properties of CBD could be great for treating certain skin conditions.
Here’s an overview of the potential beauty benefits of CBD:
- Acne Treatment: Acne is thought to be partially the result of excess sebum production. Some studies have found that CBD may be able to help treat acne because it appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin cells that produce sebum.
- Ease Inflammatory Skin Conditions: Some studies suggest that the potential anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could help ease inflammatory skin conditions, including active acne breakouts, skin irritation, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
- Dry Skin Treatment: A 2009 study suggests that CBD may be able to help hydrate dry or dehydrated skin. Some dermatologists, including Dr. Nima Gharavi of the Cedars-Sinai Cosmetic Dermatology Program, also say that CBD may play a role in hydrating the skin. But Dr. Gharavi also notes that “more studies are needed” on using CBD for skin hydration or skin quality.
- Anti-Aging Treatment: Studies show that CBD is an antioxidant. Like other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, CBD may help lessen visible signs of aging by counteracting free-radical damage.
How Do CBD Beauty Products Work?
Most CBD beauty products are topical products, which means they’re meant to be applied to the skin. When you apply CBD products topically, they generally can’t reach the bloodstream, so they have a localized effect. For example, if you apply a CBD serum on your face, it will only interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the upper layers of the skin on your face.
Some CBD beauty and wellness products, like capsules and edible CBD oils, are ingestible. These products will work differently from topicals, since they’ll be digested and delivered to the many endocannabinoid receptors you have throughout your body. Ingestible products are best if you’re looking for full-body effects, rather than localized effects on your skin.
Can CBD Cause Psychoactive Effects?
No, CBD doesn’t cause psychoactive effects, so you don’t need to worry about that when you’re trying CBD skincare or makeup products.
Why Is CBD in Skincare Products?
CBD is more common in skincare products than in makeup products because skincare products are more likely to feature active ingredients that can treat the skin. CBD is commonly found in serums, body lotions, and creams, and can also be found in bath salts, bath bombs, face oils, body oils, and more.
The purpose of CBD in a skincare product will vary depending on the specific product’s goal and formulation. Some commonly advertised reasons include:
- Regulate Oily Skin Types
- Hydrate Dry Skin Types
- Ease Inflammatory Acne
- Soothe Sensitive Skin
- Neutralize Free Radical Damage
Why is CBD Used in Makeup Products?
CBD-infused makeup is less common compared to CBD-infused skincare, but there’s still plenty of CBD makeup on the market. You can find CBD-infused primers, highlighters, mascaras, lip glosses, blushes, and a wide range of other products.
So, what’s the point of using CBD in makeup products? Well, it’s not uncommon for makeup products to feature active ingredients, like soothing plant oils and antioxidants. In some cases, CBD may be in a product to provide a specific benefit. In other cases, using CBD in a makeup product could be more about marketing and ingredient hype than product performance.
If you’re unsure why CBD is in a makeup product you’re thinking of trying, you can always seek out more information from the brand. If a company can’t tell you why they put CBD in their product, it’s probably safe to assume that they’re using CBD for marketing reasons instead of performance reasons.
What to Look for in a CBD Beauty Product
If you want to use a beauty product for its CBD content, make sure it actually contains CBD. Check its ingredient list and look something that either is CBD or contains CBD, such as:
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- CBD Isolate
- CBD Extract
- Hemp CBD
- Full-Spectrum CBD
- Broad Spectrum CBD
- Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract
It’s also best to look for products that say how much CBD is in the product (this is usually listed in milligrams). And, ideally, you want to look for CBD products that have been third party lab tested for cannabinoid content and purity. CBD products are not regulated by the government, so it’s a good idea to do your due diligence when choosing which CBD products to use. A test from a respected third party lab can provide you with proof that a CBD product actually contains what it says it contains.
Another thing to note about CBD products is that CBD is different from hemp seed oil, which is also a common ingredient in beauty products. Hemp seed oil is a moisturizing, nourishing oil that’s rich in vitamins and fatty acids— but not in CBD. CBD is found in hemp plants, but not in the seeds of hemp plants. So, hemp seed oil will contain little to no CBD (unless it’s been infused with CBD extract). You may like having hemp seed oil in your beauty products, but just be aware that hemp CBD is not the same thing as hemp seed oil.
How to Use CBD Beauty Products
Usually, CBD products can be used in the same way as other products of their type. For example, you can usually use a CBD face serum in your skincare routine in the same way you’d use any other serum. However, every CBD product is different, so be sure to read your product’s instructions carefully before use.
Dermatologists also recommend consulting with a doctor or dermatologist before you try any new supplement or topical product for your skin, regardless of its ingredients. It’s always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before adding new supplements or herbal products into your routine.