CBD Beauty Products: What can they do for your skin? And where can you buy them (legally)?

CBD Beauty Products: What can they do for your skin? And where can you buy them (legally)?

CBD isn’t entirely federally legal, but that hasn’t stopped beauty companies from scrambling to feature it as a star ingredient. Thanks to its highly-touted healing properties, this non-psychoactive cannabinoid is being incorporated in everything from mascara to anti-aging creams and luxury bath bombs.


Is CBD skincare legal?


It’s complicated. Most commercial cannabidiol, or CBD, is extracted from hemp, which can’t get you high — despite being a close botanical relative of cannabis. (Unlike pot, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC.) Several states allow hemp farming, but most legal experts say CBD is still an illegal substance, like marijuana.


Nevertheless, CBD is estimated to make up a nearly $1 billion industry, with products ranging from wellness supplements to dog treats.


Because of the confusing patchwork of state laws, CBD products were initially embraced by small businesses, which could sell them in dispensaries and quasi-legal settings.


Today, major skincare companies have caught the cannabis buzz.


CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and dermatologists say it can help alleviate eczema, psoriasis, signs of aging, and even acne. (Studies show that CBD can regulate overactive sebaceous glands, one of the main causes of acne.)


Because the legality is blotchy, corporations are using cannabis in their products — and their marketing — without including any actual CBD.


In September, Estee Lauder’s Origins launched a new face mask called “Hello, Calm.” It made headlines, mostly because a large premium brand had used the words “cannabis sativa.” Despite the publicity, the mask includes hemp seed oil, which barely contains any CBD. (Hemp seed oil is a familiar ingredient, which can be found in grocery stores nationwide.) The facial mask is available at Sephora.


Another national company, Andalou Naturals, has created a skincare line called CannaCell, which contains hemp stem cells, not CBD. It can be purchased from major retailers like Amazon.


You can find beauty products with actual CBD through smaller online retailers, and at dispensaries. But it can be hard to tell whether these products contain the CBD content they claim. Some experts recommend asking for lab test results.


The feds may be loosening restrictions on hemp and CBD.


Industry insiders hoped language in the 2018 Farm Bill would pave the way for using CBD in beauty products, but Congress failed to pass the bill. (Lawmakers are expected to take up the Farm Bill again after the November elections.)


In June, a CBD-based epilepsy medication became the first marijuana-derived drug to win FDA approval. The moment marked a “sea change” for the CBD industry, one DEA official said, as the cannabinoid would continue to become more mainstream.


It’s unclear what this will mean for consumers. CBD could be reclassified a pharmaceutical, rather than a cosmetic or supplement ingredient. (And the drugmaker could fight to get cheaper over-the-counter CBD options off the shelves.)


But the beauty industry proves that cannabis is already becoming more mainstream — particularly among women.