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It's no secret that CBD is the ingredient du jour in beauty and wellness. It seems like, every day, there's a new, buzzed-about CBD-infused product, from skincare staples to honey and chocolate. (For a quick refresher, CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is one of over six dozen extracts from the cannabis sativa plant.)
Although CBD doesn't get you high—that's THC, another extract from the plant—it does have several other benefits. While the jury is still somewhat out on the hard science backing up these benefits, there's a mountain of anecdotal evidence that CBD can calm anxiety, alleviate period cramps or muscle aches, and improve sleep. And, as a skincare ingredient, it has antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties—plus, CBD oil is non-comedogenic, so it works for acne-prone skin.
In the light of our current health situation, our editors are leaning on their favorite CBD products to help soothe both body and mind. Discover their picks, below.
Byrdie's editorial director Faith Xue says this salve is her go-to for sore muscles. "I even used it on my temples once when I had a migraine, and it made it go away almost instantly," she says. "It's made with 300 mg of hemp extract that consists of CBD and terpenes. For anyone who doesn't know, terpenes are natural compounds in the hemp plant that can 'amp up' CBD's effects. Linanool, which is one of the terpenes in this product, has been said to have a calming effect on your nerves."
For Faith, this stick is the fix-it-all of CBD products: "You can swipe it on any skin irritation whether it's on your face or your body," she says. "The CBD, propolis, royal jelly, tea tree oil, and more get to work soothing and healing."
Faith also uses this face oil, which contains a whopping 500 mg of CBD—plus 18 other 100-percent natural skin-loving oils, from frankincense to sandalwood—as the last step in her nighttime skincare routine when her skin starts breaking out or looking dull: "I always wake up looking glowing and dewy," she says.
This was also a product of choice for Karli Bendlin, Byrdie's email editor: "It's rare to find an oil that's actually fast-absorbing and doesn't sit on my face all day," she explains. "This one is lightweight enough that it gives my skin that dewiness I'm after but doesn't melt my makeup right off. I'm also super prone to redness, particularly around my nose, and I find that my skin is much calmer whenever I have this on."
We all know that sitting hunched over a laptop all day often leads to shoulder and lower back pain—which is why Karli uses this CBD cream: "Applying a little of this CBD cream really does make the pain melt away and provides me with some instant relief," she says. "It absorbs quickly and doesn't have a noticeable scent, so I can apply it, feel the ease, and forget I even have it on."
For Beauty and Style Group Editorial Director Elspeth Velten, this balm is a go-to salve for anything pain-related—including period pain-related. "In a world where CBD products are unregulated and unstandardized, Naturopathica is one brand I trust fully to be thorough and safe about how cannabinoids are being harnessed and delivered," she explains. "This aromatic balm contains 100 mg of full-spectrum CBD and it literally gets right to work. I slather it right on my pelvis in times of desperation and 20 minutes later I've forgotten I was in pain."
"Of all of the CBD tinctures I've tried, Tarot's elderberry rose CBD oil has been the tastiest," raves Elspeth. "This bottle delivers 500 mg of full-spectrum, US-grown, hemp-derived CBD combined with the immune-boosting properties of organic elderberry extract and antioxidant-rich, stress-reducing organic rose. There's also something to be said for the role of terpenes—odor-producing compounds—in any cannabinoid or plant product, and the lovely scent in Tarot's Elderberry Rose almost melts my stress away before I even drop it under my tongue."
Elspeth has already written about her love for and reliance on Seventh Sense's CBD Soothing Muscle Balm, but lately, this luxurious arnica, ginger, and turmeric-laced balm (with 500 mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract) has gotten her attention, too. "I use it more sparingly than my normal go-to since it's much costlier and feels like more of a special occasion," she says. "But I'm pretty sure that massaging this product into my sore shoulders before bed after a hard workout is what dreams are made of."
Elspeth loves this CBD oil because of its earthy, herbal scent. "It literally smells like weed," she says. "When I massage it slowly into my face with a cool gua sha after a long day of meetings, I forget that I'm not in some high-end spa dropping hundreds on a stress-relief treatment. Its 100 mg of CBD melts away any tension I'm holding in my temples (which is a ton) and leaves my skin tingling and warm as I drift off to sleep."
"In these times of deep stress and uncertainty, I'm all about turning to simple, quick fixes to help curb my anxiety," says Byrdie senior editor Lindsey Metrus. "This little rollerball is the perfect pick-me-up. Apply it to your temples and wrists and inhale the delicious scent of lemongrass. Even if just for a moment, it helps instill a sense of calm and control. Another perk: the eucalyptus and peppermint oil give off a little minty tingle that feels invigorating—great for those moments when you need a jolt of energy."
Whenever Byrdie associate social media editor Star Donaldson needs a breather, she grabs these hemp-derived CBD gumdrops from Lord Jones. "Not only are they delicious," she says, "but after just one I feel noticeably calmer. They've totally become part of my self-care routine and are totally worth the investment for a quick-acting zen feeling."
"Chewing gum for me is already a calming act," says Star, "So when CBD gum landed on my desk, I couldn't resist. I can chew it for about 45 minutes without it losing flavor and I feel the CBD effects well before then. It's the perfect, discrete CBD product for someone who's always on the go (me)."
Byrdie associate editor Holly Rhue always uses this product after a high-intensity workout, like barre. "I lather my calves and ankles with this goodness while I stretch and find that it's so soothing for my muscles," she says. "It's one of my favorite daily rituals these days—I go through these jars like candy."
Holly also recommends this moisturizer, especially if you're guilty of over-exfoliating. "I was really tough on my skin last year when I first started playing around with acids," she explains. "I did a lot of damage before I figured out the right routine. You need a healthy acid mantle to regulate skin's moisture and defend from acne-causing bacteria, and I can almost feel this rich texture repairing mine. Plus, it's formulated with 250 mg of CBD, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides for a protective, relaxing facial cocktail."
"Foria has long been a favorite brand of mine—it's incredibly well-researched and the products are all clean," says Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould. "I tried the brand's Basics Tonic recently and really loved it. The 500-mg bottle has 30-plus servings of active CBD—the broad-spectrum CBD is from sun-grown USA hemp and the MCT oil is 100 percent organic and made from sustainable coconuts—so it offers a good bang-to-buck ratio, IMO. For me, this product especially helps with stress and sleep. One dose and I'm calm, cool, and about 30 minutes from a restful night's sleep."
Hallie's crazy about this CBD oil, too. "I use it before bed to seal off my nighttime skincare routine—it goes last after moisturizer—and feel all the beautiful benefits right there on the spot," she says. "It softens the skin, smells herbal, and adds a really shiny, dewy glow. I like to apply a few drops to my fingertips, rub them together to warm, take a deep breath, inhale the lovely lavender aroma, and then exhale and pat it onto my skin. It's part of my daily ritual now."
Be careful if you have sensitive skin, Hallie warns, because essential oils like lavender may trigger irritation. "For me, it's never been a problem," she says, "but I'd recommend a patch test before applying it all over your face."
"I love Lord Jones for all things CBD, but especially this premium CBD bath soak," says Byrdie senior social media editor Kelly Gallagher. "Each jar has a mixture of pink Himalayan salt, arnica, magnesium-rich Epsom salts, calendula petals, and a unique blend of terpenes and essential oils that all work together to create the most relaxing baths I've had in a while. I put a few scoops into the tub, soak for about 30 minutes, and immediately feel relaxed."
Kelly also says that this product, in particular, has been a skin savior for her. "All the hand-washing has my hands super itchy, dry, and red," she says. "This CBD lotion combines whole-plant hemp extract with CBD, polyphenols, and fatty acids for maximum moisture."
When Kelly wants to ensure she gets a restful night's sleep, this product is one of her essentials. "I add one sachet into my sleepytime tea, and in about 20 minutes, I'm relaxed and ready for bed. My anxious brain slows down, and I'm able to get a good night's rest—which is challenging for me lately. The L-theanine helps calm and relax, and a blend of hops, valerian, and passionflower help enhance sleep quality. The flavor is a bit floral, with notes of honey and chamomile—it tastes absolutely delicious when combined with tea. I tell everyone I know about these!"
"When I'm feeling stressed out by a tight deadline or from thinking too much about the world, I pop two of these delicious chews and feel a sense of calm within a few minutes," says Kelly. "They contain a mix of organically farmed CBD broad-spectrum hemp extract, organic Ashwagandha, L-theanine, and a custom calming terpene blend—which all work together to create a calming effect."