Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
CBD is undoubtedly the current golden child of the wellness world, touted in everything from bottled water to dog treats, as a solution for pain, anxiety, sleeping issues, you name it. (As a quickie reminder, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a type of plant-based compound known as a cannabinoid that’s found in the flower and leaves of the hemp plant. But no, it’s not psychoactive and won’t get you high.)
But CBD is a beauty buzzword too, the latest ingredient slapped on the labels of skincare, makeup, and more. And it does have some credibility in the beauty benefits department. “Research suggests CBD has significant natural anti-inflammatory properties. In topical applications, these properties could result in reduced puffiness, redness, and irritation,” explains Coco Meers, CEO and co-founder of Equilibria, a CBD company for women that recently launched topical products. Credit the fact that it’s a potent antioxidant; it also has been shown to reduce oil production, making it a good acne-fighter as well.
Oh, and the beauty benefits don’t end there. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, CBD can also boost skin hydration and create a slight plumping effect, a major plus for anyone looking to improve the look of fine lines. Additionally, she considers it an excellent choice for managing skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
The big (big) caveat here? Just because you see the word ‘CBD’ on a label doesn’t mean you’re going to actually be getting CBD and all those good-for-your-skin benefits. Many products simply use hemp seed oil, which yes, is a good moisturizer but doesn’t contain any cannabinoids like CBD, the compounds that contain the aforementioned benefits.
Then there’s the concentration question. While there’s no agreed-upon amount that’s needed in order to be beneficial, it’s important to read the ingredient label and make sure that CBD, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, or full-spectrum hemp extract (all synonyms for CBD) are listed towards the beginning. At the end of the day, no matter how you’re using it, CBD is still somewhat of the wild, wild west. “This is an unregulated market, and marketers are definitely taking advantage of the industry buzz,” says Meers.
The bottom line: CBD doesn’t suddenly need to pop up in all of your beauty products out of nowhere for no reason, she adds. Instead, educate yourself and be a smart shopper. One good place to start? Any of the top CBD skincare and beauty products below.
Best Overall: Frigg Attuning Face Potion
Serums, in general, are a good way to ensure you’re getting a hefty dose of any active ingredients (given that they’re much more concentrated than moisturizers), CBD included. Shamban points out that this one is a particularly great pick for the amount of antioxidants in the formula. It contains 300mg of CBD in addition to a slew of other skin-care standouts like omega-rich sea buckthorn oil. It evens out tone and texture while balancing oil production, plumping fine lines, and strengthening the skin’s barrier. It’s an effective option for all skin types, a universal crowd-pleaser if we’ve ever seen one.
Best Budget: Naturally G4U CBD Calm & Relieve Creme Mask
Sensitive skin acting up? This plant-based calming mask from Naturally G4U blends anti-inflammatory CBD with cold-pressed hemp seed oil and other soothing ingredients to address irritated skin, offering much-needed relief, naturally. It’s also a great choice for those with acne-prone skin.
Best Drugstore: e.l.f. Cosmetics 50 MG CBD Eye Cream
This budget-friendly eye cream from e.l.f. Cosmetics works wonders to revitalize the delicate skin surrounding the eye area. In addition to 50mg of anti-inflammatory CBD, it’s enriched with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and a brightening peptide complex. Plus, the formula is cooling, helping to perk up tired eyes.
Best Splurge: Saint Jane Luxury CBD Beauty Serum
It’s on the pricier side, yes, but worth every penny, particularly given that this hero product delivers a whopping 500mg of full-spectrum CBD. (FYI, full-spectrum means it comes from the whole plant and has maximum concentration and penetration.) The hemp plants used are grown in the U.S. and evaluated four times, higher than the industry standard, for ultimate purity. “It’s also packed with antioxidants that promote cell turnover and can help detoxify the pores while rejuvenating the skin,” says Shamban. Plus, the 20 botanicals included in the formula all help to boost the efficacy of CBD. Lightweight and fast-absorbing, you won’t be able to get enough of it.
Best Moisturizer: WLDKAT Mushroom & Moss CBD Gel Cream
This lightweight moisturizer harnesses the power of CBD, mushroom extract, hyaluronic acid, and moss to boost hydration and glow. The fast-absorbing gel controls oil production while helping the skin retain moisture, leaving you with a complexion that’s oh so soft and supple. We're also pretty big fans of its 100% recyclable packaging.
Best Night Cream: Sagely Brightening CBD Night Cream
Meers says it’s always a good move to seek out CBD products that have third-party lab results, no matter whether it’s an oral or topical product. This standout night cream is, in fact, lab-tested, with 150mg of broad-spectrum CBD hemp oil. That’s paired with bakuchiol oil, another botanical that’s known to mimic the anti-aging effects of retinol—but without any of the irksome and unsightly side effects. Slather it on before bedtime and wake up to smoother, softer skin come morning.
Best Eye Cream: Haoma Soothing Eye Cream with CBD
Shamban is a fan of this luxurious eye cream for its ability to smooth texture, deeply hydrate, and totally rejuvenate the skin of the sensitive eye area. It’s chock full of CBD and other plant-based greats that work hard to brighten, boost circulation, and improve skin elasticity. Plus, its delightfully rich and creamy texture is so soothing.
Best Serum: Undefined Beauty Glow Elixir CBD Beauty Oil
This hydrating, brightening, and balancing serum is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, formulated with 250mg of full spectrum cannabinoids (both CBD and CBG) in addition to kalahari melon, plum, and meadowfoam. Plant-based and ultra lightweight, it’ll give you an otherworldly glow. It also has the most amazing floral scent, to boot.
Best Mask: Kana Lavender Hemp Sleeping Mask
This pairs broad-spectrum phytocannabinoid extract (where you get the CBD benefits) with hemp seed extract, another good source of antioxidants. There are a litany of other botanicals in here as well, 28 in total, all in a lightweight formula that works while you snooze to help heal, hydrate, and brighten skin.
Best for Acne: Mask Spotless Blemishes & Oily Skin Soothing CBD Sheet Mask
As Shamban points out, CBD can be a great acne treatment and help heal mild abrasions and skin wounds thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits—which brings us to these amazing sheet masks from Mask. In addition to calming inflammation and helping to heal blemishes, they balance oil and encourage cell turnover to reduce the appearance of redness and scarring.
Best Body Lotion: Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Lotion
A best-seller from this uber-popular CBD brand, this infuses CBD into a hydrating, shea butter base. The special vacuum pump doses out two milligrams of CBD per pump, on the lower end, but enough that we feel the effects. You can use it as an all-over hydrator, for sure, but our favorite trick is slathering this on our feet before a big night out (i.e. a night when you’re wearing crazy high heels). Not only does it hydrate cracked heels, but it also makes wearing otherwise uncomfortable shoes notably less painful, truly.
Best Body Oil: Mineral Sousa Body Treatment Oil with 200mg CBD
The hemp-derived cannabinoid oil in this head-to-toe hydrator contains not only CBD, but also CBG (cannabigerol), another type of cannabinoid for additional topical benefits. The only other thing in this body oil? Oils, namely a wide range of ones including jojoba, almond, and calendula. It makes for a formula that’s not only a top-notch moisturizer (duh) but also ideal for dabbing onto inflamed or itchy spots.
Best Lip Balm: Hello CBD Vegan Lip Balm
Get your hands on this newbie, stat. CBD aside, it’d be a great lip balm on its own—super, super creamy thanks to coconut and olive oil, and with a minty flavor that also feels nice and tingly (in a good way). But yes, you do get the benefits of CBD too, further helping to soothe irritated, chapped lips. Not to mention that the price can’t be beaten, given that CBD products, in general, tend to skew way more towards the pricey side.
Best Bath Bomb: LumiBloom Lavender Bath Bomb Plus CBD
Long day? Tough workout? Stressful convo with your significant other? Period cramps? Toss one of these into the tub to soak away any or all of the above. CBD bath bombs are a dime a dozen, but we’re big fans of upgrading our tub time with this heavenly lavender-infused version from LumiBloom, which boasts 100mg of the good stuff. Just be sure to hang in the tub for at least 20 minutes to reap the full benefits.
When shopping for CBD skincare, it’s also important to consider the other ingredients in the formula. “Topical applications require the cannabinoids to pass below the surface of the skin. So be on the lookout for formulations that are not only highly concentrated, but also don’t contain waxes, which can impede absorption, and that have other botanicals that can help facilitate the transdermal delivery of the CBD itself,” suggests Meers.
When it comes to our absolute favorites in CBD skin care, we’re major fans of Frigg’s Attuning Face Potion. This potent serum evens out texture and tone while plumping fine lines and strengthening the skin’s barrier, leaving the complexion healthy and radiant. Next up, Sagely’s Brightening CBD Night Cream is our top choice for softening and smoothing our skin while we catch up on our beauty sleep. In addition to CBD, it contains bakuchiol to deliver top-notch anti-aging benefits. And finally, while splurgy, Saint Jane’s Luxury CBD Beauty Serum delivers a gorgeous glow like no other. It contains 500mg of ultra pure CBD along with 20 other botanicals that help boost its efficacy, resulting in deep hydration and detoxification.
What to Look for in a CBD Skincare Product
Read the Label
This might seem obvious, but first and foremost, it’s very important to thoroughly read the product label to make sure it actually contains CBD. “A lot of products that suggest they have CBD in them actually don’t,” points out Shamban. For example, some products toting CBD benefits may actually only contain hemp oil, which, while an effective skincare ingredient in its own right, comes from the seeds of the plant rather than the whole plant and is entirely free of CBD. “Reading the label also helps you find products that don’t contain the things you don’t want on your skin, such as pesticides and contaminants,” she adds.
Check the Quality
Shamban says it's crucial to find out the quality of the CBD in a product, whether you're ingesting it or applying it topically. “It’s important to know where the CBD is sourced from and that the product contains a pure form of CBD,” she says. If the packaging or the brand’s website doesn’t list this information, contact them directly before making a purchase.
Look for Independent Lab Testing
In addition to the quality of a product, you’ll of course want to make sure it’s just as safe and effective as the brand claims it to be. That said, Shamban recommends choosing brands that have their products tested by an independent third-party lab, especially when it comes to CBD.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s very on board the CBD train, and takes it both internally and uses it topically (she especially loves it for muscle aches and period cramps). Many of the products on this list are regulars in her routine.
Meet the Expert
Coco Meers is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. She is the co-founder and CEO of Equilibria, a CBD company for women revolutionizing the industry. As a busy mom of two, Coco has become an expert on CBD and its everyday uses; she initially started using it to relieve pain from an autoimmune spine condition.
Dr. Ava Shamban is a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. She’s the founder of Ava MD Dermatology practices and SkinFive Medical Spas, as well as a best selling author, clinical trial advisor, and the creator of The Box by Dr. Ava, the first and only doctor curated seasonal skincare solutions subscription box. She is also a "derm diva" co-host of the YouTube show TheGist.