Welcome to the era of CBD-infused beauty. Thanks to slackening cannabis laws all over the country (medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states and recreational weed in nine), plus an accompanying giddiness surrounding CBD in the research community, more and more beauty and wellness brands are rolling out CBD-infused body oils, face serums, even makeup. Add to that to celebrity CBD endorsements from the likes of Alessandra Ambrosio and Olivia Wilde, as well as the launch of weed-chic brands like Hora Skincare and Lord Jones, and we find ourselves neck-deep in a CBD revolution.
But what is CBD exactly, and why is everyone putting it in beauty products? CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of over six dozen extracts from the cannabis sativa plant. So is THC, which gets you high—CBD doesn't. What CBD does, according to new research, is offer a number of antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, anti-pain, and anti-inflammatory properties (which can be useful for everything from muscle pain to eczema to acne—CBD oil is non-comedogenic). CBD is also shown to contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which provide moisture and protection from sun damage.
Because of all these enticing beauty benefits, and so many cool new launches, I decided to try all the buzziest CBD products I could get my hands on, all in one week. Curious about CBD beauty? So was I. Keep scrolling to read my reviews of eight CBD-infused body lotions, lip balms, face masks, and more.
Lord Jones has some of the most talked-about pain soothing products in the CBD beauty universe right now, so when this muscle-relaxing body lotion (which is apparently approved by Mandy Moore) hit shelves at Violet Grey, I knew I had to try. Some CBD body products, especially with concentrations as high as this one, can smell pretty, well, dank (in a bad way), but this hypnotic sage-and-citrus aroma was all kinds of pleasant. I applied the product to my sore upper arms after a workout—it was immediately cooling and temporarily truly eased some of the soreness.
Vertly's pristinely packaged, plant-based lip balms contain just the teeniest amount of CBD—but combined with its other ingredients (like coconut oil, shea butter, cacao butter, kokum butter, and jojoba oil), it feels extra moisturizing, and the moisture lasts for several hours. Could be in my head, but I also feel like the product genuinely relaxes me, especially in the cooling peppermint scent.
So far, I am 100% buying CBD's anti-inflammatory benefits, and this was the serum that convinced me. I'd been dealing with some summer and stress-induced breakouts and redness, and after three nights in a row of use, this rosehip oil– and CBD-laden elixir (which packs 75 milligrams of 99.6% pure CBD) evened me out and seemed to coax some of my breakouts out the door, while also giving me a hydrated glow. For bringing my skin to the chill side, this was one of my favorite CBD-infused products I tried throughout the week.
So technically this product is made with hemp seed oil, not CBD, which I didn't realize at first. This is a distinction that can be hard for a consumer new to cannabis beauty (read: me) to make. Hemp seed oil is made from a different part of the cannabis plant but is also rich in skin-benefiting omegas and vitamins. I love how sustainably sourced this product is—it's vegan, cruelty-free, pesticide-free, GMO-free, Leaping Bunny certified, and made using 100% wind energy. But it's not crunchy granola—the formula is super luxurious, made with goodies like almond oil, goji berry, and Chinese herbs, which, when combined with the hemp, make your skin so soft.
You can also use the stuff in your hair. It doesn't have any of the relaxing properties of CBD but is absolutely lovely as a nourishing body oil.
Because CBD is super hydrating hut also non-comedogenic, I was interested to see the effect this product would have on my dry, sensitive, milia-prone under-eyes. CBD is not only moisturizing, but apparently also encourages collagen production. I will say, I think I'd need to use the stuff longer than a week to get a full read on its plumping benefits, but as someone who usually experiences some stinging or irritation with under-eye creams, so far so good with this one. It's definitely super lightweight and moisturizing, which is lovely.
CBD-specific results still pending, however.
Hora is another one of these new indie CBD brands with cool minimalist packaging, so I was pumped to get my hands on this attractive exfoliating mask. Its ingredient list is delightfully short and includes vitamin A, borage oil, MCT Oil, evening primrose, salicylic acid, and 422 milligrams of CBD. The night I used this I was experiencing a teeny bit of eczema next to my left eye, and when I woke up, I was impressed to see that the spot had noticeably improved, which I think was thanks to the combo of borage and CBD.
The product is also fragrance-free, which I look for in an overnight mask (don't want to fall asleep to a perfume-induced headache). Apparently, it's also gentle enough to use up to four nights in a row—I certainly plan to try that out during my next eczema flare-up.
This was actually the first-ever CBD product I tried—the product that got me curious about CBD beauty in the first place. The folks from Kush Queen (one of the OG cannabis brands to hit the market) came into the Byrdie office and gave me a mini massage using this super cooling, almost out-of-body relaxing balm. I've been using it post-workout on sore muscles ever since. Throughout my CBD-centric week, I also partook in some of the brand's other goodies—they make super relaxing bath bombs and a line of lubes (including a THC-infused one.
I, ahem, highly recommend).
Apparently, the conditioning benefits of CBD can also nourish your lashes and brow hairs—make them look fuller and healthier. Milk has taken advantage by infusing two new formulas, a brow gel and mascara ($24), with CBD. The brow gel undoubtedly makes my brows look shiny and thick (though I wish the formula was ever-so-slightly less liquidy and provided more hold), and the mascara definitely provides tons of length and volume, though it's hard to know whether the CBD in the formula has much to do with any of that.
Regardless, these trendy products prove that CBD is a hot ticket ingredient in beauty right now.
Whether or not CBD-infused makeup will stay the course is hard to predict, but my feeling is that it has a well-earned place on the skincare and wellness side of things. Have you tried any CBD-infused beauty products? DM me your recommendations and opinions @amanda_montell!