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Exclusive: Sephora Just Announced New "CBD Standards" to Help Build Trust and Transparency

sephora cbd guidelines

It's official: CBD and skincare are the beauty industry's Nick and Priyanka. According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global CBD skincare market size is expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2025, and each day, it seems like there's a new CBD skincare product promising to deliver the ingredient's miracle anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing benefits. There's a problem, though: the CBD skincare world is still very much uncharted waters, with little regulation around these claims and even less proof to back them up (at least for the time being). The result? Lots of misinformation, over-the-top marketing claims, and, as a result, distrust from customers. As of today, Sephora wants to change that.

The beauty retailer gave Byrdie the exclusive details. "We’re excited to introduce Sephora’s new 'CBD Standards' to help provide transparency and assurance to clients as they look to navigate this growing beauty category," says Cindy Deily, Vice President of Merchandising, Skincare at Sephora. "Our new standards are the first for a national prestige retailer and set baseline parameters around CBD sourcing and testing, reinforcing Sephora’s commitment of being a trusted resource for our clients." See the four new CBD Standards below, straight from Sephora:

  • Inclusion of only full- or broad-spectrum CBD from U.S. grown hemp
  • CBD must be tested at least three times for quality and purity
  • A Certificate of Analysis (COA) that verifies the CBD content matches any label claims must be available upon request
  • All products must meet Sephora’s Clean at Sephora standards

One of the biggest areas of distrust with CBD skincare is when brands tout CBD in their marketing or even product names when they don't actually contain CBD; instead, they'll be made with hemp seed oil, a common ingredient that doesn't contain any cannabanoids. (You can read more about how to dissect a CBD skincare product label here.) Plus, there can be murkiness around how the CBD is extracted, where it's grown, and if it's been tested for safety and efficacy. Sephora hopes to build trust and transparency with its customers by addressing all of these issues in its new standards.

These CBD Standards were launched in direct correlation with customer interest around the topic; according to Deily, search volume for beauty products that contain CBD is up "over 1,000 times." "We’ve seen clients’ demand for transparency continue to grow, and it’s important to Sephora that we are a trusted resource," she tells us. "With the amount of products flooding the market, there can be confusion and mistrust. As part of our research and client listening, our clients told us they weren’t fully confident in shopping the category. Therefore, we saw an opportunity to have a point of view for the benefit of allmuch like we did with our Clean at Sephora standards that launched in 2017." But how exactly were these CBD Standards developed and why were these four specific tenants chosen above others—for example, requiring that a product contain a certain percentage of CBD in order to qualify? "We developed the new guidelines in partnership with a panel of industry insiders and utilized extensive industry research," Deily explains. "We wanted to develop a tool that would aid clients in their product discovery and instil a level of trust that they’re getting a quality product."

One of those industry insiders is Lord Jones co-founder Cindy Capobianco. "Our team helped educate Sephora on the complexities of the category and the importance of transparency in CBD sourcing, manufacturing and testing practices as well as the need for whole plant formulas; this work helped shape the Sephora CBD guidelines," she shares with Byrdie. The brand, which boasts cult-favorite CBD products like its High CBD Royal Oil and High CBD Body Lotion, was Sephora's first-ever CBD brand, launching online in 2018 and in-stores in 2019; it was the first time in history that hemp-derived CBD products became available at a national beauty retailer.

We are still at the beginning of the CBD revolution.

With the new standards in place, Sephora will expand its assortment to include Prima, a hemp and botanical-based line of skincare and body care. Prima will be Sephora’s fourth brand of products dedicated to CBD, joining Lord Jones, Saint Jane and Flora + Bast. The retailer will also continue carrying CBD products from its skincare brands, like Hebivore and Josie Maran, that adhere to the brand's new standards. Similar to the brand's "Clean at Sephora" badge, the new CBD Standards will be clearly visible on each product description when customers are browsing Sephora.com.

These new standards are a big step in the right direction for creating trust around the hazy world of CBD and skincare, but it's only the start. As the CBD industry grows faster than you can say "Trust me, I'm chill," there's still much to be done, from education to research (so far, studies around the specific amount of CBD required to effects on the skin have been far and few in between, but we're hopeful this will change in the near future). "We are still at the beginning of the CBD revolution," says Capobianco. "CBD, unlike other beauty or wellness categories, abides by unique manufacturing, testing and sourcing processes that are still new to the majority of consumers. There is a need for more education and more regulation. As the category grows, it's imperative that retailers do their diligence and put support behind brands that go the extra mile to produce safe, high-quality products." Sephora, it appears, is doing just that. Now, who's down to CBD face mask and chill?

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