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One side effect of President Trump’s 2018 Farm Bill has been the legalization of hemp across the U.S. This change has quickly de-stigmatized the use of hemp and created a consumer craze for beauty products containing CBD and hemp oil. But what exactly are CBD and hemp oil, and why are they popping up as the latest must-have ingredients in skincare?
Hemp oil is pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant and contains only trace amounts (if any) of cannabinoids (read up on cannabinoids and the human endocannabinoid system here), while CBD—short for “cannabidiol” and also referred to as hemp extract—is a chemical compound extracted from the entire marijuana or hemp plant. CBD from marijuana is only legal in states with medical or recreational marijuana laws, while CBD from hemp is legal in all 50 states. Although hemp is a kind of cannabis, as an industrial agricultural product it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which means oil derived from the hemp plant is non-psychoactive and won’t get you high (sorry).
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The initial appeal of CBD is that it allegedly alleviates anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. However, claims of its benefits and efficacy remain unverified by the FDA. So why are beauty brands jumping on the CBD and hemp oil bandwagon? Because, CBD and hemp oil contain many essential vitamins (A, C, E, B complex), minerals (niacin and magnesium), and fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) critical to healthy skin, along with anti-inflammatory properties to fight against free radical damage, assist with collagen production, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and redness, and even help eliminate acne.
While CBD and hemp oil might just be another short-lived beauty fad, these oils are full of good-for-you skin care ingredients, and possibly wellness benefits for mind and body. So, I decided to take a close look at some of the high-end beauty products incorporating these oils. After a few weeks of testing, here’s are some CBD and hemp oil products worth checking out.
Face Mask by CoSo Beauty
Founders Jae and Katy Lee recently launched CoSo Beauty, which merges Korean beauty care with the healing properties of hemp. The brand’s star product is a cellulose sheet mask (a nod to the K-beauty craze) that’s infused with super hydrating and calming full spectrum hemp oil. Cell renewing rosemary extract and fatty acid rich centella asiatica (another hot K-beauty ingredient) help to round out this mask’s skincare benefits. Use it once and you’ll see a noticeable glow. For dry skin that has a compromised moisture barrier, CoSo has just launched its latest mask: Hemp oil and coconut water. $12 each or $45 for a pack of 5, cosohealthandbeauty.com
Hand Salve by Cannabliss Organic
Aurora’s own Cannabliss Organic Hemp Salve has been a hand and cuticle saver, which is essential when living in a place as dry as Colorado. This thick but velvety balm easily breaks down to hydrate rough, dry hands, and ease minor joint aches and muscle pain. The addition of three top K-beauty antioxidant herbs—mulberry, goji berry and ginseng—all help to reduce inflammation and aid the skin in the repair process. Cannabliss specifies that their CBD concentration is 87 percent (versus 30 percent for many other hemp oils), and that its Korean herb formula helps the body absorb CBD better so you use less of their product. Bonus? This salve is organic, non-GMO and paraben-free. Going into summer, use it to calm sunburns and other warm weather skin irritations. $55, Neiman Marcus, Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 3030 E. First Ave., 303-329-2600, neimanmarcus.com
Muscle Soothing Lotion by Vertly
If you’re in need of something for achy muscles, but a balm feels is a bit too heavy for you, try Vertly‘s Relief Lotion. This hemp potion’s benefits are boosted with arnica for sore muscles and magnesium to improve skin cell processes. Plus, its subtle citrus lavender scent is relaxing and soothing. I tried this one out on my mom’s arthritic knees, and she definitely noticed an improvement in the level of pain. $48, Neiman Marcus, Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 3030 E. First Ave., 303-329-2600, neimanmarcus.com
Oil Tincture by Press Pause Project
Beauty supplements are the latest must-have for a total skincare regimen. According to Denver-based Press Pause Project co-owner Torrey Benson, “We all know that what we put in our body also affects our skin.” Press Pause Project’s star product is their Organic Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Tincture. Add a few drops to your morning coffee or smoothie or even a cocktail to decrease skin inflammation, balance oil production, and bring your body into overall balance. The oil can be used topically to help heal skin irritations and acne as well, but as Benson points out, it is made with peppermint oil so stay away from your eyes. $74.99, presspauseproject.com
Adaptogenic Drops by Dram
An adaptogen is a fancy word for a non-toxic plant—like roots and herbs—that help the body resist physical, chemical or biological stressors. Salida-based Dram Adaptogenic Beauty Drops combines ingredients like moringa leaf, bilberry and hibiscus to their CBD blend to brighten, protect and reduce skin inflammation. These drops are another version of a tincture, but its coconut oil base makes it easily added to food or topically applied to the skin and hair. $94, dramdose.com
Sleep Cream by Peter Thomas Roth
I’m really sensitive to product fragrance (a couple of CBD beauty items I couldn’t try because of the strong herby smell); although I’m not crazy about the “earthy” scent of Peter Thomas Roth’s Green Releaf Therapeutic Sleep Cream, I have to say that this nighttime treatment is a high performer (plus, the smell dissipates pretty fast). This cream helps minimize fine lines by hydrating skin with a combination of cannabis sativa seed oil (a specific strain of hemp seed-derived oil), colloidal oatmeal and ceramide. I do get a brief zing when I apply it (probably from the 2 percent retinoid complex), but it’s not an effect that lasts nor do I get any redness; I just wake up with plump, clear, smooth skin. $65, Sephora locations and Sephora.com
Eye Cream by Cannuka
No list would be complete without Cannuka CBD Calming Eye Balm. This cult favorite contains CBD isolate–a 99.7% pure form of just the CBD molecule—and Manuka honey, which is antibacterial and promotes healing. This frequently sold-out balm has become popular because it’s super hydrating; just rub a pea-size amount between your fingers before applying it to your eyes to warm it up and break it down. This balm will keep your under eye area dewy and moisturized all day or night, and fine lines and under-eye puffiness will be less noticeable. $38, Neiman Marcus, Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 3030 E. First Ave., 303-329-2600, neimanmarcus.com
Bath Salts by CBD Essentials
Finally, if you’re looking to relive muscle and joint pain beyond what a balm can offer, try CBD Essentials‘ Salt Soak. These scented sea and mineral salts are infused with CBD to help achy muscles, aid relaxation and soften skin. If you want more CBD therapy, try layering other CBD products for a complete bath ritual. As founder Aryn Sieber explains, “Using the right CBD products can enhance the experience of a regular Salt Soak.” If you don’t already have your own bath regimen, try adding a few drops of CBD Essentials body massage oil along with the salts to a warm bath, soak for twenty minutes, and finish with their soothing coconut oil and shea butter pain cream. Salts start at $16 for 1 oz., cannaisseurbrands.com