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Wednesday December 1, 2021

By Erin Hiatt

CBD cosmetics Health/Science

Cosmetic companies love a fabulous new ingredient. Remember hyaluronic acid or Vitamin C in your moisturizer? How about argan oil or crystal-infused cosmetics? In recent years, the industry has trended more toward natural ingredients, adding things like kale, seaweed, and turmeric, purporting their highly-beneficial effects. The jury is out on the efficacy of these ingredients. However, an ingredient that has been taking the industry by storm is CBD, and the hype is the real deal. 

CBD and the Cosmetics Industry

The beauty and personal care market capital is the United States, where in 2016, consumers spent around $84 billion dollars on hair products, perfume, toiletries, deodorants, make-up, and skincare. With increased cannabis legalization, cosmetic companies have felt more comfortable adding CBD to their offerings. 

CBD is only one of the molecules in the cannabis plant, but unlike THC, it is non-psychoactive, so it will not get you high. CBD topicals have been shown to have incredible anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, excellent for redness or irritated skin. It is also non-comedogenic and is rich in antioxidants, which help to clear up cell damage on the skin. 

CBD Cosmetics
CBD can be very benefical for one's skin. photo credit

CBD is also replete with essential fatty acids (EFA), like omega-3 and omega-6, which produce healthy cell membranes. EFA’s enrich the skin by keeping skin hydrated and more plump, which gives a younger appearance.

As cannabis has become more mainstream, cosmetic companies new to the space are bringing elevated designs and packaging. But, as with many sectors in the beauty industry, there’s a lot of snake oil, too.

Companies quick to hype CBD and leverage its rebellious or healing qualities may not be putting CBD at in their top five ingredients. In fact, the further down the ingredient list you go, the less likely that CBD will be beneficial at all, as it occurs in smaller and smaller amounts.

They may also be charging you a lot more and be full of additives like lead, aluminum, formaldehyde, mineral oil, and phthalates to improve their appearance, smell, and shelf-life.

These additives can be very irritating to the skin and could potentially undo or work against many of CBD’s healing and moisturizing effects. Just because something contains CBD doesn’t mean it’s necessarily pure or organic, so be sure to still check the label.

CBD Cosmetic Companies to Check Out

When considering adding CBD cosmetics to your self-care regimen, look to some of the companies that are cannabis scene veterans. Though they may not be the shiny and new cosmetic industry toy, they are more likely to use organic and cruelty-free ingredients and have a thorough understanding of their client-base.

Here are a few companies to consider:


Co-founded by husband/wife team Michael and Kelly Bumgarner, Cannuka are strong advocates for the healing powers of CBD. Michael’s passion for legalizing industrial hemp led him to learn about the benefits of CBD, and Kelly brings the medical expertise as a dermatology PA-C.

Their product line includes calming eye balm, healing skin balm, and a hydrating lip balm.

CBD for Life

New Jersey-based CBD for Life is a woman-owned and operated company. Their products are free of many additives, never animal tested, and 95 percent natural. And even better, all of their products cost $35 or less. 

Their offerings include lip balms, eye serum, hand and body lotion, and hair care products.

Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s famous bottles with the All-One mystical messages have been a mainstay and best seller in the natural product marketplace for dozens of years. Their products, which contain hemp seed oil, are all organic and fair trade. They also hold environmental sustainability as a corporate value, working in soil enrichment, tree planting programs. They also use 100 percent post-consumer recycled packaging.

Products include sugar soaps, body lotion, shaving soaps, and hair care.

Herb Essntls

This New York City-based company uses organic ingredients and is cruelty free. Herb Essntls products, intended for both men and women, are also free from unhealthy chemicals and additives.

Available from small retailers across the country, their line includes moisturizer, body lotion, candles, and perfume.


CBD’s many benefits for skin make it an ideal additive to a skincare routine, and the industry has noticed. More quality options are entering the market all the time, but so are large companies or shady operations trying to cash in on the CBD craze. When buying CBD cosmetics, look for trusted brands, and always be sure to read the label carefully. Products with documented testing are ideal.

Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all CBD Cosmetics the Same?

No. Though they may be similar, there are going to be some key differences between them. How the CBD extract is sourced can have an impact on quality, there are different infusion methods (such as distillate or nano-infusions) to consider, and the other ingredients mixed in with the CBD may affect it. Look for quality ingredients with documented testing, and check for harmful ingredients.

Is CBD Good for Your Skin?

CBD has been shown to have many positive effects on skin, helping to repair damaged skin cells, moisturize skin, and fight inflammation.

Will CBD Topicals Get Me High?

No. Most topicals cannot get you high (whether they have THC or CBD), because the cannabinoids do not cross into the bloodstream and through the blood-brain barrier. There are a few exceptions that use specialized processes to get around that limitation, but it is not used in most topical products. Furthermore, CBD is non-psychoactive so CBD cosmetic products will not get you high.

What CBD cosmetics do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: irinaevva (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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