Hands up who’s heard of CBD oil in beauty? If you’re at all into skincare or wellness, chances are you’ll have come across it through social media, word of mouth or in your local natural health store. For the last few months I’ve seen it posted all over Instagram, advertised on A boards outside wellness stores, and promoted through beauty PR companies. My initial reaction was one of suspicion: if it’s derived from cannabis, isn’t it a drug? How is this good for my health? But after a few relentlessly stressful months at work when my skin seemed to take the brunt of it, the calming benefits of CBD oil seemed increasingly appealing. So I dived in and did some research. First things first, what is CBD oil? Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant. As Cult Beauty explains, ‘Cannabis consists of up to 100 different cannabinoids – predominantly CBD and THC. The latter is the psychoactive element (the bit that gets you high and gives you munchies) while the former – CBD – is a completely legal extract with NONE of the mind-altering side-effects’. That’s me reassured from the drug perspective. Now for its skincare benefits: anti-ageing, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory according to Vogue. With inflammation causing all sorts of skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema, CBD oil is thought to calm stressed skin and therefore soothe these conditions. As an eczema sufferer and regular user of GP-prescribed cortisol creams, this natural alternative sounds very appealing. Here I give three CBD oil products and one CBD facial a go to see if my skin responds favourably to its calming properties.
I’d never heard of this French brand until I came across it on a PR company’s website. Specialising in cannabis-infused skincare, Ho Karan (which means “I love you” in Breton) offers natural, vegan products aimed at de-stressing skin. The Holy Flow oil is an organic hemp oil enriched in CBD. It’s worth noting that not all hemp products contain CBD oil (this one features 2.5%), so always check the label to see what percentage is included. The hemp oil is cold pressed in order to preserve its vitamins and benefits, including vitamin E (also found in avocado and olive oil) and 80% essential fatty acids, resulting in a highly nourishing oil. The blue bottle protects the formula from direct sunlight which can alter the benefits of natural ingredients. After a good shake of the bottle I apply 3 drops to cleansed skin every evening. During my 4 weeks of applying this oil I don’t get a single patch of eczema, even though a change in season is prime time for flare ups. The oil is nourishing without being too heavy, my skin looks and feels balanced. My only initial reservation was the scent: a definite whiff of aromatics, a small reminder of its cannabis origins, and automatically linked in my mind to the teenagers hanging out along the canal in Hackney. After a few applications though the association has all but gone and I’m left with a positive reminder of its natural origin.
I’ve built quite a collection of eye creams in the last year or so, from The Ordinary’s incredibly de-puffing Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG to La Roche-Posay’s soothing Pigmentclar eye cream and natural indie brand Alexa Sky Botanicals’ Cactus Fruit Eye Serum. Adding to mix with this Morning Miracle eye cream, I’m glad to report that this 99% natural formula does not smell of cannabis. Actually it has only the slightest hint of aromatics about it – I find a very light scent is preferable for a product going on the delicate eye area. This anti-fatigue eye cream claims to decongest the eye area and revitalise the skin. The translation on the front of the tube is a little awry, with de-puffing coming out as ‘no puffs’. An image of Rice Krispies dancing under my eyes comes to my mind, but when it comes to dodgy translations, I’ve seen worst. The cream is light and pleasant to apply, although it takes quite a bit of tapping into the eye area to sink into skin.
I’m a big fan of keeping hand cream on my bedside table so that applying it becomes my last beauty ritual before going to bed. This was one of my new year beauty resolutions and I’m happy to say that on the whole I’ve stuck to that one. Enriched in several nourishing oils, including coconut, sweet almond and jojoba, Cubid’s hand cream contains hemp oil with 66% CBD. Looking at the ingredients list the hemp oil features quite far down the list, so I’m not sure of the concentration of CBD oil within the final formula, but either way I love the result. The cream is light but nourishing without leaving any sticky residue, and it smells very familiar. It takes me a while to figure out what the scent is until it hits me: it reminds me of Nivea cream, which is no bad thing. Product photographed is a sample.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that there is nothing more indulgent than a facial. Actually there is: a facial combined with a shoulder massage. Cowshed’s signature facial has been updated with an anti-inflammatory twist: the addition of CBD oil. Visiting the Cowshed spa located just off London’s Carnaby Street, I’m shown into a cosy treatment room with soft music playing in the background. My face is double cleansed, steamed and exfoliated, followed by a little extraction. Every Cowshed product used during this treatment smells as delicious as I remember from when I used to use their hand wash and body cream. This is then followed by a CBD oil from Dutch brand MariPharm with which the facialist performs a deep tissue massage. All the muscles in my face are thoroughly worked to be loosened. This feels particularly needed around my jaw which I wake up to find firmly clamped most weekday mornings, after a fretful night spent rehashing the stresses of the day. The massage is extended to my neck and shoulders, and while a mask is working its magic on my face, I’m treated to a scalp massage. I wish I could do this every day. 60 minutes, £95
Have you given CBD oil a go? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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