Around 2018 I had the opportunity to live in New York. Ultimately, the experience taught me to value fresh air, sunshine and the above-zero temperatures we’re blessed as Australians. Another thing I noticed? Hemp and cannabis-based products were everywhere. From CBD infused gummie lollies to the lotions and potions found in health shops, Americans were obsessed.
But, for an ex high-end skincare consultant and makeup artist, the packaging of hemp and CBD infused products felt a little… naff. It wasn’t until 2021, back in Sydney and at the Professional Beauty offices that a flood and premium, sleek and shelfie-worthy hemp-based skincare flooded my desk. While Australia continues to navigate legislation around medicinal and cosmetic usage of CBD, here’s my round-up of the best hemp-based products of 2021 that changed my mind about this exciting category.
NIXE BEAUTY: Facial Cleanser
Launched this year you’ll have to wait to explore the NIXE range – they’re currently totally sold out. Your patience will be well worth the wait though. The range has serious pedigree, founded by an ex-Rationale Chemist and Scientific Formulator the ranges key ingredient is hemp (Cannabis Sativia) grown in the New South Wales hinterland region. Its major point of difference is that rather than using traditional hemp seed oil extracts NIXE uses full-spectrum hemp extract from the Cannabis Sativa plant. The ingredient provides an antioxidant that outstrips antioxidants C and E for preventative potency. The other point of difference? Their super-luxe packaging. The beautifully weighty glass bottles have a porcelain finish, are fully recyclable and come in biodegradable wrapping paper and mailers. Of the three SKUs in the range, my top pick was the Facial Cleanser – a silken emulsion that slips over the skin, dislodges product (or post-pilates sweat) and leaves a fresh, perfectly balanced complexion behind.
Vela Days: Multi-Active Facial Serum
Vela Days CEO Amelia Gartner is the Chief Executive Officer at Greenfield MC Global, the licensed supplier of CBD oil in the Asia Pacific region. For the creation of her range Vela Days, she worked with the company to create the core active ingredient CannaComplex – an active that combines Hemp Seed Extract and THC-free Hemp Stem Cells to mimic the potency of CBD-based skincare, currently unavailable in Australia. I’ve been using Vela Days Active Compound Serum at night for several weeks now. Like the NIXE cleanser, it has an emulsion texture and like the NIXE cleanser, the hemp actives deliver the best of both worlds for the skin. Hemp is a does all ingredient as it deeply penetrates pores, moderating oil production whilst providing equivalent hydration. Following application my skin feels plush rather than weighed down – and I know I’m benefitting from encapsulated retinol, 4 weights of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Milk Makeup: Kush Volumising Waterproof Mascara
Sure, it’s not a skincare product but makeup artist favourite Milk Makeup is leaning into the hemp-based craze. Their waterproof “kush” mascara is a great example of how hemp can work in cosmetics. I’m always sceptical about “hydrating” mascaras – to me it’s always a euphemism for panda eyes. Meanwhile, I can’t stand waterproof mascaras because of their signature stiff, crunchy texture that does nothing to alleviate my chronically dry eyes. Milk’s Waterproof Kush mascara proved me wrong! The uber-lengthening, lash thickening formula leaves lashes flexible rather than stiff (after a 9 hour day staring at a WordPress screen as online ed, you don’t want your mascara to be drying your eyes out). Tragically, the waterproof version of Kush mascara is unavailable in Australia – I receive it as part of a care package from a US-based beauty co-conspirator. Here’s hoping it makes its way to Australian shores in 2022.
Want more hemp-based beauty features?
Check out our interview with Vela Days founder Amelia Gartner (where we get into the regulatory status of CBD in Australia) here.
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