The future of cannabis in the beauty industry

The health benefits of marijuana are indisputable, and with the organic beauty trend on the rise, it only makes sense that the two should collide.

Cannabidiol (CBD) in skincare is nothing new, however, as the decades-long prohibition of the Cannabis Sativa plant is now fading away, Cannabidiol prominence is on the rise.

And before you ask – no, it’s not going to get you high. Hemp seed oil, the core component of this new generation of green beauty products, doesn’t contain the high levels of compound THC responsible for the psychoactive effects people who smoke marijuana experience.

What it does contain is pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, along with the ability to moisturise and improve the skin’s barrier, reducing dryness and sensitivity while helping it to appear plumper and smoother.

“The essential fatty acids soothe and restore skin when added to salves and creams,” George Blankenbaker, Manager of Real Hemp, an Indiana-based subsidiary of Stevia Corp, told Soap, Perfumery & Cosmetics (SPC) magazine in a recent interview.

“The natural texture gives excellent emolliency and a smooth after-feel to lotions, lip balms, conditioners, shampoos, soaps, shaving products and massage oils.” Not only that, but the plant’s oils also contain a rare gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which research has indicated is a natural sunscreen product that works as a broad-spectrum UV skin protector.

“There is lab data suggesting that cannabis seed oil is anti-inflammatory and may help decrease the activity of oil glands, which may explain a benefit in acne,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Fashionista earlier this month, citing a 2014 study.

“Cannabis oil is rich in fatty acids, which fill in the cracks between skin cells like mortar between bricks. It also has moisturizing (sic) and skin soothing properties, which makes it useful in treating dry skin and rashes like eczema,” says Zeichner.

Despite its proven benefits, hemp and CBD oil still struggles to break away from its low-brow reputation that’s constantly being reinforced in popular culture. While marijuana was once considered the staple of the loser stoner stereotype, the power (and fickleness) of pop culture is turning the tide one Instagram post at a time.

Social media influencers, the A-list celebrities of the millennial movement, are taking notice of the beauty-related benefits of hemp oil, with @amberulmer, @cosettedemille, @cleanisthenewblack, @twicebakedinwa and more adjusting their camera lenses and posting to thousands of followers.

This acceptance can in part be tied to the legalisation throughout North America, but the rebrand of hemp as an edgy wonder ingredient can arguably be contributed to the packaging sector of the beauty industry.

A growing number of brands are using design to remedy the ingredient’s decidedly un-chic reputation, with sleek lines, Pantone-inspired colours and sleek minimalism ultimately making CBD skincare an Instagrammers nirvana.

One such brand is Herb Essntls, a line of cannabis sativa oil beauty products that come housed in sophisticated packaging that’s all artful minimalism and black and white colour scheme. KHUS + KHUS is another one that’s making the most of clever marketing, with glass bottles, white space and a whole lot of Helvetica ensuring it’s not out of place in the designer skincare section.

Sales are soaring in the U.S and the rise of organic and independent beauty brands continues to grow as cannabis slowly shakes off its stoner image. The seed has definitely been planted.

Have your say – how do you feel about cannabis oil in the beauty industry?


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