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CBD is undoubtedly the current golden child of the wellness world, touted in everything from bottled water to dog treats, as a solution for pain, anxiety, sleeping issues, you name it. (As a quickie reminder, CBD stands for cannabidiol, a type of plant-based compound known as a cannabinoid that’s found in the flower and leaves of the hemp plant. But no, it’s not psychoactive and won’t get you high.)
But CBD is a beauty buzzword too, the latest ingredient slapped on the labels of skincare, makeup, and more. And it does have some credibility in the beauty benefits department. “Research suggests CBD has significant natural anti-inflammatory properties. In topical applications, these properties could result in reduced puffiness, redness, and irritation,” explains Coco Meers, CEO and co-founder of Equilibria, a CBD company for women set to launch topical products this spring. Credit the fact that it’s a potent antioxidant; it also has been shown to reduce oil production, making it a good acne-fighter as well.
The big (big) caveat here? Just because you see the word ‘CBD’ on a label doesn’t mean you’re going to actually be getting CBD and all those good-for-your-skin benefits. Many products simply use hemp seed oil, which yes, is a good moisturizer but doesn’t contain any cannabinoids like CBD, the compounds that contain the aforementioned benefits.
Then there’s the concentration question. While there’s no agreed-upon amount that’s needed in order to be beneficial, it’s important to read the ingredient label and make sure that CBD, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, or full-spectrum hemp extract (all synonyms for CBD) are listed towards the beginning. At the end of the day, no matter how you’re using it, CBD is still somewhat of the wild, wild west. “This is an unregulated market, and marketers are definitely taking advantage of the industry buzz,” says Meers.
The bottom line: CBD doesn’t suddenly need to pop up in all of your beauty products out of nowhere for no reason, she adds. Instead, educate yourself and be a smart shopper. One good place to start? Any of the top CBD skincare and beauty products below.
When shopping for CBD skincare, it’s also important to consider the other ingredients in the formula. “Topical applications require the cannabinoids to pass below the surface of the skin. So be on the lookout for formulations that are not only highly concentrated, but also don’t contain waxes, which can impede absorption, and that have other botanicals that can help facilitate the transdermal delivery of the CBD itself,” suggests Meers.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s very on board the CBD train, and takes it both internally and uses it topically (she especially loves it for muscle aches and period cramps). Many of the products on this list are regulars in her routine.
Coco Meers is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. She is the co-founder and CEO of Equilibria, a CBD company for women revolutionizing the industry. As a busy mom of two, Coco has become an expert on CBD and its everyday uses; she initially started using it to relieve pain from an autoimmune spine condition.