“So, it gets you high?” This is the first question everyone asks after hearing about my recent love affair with CBD oil (or cannabidoil, which is a chemical compound extracted from marijuana plants that—spoiler alert—is also completely non-psychotropic, meaning sorry, it won’t get you high). But I wasn’t seeking my typical Sunday Scary fix when I replaced half of my beauty routine with CBD infused products for a month; I was after the oil’s other rumored, yet equally excellent, topical benefits: the soothing, calming, and even wrinkle-fighting effects. Yup.
CBD oil is darling of the herbal community and, when ingested (through capsules, tinctures, or foods, like chocolate and gummies), is typically used to help with anxiety and insomnia, or even promote clear-headedness. And yes, it’s legal. Ish. Maybe. (Laws are constantly changing, and it totally depends on the form of CBD you're getting—as in whether or not it's totally THC-free—and what state you live in). And while the medical community has yet to really examine THC’s little sister for its medicinal purposes, the beauty world has certainly recognized its potential as an ingredient label hero.
“There’s definitely a lack of research on the subject, but the studies that are out there suggest that CBD is anti-inflammatory and potentially antimicrobial, meaning it could help fight bacteria and pathogens,” says Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, director of cosmetic dermatology at South Shore Medical Center in MA, adding that CBD also has antioxidant properties, “which can result in anti-aging benefits.” And if something has the possibility of soothing my skin and calming my jitters at the same time, you best believe I’ll be slathering it all over my face and body, which is exactly what I did. And, surprise, it was actually kind of life-changing.
Ambika Herbals CBD Bath Salts, $30
College cheerleading left me with a slipped spinal disc that still, to this day, sends shooting pain down my legs. So after a particularly achy day, I sprinkled the suggested amount of salts into a hot bath and submerged myself, expecting nothing more than a blah, Epsom-salt effect. But I stood CORRECTED. Within 15 minutes, the tightness in my lower back had melted substantially, and the pain in my calves completely disappeared. Oh, and did I mention the glorious cloud of chamomile and lavender-scented steam filling the air?
After an entire hour, I was Benjamin Button-levels of pruned and completely blissed out, because my intense pain was actually gone. The effects lasted throughout the rest of the night, and even if studies haven’t yet proven that CBD soothes deep-tissue pain, you’ll still find me floating in this weed-like magic every Sunday until the world ends.
CBD For Life Eye Serum, $32
This lightweight serum claims reduce dark circles and puffiness, and, according to Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, CBD may even have preventative anti-aging benefits when it comes to the ever-sensitive eye area: “Cannabis is filled with antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, all of which will be helpful in preventing damage and premature crepe-iness under your eyes,” she says. So I dabbed on a pea-sized drop of serum in the morning, pre-concealer, and again before bed for about a week, and actually did notice a slightly plumper, smoother eye area—as if I’d just had a really excellent facial and a few years shaved off my face.
From Ever Since Contour Serum, $95
This silky anti-aging serum is infused with green tea extract and chamomile, plus a dose of cannabinoid oil, formulated to smooth itty bitty fine lines and tighten saggy, puffy skin. Seeing as those are already two incredibly large claims to make, especially for a product that doesn’t contain retinoids, I was genuinely surprised to see that my cheeks and jaw did appear slightly tighter after a few weeks of massaging this on every night, which is an improvement that’s more than welcome on a Monday morning. Of course, because it’s impossible to know the potency of CBD oil, it’s tough to say whether or not CBD is the hero ingredient in this serum, but I’m not complaining either way.
Jersey Shore Cosmetics Super Sativa Medicinal Hydrating Balm, $15
My lips are chronically dry, so this was an easy addition to my collection of balms and masks. Each layer I swiped on brought with it a dreamy whiff of rosemary and cannabis that skewed sweet and earthy, rather than skunky. The formula, made extra-hydrating by sunflower seed and lavender oils, can work to soften dry patches pretty much anywhere you rub it on, since “CBD enhances your skin’s lipid bilayer, so it could help prevent dryness and provide a good barrier against moisture loss,” says Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. And thanks to CBD’s inherent anti-inflammatory properties, my lips were left soft and smooth with no signs of chapping or flaking, which is a major departure from my normal M.O.
Lord Jones Pain and Wellness Pure CBD Body Lotion, $50
Lord Jones is known for their killer packaging and potent THC gummies (which, speaking from experience, holy wow), but their lotion deserves a cult-following of its own. Touted as an anti-inflammatory sunburn soother, I coated my sore, rosy shoulders with it after an August afternoon sans sunscreen (I forgot, so judge me), and while I wouldn’t say it made my burn dissipate faster—sorry, only time can do that—my skin did feel significantly less tender, to the point where I could slide on tight bra straps without feeling that intense post-burn stinging. Basically, I’m keeping this on hand for literally anytime my skin feels itchy, sore, or irritated, which, thanks to the impending winter, will be often.
Overall, I wouldn't say that CBD beauty products changed my life, but they definitely made my routine more fun, and way more soothing. To feel legitimate pain-soothing effects without downing Advil or slathering on Bengay was kind of awesome, especially when you realize there are practically zero downsides.