Without a doubt, the buzziest word in the beauty right now is CBD. Watch Kristen Bell’s Instagram Story before an awards show, and you might catch a glimpse of her slathering this CBD-infused cream on her feet before putting on her heels. Scroll through the high-end beauty buys at Neiman Marcus, and you might stumble upon serums containing the ingredient. But what is CBD – and why is it popping up in everything from moisturizer to bath bombs? We reached out to registered dietitian, holistic cannabis practitioner and founder of supplement Daily Habit CBD Brooke Alpert to answer all our burning questions.
1. What it is: Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound found in the cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) plant’s flowers, leaves and stem. Alpert clarifies that for beauty products, it’s sourced from hemp plants which contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (popularly referred to as THC), the compound capable of altering your mental state when ingested in larger quantities. Rest assured, these topical products are non-psychoactive, so will never result in a case of the munchies. Alpert adds that when in doubt, you can reach out to the company for a detailed analysis of ingredients: “Any brand that won’t share that isn’t being transparent.”
2. What to look for: On labels, it might be referred to as either CBD isolate, or as broad spectrum or full spectrum. The first term refers to when the cannabinoid is isolated by itself, while latter two terms are interchangeable, and mean that the product will also contain other cannabinoids found in the plant that have potential health benefits. “Research is overwhelmingly supportive of the benefits of a broad or full-spectrum CBD over an isolate. It is called the entourage effect and the science behind it is that they all work as building blocks for one another making it even more effective and beneficial than a regular isolate,” says Alpert.
3. What it does: Studies have shown CBD to have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can reduce pain and swelling associated with everything from muscle aches to skin conditions. Research is even being done on CBD’s ability to help with everything from anxiety to epilepsy, Alpert says. Even if you think CBD is a placebo, there’s no evidence that it’s harmful when applied topically or infested orally in the form of a tincture – although you should consult your doctor before incorporating a supplement into your routine.
4. What to shop: We weeded through tens of products to find the ones worth trying. See below!
Asutra Magnesium CBD Cream
In addition to smoothing skin with shea butter and sweet almond oil, this body lotion also treats achy muscles in minutes.
Buy It! $34.50; asutra.com
Cannuka Body Bar
Start your morning off on a high note by lathering up with this hand-cut, ultramoisturizing coconut and grapefruit oil bar.
Buy It! $18; neimanmarcus.com
Flora + Bast Facial Serum
Soothe dry, irritated skin with this nourishing antiaging serum.
Buy It! $77; floraandbast.com
Josie Maran Skin Dope Argan Oil with CBD
Apply this silky blend to help boost skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Buy It! $78; skindope.com
Lord Jones Body Oil
Need an instant dose of Zen? Dab this bergamot- and orange-scented oil on your pressure points.
Buy It! $75; shop.lordjones.com
Vertly Bath Salts
These lavender-scented salts will make your post-workout bath even more relaxing.
Buy It! $29; vertlybalm.com
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