Cannabis-derived CBD, or cannabidiol, is attracting a great deal of attention as a luxury beauty and wellness ingredient—attention that’s led to an explosion of new product launches across the entire beauty spectrum. The CBD category is awash with indie brands playing off the CBD trend, but many have untested products making nebulous claims that contain
The global legal market for cannabis products is expected to reach $166 billion by 2025, according to Euromonitor International, as cannabis in some form becomes part of consumers’ daily routines, either as a functional ingredient in foods, beverages and beauty, or as a wellness mood enhancer in health. Within beauty and personal care, hemp seed oil has been an ingredient used in products for decades, first coming to prominence when The Body Shop launched its Hemp Dry Skin Treatment range in 1998, which caused a stir with its provocative posters that included: “Get Hooked on Hemp.” Today, CBD has replaced outmoded hemp references and is touted as the new superhero beauty ingredient for its anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory and oil-balancing properties.
A new beauty-focused report by data, intelligence and strategy consultants for the international cannabis market, Prohibition Partners, valued the global CBD skin care market at $710 million in 2018 with projected sales of $959 million by 2024, and it affirms that a new breed of indie brands is putting CBD at the heart of their strategy. Most are US-based, where CBD was made legal in 2018, following the passing of The Farm Bill.
New CBD-based launches are focused primarily on the skin care category, which provides an easy entry point for brands eager to make cosmetic and wellness-related claims, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-pollution, as well as being an antidote to anxiety and stress. However, there have been few research studies into CBD’s efficacy as a cosmetic ingredient, making it impossible to know how concentrated or effective the vast majority of products are.
Laure Bouguen, founder of Ho Karan, is an active member of Le Syndicat Professional du Chanvre (SPC), which was established to safeguard the heritage and quality of cannabis grown for therapeutic purposes and wellbeing, while looking after the interests of producers, brand owners and distributors of cannabis.
“Some brands are rushing to CBD as they see it as the new hit ingredient, sometimes going so far as to call it a ‘miracle,’ but it is harming the industry more than helping it,” warned Bouguen.
She wants brands to “evangelize” more on CBD by supporting claims with clinical tests. Prohibition Partners considers Ho Karan to be a “disruptor” in its efforts to allay the dissenting voices that have discredited cannabis and by demonstrating the powerful benefits of the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the flower used in its products; these include The High Oil, a multifunctional oil designed to moisturize, regenerate and give radiance to the skin.
Another CBD brand, OTO, began with a range of wellness-based roll-ons, bitters and shots before launching a luxury skin care collection into UK department store Harrods in September 2019. According to Gemma Colao, managing director, OTO, CBD is being talked about in the beauty industry and consumers are interested to find out more as well as becoming less apprehensive to try it.
“However, CBD is still poorly understood,” she noted. “With no regulations regarding CBD in skin care, it is hard for the consumer to really know what they are getting. At OTO, we want to make sure we are transparent about how much CBD is in our products—we focus on clear packaging and labeling and always include the milligrams of CBD.”
She points out that despite some great CBD brands coming onto the market, there are also plenty of players riding the CBD trend and not stating the quantities of CBD in their product, often making them ineffective.
“In some cases, people are led to believe there is CBD in products that are actually hemp see oil containing no CBD. There is still a lot more education to be done on the subject of CBD, which is a big focus for us.”
OTO tests every product with consumer trials before launch to gather independent feedback and data which is published in order to build trust with the consumer.
There is a great deal of optimism around CBD as a long-term ingredient in beauty, though most major brands have yet to show their hand. Alexandra Curley, head of insights at Prohibition Partners, made this prediction: “If CBD delivers on the claims being made about it, and provides the evidence to support these claim, CBD could become the most significant addition to the consumer marketplace that we’ve seen in decades.”
Prohibition Partners, Ho Karan and OTO will take part in a panel discussion at next year’s In-Cosmetics Global Marketing Trends presentations in Barcelona, from March 31-April 2, 2020. https://www.in-cosmetics.com/global/
The In-Cosmetics Global Marketing Trends theatre is the most popular educational feature at the event. Priority Passes are available visitors to book and get a guaranteed seat in the sessions.
To register and book a pass, visit in-cosmetics.com/register