I’ll be the first to admit I’m a CBD skeptic. Over the years, I’ve consumed it in teas, oils and tinctures and never felt the much-lauded calming and pain-relieving effects. Cannabidiol is the second most active ingredient in cannabis after THC. It’s used in medical marijuana and has become a popular addition to morning coffees and green smoothies.
I wrote CBD products off for a while, convinced it was either a hoax or it just didn’t work for me.
That all changed when I noticed a crop of CBD-infused skin care popping up over the past two years. Face creams, serums, bath salts, body lotions and more, all infused with up to 200 mg of CBD.
I was intrigued but still hesitant – what could CBD do on my skin that it didn’t do when I ingested it? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
The benefits of CBD in skin care
The elements in CBD that potentially ease anxiety, stress, seizures and nausea when taken orally work to soothe the skin when applied topically. Naturally anti-inflammatory with antioxidant effects, it’s known to reduce wrinkles overtime and fade stretch marks and scars.
CBD supercharges skin care with extra anti-aging benefits, can help moisturize ultra dry skin and keeps acne flare ups at bay. It seems like a magic skin care cure-all. I wanted to try it for myself.
NOW tested a variety of CBD products from Canadian-owned skin care companies, Calyx Wellness, Delush, High On Love, KaliKare and Love Nectar. Here’s what came out on top.
Most moisturizing face cream
KaliKare Pure Radiance CBD Facial Cream
Canadian winter is a terror to our skin. The air is dry and frigid, the winds are blistering and we spend much of our time indoors pumping in artificial heat. You always need a great moisturizer in your skin care regimen, but never more so than during the long winter months. KaliKare’s CBD Facial Cream is rich and dense, made with ultra-emollient shea butter, coconut oil and sativa extract. It’s made locally from organic or wildcrafted ingredients and has a faint natural scent from all the herbs and essential oils it’s packed with. After a week of using it day and night my skin was noticeably more supple and plump from all the moisture. Dehydrated no more! If you really want to commit, use it along with their whole CBD line of products, including a facial oil, face wash and exfoliating scrub.
Most soothing face cream
Calyx Wellness Smooth Plus 1,200 mg CBD Lotion
Because of the high CBD content in this cream, a whopping 1,200 mg, I decided to try it out when my skin was flaring up. Extra tender and sore from stubborn pimples and splotches of eczema on my face, my skin needed TLC. I found the almost scentless cream very gentle and woke up with less redness and swelling. That’s the anti-inflammatory at work. The CBD is extracted from hemp plants, and they also make a less expensive version with 600 mg of CBD. It’s a water-based cream, which makes it great for anyone with oily skin. It’s one of their best selling products for a reason.
Best face serum
Love Nectar Facial Serum
I’m a big believer in serums. They’re the extra step between toner and moisturizer. Maybe a bit gratuitous but my skin can never get enough. My serum collection is growing quite large, but this one from Love Nectar became an instant staple. It’s luxuriously rich, and a couple of drops coat the face in a layer of heavenly smelling goodness. It smells like an Aesop face oil for a fraction of the price. The scent is herbaceous and slightly medicinal, from rosehip, grapeseed and carrot seed botanical oils. You even get a little sun protection from the carrot seed oil (but still apply your sunscreen every day). There are 100 mg in the 30 ml bottle so it’s a dedicated long haul to see the effects of the CBD. But the immediate effects make it so worth it. I used it before bed for a week and woke up every morning with my skin glowing as if I did a deep moisturizing overnight mask.
Honourable mention: KaliKare CBD Facial Serum, kalikare.com, $85.
Best body lotion
Delush Whipped Body Butter
Any body lotion that can subdue my eczema is an immediate win. While testing this whipped body butter, it replaced my prescription-grade topical cream. I prefer using products made from all natural ingredients when dealing with eczema, but sometimes it’s not strong enough to appease the skin. This product is a mixture of shea, mango and cocoa butters and infused with 300 mg of CBD. The buttercream texture melts in your hands and spreads easily. It works for psoriasis, run-of-the-mill dry skin and rashes, too. The antioxidant properties help to soothe inflamed skin while all the butters keep the skin quenched. Adding this one to my winter arsenal.
Best CBD bath product
Calyx Wellness CBD Bath Blooms
Bath bombs are always a fun time. These ones come in three scents: lavender and chamomile, ylang ylang and bergamot and peppermint and tea-tree. They fizz up and fill the bath with aromatherapeutic bouquets. The CBD lulls you into a calming experience, I put two in one bath to up the ante. Fun for a solo relaxation or with a partner.
Honourable mention: High On Love Sensual Bath Oil, highonlove.ca, $45.