The One Ingredient That Skin Experts and Cool Girls Are Obsessed With Right Now

Despite being one of the biggest beauty trends in the U.S. last year, CBD oil really only dipped its toe into British waters during the latter half of 2018. So far in 2019, however, the craze for all things CBD has landed firmly on UK soil and is taking the beauty industry by storm—or maybe by a very calm, CBD-infused breeze.

So what is CBD, why has it generated so much fuss, and how is it taking over shelf space in every beauty or health store I walk into?

Leah Peploe and Nikki Michelsen, founders of organic tampon brand OHNE, launched a 1% CBD oil this year to help with period pain, so they know what’s what when it comes to the science behind CBD.

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike the part of the plant that’s harvested for cannabis as we traditionally know it, CBD is the non-psychoactive part. “So, no, it won’t get you high,” Peploe and Michelsen told me.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive component of the plant. The main active ingredient of cannabis and CBD products only contain trace elements of this compound. “CBD is perfectly legal,” Peploe and Michelsen explain. “So long as a CBD product contains no more than 15% CBD and less than 0.2% THC, it is completely legal in the UK.”

But the science doesn’t end there. “CBD full spectrum extracts (like the ones in the OHNE Anti-Teardrops 1% CBD) work by interacting with the natural endocannabinoid system in the human body,” they explained. This system is what supports everything from our appetite and sleep to our pains and mood. Peploe and Michelsen explained how research suggests that CBD is both a relaxant and an adaptogen, which means it has the potential to relax muscles and reduce pain as well as balance hormones and manage stress levels. Sounds pretty good, right? Right.

I can totally see the potential benefits of CBD oil from a wellness perspective, but why is it suddenly cropping up in my beauty products too? Psychotherapist Charlotte Ferguson, founder of Disciple Skincare, launched three CBD oils of varying strengths this year, which can be swallowed or applied topically.

“Scientific research published has demonstrated that CBD has anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties,” Ferguson explained. “CBD creates a highly effective sebostatic, which essentially means that it is amazing at balancing sebum and skin oils.” Consultant Dermatologist Justine Kluk also verified that CBD is “reported to exert anti-inflammatory properties and regulate sebum production—both of which may be helpful in acne.”

However, while there is a huge buzz around CBD oil right now (with fans advocating for the way that it combats everything from anxiety and period pains to hormonal breakouts and eczema), Kluk was keen to point out that it’s still in the early days: “The potential benefits of CBD on the skin sound very promising, but the evidence base is still pretty limited at present. There is, however, lots of research interest in this area now, so hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long to see if the effects are real or just early hype.”

If you’re like me and can’t wait for the scientific journals to make their minds and want to introduce CBD oil into your beauty bag, then there are plenty of formulas to start with.

Keep scrolling for 14 of the best CBD oil and hemp beauty products to shop now.

Created in collaboration with Graces London—a brand that has been making CBD oils for the last six years—this is a calming blend of 1% CBD with lavender, lemon and evening primrose oils to help relieve period pain. Massage it into your belly, put a few drops into your bath or apply a drop to your tampon to help combat cramps and tension.

Apply topically to clean skin to calm redness, inflammation and blemishes—it works really well when mixed with other face oils, too. Or apply a couple of drops to your morning brew to calm the senses if you’re feeling a little anxious.

Although hemp and CBD are made from the same plant, hemp oil doesn't contain cannabinoids like CBD oil and its renowned for being rich in fatty acids. Brimming with omegas 3 and 6, this soothing moisturiser manages to be both lightweight in texture yet intensely hydrating for skin.

This new liquid primer is infused with hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, aloe water, hyaluronic acid and B vitamins for a moisturising prep product that soothes and balances all skin types. The addition of blue agave is what gives this primer its “grip,” helping anything that you layer on top to stick around all day.

Last month, CBD oil found a home on the high street on the shelves of Holland & Barrett with the store’s first-ever CBD beauty range. Like a little pot of nighttime therapy, this cream blends CBD, hemp seed oils and shea butter to boost and nourish your skin’s collagen production while you snooze.

The Body Shop's iconic hemp range has been on the shelves for over 20 years, making them pioneers of the cannabis beauty movement. Again, this uses hemp seed oil rather than CBD oil but is a seriously moisturising option for dry hands. My dad works with cars, and this is the hand cream that I remember him using when I was a child.

While it’s coined as something of a relaxing beauty ingredient, it’s good to know that CBD oil can pack a punch when you need it too. This multitasking lotion contains cannabidiol and extracts of lavender, orange and ginger to even out skin tone, prime for makeup and protects against sun damage.

It isn’t just skincare that CBD oil is making an appearance, it’s in makeup too. Milk Makeup has added cannabis oil to this brow gel to set your brow hairs in place while offering them a little hydration at the same time. Great if you hate that stiff feeling that some brow gels create.

If you’re after a treatment to boost glow and even skin tone, then this mask delivers on both counts. It’s infused with regenerating hemp seed oil and pomegranate enzymes to exfoliate and regenerate tired skin.

The UK's first organic CBD brand, this luxurious balm contains organic hemp flower extract, shea butter, coconut oil and lavender essential oils to create a luxurious and relaxing body treatment.

This new launch actually contains cannabis essential oil, rather than CBD, to not only help calm the mind but to protect your skin from daily stresses. Perfect for a daily dose of glow.

An under-the-tongue CBD oil that's blended with peppermint for a refreshing flavour. Take a couple of drops to calm the mind and focus.

Formulated with hemp-derived cannabis seed oil, kaolin clay and glycerin, this face mask will hydrate parched complexions, sooth sensitivity and keep pores clear. Plus, it's super green and really fun to use. 

A luxurious nighttime oil that blends cannabis sativa oil with lavender, neroli, rose and mandarin extracts to calm and comfort skin and help you unwind before bed.