When I first heard about the use of CBD in the beauty industry a couple of years ago, I have to admit I was dubious. CBD (otherwise known as cannabidiol) is a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its relative THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties. When taken as a supplement, CBD is thought to have the ability to help with pain, anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Over certain periods of the last year or so, I have taken daily CBD supplements, mainly just to give them a test drive. And, while by no means are my personal experiences with CBD a reflection on the absolute truth (jury’s still out in the science world), I can say that I really didn’t notice a huge difference in my everyday life, except maybe I sleep a little better. And this is the reason I was even more sceptical when I heard that CBD was being used in skincare products.
The idea goes that the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD make it a great ingredient for soothing the skin. However, the idea that topical CBD could possibly improve the condition of my skin seemed totally bizarre given than it barely affected me when I took it as a supplement. On top of all of this, I found myself angered by the amount of brands jumping on the CBD train when actually, cannabis-derived hemp has been used in skincare for hundreds (if not thousands) of years thanks to its nourishing properties.
So, as more and more heavy CBD balms and creams hit the shelves, I started to turn a blind eye to the whole movement. My skin is congestion-prone and sensitive. The majority of de-congesting products contain powerful ingredients such as acids and retinol, which are usually unsuitable for sensitive skin types. Likewise, products that work to soothe sensitivity usually focus on hydration, often leading to further congestion and breakouts. Naturally, the CBD products that claimed they would soothe my sensitive skin just seemed to clog my pores.
And just as the whole CBD movement started to die down, a new wave of products recently hit. This time though, they’re different. Gimmicky branding has gone out of the window and they have a much heavier focus on proven skincare ingredients. In fact, when the brand new This Works CBD Booster range arrived at my front door, I genuinely couldn’t wait to give it a go. Not only is This Works a brand that I swear by in both beauty and wellness, these products just seemed so much more than your bog-standard CBD moisturiser.
For years now, I have been battling to try and find the perfect balance between necessary exfoliation and moisture-replenishing soothers. During this time, there is one thing that I have learned for sure: Certain ingredients are a total no-go. After just a few hours, even the weakest of retinol formulas will turn my skin red, dry and sore. Strong acids such as glycolic will often leave me with irritation-induced breakouts and highly potent vitamin C serums usually turn my complexion a glowing shade of red. Similarly, pore-clogging moisturisers and aromatic essential oils do little better.
To help deal with such issues, I find myself turning to boosters a lot. Highly concentrated formulas that allow you to customise the amount you add to your daily products mean the chances of having a reaction are much lower. However, these new boosters from This Works don’t just allow you to monitor your dosage of highly effective skincare ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C, they also contain 1% CBD to calm, nourish and help counteract potential irritation.
After trying every single one of the five booster products available for some time, I can categorically say that something about them just works. I guess that means they live up to their name. Having been unable to use the majority of retinol or particular acid products on my skin for so many years, these CBD-infused boosters leave behind no redness, no irritation and certainly no congestion. In fact, I think I can officially say that I am a retinol and acid convert (well, a CBD retinol convert at least).
Unlike the other boosters in the range, I do think that this particular one requires mixing with another product. The consistency is a little stickier and leaves skin feeling tight and coated when just used on its own. A couple of drops into my daily moisturiser left my skin looking so radiant that every single person I spoke to on Zoom that day complimented my glowing complexion.
If there’s just one thing I try to keep away from, it’s alpha hydroxy acids. Not only is my skin simply too sensitive for them, but it can also take me weeks to get my complexion back on track after just one use. This product, however, feels so calming and nourishing it seems almost impossible for there to be potent exfoliating acids in there.
Dubbed nature’s alternative to retinol, bakuchiol works against fine lines without risking your skin’s health. The thing I love the most about this booster when applied directly to the skin is how immediately calming and relaxing it is to use.
Co-enzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant and helps to even out skin tone. More than anything, though, this morning booster makes my skin look instantly radiant and seriously revitalised. Plus, it doesn’t have the tightening effect that the vitamin C booster has.
Of all the boosters, this is by far the one I was most scared to try. Retinol does not agree with my skin, however, with calming essential oils like lavender, vetivert and camomile, this retinol booster doesn’t react with my sensitive skin in the slightest. Plus, it smells like my favourite pre-bed This Works products.