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Last year, a road trip that ended in Los Angeles made one thing abundantly clear: the world’s obsession with all things CBD had taken on a life of its own. On the west coast (far away from my NYC home base), it felt like literally everyone kept a tincture or face oil on hand for all-too-common concerns like breakouts and insomnia. And though I was hardly interested in hoarding the best CBD products for myself, it definitely piqued my interest.
This also isn’t to say that indulging in the plant’s psychoactive benefits is a bad thing. It really just comes down to preference. And if you’re anything like me–i.e., can’t smoke or consume an edible without canceling the entire day–then the non-psychoactive pros may be more your speed. So like any good product junkie, I decided to basically swan-dive into trying any and every CBD-infused beauty and wellness product I could get my hands on. (If you need a full breakdown on what CBD actually is, here you go.)
First, it’s worth noting that the lack of black-owned CBD beauty companies put a bit of a damper on my experiment. For as long as I can remember, people I grew up with or near have been unfairly affected by marijuana-related arrests, though usage rates compared to other races is relatively equal. So to excitedly start my research and come across an embarrassingly small amount of black-owned beauty left me disappointed. Nonetheless, I pressed on, and eventually gathered an overwhelming hodge-podge of CBD goodies; from hair oil to face oil to tinctures and capsules.
To be honest, I found simply didn’t get to a lot of things, like this minty muscle balm that I’m sure would’ve felt amazing after a hot yoga class. There’s also a sweet-smelling hair oil I never popped open because of my box braids and a sheet mask that probably would’ve paired well with a bath bomb I’m now obsessed with. On the other hand, there were also some things that felt a bit scam-y like CBD-infused water (it tasted like sugar water and made no difference in my mood). And then there were products that worked just fine, though I doubt it was because of CBD content.
At the end of the day, I find CBD to be useful for two very specific things: getting better sleep and soothing skin after a bad breakout. Here are the products I would actually co-sign:
For ‘Mama Said Knock You Out,’ Nothing’s Waking Me Up Sleep: Sagely Naturals CBD + Melatonin Capsules
I’m a bonafide insomniac and already familiar with the magic that is a melatonin tablet. So when combined with CBD, magnesium, and lemon balm, know that you are getting the best sleep ever. The bottle says to take one, but I’ve been taking two at a time and not feeling groggy the morning after.
$49.99 at Sagely Naturals
For a Gradual, Sort-Of Deep Sleep: Beam ‘The One’ CBD Oil
This is another CBD oil I tried for sleep, though I wouldn’t recommend it for hardcore insomniacs. However, on days when you’ve been stressed beyond belief and are having a hard time winding down, this is a tasty tincture worth taking about an hour before bedtime.
$49.95-$119.95 at Beam Organics
For Winding Down the Day-Vibes: CBD For Life Eucalyptus & Peppermint Bath Bomb
Truth be told, I’m not completely sure that the CBD component is responsible for my feeling unbelievably relaxed, but at such a low price point, I’d say this is a bath bomb worth trying anyway. Also, eucalyptus is the ultimate stress-relieving scent.
$12 at CBD For Life
For Next-Level Moisture: Farmacy Better Daze Ahead Restorative Cushion Cream
I was lucky enough to get my hands on this moisturizer before it actually launched and was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. The “cushion” name is definitely appropriate as its consistency is on the thicker side, which means a little goes a very long way. If you’ve got dry skin, a pimple that just won’t go away, or a combo of both, this CBD formula is a must-try.
$68 at Sephora
For Non-Greasy Overnight Hydration: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cannabis & Oat Dry Oil
On the other hand, if you’re looking for moisture without the greasy feel, this pre-moisturizer oil absorbs quickly, but doesn’t make you feel like you need to use more. It’s also allergy-tested and fragrance-free for anyone who’s sensitive to hidden ingredients.
$30 at First Aid Beauty
For a Gradual Deep Sleep: Populum Full Spectrum Hemp Oil
The oil in this tincture comes straight from the seed of a hemp plant, but is just as potent. It also tastes like oranges, so be careful not to go overboard when using. I take a dropper-full amount of this stuff about two hours before bed and gradually leads me into sleep as opposed to knocking me out in seconds.
$59-$179 at Populum
For Soothing Your Skin After a Terrible Breakout: Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum
This is the face oil to end all other face oils. Though its star ingredient is obviously CBD, it’s also chock-full of other ones that help the formula to deeply penetrate the skin. I love using this at night and letting it soak in while I sleep. By morning, it’s completely absorbed and I’ve got a glow that even shines through my makeup (if I choose to wear it). It’s also incredibly lightweight, which is always a plus in my opinion.
$125 at Saint Jane Beauty
For Wiping Away Soap Residue: S.O.L. CBD Face Toner
My CBD journey began shortly after Christine Chin told me to start using toner on my face again, so naturally, this product was a must-try. I love the cooling sensation (thanks to peppermint oil) and the fact that it picks up whatever dirt my cleanser didn’t. My only caveat is that if you follow the instructions and apply with a cotton pad, you have to spray a lot of product to feel anything, which means you go through a bottle pretty fast.
$35 at Strains of Life