Origins is the latest mainstream company to capitalize on the burgeoning cannabis beauty market by launching a new celadon green face mask that contains cannabis sativa seed oil from hemp.Â
The cannabis beauty business is booming, according to the industryâ€™s main market research firm the Brightfield Group. Their latest study claims, â€śAs hemp CBD is extremely versatile, companies have begun infusing it into everything from facial scrubs and deodorant.â€ť However, its efficacy in such productsÂ is sketchy.Â
“There is very little cannabidiol in seed oil; almost none,” stresses Chris Bunka, CEO of Lexaria Bioscience. “This is why seed oil is allowable to sell in grocery stores as a cooking oil. Even if refined/distilled, the amount of CBD is negligible. Seed oil (“cannabis” or “hemp”) is a healthy dietary item with little orÂ no CBD or THC.”
“Often categorized as ‘topicals,’ skin care and beauty products are items such as face masks, eye serums, and CBD-infused mascara, which are often applied topically but are not generally used to treat medical conditions. These products are most frequently purchased online but are also often found in health food stores. As is to be expected, the buyer base for skin care and beauty products consists mostly of younger women â€“ and is especially appealing to older, high-income women; but a fair number of men across the board are also purchasing these products. There is a great deal of room for innovation in this sector, and topicals and beauty products are expected to explode with legalization and the entry of major consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies,” according toÂ The Brightfield Group’s report.Â
Origins was originally utilized by EstĂ©e Lauder to compete with independent phenomenon Aveda, in the 1990s. Aveda’s CEOÂ Horst Rechelbacher’s interest in developing products without toxic chemicals launched the mainstream market for natural beauty products in the United States.Â Origins never successfully overtook Aveda; however, it became a quasi-natural brand comparable to The Body Shop. Eventually, EstĂ©e Lauder purchased Aveda from Rechelbacher for $300 million in cash and subsequently cornered the market with a strong portfolio of “natural plant-based,” beauty companies.
Once EstĂ©e Lauder acquired Aveda, they eventually set about screwing over indigenous communities, watering down and chemically infusing Avedaâ€™s formulas and pivoting far from the brand’s roots.Â EstĂ©e Lauder capitalized onÂ Aveda’s proprietary hair salons as a new avenue of product distribution, as brick and mortar retail stores were beginning to decline.
Aveda became mostly dedicated to hair care, while phasing out many of its staple skin care products. Avedaâ€“which is short for Aruveda and implies ancient, holistic healingâ€“ was gutted of the brand’s essence and all-natural origins. Out went the essential oils, and in came the palm oil.
According to Ethical Consumer, theÂ Union of Concerned Scientists reported that “palm oil production had contributed to climate change through the destruction of carbon-rich tropical forests and peatlands. It also highlighted exploitation within the industry, particularly child labor, poverty wages and dangerous working conditions, and the violation of indigenous land rights.”Â EstĂ©e Launder was considered by UCS to have little commitment to sourcing palm oil sustainably.
EstĂ©e Lauder is seemingly attempting to crush the competition and pull an environmentally friendly bait-and-switch once again via Origins. With the launch of the â€śHello, Calmâ€ť mask, available exclusively at Sephora.com today, Origins’ attempt to capitalize on the buzz of cannabis culture-based beauty ideals is as similarly aggressive as trying to capitalize on all-natural, organic “new age” beauty concepts 21 years prior. Â Â
According to Glossy, Hello, Calm represents Origins first foray into the cannabis beauty arena. Meanwhile, the Body Shop’sÂ hemp face products and kitschy green “dope on a rope” soap in the shape of a pot leaf have been available for years.
Additionally, covetable brand Fresh amassed a cult-like following for its cannabis rose face mask, which was unfortunately discontinued for reasons unknown. (Fresh devotees ransacked Ebay for sellers who were scalping the last remaining jars.) Fresh still has Cannabis Rose and Cannabis Santal scents in its product line.
Milk Makeup has also utilized cannabis marketing with its Kush brow gel launch at Sephora this past Summer.
“While Hemp Seed Oil has been making its way into beauty products at stores like the Body Shop for many years, CBD in beauty products have exploded in popularity over the past year. Â We have seen CBD make its way into anti-aging creams, sleep masks, soaps, scrubs, even mascara and bug bite creams,” saysÂ Bethany Gomez, director of research for the Brightfield Group.
What differentiates Originsâ€™ new Hello, Calm mask from its cannabis-infused counterparts in the Sephora aisles, is that it was created in collaboration with Sephora, rather than solely being distributed by the makeup mega-mart.Â
Origins claims that cannabis sativa seed oil is filled with nourishing benefits to help condition the skin via the seed oilâ€™s rich fatty acids. They also claim it calms and soothes skin while protecting its barrier from irritants. Ingredient linoleic acid is included for its barrier boosting properties because a strong skin barrier is important to help protect the skin from stressors, such as irritation and dehydration.Â Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids are also included as anti-irritants.
While hemp, cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) are topically anti-inflammatory, which can slightly calm acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, mixing them in with other ingredients may dampen their efficacy.
“Will the hemp seed oil actually disassociate from the rest of the cosmeticÂ formulation and absorb into the skin to deliver some benefit? Has the company treated the hemp in some manner to encourage it to separate and penetrate into the skin? I doubt it,” says Bunka. “To whatever degree that wiping hemp oil on your skin is good for you, this product probably qualifies. And, if the maskÂ otherwise smells nice, does what you want and doesn’t cost more than another brand without seed oil than there is probably no harm in trying it.”
Many DIY beauty bloggers and aficionados have created their own cannabis-infused face masks with an Ardent Nova decarboxylator,Â a Levo oil infuser or simply a pot of boiling water, some cannabis and a cheesecloth strainer.Â For those who prefer upmarket packaging to liftingÂ a finger, the Origins face mask might be worth a try.
Origins seemingly has no interest in embracing the cannabis community to create a buzz, preferring to launch its product via compensated Instagram influencers and Sephoraâ€™s built-in hive of online â€śbeauty insiders” instead.Â According to the majority of Sephora’s beauty insiders, the mask is a hit. However, many of them are millennials who are delighted to receive a pre-market, free sample.Â
Sephora.com beauty insider Shosh85 commented online,Â “This is a creamy smooth mask that is green in color and has a light herbal smell which is quite relaxing. The mask had a nice cool and refreshing feel. I kept it on for 10 minutes and wiped it off with a tissue, as directed. My face felt refreshed, energized and even had a little bit of a glow! My face initially did have a slightly tacky/waxy feel to it, which I know a lot of people don’t like, but it didn’t bother me at all. That feeling eventually went away and I was left with soft and hydrated skin! One thing I should mention is that this mask does leave a very light green cast behind and if your fair-skinned like me it’ll make you look sick. I didn’t have any plans of going anywhere for the rest of the day so it was fine.”Â
Perhaps if Origins was more forward thinking about addressing the cannabis community they co-opted the product idea from, they might have debuted it at Hall of Flowers in Sonoma, California, today alongside steadfast cannabis beauty brands such as Apothecanna. Incidentally, Apothecanna’s management team includes former pre-EstĂ¨e Lauder Aveda executives.Â
According to a representative at Sephora, Origins’ Hello, Calm mask will be available in stores on October 5.Â