Consumers are increasingly searching for cosmetic products that are both sourced from the natural environment and are innovative in nature, prompting manufacturers to constantly create product ranges that cater to their demands. Oil derived from the hemp plant has long been used for its moisturising properties in creams, cosmetics and the anti-perspirant market. However, there has been a notable influx of product launches across the globe in the past six months. Organic Monitor, a research company, estimates that the European market for natural and organic products is currently growing at 20 per cent a year, and is set to surpass a value of €1bn. Tight regulations in the US have withheld hemp cultivation, with legislation lagging behind other countries in terms of differentiating between hemp production for recreational and industrial use. It is the only industrialised country where it is illegal to grow hemp freely. Despite this restriction, the US is one of the biggest producers of cosmetic products manufactured with hemp seed, alongside the UK and Germany. US natural and organic personal care provider Burt's Bees this month launched a chemical free sun care range that has titanium dioxide minerals and wheat grass in the formulation with the use of hemp seed oil as the main marketing slant. In the UK, Neal's Yard Remedies has released a facial care range using hemp seed oil, citing its anti-inflammatory and the high quantity of nutrients as having beneficial results for the skin. Canada has had the most amount of products launches in this market with hemp being the most profitable crop in 2006. GT Partners has released an omega-3 facial skin care this month that contains cannabis sativa seed oil. Likewise Jason Natural Products has released a rosewater and chamomile conditioner that contains the cannabis sativa seed oil.
Hemp extract is becoming a focus for many manufacturers, who are are increasingly drawing on more innovative ingredients in a bid to shake up the over-saturated natural and organic market.