In 2018, the global cannabidiol (CBD) skin care market totted up a net worth of €644.4m ($710m) and forecasts suggest it will soar to €870.5m ($959m) by 2024, according to a Disrupting Beauty report from cannabis market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners.
But, beyond a highly complex EU legislative environment and gaps in consumer education, the CBD beauty industry faced the burning problem of ‘weed washing’. As more brands jumped aboard, there were a rising number claiming to use CBD oil but instead using low-CBD hemp seed oil or others claiming potent levels of CBD whilst formulating with negligible amounts.
Alexandra Curley, head of insights at Prohibition Partners, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe: “Weed washing is unfortunately rife across all of the sectors that CBD has been incorporated into.”
CBD beauty labelling will take ‘time to evolve’ and ‘boundaries’ will be needed
So, how much of a problem was ‘weed washing’ in beauty?
“It’s one of the biggest problems, because the mislabelling of CBD is a huge problem for the customers,” said Jakub Mohl, founder of Czech Republic startup Moia Elixirs.
“…People who are interested in these kinds of products are mainly purchasing the products because they want the effect of the CBD,” Mohl said, so when the claimed levels of CBD were incorrect, that was problematic.
It would “take time for the market to evolve”, he said; for cosmetic and beauty companies to stop marketing CBD but using cannabis sativa seed oil, for example. And perhaps it would require regulation to “set some boundaries” on how CBD should be marketed, he said. “I guess we’ll see where it will go.”
Moia Elixirs worked closely with cosmetics certification experts to ensure the company had all the right information to navigate the CBD beauty market, he said. All the brand’s oils and blended creams also contained very high levels of quality cannabidiol.
High dose, quality CBD – from crop to bottle
Moia Elixirs’ range of anti-ageing, wellness and problematic skin products featured oils with 250mg CBD through to 5,000mg, and creams containing between 100mg and 300mg of CBD – all labelled clearly front-of-pack. “We like to tell our customer exactly how much CBD is in the bottle.”
“…We are formulating products specifically for each problem. It’s a different concentration and different amount of CBD in each, and with this persistence, we are able to control the strength and power of the product,” he said.
Importantly, Mohl said Moia Elixirs also controlled every part of the production process – from crop to bottle. “We work with our own CBD, which is produced in our own lab, so we are controlling the whole process of growing the hemp, the process of extraction and purification of the CBD. And at the end we control the full process of formulation and development of cosmetics products.”
Moia Elixirs recently launched a patented CBD-infused nanofiber mask – a concept it had worked on for seven years before this year’s market launch.
‘Weed washing’ to ease in beauty?
Experts suggest that as more CBD beauty products come to market, and consumers become more familiar with the ingredient and recognise marketing and packaging claims, positive change (away from green washing) could be on the horizon.
Coupled with industry certifications that started to emerge to prove quality and eventual tighter regulations, the CBD beauty market could become much fairer with ingredient content and quality honestly labelled.