Should cannabis be added to your beauty routine?

Should cannabis be added to your beauty routine?

Image: Canadian Living


Should cannabis be added to your beauty routine?

Our go-to beauty products contain everything from grape seed extract for lightening dark spots to yeast for purifying the skin—but perhaps cannabis is the do-all ingredient we’ve been looking for.

If we skin care and beauty enthusiasts hear a product or ingredient could potentially give us the perfect skin and hair we’re always dreamed of, we’re sure to be all over it—even if it’s a tad on the unconventional (read: questionable) side. Charcoal? Sure! Snail mucin? Slather it on! Our own blood with a vampire facial? Why not? So, we’re itching to know more about the hottest ingredient right now: cannabis.

As reported by Health Canada, many Canadians are using cannabis for health-related purposes, such as easing chronic pain and nausea. Naturally, we beauty-obsessers can’t help but wonder: If cannabis has the ability to soothe the body (and, as the pro-420 set will tell you, the mind) and minimize pain, what can it do for skin, hair and nails?

We certainly aren’t alone in wondering this. Cannabis-infused face creams, lip balms, mascara and more are popping up on store shelves everywhere. “We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of beauty products that contain cannabis,” says certified dermatologist Mark Kirchhof. “This growing trend of cannabis-containing products is due to the increased acceptance of cannabis use and the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in Canada and in several states in the United States.” 

Does this trendy ingredient serve a valuable purpose starring in our beauty products, or are companies using it as a marketing ploy? I asked Kirchhof and new organic hemp skin-care line founder Kirstin Wood for the lowdown on cannabis in our beauty routines and what it can do—for better and for worse—for our appearance.


1. Does cannabis have any business in our beauty products? What could it do for our skin, hair and nails?

Some of the beauty benefits of cannabis that have been reported include an increase in moisture, improvement of acne, decrease of inflammation and changes to the skin’s aging process, but there’s a catch: “There are not enough good studies to support many of the claims being made by the companies and the individuals involved in the sale and promotion of cannabis products.” This means that all reported benefits at this point are purely circumstantial, and not scientifically backed. But, you can expect to see more studies on the subject as cannabis is legalized. Still, cannabis is used topically to soothe sprains, pain caused by arthritis and old, unhealed injuries. “It may also help reduce bruising, calm irritated skin, ease pain and reduce skin irritations,” says Wood.


2. For those who aren’t sold on the idea of applying cannabis topically, are there any other ingredients that can provide the benefits cannabis may offer?

“Cannabis is reported to contain antioxidant vitamins and compounds,” says Kirchhof, “but these can be created in a lab and added to any topical preparation.” If you’re looking for a product with antioxidants, look for ingredients such as vitamin C, lycopene and grape seed. To ease pain and soothe inflammation, Wood suggests arnica and birch, and for skin irritations (like psoriasis and eczema), viola or calendula (Wood’s second favourite plant, cannabis being the first) could be good choices. “Arnica, birch, viola and calendula are key ingredients in my MPENZY organic body care line along with a host of other anti-inflammatory and soothing essential oils.”


3. If there could be beauty benefits from applying cannabis topically, could there be any from smoking it?

“Theoretically, many of the same chemicals are delivered to the body whether cannabis is smoked or applied,” says Kirchhof, “however, the burning process does change some of the compounds, destroys others and creates new and potentially dangerous chemicals like tar and ammonia.” 


4. Are there any beauty detriments that can come from cannabis—whether in beauty products or inhaling it?

The biggest risk for those using a beauty product that contains cannabis is the side effect that's possible with any beauty product (particularly plant-based ones): an allergic reaction. “Anyone who has come in contact with poison ivy or poison oak knows that red itchy blisters can develop from plants or plant products,” says Kirchhof. “Cannabis and its derivatives have the potential to cause allergic reactions, not only on the skin but also throughout the body.” Some users have been documented for getting hives or a rash from being in contact with it, so it’s best to do a test patch before trying out any new product.

Smoking cannabis is a different story. As mentioned above, there are no beauty benefits to smoking it, but there is one major detriment: It can stimulate signs of aging. “Like cigarette smoke, we know that many of the chemicals produced during the burning process of cannabis can accelerate the aging process causing the development of premature wrinkles and age spots,” says Kirchhof.


The science behind cannabis-containing products may need to be better studied, but that’s not to say cannabis has no business in our beauty routines. We’ll be the judge of the plant’s superpowers, trying out the products below that we’ve had our eye on.


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Cannabis beauty products we're excited to try

Face Cream

While the prime ingredient in this ultra-hydrating face cream is myrrh, it also contains hemp oil, which can help protect and nourish the skin. 

Radice Myrrh Facial Cream, US $75,


Read more: CAP Beauty Radice Myrrh Facial Cream
Image by: CAP Beauty

Cannabis beauty products we're excited to try

Lip Balm

Available in rose and peppermint scents, this CBD-infused balm acts as both a moisturizer and protector for your lips and spot treatment for your face.

Hemp Infused Lip Balm, US $22,


Read more: Vertly Hemp Infused Lip Balm
Image by: Vertly Balm

Cannabis beauty products we're excited to try


This volumizing and thickening mascara is made with cannabis oil to nourish and condition lashes. 

MILK MAKEUP KUSH High Volume Mascara, $29,

Read more: MILK MAKEUP KUSH High Volume Mascara

Cannabis beauty products we're excited to try

Relief Balm

This cooling and warming stick acts as a quick fix to your sore muscles and body pain, whether caused by an injury or a move from a workout.

Muscle Relief Balm, Price TBD, Available October 1 at

Read more:

Cannabis beauty products we're excited to try

Hand Soap and Body Wash

If you're wary of using cannabis in your beauty routine but interested in hopping on the trend, this product is for you. Despite its name, it doesn't contain any cannabis. This equally hydrating and purifying spicy-scented soap works just as well at the sink as a hand soap as it does in the shower as a body wash. 

Cannabis Hand+Body Wash, US $24,


Read more: Malin + Goetz Cannabis Hand+Body Wash
Image by: Malin + Goetz



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Should cannabis be added to your beauty routine?