The term “disruptor” is being flung far and wide these days, applied to everyone from climate crusader Greta Thunberg to companies reimagining the consumer status quo such as Beyond Meat and Thinx. CBD also makes the disruptor spectrum, at least in the context of the beauty industry according to “The Impact Series: Disrupting Beauty”, a report published by research and content consultancy Prohibition Partners.
The report documents CBD’s popularity in the beauty industry, which is growing by leaps and bounds due to its purported benefits, including being anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antibacterial, antipollution, and having collagen-promoting properties. Testing that substantiates these claims and determines the concentration of CBD necessary to ensure therapeutic value is still in progress, but that is not preventing big names from jumping on the CBD bandwagon. Retailers like Walgreen’s, Walmart, CVS, Ulta, Nordstrom, and Sephora already stock topical CBD beauty products on their shelves.
Prohibition Partners projects that the CBD skincare market sales will reach $959 million by 2024, yet the lack of regulations or industry standards for quality and strength makes CBD skincare a bit of a Wild West into which many investors hesitate to venture. Hemp seed oil has long been a favorite ingredient of companies looking to blend nourishing creams and lotions with “all-natural” cachet, but some producers are now deliberately conflating hemp seed oil with CBD in order to sell products at a higher premium. This sleight of hand is not expected to outlast 2020 as the FDA begins to crack down on such claims and more customers demand a COA (Certificate of Analysis) from an accredited third-party laboratory in order to verify CBD content and potency. As these pieces fall into place, major beauty brands like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal test out the market by featuring hemp seed oil (without CBD) in a few of their products, part of a “wait and see” strategy until CBD catches up with its own hype.
Indie brands are the real disruptors in this market, forging ahead with actual CBD products from pillow mists (OTO) to lip gloss (Saint Jane). The need to stand out in an indie market over-saturated with personal care brands puts positive pressure on start-up companies to innovate and distinguish themselves. The new frontier of CBD provides just that opportunity. Indie brands are succeeding by finding novel uses for CBD that present a whole new paradigm for what a beauty product can do. Kana Vita, an indie luxury brand selling “clean”, top-quality beauty unguents formulated in a Swiss lab by “CBD experts with a background in Medical Cannabis”, is a prime example.
With an increased emphasis on purity and consumer education, indie brands like Kana Vita ride a new wave of CBD products, in response to a call from discerning customers demanding more for their money. If Prohibition Partners’ projections for CBD beauty are accurate, this is a model that the larger brands would do well to emulate, when and if they decide to double down on CBD’s future in the beauty industry.