Enter any major pharmacy or grocery store in the U.S. and you’ll likely find a new section dedicated to CBD health and beauty products. Everyone from huge international brands like The Body Shop to celebrity entrepreneurs like Martha Stewart are jumping on the CBD bandwagon. But why? What, exactly, is CBD? What does research show us about incorporating it into our hair and skin care routines? And why do we at Autonomy insist on featuring full-spectrum CBD oil in our entire range of products?
Is CBD really that good for your hair and skin?
The short answer is: Yes. And the much longer answer is: Yes, but we still don’t know exactly why it works, or what, precisely, it does to your hair and skin to improve its health, as clinical studies on the subject (while rapidly increasing) remain limited at best.
What we do have, on the other hand, are testimonials -- hundreds of thousands of them -- as well as dozens of articles, like this one, written and published online.
Having read and studied all of them, this is what we know for certain.
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound found in the hemp plant that is extracted from the leaves and flowers of hemp and then mixed with a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil, to create CBD oil. Extracts like the CBD found in Autonomy products contain only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) and will not get you high or cause you to fail a drug test.
Of course not. These days, not even bottled water is created equal. There are good brands and not-so-good brands, as there is good CBD and CBD that basically sucks.
At Autonomy, we use full-spectrum CBD grown and harvested in the US. Because full-spectrum CBD contains several naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant and is believed to have greater therapeutic benefits than CBD in isolation.
This is due to something researchers have deemed “the entourage effect,” which suggests that certain compounds found in the cannabis plant synthesize in the human body to offer more relief and health benefits than CBD on its own. But there are other reasons to be cautious about what CBD products you buy: dosage.
As CBD is currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the quality and purity of CBD products can considerably vary. So much so, in fact, that in 2017 researchers from across the country purchased and analyzed 84 products from 31 companies and found that only 26 of these products contained the correct concentration of CBD displayed on the label.
To us, this is obviously flabbergasting. Why make a product at all if you’re not going to make it right? But more importantly, it’s worth bearing in mind when purchasing skin and hair care products containing CBD that correct dosage is key, as absorption via the hair and skin is relatively low, and lackluster products may simply not have the intended effect.
At Autonomy, we incorporate CBD into all our products because we have seen its benefits work first-hand in our own lives and in the lives of our friends, relatives, and customers. But the good news is that, increasingly, research is proving these first-hand accounts of positive experiences to be more than hearsay.
In an article published by Vice in 2019, Kenneth Mark, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at NYU, told Vice contributor, Rajul Punjabi, that “people are excited about CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties,” because “almost every skin condition you can think of -- from eczema to acne -- is linked to inflammation.” And as for CBD as an antioxidant, a clinical study conducted in 2000, on lab rats, found that CBD is even better than Vitamin C for skincare.
Rigorous research on humans, however, is limited. In 2017, a study showed that CBD has benefits for extremely itchy skin. But that’s basically it. What matters more, according to several dermatologists interviewed in several of the articles we read, is the other ingredients found in skin and hair care products that work in conjunction with CBD to moisturize, soothe, and even cure ailments. Ingredients like jojoba seed oil (found in our facial cleanser) or aloe leaf extract (found in our shampoo and conditioner). These, together with CBD, will improve the health of your hair and skin, definitively. But more research needs to be done with regards to CBD and beauty products in order to make a definitive conclusion.
While we at Autonomy believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of CBD on hair and skin, having witnessed them in our own lives, and in the lives of friends and family, we understand that more rigorous research needs to be conducted before saying that CBD is the cure-all that many brands claim it to be.
That’s why we haven’t relied on CBD alone as the main active ingredient in our products. In other words, we believe that CBD works best when used in conjunction with, for example, organic shea butter (found in our conditioner), activated charcoal (found in our charcoal deodorant), and evening primrose oil (found in our facial cleanser). Believe the hype with regards to CBD, if you choose to do so -- we 100% believe that the correct dosage of CBD immensely improves the health of your hair and skin -- or don’t believe the hype and figure out what ingredients work best for you. That’s what Autonomy living is all about.