cbd facial before and afterDecember 15, 2021
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant. It’s known for its healing, soothing and calming properties and is effective because we, as humans, have in-built receptors for cannabinoids. That means, when applied topically, it’s able to get to work straight away.
The ingredient first started being used within skincare products a couple of years ago (this is what happened when Stylist’s beauty editor only used CBD-infused products for a week), then it has slowly made its way into things like deodorant (that can help clear eczema) and has gradually been getting more and more popular since.
Tested by: Meena Alexander, sub-editor.
The classic CBD facial.
What is it? A cleansing and exfoliating facial with lymphatic drainage and microdermabrasion – a non-invasive procedure that helps remove layers of dead skin cells to reveal more radiant skin.
Our verdict: “I love a facial. I’d had a chemical peel the week before I went for this one and for some reason I had quite a bad reaction to it. My skin wasn’t flaking like it sometimes can after a more extreme peel, but my face was quite sore. CBD is known for its healing properties, and this facial really helped to soothe my skin and clear up the after-effects of the peel. The whole experience was very relaxing – it started off with a cleanse, there was some exfoliation and then the therapist applied the CBD oil. I enjoyed it and it really calmed my skin down.”
The momentum of CBD has been growing for some time now. First it made its way into food and drink, and then it began to trickle into the beauty industry.
Tested by: Ava Welsing- Kitcher, junior beauty writer.
Tested by: Helen Bownass, entertainment director.
What is it? A 45-minute facial that starts with a CBD-infused coffee. The treatment incorporates cleansing, a mask and an extended massage using CBD oils which help soothe skin. It promises to give dull skin a much-needed boost, leaving it looking healthy, glowing and radiant.
The cleansing CBD facial.
What is it? An anti-inflammatory version of the signature Cowshed facial, it uses MariPharm’s CBD-infused cream. The aim is to help calm irritated, inflamed skin and address conditions like hormonal acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
Blush + Blow CBD Detox Microdermabrasion Facial, £150 (blushandblowlondon.com)
Our verdict: “I have little patches of eczema on my face and because I cycle a lot I get quite dry skin. So the treatment started with a really deep cleanse before the facalist had a thorough look at my skin and told me where some of the problem areas were. Next, she did a steam and extraction. Then the mask was put on, which was infused with CBD, before finishing with a facial massage and moisturiser. My skin felt lovely afterwards – calmer and softer – and although I don’t think it got rid of my eczema, I noticed my foundation has been much easier to apply. And it’s worth mentioning: that night, I slept so deeply.”
Young LDN CBD Facial, £75 (youngldn.com)
The sensitive skin CBD facial.
Our verdict: “CBD is said to have anti-inflammatory, soothing benefits, but I’ve always been sceptical. To begin, a cleanser, harsh exfoliator and 15-minute hyaluronic acid mask, all infused with hemp, left my skin feeling warm and very tingly. Then Kannaway Pure Gold Full Spectrum Hemp Oil was massaged into every nook and cranny of my face for 20 minutes, and it was pure bliss. Just as I was drifting off, a serum and moisturiser (more hemp) were smoothed onto my skin and I was presented with my before and after pictures: an undeniable rosy glow, smoother cheeks than I’ve had since the age of five and a drowsily content smile in the latter. Sold.”
Now, CBD is being incorporated into facials up and down the country, and at the request this week’s guest editor Lily Allen, we sent her and three other Stylist team members to try them out.
Tested by: Lily Allen, guest editor.
What is it? Using entirely natural, vegan and cruelty-free products, this facial is billed as the UK’s first CBD facial tailored to your individual needs.
Here’s how they got on…
She’s spot on. An hour has gone by and the treatment has completed, so I take my time getting up from the table where the magic has happened. When I look in the mirror, my skin is radiant—I haven’t seen it glow this hard in a long time. But equally as exciting is the fact that I’ve forgotten about all my troubles, from the lingering items on my to-do list to the stress of figuring out what to eat for dinner. I’m fully rejuvenated, from the inside-out, and I feel like a million bucks.
Photo: Stocksy/Liliya Rodnikova.
By this point—after feeling the soothing, lymphatic flow-inducing vibrations—I’m feeling really, really good. Like, it was as if I was floating on a cloud of no worries and utter relaxation. I’m not surprised when Pekar says she’s been giving this CBD treatment quite frequently. “I think this takes the anxiety and stress away,” she says as she applies more CBD product onto my skin. “I think people are realizing it feels so good after—that it’s not like a facial. Your skin looks great but you feel great and that makes a big difference. It makes you feel like you just went on a really good vacation.”
It all starts with CBD. “Do you want to take some CBD tincture?” Pekar asks me as soon as I strip down and get onto the treatment bed. “It’s going to make you relaxed, but not sleepy—just comfortably relaxed.” I proceed to put some salted caramel-flavored oil under my tongue to initiate the chill. Soon after, Pekar’s massaging my back with a CBD lotion to create energy flow and relax the body, releasing tension. I’m very into this and am immediately feeling calm despite running late through the streets of Midtown Manhattan on a very rainy day merely 10 minutes before this.
Since it’s anti-inflammatory, CBD is being infused into skin-care products so that it can soothe irritation. So, as one does, I started hoarding each and every CBD-spiked beauty product I could get my hands on—you know, to have a chilled-out, un-inflamed complexion—but then I saw that CBD facials are becoming a thing, and so I had to give one of these babies a test drive.
Celebrity facialist and skin pro Ildi Pekar is offering a CBD Vibe Facial, and it’s meant to “vibe you out,” she says. Pekar is no stranger to CBD, either—the beauty expert already sells a CBD-laced tissue repair facial serum and sleeping mask with CBD oil, so she’s a big fan of its benefits. Dermatologists don’t necessarily hate it either. “CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits on skin,” says Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “So it might calm any rashes that you might be having, and should help control free radical formation in your skin.”
Next comes a peel. “I’m starting with a quick vitamin C peel to ensure your skin handles dryness,” says Pekar as she slathers a deliciously-smelling product onto my skin, followed by some CBD oil. She then uses a number of different high-tech machines on me. There’s the micro-stimulation, which is massaged all over me to stimulate the lymph nodes and release toxins from my body.
Despite the clear perks for your complexion, Pekar tells me that this CBD facial is so much more than a facial. “I see what CBD does for the skin, the mind, and the body,” she says when I arrive at her spa in New York. “I would call it more of a treatment, because you’re going to see that it clears your mind a well as your face.” Sign me up.
This post was originally published on October 19, 2019; updated on July 31, 2020.
Every step of the treatment is mixed in-house by the spa owner, Seven Brown. While the exact formulation is kept under wraps like your grandma's secret mac and cheese recipe, if my skin has anything to say about it, this facial is the bomb. I did get two teeny tiny whiteheads two days after the treatment — one on my forehead and one on my chin, but I scratched them off. (I know, I'm naughty, and you shouldn't really pop pimples yourself.) They were not the red, sore, pimples that hurt when you touch them. But besides two inconsequential barely-there blemishes that didn't leave a mark, my skin looked super dewy and with Kira Kira app-level glowiness.
And some spas are starting to take advantage of the CBD boom, by offering services that include hemp seed and CBD oils. One of these spas is the Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic, which hit me up to see if I would be interested in experiencing their new cannabis facial. The hour-long treatment is designed to calm, brighten, and moisturize your skin, leaving you with the kind of dewy glow that would even make a girl in a Glossier ad envious.
When it was all over, my skin did feel quite moisturized and glowy. I don't have an issue with redness, but I could tell my skin did feel calmer. After leaving Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic, and arriving at the office, I did a quick mirror check and decided to say F it to any makeup that day. My skin was just looking so good, I didn't want to cover up a single thing.
I headed over to the Skin & Laser Clinic on a Friday morning, with nothing but moisturizer on my face, ready and excited to see what a little CBD oil and pampering could do to this mug. The treatment started with a gentle green tea cleanse, followed by some light exfoliation and a shungite water mist. Shungite is an old school, carbon-based mineral that's been used in medicine since time immemorial. It too has skin-calming effects, and, as Zeichner notes, can be used as a cleanser for those with sensitive skin, due to its gentle nature. It's also got "antioxidant and wound-healing" properties, says Wilson, "thanks to the many minerals found in the rock." After the mist came a cannabis sativa hemp-derived CBD oil lymphatic massage, in which my arms, neck, and feet were shown some love.
We're at a major turning point in the United States when it comes to cannabis. With states like California legalizing recreational use, and moves being made to correct the damage the War on Drugs has done to communities of color, cannabis is finally starting to lose some of the stigma impressed on it by previous generations. And we're seeing it pop up everywhere — in supplements, in makeup, and yes, even in skincare.
The plant has a lot of other uses that don't include getting high and eating a bunch of snacks. Actually, not all cannabis-derived products have psychoactive effects, nor are they created for that purpose. CBD, a cannabinoid chemical, typically comes from hemp plants (the sister of the THC-filled marijuana plant) and does not give you that euphoric (or paranoid, or hungry) feeling that THC does. "Hemp seed oil is a natural oil derived from the hemp plant. Despite what many think, it is different from true marijuana and does not provide any psychoactive effects," says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. While for stoners, that may sound like a bit of a buzzkill, for your skin, it's a boon, as Zeichner mentions that hemp seed oil has high levels of CBD, which help to calm the skin. Cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson also attests to its inflammation-reducing abilities.
Then on to the good stuff. A manuka honey mask followed, and this one was packed with a blend of herbs, essential oils, and crushed pearls. "Crushed pearls contain minerals like calcium that can help energize the skin to make it look more radiant," says Wilson. The mask was left on for a few minutes before being wiped off and followed by a hemp-derived CBD facial serum. Then, the facialist put a shungite-soaked cloth over my eyes and gave me a little time to bask in all the pampering. One thing I enjoyed about Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic is that inside each room, the "chill spa music" was just jazzy covers of pop songs. Some might call it elevator music, but an instrumental version of Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You" is far more appealing to my ear than weird ambient whale sounds.
The cannabis facial will typically set you back $250 but until April 30, you can nab it for a smooth $50 for Spa Week. Book your appointment at the Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic website.