The Three Questions to Ask Before You Buy Hemp Makeup

Whys everything you need to know before buying hemp-based makeup

Hemp based makeup is becoming more popular. However, stay clear of makeup based on hemp seeds. Image Credit: By inspired_by_the_light on Shutterstock

Hemp makeup products have been around for a long time, but it’s only recently that they’ve “gone mainstream.” Oddly enough, this has actually made it harder to choose a good one.

Ever since the CBD revolution hit the beauty industry, interest in hemp (from which most CBD is derived) has skyrocketed. However, so has the amount of misinformation about it. Brands seeking to cash in on the hype surrounding CBD have started passing off ordinary hemp products as their trendier cannabinoid counterparts, making it hard to determine what exactly they do — and don’t — have to offer.

While your average hemp makeup isn’t going to reduce your anxiety or help you sleep, it can still bring its own range of benefits to the table. Here are some important questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

1. Does This Really Contain CBD?

As mentioned before, many hemp makeup products are now being marketed as being made with “CBD-infused” hemp seed oil. The reasoning seems straightforward enough: CBD comes from hemp, Product X is made from hemp, ergo Product X contains CBD.

There’s just one problem: there’s no CBD in hemp seeds. It can only be extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the plant, so any product that claims otherwise is … creatively interpreting the truth, to put it gently.

That’s a shame, because hemp seed oil can be highly beneficial in its own right. It contains more essentially fatty acids than any other seed or nut oil, along with all of the essential amino acids, which are integral to skin and hair health. These traits are why hemp seed oil has long been a fixture in health and wellness stores, where it’s sold in everything from lip balms to shampoos to face washes.

To be clear: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hemp seed oil. It won’t make you sick, and it won’t ruin your complexion. But if you’re thinking about paying a premium for a mascara or wrinkle cream that helps take the edge off your anxiety (or just gives you something interesting to talk about at work), you should probably keep looking.

2. Is It Organic?

It’s not just food that can be organic. If you’re using any makeup or skin care products that contain natural ingredients such as hemp or coconut oil, opting for organic is always best. Non-organic plants are grown using pesticides and other harmful chemicals that have been proven to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and otherwise highly toxic.

Organic products, on the other hand, have been grown without these substances, so they are cleaner for your skin. However, you should keep in mind that even organic hemp can contain heavy metals or other materials absorbed from the soil — hemp is what’s known as a “bioaccumulator,” meaning that it collects and stores whatever compounds are present in the soil in which it’s grown.

Hemp is an extraordinarily versatile plant, and since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (which legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp in the United States), it’s become a lucrative commodity as well. But as growers rush to take advantage of this development, it’s led to concerns that many of these new hemp crops may be grown with a greater emphasis on speed and quantity than purity.

To make sure that you’re getting a quality product, look for the “Certified Organic” label from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

3. What Are the Other Ingredients?

Like many types of cosmetics, most hemp makeup products contain complicated cocktails of chemicals and other substances to create the effects they promise to deliver. So, understanding the other ingredients that are in a given product is a helpful way to decide if it’s the right one for you.

For example, if you’re looking for a full coverage liquid foundation with anti-aging benefits, you want to look for antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C. Maybe you need a new lip balm for your chapped lips, in which case anything containing shea butter is ideal. If you’ve got acne-prone skin and are trying to find a primer that will pack an antibacterial punch as well as make your look last longer, one containing tea tree oil could be perfect for you.

The beauty industry is all about crossovers (see: CBD-infused Korean skin care), and chances are if you have a particular favorite ingredient — lavender essential oil, cocoa butter, etc. — there’s a hemp product that contains it. In many cases, the combination results in a 1+1=3 effect, in which each component elevates the effectiveness of the other.

So while hemp makeup might not be as sexy (or expensive) as the stuff with CBD in it, it still has a lot to offer.

Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell is a health, wellness, and lifestyle writer based in Ireland whose work has appeared in The Irish Times and The Independent, among others. In 2017, she founded the lifestyle brand “Self Love and Sarah” to promote healthy self image and body positivity for women.

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