CBD Lip Scrubs Are Here, But Are They Any Good?

Are CBD lip scrubs worth the money?

CBD lip scrubs may feel good, but that doesn’t mean they actually work. Image Credit: By SvedOliver on Shutterstock

It was the best of cannabis times, it was the worst of cannabis times; it was the age of cannabinoid wisdom, it was the time of CBD foolishness… or put another way: Another day, another CBD beauty product that seems like it costs too much and also might not work. Today’s cannabinoid wonder treatment? CBD lip scrubs, a new-ish grooming item currently offered from a variety of retailers (including a just-launched version from celebrity esthetician Lora Condon) at prices ranging from $4-$50, which may or may not be effective and, if they are, may or may not have anything to do with CBD at all.  

What’s a CBD Lip Scrub?

If you haven’t yet come across them in your beauty journey, lip scrubs are, as the name suggests, a scrubbing agent for your lips, meant to slough off dead skin and leave the area soft, smooth, and not like a person who has been trapped in a wind-swept desert for four months with no Chapstick or like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant. CBD lip scrubs are simply a lip scrub with the addition of CBD oil. (Forgive. the. Over-exposition. I. Am. Writing. A. How-To. Story. Which. Must. Cover. All. Bases. No. Matter. How. Dumb.) CBD lip scrubs are a pre-treatment lip treatment, which at first seems like the kind of wash-your-face-two-times beauty regimen scam that no one needs nor has time for, but, in reality, makes sense: In order for your chapped/cracked lipscape to ever be healed by a balm, you must first clear off all of the debris (with a lip scrub!) so the healing agents can penetrate the skin and begin healing. 

Here is a fact that you may find fun (or at least interesting) about your lips: Unlike the rest of your skin, lips do not have oil glands! So, particularly if you are dehydrated or in a dehydrating situation (cold wind, dry heat), your lips may need some kind of moisturizer. By treating your lips with both a scrub and then some kind of gentle moisturizer you can help protect them from chapping, cracking, and generally feeling sore and gross.

What Are the Ingredients in a CBD Lip Scrub?

Lip scrubs are most effectively and traditionally made from two main ingredients: an emollient (or lip softener) and an exfoliant (or lip scrubber). The emollient is usually one of a range of oils and butters you’ve heard of in this life, including jojoba, coconut, olive, avocado, and shea. The exfoliant is most likely granulated sugar, but can also be coffee grounds or that big-size salt, though neither of the latter is especially pleasant for use at high quantities this close to one’s taste buds.

CBD oil, which is not in any way an exfoliant, falls in the emollient category of this lip-soothing concoction, though why it’s being added is more complicated and potentially more beneficial than it’s oily and therefore just makes stuff softer. We’ll get to that in a minute

Other ingredients commonly found in CBD lip scrubs include essential oils like peppermint, honey, citrus flavors like lemon or orange, and herbs like rosemary. It’s important to note that some dermatologists suggest staying away from citrus or mint in any lip treatment because they can act as irritants and actually make your chapping situation worse. 

Why Is CBD Even In a Lip Scrub?

The more cynical among us would answer this question by saying, “So you can charge more for it!” and then crawl back into the cantankerous hole where we live and complain about water being too wet, but the truth is there are real, practical reasons for putting CBD oil in a lip product and feasible evidence that it could actually be helpful to your lips once it’s there.

First, multiple scientific studies identify CBD as both a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory agent — when used topically, and at the correct dosage, high-quality CBD has been shown to bring these positive effects to the skin. CBD oil is also thought to be an antibacterial, which could help soothe an infection on your lips; and to have anti-aging and moisturizing properties (hemp oil itself contains vitamins A and E along with gamma-linolenic acid and omega-6, all of which help boost skin health). Add these potential benefits together and you can see how CBD oil is a natural fit to help aid painful, overdry lips. 

However, while CBD may be effective in some lip balms (where it’s placed on the lips and remains for a long time), in a lip scrub, its efficacy is more dubious. That’s because the application process for a lip scrub may be too fast to have the CBD penetrate your lips. Scrubs are traditionally rubbed on the lips to remove flaky, dead skin and then immediately wiped off. They’re more of a prep item — meant to clear the surface of your lips — than an actual treatment for a chapping/cracking problem. 

So, while it makes sense that CBD could be beneficial in a daily lip balm, it’s probably not worth much in something you put on and quickly slough off. 

Lightning Round: More Questions About CBD Lip Scrubs, Answered

Will CBD lip scrubs get you high? No. The reason cannabis gets you high is because of its THC, which is a completely different chemical.

Can you fail a drug test because of CBD lip scrubs? Almost certainly not. It’s not unheard of for CBD to show up on a drug test, since many tests can’t distinguish between it and THC, but the quantity of CBD in a lip scrub is too low to trigger a false positive. 

Can you fly with CBD lip scrubs? Maybe? The Transport Security Administration (TSA) recently said some CBD products are allowed on planes, if the person has a doctor’s note (try getting one for a lip scrub, I dare you). On the other hand, TSA officials have also said they’re not particularly concerned about this issue.

Should I try CBD lip scrubs? If you are a person who likes trying new things just to try them (there is nothing wrong with this type of person, live your life!), then by all means, yes! CBD lip scrubs won’t hurt you, they might even ever-so-slightly help you, and many of the brands which include CBD in their lip scrubs are high-end, all-natural, and good quality, so you can’t really go wrong. There is, of course, the larger question of do you need a lip scrub in the first place? — could all these lip problems possibly be solved by simply drinking more water? Could you perhaps buy a $5 drugstore lip balm and call it a day? — but that is between you and your god.

Can I Make My Own DIY CBD Lip Scrub?

Maybe you’ve read all of the above and, upon reading it, thought: “I am now inspired to make my own CBD lip scrub!” If that is the case, who am I to judge? I am here to give the people what they want and if what you want is a DIY CBD lip scrub, you shall have it.

DIY CBD Lip Scrub Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar or coffee grounds
  • 1 Tbsp raw and/or organic honey
  • 1 full dropper of CBD oil (full- or broad-spectrum, whichever you use)
  • 1/2 Tbsp room-temperature water

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix the oil, CBD, and honey together. In separate bowl, mix the water and sugar or coffee grounds together. Combine the two. Use as you would a lip scrub, as an exfoliant. Do not eat.

Can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for about six months (or until the oil becomes rancid).

Jennifer Romolini
Jennifer Romolini
Jennifer Romolini is the chief content officer of cannabisMD.com. Previous to this, she was the chief content officer of Shondaland.com, the vice president of content for HelloGiggles, and editor in chief of Yahoo Shine. A 15-year veteran lifestyle journalist, Romolini's work has appeared in the New York Times, ELLE, Vogue, Fast Company and many others. Her first book, "Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits" was published in 2017.

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