Here’s How Much CBD Skin Care Costs Compared to ‘Normal’ Products

The cost of skin care with CBD.

Will Americans embrace the high cost of CBD skincare? Image Credit: By Aanush on shutterstock.

Chances are, by now you’ve heard all about the skin-enhancing qualities of CBD oil. You’ve seen it on the shelves of your favorite beauty store, read about it your favorite newspaper or beauty blog, been served up an ad about it on social media. Consumers have been bombarded with all-things CBD in recent months and, due in large part to interest in its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits, an entire industry, coined “cannabis beauty” by Wall Street insiders, has emerged, with the number of skin care brands adding the cannabinoid to their formulations growing rapidly by the day.

But not everything’s sunny in the CBD garden. Concerns over efficacy and complaints that CBD-infused products are too expensive are abundant and many customers are choosing to stick with affordable, mainstream skin care brands instead.

This bucks a long-standing tradition that consumers, women in particular, will pay more for their skin-care regimens, with the belief that the higher the price the better the product. The dominance of above-average-cost prestige beauty brands such as Clarins, Esteé Lauder and Lancome in the market reflects this. More recently, however, the launch and growth of new and exciting affordable skin care brands and their rapid rise to success demonstrates a growing preference for affordable products that produce luxury results.

The Ordinary is possibly the best example of this. The Canadian skin care leader launched in 2016, promising to deliver “clinical formulations with integrity” for drug store prices — and they didn’t disappoint. Its products range from hyaluronic acids to retinols to serums and many are available for just $5 or $6 (the most expensive in the range come in at around $20 depending on the retailer).

The question is: Will CBD skin be an outlier in this trend toward more affordable skin care? Or will the cannabinoid beauty market ultimately fall flat? Also, why are CBD products so expensive in the first place?

Why CBD Skin Care Costs So Much

Generally speaking, CBD-infused products tend to be expensive. Sometimes extremely so. For comparison, we rounded up a range of CBD skin care vs. conventional brands:

Product Type CBD Skin Care Brand Price Mainstream
Anti-Aging Cream Terra Vida
CBD Anti Aging Cream
$40 Olay Regenerist
Advanced Anti Aging
Micro-Sculpting Cream
Toning Cannabis Beauty Defined
Anti-Aging CBD Hemp
Oil Facial Toner
$55 Thayers Facial Toner $9
Anti-Acne Myaderm CBD
Blemish Cream
$25 Clean and Clear Acne Gel $5
Daily Moisture Herbivore Botanicals
Emerald CBD + Adaptogens
Deep Moisture Glow Oil
$58 Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion $7
Mask Joy Organics
CBD Face Mask
$13 Garnier Moisture Bomb
Lavender Hydrating
Face Sheet Mask
Night Serum Saint Jane Luxury
Beauty Serum
$125 NeutrogenaSkin Serum $18
Sunscreen Felix & Ambrosia
CBD Sunny Daze
Sun Cream SPF 30
$40 Thrive Market
Broad Spectrum
Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

But there are some key reasons for the cost of CBD products — and why they may be worth your dollars. First of all, they’re often made with high-quality, organic ingredients which makes them more expensive to produce. A full spectrum CBD oil costs a minimum of $0.05 per milligram (and in order for a CBD product to have any real benefit for your skin, it must be full spectrum). Because CBD is still a growing industry, the oil isn’t mass produced which means it costs more than common beauty ingredients such as shea butter or essential oils. Which means the higher the CBD oil concentration of a skin care product, the higher the cost.

Second, many brands are forced to import CBD from China — where the majority of the world’s hemp is grown. There has been much controversy surrounding this process in the past, with seizures of imported CBD causing huge headaches for producers, brands and retailers and costing them enormous sums of money.

CBD-infused products are also often tested by third-party labs before they’re sold. Brands aren’t required to put their products through this process as there’s currently no regulation of CBD products. But many choose to in an effort to market their high-end lines as the highest quality available. This process adds to production costs.

On top of all this, applying for and receiving licenses and permits in the CBD industry is expensive, which is one of the many reasons why cannabis products dispensaries are so expensive.

Will the complaints about price curb sales of CBD skin care in the end? Only time will tell. As the industry develops, matures, and grows, we’ll soon know whether or not it’s a fading, flash-in-the-pan fad or Americans are truly willing to pay top dollar for CBD on their skin.

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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