Cannabis Beauty And Wellness Company Leaders On Where The CBD Market Is Heading

More than two years out from the federal Farm Bill that legalized the hemp trade in the United States and ushered in a beauty industry CBD boom, we wanted to check in with cannabis beauty and wellness brand founders and executives about the future of the CBD market. We asked 34 of them to answer the following question: What’s something you think will be big or decrease in importance for cannabis beauty and wellness going forward?

Martha Van Inwegen Founder, Life Elements

I hope and believe that research and clinical studies focused on the efficacy of CBD as a topical product will be trending. We know from a lot of ad hoc reviews, testimonials and customer conversations that CBD is a positive game changer, particularly for pain and inflammation. But what are the real advantages of CBD and other isolated cannabinoids as it pertains to skin health outside of the other non-CBD ingredients? I think we’ll see some solid data come out that will help validate our assumptions.


I also hope we’ll see a decrease in schlocky, nonsensical uses of CBD, particularly in wash-off products like soap, toothpaste, etc. Please, anyone, show me how CBD is utilized by the body in soap or shampoo! 

Kimberly Dillon Founder, Frigg

I think cannabis has the potential in three ways. A) I think hemp (CBD and other molecules) can be incorporated into the aftercare after facial procedures. Many facial procedures lead to trauma on the skin, and the restorative properties of CBD and the other cannabinoids can help the skin heal/renew more efficiently. B) I also think professional/dermatological products represent white space in the category, especially around acne. C) Most of the conversation around skincare is around CBD/hemp, but THC has lots of beneficial properties for the skin, and those won't be fully realized until we have federal legislation.

Victoria Flores Co-Founder, Lux Beauty Club

I believe a few things are going to happen going forward. The CBD consumer is growing every year, and we are seeing new adopters every day, including my 86-year-old abuelita. So, business will continue to grow and post big numbers as the consumer adds CBD to their everyday skincare or wellness routine. Unfortunately, due to COVID, we have seen many CBD companies close or go bankrupt. Preserving cash was the goal for all of 2020, and those that stayed nimble and still have runway will continue to see sales growth as competition lessens. I do see the THC category exploding once it's federally accepted. Very exciting times.

Liz Kirby Founder, Betoken

In the future, I think that cannabis brands will be making a shift toward using hemp and THC as an ingredient rather than the ingredient in their products. Just like vitamin C, retinol and others before it, the efficacy of cannabis for beauty is enhanced by combining it with other ingredients.

People are also becoming more and more conscious of what they put in and on their body. Many beauty brands are—or should be—making the shift to using 100% clean ingredients in their products. At Betoken, we are doing a lot of research on ingredients, even base ingredients, not only in terms of toxicity, but also in terms of sustainability. An ingredient may be safe to use on or in the body, but maybe sourcing it is harmful to the environment. This would make it a no-go in our book.

Erin Simon Co-Founder and CEO, Simon Wolff

Based on what we're seeing and hearing from our customer base and from industry chatter in general, I'd say female sexual wellness is the new big thing in cannabis/CBD. The market is pretty well-educated around using CBD for pain, anxiety, etc., and sales for our pain relief products have remained steady, but sales for our Sex Elixir, a water-based, CBD-infused lubricant and intimate moisturizer, have shown a 300% increase over the last 12 months.

There's also a lot of dialogue in our Simon Wolff community around using CBD to increase libido and sexual pleasure, and to manage the symptoms of period pain and menopause. Why? I suspect it's part of the larger trend of consumers trusting and understanding cannabis/CBD as well as women especially feeling empowered to take control of their own health and pleasure, and seeking out natural and plant-based solutions for staying in balance with their bodies.

Joan Sutton Founder and CEO, 707 Flora

This emerging market of cannabis beauty is just what we need coming out of the pandemic for so many reasons. Many of us are feeling stress and anxiety, and it is showing up in weight gain, skin issues and more. Even though science is still catching up, it’s hard to deny the positive effects CBD and cannabis is having on consumers and those testimonials, especially in regards to stress, continue to fuel the market. Keep in mind, dispensaries in California stayed open the entire pandemic because they were deemed essential to our well-being. So, of course, easily procured and less taboo CBD beauty products are an extension of this demand, and I believe consumers will seek out CBD beauty and spa treatments or at the very least be open to trying CBD or cannabis products for the first time in their search for wellbeing.

Also, there are so many great brands now educating the consumers and launching quality products, so consumer confidence is on the rise. I especially love seeing the trend in ingestible beauty products overall and think CBD tinctures with that focus can be huge promoting the “beauty from within” concept. We’ve all learned a lot during this time and the importance of well-being will be top of mind for many for a very long time, and cannabis and well-being go hand and hand.

MacKenzie Hill Founder, LumiBloom

The prospects for cannabis/CBD in the beauty industry are bright. As women continue to put a premium on more natural ingredients in their beauty products and their lives overall, interest in CBD and other plant-based beauty solutions will continue to surge. I expect to see more efforts to tap into the anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD in formulation of beauty products, especially products targeting the face and hands.

There is no question that topically applied CBD, enhanced with other ingredients will continue to grow, especially as the benefits of CBD and its effectiveness at addressing common beauty challenges becomes is better understood.  A real open question is the degree to which ingestibles take hold in the beauty space. If only I had a crystal ball!

Brandon Stump Co-Founder and CEO, Pachamama

Accessibility. One of my greatest frustrations with the hemp industry has been the lack of affordable, but quality CBD products. When I started Pachamama, quality was my No. 1 priority. So, we created single-origin, USDA organic hemp, that’s clean label certified with no artificial additives. Since we launched, the hemp industry has matured. The price of hemp has drastically decreased over the past year and a half, which decreased the cost of our supply chain. We saw this as a unique opportunity to pass those savings along to our customers. That’s why we’ve lowered the MSRP of our entire product portfolio by as much as 33%. To be able to offer the same single-origin USDA organic hemp at a more accessible price point is something we’ve worked hard for and something we’re quite proud of.

Casey Georgeson Founder and CEO, Saint Jane

CBD is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory botanicals in skincare. I believe it will be a go-to for all formulators crafting products that target stressed, acne-prone or irritated complexions. I also think minor cannabinoids will grow in popularity in the beauty and wellness categories. We've already started to use them in Saint Jane formulas like CBG, which is known as the "mother" of all cannabinoids because it’s where THC and CBD evolved from. It has incredible anti-inflammatory and calming properties just like CBD.

Shea Marie Founder, The Feelist

I think we will see less “CBD brands” who are just white labeling products and adding CBD to use it as their primary selling point, and more skincare brands harnessing the power of CBD in their products as a wonderful ingredient that works harmoniously within the rest of the formula.”

Karyn Eilber Co-Founder, Glissant

Cannabis wellness, specifically CBD, is going to continue to grow in the beauty and wellness space for people with sensitivities. The miraculous properties of cannabis have always been touted, but, as time goes on and more research is done with cannabis (mainly CBD), it's presumed anti-inflammatory, analgesic, muscle relaxant, antimicrobial effects, etc., are being firmly established. Because of this, beauty products will now more confidently be able to say they are hypoallergenic or appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin. I also think products containing CBD will be less likely to harbor bacteria or other organisms. That’s why we chose to include CBD in our L’Huile d’Amour lubricant.

Sarah Battersby Founder, State of Kind

Brands and retailers in the U.S. have already started to establish clear, industry-leading standards around CBD beauty such as Sephora’s CBD standards. I believe this emphasis on safety and efficacy is here to stay.

I foresee minor cannabinoids earning a significant role in beauty. CBD is one of the most studied cannabinoids to date, but there are over 100 and a handful of them (CBG, for example) have already been touted by experts to be beneficial for our skin.

Lastly, consumers are still confused about CBD, so education is key. I entered the Canadian government-regulated cannabis industry in 2014, when commercial cannabis was still in its infancy. I experienced first-hand over the years how important education was to evolving the industry and generating demand."

Ambra Orini Founding Partner, The Beauty Makers and TBM Brand Lab

Regulatory will open access to CBD in beauty products, together with more transparency, control and awareness on ingredient sourcing to avoid greenwashing. The consumer use of CBD for its myriad benefits will become more mainstream and will contribute to a holistic focus on beauty and wellness by taking additional ground in aromatherapy as well as body care. Consumers increasingly link beauty routines with wellness and self-care practices, and we foresee CBD as offering a perfect match to bridge these two movements.

Tamra Judge Founder, Vena CBD

2021 is going to be a big year for clean and plant-based beauty. I'm predicting a huge growth in the CBD beauty category. CBD, derived from the hemp plant, is a powerful and natural ingredient that has a variety of tangible benefits for skin. I truly believe clean CBD beauty will be the next big thing!

Sarah Waldock Founder, BalmLabs

I believe that science will be a growth catalyst for CBD beauty. We are going to start to see a more steady rollout of clinical research findings reinforcing CBD’s extraordinary antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities, which will make it a foundational skincare ingredient versus a momentary trend.

Paulina Vega Founder, Mind Naturals

The future of CBD boasts tremendous realms of potential. Taking into consideration the variety of benefits in relation to overall wellness alongside the significant array of trends that the fortunes of CBD has uncovered, it’s beyond exciting to be a part of what's yet to unfold. We are seeing that CBD is not solely a trend and, instead, has a very bright future ahead.

Jamie Lea Founder and CEO, Toastyy

I think we will see expanded CBD/cannabis skincare lines with moisturizers, toners, serums, etc., as more uncover all the benefits the plant can provide topically. CBD is not a fad and definitely here to stay. It is effective and safe. I would love to expand the Toastyy line to include more products to help women with skincare issues. Maybe in the market will see CBD/cannabis med spas popping up and more CBD/cannabis-infused tampons for women available, which can help with period pain. Currently, there is still a huge stigma and stereotype of cannabis, so it's crucial to continue to provide research findings to help educate people about the cannabis flower, usage and how it provides different health benefits.

I also think many medical professionals will be establishing CBD/cannabis product lines in the near future as the industry becomes federally regulated. Many cancer patients are currently taking handfuls of prescribed drugs that have awful side effects, whereas cannabis, a natural plant, could eliminate many of these hard to swallow pills. It will be great for cancer radiation patients and their skin, appetite, insomnia and more! It is a very exciting time for the CBD and cannabis industry, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Sarah Odde Lynch Chief Revenue Officer, LeafLine Wellness

We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for less common cannabinoids like CBN and CBG. CBN, short for cannabinol, can create a relaxing and calm sensation for its users to improve and deepen sleep. CBG combined with vitamin B12 can improve energy, focus and clarity. Another trend has been the request for functional ingredients like safflower oil, used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant; geranium, useful as an antibacterial agent and for stimulating cell turnover, therefore reducing the appearance of wrinkles; and dandelion, helpful in protecting the skin from damage and offering a rich source of antioxidants. Consumers are demanding safety from their products and manufacturers. So, while the CBD industry is new, safe manufacturing practices are not. Consumers want to trust that their products are safe, adequately tested and certified as well as effective.

Kelsey Kennedy Founder, Blossom & Stone

I foresee CBD face masks being a big thing this coming year. Cannabis has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, and I feel combined with other healing properties would make a great relaxing face mask.

Lexi Atkins Founder, Tely Organics

I believe that CBD will only increase moving into the future! It has obviously started to really boom in the "trendy" space. Its trend isn't for no reason! The actual benefits that come with the planet itself exceed a quick fad or "trend" ten-fold. I love that the magic behind this beautiful plant is being more well-known, and I only see it being spread further in positive light [and] healing for those who choose to experience what it has to offer!

Alexandra Mulconnery Co-Founder, Cure Crate

CBD is in this interesting place in terms of consumer education. On one hand, people are learning more about the cannabinoid and how it could really be effective in products like facial oils. But, on the other hand, they’re also becoming more skeptical as they realize that not all CBD is created equal, and it’s not one size fits all. Consumers are smart to give a side eye to any product that just slaps on a CBD ingredient label and charges a premium for it. I think this increase in consumer education is going to really be good for brands that have been clear about their standards from the beginning, including where their hemp is grown, how it’s tested and how they formulate CBD into products with other ingredients to achieve specific effects.

Another huge opportunity for cannabis beauty is the increasing interest in other cannabinoids like CBC, which has been shown to suppress excessive lipid production in sebaceous glands in some studies in addition to the anti-inflammatory effects and may become a major player in the acne treatment space.

Kim Wellen Founder and CEO, Mantra Mask

I think CBD is going to become more mainstream, and that’s exciting. Traditional brands will get into the business. Because of that, more marketing opportunities will come as well. Also, I think more scientific studies will come out to substantiate the benefits of CBD for skincare. I really believe in CBD and its anti-inflammatory power, so this is all very good news for the consumer!

I believe concerns about cannabis in products will continue to decrease as time goes on and people begin to understand the medicinal nature. At Afore Beauty, we do clinical research for all our products and vet them accordingly. As a result, our work will help to lift any stigma that remains for the use of CBD for wellness and health.

As our experience with CBD-infused skincare continues to expand and evolve, we will continue to see great synergy in the treatment and, more importantly, prevention of various skin conditions like age-related signs of damage, acne and a variety of other common conditions of the skin that interfere with our presentation to the world via our face and body.

I can remember a time when it was thought to be a fad or taboo to do fillers to the face for cosmetic reasons. While there was no real safety concern, there was significant concern about risk for skin of color until I did some of the original research on the subject. Now, filler for the face represents one of the largest cosmetic treatments in the world in skin of color. I believe CBD-related skin care will be similar in nature. The scientific community simply needs to catch up.

David Allred Founder, SPERO CBD

Over the past few years, we have seen an amazing adaptation of cannabis into beauty regiments, principally led by CBD products without any THC in them. We expect this trend to continue as more people see for themselves the power of CBD, and we are very excited to see what the future holds as more research is completed on the lesser-known cannabinoids.

New strains of cannabis are already being developed which produce higher levels of these other minor cannabinoids as these new strains emerge along with improvement of extraction techniques to isolate these cannabinoids. CBN is especially interesting because it isn’t directly synthesized by the plant and is a byproduct of the breakdown of THC. We think this could be an interesting product for the beauty world due to its strong antibiotic properties.

Degelis Tufts Co-Founder, TribeTokes

Using CBD in anything that doesn't actually allow it to absorb into your skin properly to be fully effective might gain popularity short term due to good marketing.  This is basically wasting an expensive ingredient down the drain (e.g., face wash) and is not exactly the best use of CBD, and we will most likely see a decrease in this while we see an uprise in more sophisticated formulations. For a truly knockout skincare product, CBD is yet another superfood you can add to the "cocktail" to achieve a desired effect like our Superfood Face Mask!

Matty Schirle Founder, SkinKick

We believe CBD, which must have less .03% THC today, will be embraced by many skincare brands to leverage the unique benefits of CBD to the skin. We have documented two benefits. First, the CBD makes the skin “tingle” when the skincare is applied.  We get good feedback from our customers about this feature. No need for some manmade chemical to get this benefit. Most important is leveraging the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. We only use CBD in products that address blemish relief and/or treat acute acne. These products benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and improve customer satisfaction.

Michael Cammarata CEO, Neptune Wellness

We are at the forefront of a seismic, plant-based transformation for the CPG and cannabis industries. Consumers are demanding natural, sustainable and effective products to meet their daily health and wellness needs, and cannabis has numerous applications to meet their evolving need states. From anti-aging and anti-inflammatory to anti-fungal and anti-anxiety or pain properties, cannabinoids can be used to create high-quality, all-natural products that work as well or better than their conventional pharmacological counterparts.

Dorian Morris Founder, Undefined Beauty

I’m bullish on the wellness focus as the industry evolves/matures. I’m an avid believer in the power of plant magic with cannabis and all it’s beautiful cannabinoids as one piece of the wellness puzzle. I think the next phase of growth for the category will be a functional one—formulas showcasing the benefits of cannabis plus other known, trusted plant wisdom to provide targeted, functional benefits, a holistic approach.

Broadly speaking, as we move towards federal legalization and additional states legalize adult use and recreational cannabis—NY was a huge win, especially through the lens of social equity—this provides additional legitimacy to the plant especially for those “cannacurious” consumers on the fence. The cannabis opportunity is bigger than just “getting high” and, moreover, it’s about giving people access to plant-based solutions they can understand and can afford. Plants over pills! Undefined is bridging the gap. Wellness shouldn’t be illusive or exclusive. Let’s democratize it.

Zain Pirani Co-Founder, No, Thank You 

We believe that, with increased regulatory oversight, the CBD/cannabis beauty market will be under much higher scrutiny. The more the companies have to provide on this ingredient, the better. Coupled with your average customer getting more educated about the ingredients and getting more comfortable with the complexity and efficacy of it, they will be better positioned to decide for themselves on which brands are being transparent and being truthful. We expect brands that do not pass these tests of honesty have a lot to lose and, unfortunately, the market is still saturated with plenty of snake oil. Brands being built to deliver on quality products and ingredients should persevere.

Carolyn Gray Owner, Noirebud

I believe that there are endless product development opportunities in the cannabis space. While there are so many moving parts with expanding legalization and restrictions, I do think it creates a space for those of us the cannabis industry to dig deep and create products that are meaningful, multifaceted and sustainable. Everything in life is cyclical. Cannabis has been around since the dawn of time and used create simple tools and healing aids. I do think that we will start to see more and more cannabis-based household tools and wellness products on the market. Noirebud is surely working on them.

Chase Terwilliger CEO, Balanced Health Botanicals

I believe more scientific research and FDA regulation will allow for the CBD beauty industry to thrive in the future. With many large retailers already selling CBD beauty products, further studies and regulation will only open more doors to selling CBD products.

Stacey Shabtai Co-Founder, Botanika Life

The CBD market is seeing more beauty brands launch products positioned to offer immunity benefits. With consumers' current priorities on maintaining good health, the opportunity here is for wellness brands like Botanika Life to support what their consumers' needs are. It really is that simple. Vitamin C is a great natural ingredient that nurtures the skin and body with its immune-boosting properties, especially when mixed with zinc and CBD. We are really proud of our Immune Spray and believe it is a unique and utterly useful product in the beauty and immunity space. Our serums as well, including antioxidants and only the purest ingredients available. Being able to integrate a line that features both clean beauty and wellness is the future.

Peggie Fort Co-Founder, For All

What will be big for CBD beauty are robust clinical trials focused on skin repair and skin anti-aging. CBD is still a new ingredient in the world of wellness and an even newer concept in beauty. With over 10 years of experience in cannabis witnessing the medical benefits of the plant and the plethora of research that exists suggesting CBD can improve skin disorders associated with free radicals and inflammation and positively impact hair growth and hair pigmentation, we at For All understand how CBD can enhance a beauty routine. Many small companies like us are passionate about the benefits of CBD in beauty products, but do not have the funding to perform clinical trials. We are confident that once these trials are underway the results will conclude what believers have already been saying, and CBD will become a staple in beauty like vitamin E and aloe vera.

Autumn Shelton CEO, Autumn Brands

Cannabis is nourishing not only for the inside of the body, but also for the outside. Cannabis salves and lotions help relieve dryness and skin irritations as well as decrease unwanted puffiness due to anti-inflammatory CBD. Cannabis is a natural plant extract that helps regulate our bodies, so we will continue to see new cannabis-infused cosmetic products in the future.

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