What you missed at CEW’s ‘future of cannabis in beauty’ event

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Yarygin)
© Getty Images / (Yarygin)
Tuesday in New York City, CEW hosted a panel discussion about cannabis-derived ingredients. Speakers and sponsors from a range of cosmetics, personal care, and wellness brands already doing business in the cannabis beauty space were on hand to talk best practices, market realities, and what the future looks like for this booming new category.

“The growing influence of wellness on beauty has brought increased attention to natural ingredients,”​ Lisa Klein, senior vice president of CEW, noted in her opening remarks at this week’s event hosted at the Hearst Tower in New York City. “One particular area where we have seen the most growth and confusion is with CBD,”​ emphasized Klein.

Part of Cosmetic Executive Women’s Industry Intelligence Series, The Future of Cannabis in Beauty event began with a presentation from Lucie Greene, worldwide director of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, who highlighted that “the cannabis market is projected to be $22 billion by 2020.”

JWT insights

Greene shared data from the 2018 JWT trend report 'High Times, From joints to a lifestyle movement: the rise of the cannabis economy' as well as info on what distinguishes hemp from marijuana.

The cannabis economy, she says, is being driven by “legal change and innovative formats, an expanded wellbeing definition, the drive toward naturals, and cultural change.” ​And she acknowledged that “we’re seeing cannabis and cannabis-related products infiltrate every lifestyle category.”

Greene quoted figures showing a sizable and growing number of people in the States support the legalization of marijuana and the use of medical marijuana as well as data showing that marijuana use is common and the typical user is well educated and reports smoking every day. And, 49% of current marijuana consumers make $75,000 or more per year.   

It’s within this reality that “cannabis has emerged as an all-natural skin care alternative, with a rich list of health benefits and an alluring connection to ancient practices,” ​says Greene. “Cannabis has shown a number of benefits for the skin. Results suggest the plant is an antioxidant, and may help revitalize aging cells. Beyond CBD, hemp seed oil has attracted a cult following among beauty devotees for its anti-inflammatory properties that are used to treat eczema and acne.”

Panel takeaways

For the remainder of the event, Jenny B. Fine, editor in chief at WWD Beauty Inc, led a panel discussion among Greene; Casey Georgeson, founder of Saint Jane Beauty; Dianna Ruth, co-founder and chief operating officer of Milk Makeup; and Julie Winter, co-founder and chief operating officer of CBD for Life. All three of these brands have cosmetics, personal care, and / or wellness products formulated with cannabis-derived ingredients on the market.

Legal and regulatory issues around CBD, hemp seed oil, and the like were a key topic. Winter, whose company CBD for life has been in business since 2014, acknowledged that the “FDA [released a] more aggressive statement than she expected on use and claims,” ​following the passage of the Farm Bill, noting that as it stands, “the agriculture department of each state needs to come out with their own frame work…[and that] some states are creating more prohibitive rules than the federal government has set.”

Ruth noted that to comply with disjointed regulations, at Milk Makeup they’ve set up very through documentation processes: “it’s a little more stressful,” ​she say “but we do it with any ingredient….It’s not that much crazier than regular ingredient diligence.”

The discussion also covered reasons why women are becoming key consumers of products made with hemp outputs and cannabis-derived ingredients. And there was talk of the skin care benefits of CBD and the sensorial properties that hemp-derived ingredients lend to beauty formulations.  

Georgeson founded Saint Jane late last year and her brand’s Luxury Beauty Serum (formulated with 500mg of full-spectrum CBD) and Microdose Lip Gloss (formulated with 50mg of CBD) are already retailing at Credo, Neiman Marcus, and Barnys. And while Georgeson has done a fair amount of research into the skin care and beauty benefits of the ingredient, widely available clinical data is still wanting (due to patent restrictions and various regulatory issues). “A lot of brands are investing in clinical research--investing in data,” ​notes Greene.

The discussion concluded with an audience Q&A and more networking among attendees, speakers, and sponsors (standard dose, anthem, EVIObeauty, and marie claire). The JWT High Times trend report can be found online here​.

This article was updated 21-Feb-2019 to clearly state that Saint Jane  Luxury Beauty Serum is formulated with 500mg of full-spectrum CBD and the brand’s Microdose Lip Gloss is formulated with 50mg of CBD rather than both products including only 50mg, as first reported.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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