Cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety, stress, sleep, and pain? Sure! There’s fledgling research showing the non-intoxicating cannabinoid from hemp (not to be confused with buzzy THC from marijuana) can help with that. But CBD beard balms and facial oils … are they worth the same hype? Just ask any young, hip beardster, and the answer is yes. Turns out these products help them tend to their well-coiffed facial hair and soothe their skin like no others. CBD just may be the one ingredient to rule them all, with benefits inside and out.
“I blow-dry my beard, I totally do. I’m totally guilty!” says Andrew Barnes, a thirtysomething from the Salt Lake City area with a tight beard featuring a dapper few inches that drop below his chin. “Then I use (full-spectrum hemp) oils to keep it straight all day and also really soft and healthy.”
Leading with beard oils to moisturize the hair and skin beneath and beard balm to sculpt and even solve the breakage issue, men are taking better control of their looks through the use of CBD grooming products.
It’s important to note the distinction between CBD and the hemp oil from which it is derived. Think of hemp oil as your day-to-day, while CBD is more medicinal.
“Hemp oil with or without CBD is great as a moisturizer, shampoo, or beard balm, because of the high concentration of hydrating omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B, C, and D—all wonderful for healthy skin,” says Jeanette Jacknin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin. “CBD, not hemp oil, has been shown in numerous studies to help topically in eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory diseases.”
CBD, says Jacknin, when applied topically, interacts with cell receptors that are present throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system. Just as CBD brings about balance in the body—less stress or occasional anxiety, better sleep—it also calms skin conditions and promotes healthy skin.
Scientists have discovered that the body’s endocannabinoid system influences inflammation, like the minor cannabinoid CBDa as a cox-2 inhibitor for pain, as well as the cannabinoid CBG for downstream skin conditions like dry skin.
Skin care in action
Bobby McGuire, 55, lives in Manhattan and uses a range of products he buys from his local high-end cosmetics apothecary.
“I have crazy-dry skin that occasionally gets red in spots,” says McGuire. “I just want something to keep it from getting red and flaky.”
Among the 10 different grooming products he uses, from shampoo and shaving cream to facial scrub and eye cream, one is a Cannabis sativa seed oil specifically for his face.
“It’s an oil and has a dropper,” says McGuire. “A few drops on your palm and rub it in.”
Louis Karsten works a blue-collar job in Golden, Colorado. The only thing he ever put on his face was maybe some aloe after sunburns. Then he tried a CBD serum developed by his girlfriend, Kristie Mather, for her company, Tilvee Skincare. It gives his skin a “soft, moist, and cool” sensation he enjoys so much he now uses it after he shaves and showers and before going to bed.
“I am looking for reparative qualities,” says Karsten, 55, “Something that will actually improve my skin without feeling greasy or looking shiny. It softens my skin for Kristie, so she doesn’t feel like she is kissing an alligator.”
Go clean to get clean
Mather, who founded Tilvee Skincare in 2008, makes skin products for all genders, focusing on clean, plant-based ingredients, including hemp seed oil.
“No matter what [a] particular man needs, whether it’s a hair, beard, face, or body product, I always say choose products that have clean ingredients,” says Mather. “What I mean by that is avoiding things like fragrances that are very common in men’s products and using essential oil-based products instead.”
She says men should be particularly mindful to look at ingredient decks and avoid harsh preservatives such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, PEG, oxybenzone triclosan, CEA, propylene glycol, and artificial colors.
For a deeper dive into the ingredients that drive skin perfection, CBD products often have QR codes that can direct you to their lab results to see how clean the product tests out. And the old standby—USDA Organic—is the certification that tells you no synthetic chemical pesticides were used on the farm. The U.S. Hemp Authority has a seal on products that also vouchsafes ingredient integrity from seed to shelf.
All of that matters to men today. And it may keep hemp and CBD atop the list of the most tantalizingly beneficial ingredients in natural grooming products today.
What are the most effective products?
Hemp and CBD seemingly know no bounds. There’s almost nothing you can’t find them in. Here’s a handful. Rinse, repeat.
- Beard Oil. Wets the whiskers and moistens the skin beneath. Look for a simple list of ingredients like oils and essential oils. Don’t use too much or risk getting the dreaded french-fry-oil-pan look!
- Beard Balm. Beeswaxy-based products incorporate nourishing hemp oil and are to be used after beard oil.
- CBD Serum. For problem skin. Look for cannabidiol, also known as CBD.
- CBD Shampoo. Hemp oil’s fatty acids include linoleic and linolenic acid. These have been shown to promote the growth of hair follicles and stimulate the formation of keratin, which nourishes the scalp, restores hair strength, and promotes hair growth.
- Muscle balm. For those post-workout aches and pains. May contain CBD isolate and/or traditional painkillers like menthol or arnica.
Collagen for men
Heads up, men! Have you been thinking about collagen (or have you even heard of it)? If not, now’s the time. This protein is not only vital for everything from our bones to our joints and ligaments, it’s a key player in any daily routine.
As we age—particularly into our 40s—the depletion of collagen in our skin leads to visible signs of getting older like sagging skin (particularly around the face, arms, and neck). Yes, although we may hate to admit it, those rugged good looks will eventually start to fade (not-so-fun fact: facial wrinkles are deeper in men than women). While eating collagen-rich foods like chicken, fish, and eggs is certainly beneficial, it may not be enough to counteract your natural loss of this skin-boosting protein. So, try to look for it in supplementation form and in topical skincare products.
And how much collagen do you need to help counteract the signs of aging? Not as much as you might think! It’s easy to consume the 2.5 g per day that research supports as effective in improving skin health.