Shopping for skincare products can be frustrating. Even if you’re the type to read ingredient labels with lawyer-like precision, the ingredients themselves can be confusing at best or misleading at worst. Case in point: if you’re shopping for CBD skincare, does it matter if the product merely contains hemp oil, with no mention of the cannabinoid CBD? Is there a difference between hemp oil vs. CBD oil? Or, are they the same thing?
The answer is that it depends. This is because people refer to both hemp seed oil and CBD oil as “hemp oil”.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil
However, there’s a big difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil; and they’re not the same thing. While both oils can be derived from the cannabis sativa plant—a.k.a. the hemp plant— hemp seed oil is derived from its seeds and CBD oil is derived from its stalks, leaves, and flowers.
Therefore, while CBD oil contains its eponymous compound cannabidiol; hemp seed oil does not.
Hemp Seed Oil: Derived from seeds of Cannabis Sativa (does not contain CBD)
CBD Oil: Derived from stalks, leaves, and flower of Cannabis Sativa (contains CBD)
To give you more clarity, let’s dive deeper into the question:
What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp Oil is short for Hempseed Oil. It’s made by cold-pressing hemp seeds and is often unrefined. This lack of refinement is what gives hemp oil its characteristically green hue. Which is why it’s so marketable—and often an example of greenwashing—in the cannabis skincare space.
Hemp Seed Oil: Beauty Benefits
Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD or THC. However, it does contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and other nutritional antioxidants. Making it beneficial for your skin in its own right. It’s also high in B vitamins and vitamin D.
Its high nutritional content is why hemp seed oil can be found in various health foods, nutritional supplements, and natural skin care products.
In skincare products, it’s generally used as a moisturizer and skin softener. One of the main benefits of hemp seed oil in lotions and moisturizers is that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin—it has a comedogenic rating of zero.
Hemp Seed Oil Benefits:
- Skin softening
To identify hemp seed oil in your skincare products, look for the following ingredients:
- Hemp seed oil
- Hemp oil
- Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil
- Virgin hemp oil
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is generally derived from the stalks, stems, and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. As its name indicates, CBD oil contains the cannabinoid: cannabidiol, also known as CBD.
CBD oil may also contain other beneficial plant compounds such as CBGA (cannabidiolic acid), CBG (cannabigerol), and trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). All of these plant compounds working together produce what’s known as the entourage effect —giving you the benefit of the whole plant.
To identify CBD in your skincare products, look for the following labels:
- Full-spectrum hemp
- Broad-spectrum hemp
- Whole plant hemp
- PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) hemp
CBD: Beauty Benefits
CBD is currently being studied to determine its benefits for the health of your skin. It contains anti-oxidants and is believed to help ease symptoms the symptoms associated with:
- itchy skin
- ezcema, and
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD has the potential to be one of the hero ingredients in your skincare lineup. It may also help to address dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
In one small study—which examined the effects of a beauty cream that contained 3% CBD—participants saw significant improvements in reduction of redness and sebum (the oil that causes acne).
How To Buy High-Quality CBD Skincare:
The CBD skincare market is overflowing with various creams, oils, and serums; each promising the highest standards in quality and effect. However, not all CBD beauty products are created equal.
It’s also important to note that none of the available over-the-counter CBD products are currently endorsed or approved by the FDA. This leaves the onus on consumers to find the most effective and reliable CBD skincare products by reading product labels carefully and doing their own research.
For optimal CBD beauty benefits, look for products with:
- A high concentration of CBD
- Transparent sourcing of CBD
- CBD paired with other clean, non-toxic ingredients
- Natural or organic product labels
How To Add CBD To Your Skincare Routine:
As with all things CBD, consistency is key. Therefore, it’s important to buy a product that can fit seamlessly into your current routine.
An easy way to add CBD into your skincare routine is with a hydrating serum or face oil that contains CBD. Serums generally allow for greater absorption and therefore will give you the biggest impact —especially when skin is first primed with an essence or toner.
If you have already incorporated the benefits of gua sha into your skincare ritual, then a hydrating CBD face oil may be the way to go. For those looking for CBD’s general calming and relaxing effects, we’re big fans of CBD-rich night moisturizers, body lotions, and bath salts.
For a list of our editor-vetted CBD beauty products, click here.