The Definitive CBD Beauty Products Review

With the CBD craze in full swing, and over 3,500 CBD products on the market, it is hard to know what is real and what is hype.  The market is unregulated for the moment, until the FDA releases its guidance, and actually starts guiding.  

 We were curious about the benefits of CBD in topicals, especially in beauty products.  We know women (and some men) love their beauty products, and are certainly willing to pay dearly for the promise of better skin.  But does CBD provide any benefits in a beauty product, or is it just a well timed, and expensive, fad? 

In total, our team at Plant Society reviewed and tested over 200 beauty or skincare products from 20+ manufacturers.  We tested each product for at least 5 days, among multiple testers, to make sure we got the best, most accurate results.  We used a rigorous 8 point testing matrix, to make sure we discovered the best, safest, and most efficacious products for you. 


We were skeptical about that question, and set off to do some research.  Turns out there is some published research about the effects of CBD on the skin.  A short summary of the proposed benefits: 

  • Anti-inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are useful in beauty products, since puffy and red skin does not look its best.  CBD can help calm the skin, reduce puffiness, and smooth out fine lines. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can also control the skin effects of acne because frequently the skin around a pimple is inflamed. 
  • Anti-Aging: Protecting the skin from free radicals, like UV rays, smoke, and environmental pollutants, is critical to having younger looking skin. Free radicals in the atmosphere cause fine lines and wrinkles, ruddiness, and dullness of the skin. CBD is known to have antioxidant properties at least as good as (possibly better than) Vitamin C, which can help protect our skin by fighting the damage of free radicals, and contributing to younger, brighter, clearer skin.  Since Vitamin C is one of the best know beauty ingredients, this was encouraging research.
  • Anti-Acne: Acne involves the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance intended to protect the skin. CBD can be used to affect the output of oils in the skin and hair. Specifically, CBD inhibits the lipid production in skin cells, making it an effective preventative treatment for acne. CBD can also act as an antibacterial agent, decreasing the likelihood of further acne in the future.  Finally, CBD can calm the skin around an acne breakout. {See Research}

If you want to hear it in science talk, this is what one research paper says about the Endocannabinoid System and Skin: 

“It seems that the main physiological function of the cutaneous ECS is to constitutively control the proper and well-balanced proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and/or tolerance, of skin cells. The disruption of this delicate balance might facilitate the development of multiple pathological conditions and diseases of the skin (e.g. acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis and cancer).”  –Source


When testing CBD beauty products we employed a 8 point testing matrix that included the following criteria: 

  1. Ingredients: Product must not contain any items on our “Dirty” list, including parabens, petrolatum, sulfites, phthalates, artificial fragrances, flavors and colors, aluminum powder, BHA, BHT, ethanolamines, ethoxylated ingredients, PFCs, formaldehyde. Product should be made with a good clean source of hemp, and use good carrier oils or ingredients.
  2. Clinical testing: We check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each product. This tells us whether or not the product has the amount of CBD stated on the label, ensures there is no THC in the product, and verifies that there are no trace chemicals or toxins in the product.
  3. Ease of Use: How easy is the product to use.
  4. Smell/Taste/Appearance: Is the product pleasant to use, pleasant to smell, have a good appearance, feel good on the skin, and provide a calming effect over time on the skin.
  5. Value: Is the product well priced for what it offers.
  6. Labeling/Instructions: Is the product labeled with good instructions and easy to use.
  7. Company: Is the company that makes the product a good company. Are they transparent, do they make false claims, do they have sustainability, diversity, and equity practices. Do they use clean ingredient sources and manufacturing processes.
  8. Efficacy: Does the product WORK? Does it do what it supposed to do, using the recommended dose.  For our Beauty products testing, we heavily emphasized efficacy of product in our evaluation.


So, without further ado, these were our top rated CBD infused beauty products: 

Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum ($125, 500 mg CBD, 2 oz): You had us at hello.  That is, right when we opened the (beautiful) box and saw the incredible packaging, reminiscent of a Rembrant painting.  Ooh la la. But, our rigorous testing standards don’t allow pretty young things to win on their looks alone. Saint Jane Beauty Serum has the beauty and the brawn.  It is packed with a whopping 500 mg of CBD, along with 20 other beneficial ingredients such as sea buckthorn, calendula, and rosehip to boost radiance, and pomegranate and helichrysum as antioxidants. Yes, this is an oil, but it is so lightweight and fast-absorbing, we were convinced.  The smell is heavenly, and most importantly the results don’t lie. Fine lines and age spots both benefited from this oil, and the subtle glow had friends asking what we were doing to look so young.  Yes, it is the most expensive item on the list, but it is half the cost of some cult beauty products, and with 500 mg of CBD, it is actually the most economical per mg, by far. Highly recommend. Get one for yourself, and treat  your bestie to one also, because as they say, you’re worth it.  Saint Jane also has a cult-status Body Oil that is just as heavenly, and half the price.

Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts ($29, 50mg CBD, 6 oz): If we were skeptical about beauty, we were even more skeptical about bath salts with CBD.  Really how well can they work when you only soak for so long? Well, we were wrong. CBD bath salts rock.  Vertly starts with epsom and dead sea salts, and adds an active botanical extraction of wildcrafted marjoram, yarrow and rosemary.  The secret ingredient in our opinion though: lemongrass oil, which smells and feels so fresh. The 6oz package lasted for 4 uses, bringing the price down to a reasonable indulgence level.  Soaking in the Vertly Bath Salts provided a feeling of calm, muscles felt relaxed, and skin felt ultra smooth. A definite treat.

Sagely Naturals Calm and Centered Cream ($37, 50mg CBD, 4oz): Though the CBD count in this cream is on the low side, we cannot argue with the fact that it works!  Maybe it is because of the high quality full spectrum hemp they use for the CBD (and the other cannabinoids and terpenes it contains), or maybe it is the high quality essential oils, including lavender and bergamot, but this is one of our all time favorites, and best sellers.  We find it hard to keep this item in stock. The cream is incredibly light and smooth, not at all greasy like some creams, and smells divine. You can use it for pain or soreness such as that from using your digits too long on the computer, or just as an everyday indulgence to keep your skin smooth and your nerves calm.

Mary’s Purify Dead Sea Mask with CBD ($45, 50mg CBD, 2oz): We already love Dead Sea mud for the face, so the addition of 50mg of full spectrum CBD and Vitamins B5 and E, make this a sure bet.  We love the light texture and how easily it goes on, hard to achieve when using mud. It comes with a super cool silicone applicator which makes it very easy to apply.  We saw improvement in fine lines and skin tone after just one use. It has a pleasant smell, and a little bit goes a long way.

Saint Jane Bright Repair Eye Cream ($65, 500mg CBD, .5 oz): Saint Jane has risen to the top as the CBD beauty authority (their founder spent years at Sephora), and their newest product is an instant hit with us. This eye cream is as light as can be, and showed visible results in smoothing skin and fine lines within 5 days. We used it around the eyes and on the forehead and neck as well. Like the other Saint Jane products, the packaging is to die for, and the scent is incredible.  Along with a whopping 500mg of CBD, this formula also contains beauty all-stars Vitamin C and Green Tea. 

Written By:

Shari Boyer, Founder Plant Society

With input from Sue Feldmeth RN, and a team of beauty testers

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