I Got a CBD Facial—This Is What Happened to My Complexion Afterwards

If you had to dub one ingredient the all-star, MVP, queen of the wellness world right now, without hesitation, it would be CBD.  Cannabidiol, the anti-inflammatory, non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is now known for being an incredibly powerful, healing substance that's able to do everything from alleviating pain to quelling anxiety. Of course, while it has an impressive list of benefits, the one I'm personally the most excited about is its beauty-boosting prowess.

Since it's anti-inflammatory, CBD is being infused into skin-care products so that it can soothe irritation. So, as one does, I started hoarding each and every CBD-spiked beauty product I could get my hands on—you know, to have a chilled-out, un-inflamed complexion—but then I saw that CBD facials are becoming a thing, and so I had to give one of these babies a test drive.

Celebrity facialist and skin pro Ildi Pekar is offering a CBD Vibe Facial, and it's meant to "vibe you out," she says. Pekar is no stranger to CBD, either—the beauty expert already sells a CBD-laced tissue repair facial serum and sleeping mask with CBD oil, so she's a big fan of its benefits. Dermatologists don't necessarily hate it either. "CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits on skin," says Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. "So it might calm any rashes that you might be having, and should help control free radical formation in your skin."

Despite the clear perks for your complexion, Pekar tells me that this CBD facial is so much more than a facial. "I see what CBD does for the skin, the mind, and the body," she says when I arrive at her spa in New York. "I would call it more of a treatment, because you're going to see that it clears your mind a well as your face." Sign me up.

what i learned from a $3,000 facial
Photo: Stocksy/Liliya Rodnikova


It all starts with CBD. "Do you want to take some CBD tincture?" Pekar asks me as soon as I strip down and get onto the treatment bed. "It's going to make you relaxed, but not sleepy—just comfortably relaxed." I proceed to put some salted caramel-flavored oil under my tongue to initiate the chill. Soon after, Pekar's massaging my back with a CBD lotion to create energy flow and relax the body, releasing tension. I'm very into this and am immediately feeling calm despite running late through the streets of Midtown Manhattan on a very rainy day merely 10 minutes before this.

Next comes a peel. "I'm starting with a quick vitamin C peel to ensure your skin handles dryness," says Pekar as she slathers a deliciously-smelling product onto my skin, followed by some CBD oil. She then uses a number of different high-tech machines on me. There's the micro-stimulation, which is massaged all over me to stimulate the lymph nodes and release toxins from my body.

By this point—after feeling the soothing, lymphatic flow-inducing vibrations—I'm feeling really, really good. Like, it was as if I was floating on a cloud of no worries and utter relaxation. I'm not surprised when Pekar says she's been giving this CBD treatment quite frequently. "I think this takes the anxiety and stress away," she says as she applies more CBD product onto my skin. "I think people are realizing it feels so good after—that it's not like a facial. Your skin looks great but you feel great and that makes a big difference. It makes you feel like you just went on a really good vacation."

She's spot on. An hour has gone by and the treatment has completed, so I take my time getting up from the table where the magic has happened. When I look in the mirror, my skin is radiant—I haven't seen it glow this hard in a long time. But equally as exciting is the fact that I've forgotten about all my troubles, from the lingering items on my to-do list to the stress of figuring out what to eat for dinner. I'm fully rejuvenated, from the inside-out, and I feel like a million bucks.

This post was originally published on October 19, 2019; updated on July 31, 2020. 

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