Sephora Is the First National Beauty Retailer With Standards for the CBD Products It Sells—Here’s What That Means for Your Skin-Care Routine

Photo: Stocksy / Lucas Ottone
On Wednesday, makeup and skin-care distributor Sephora announced new standards for the CBD beauty products it sells in-store and online, making it the first national prestige retailer to do so. With CBD wriggling its way into everything from blush to burgers, it has become increasingly difficult for consumers to understand what's effective and safe for them to use. "We’ve seen clients’ demand for transparency continue to grow, and it’s important to Sephora that we are a trusted resource," Cindy Deily, vice president of merchandising and skin care at Sephora, tells Byrdie. "With the amount of products flooding the market, there can be confusion and mistrust."

As part of the new Sephora CBD standards, the company will only sell full-spectrum CBD, which extracts a full profile of cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and contains trace amounts of THC, and broad-spectrum CBD, which been refined to remove all THC compounds. Products utilizing a third type of extraction, CBD isolate, will not be available at Sephora. The full set of standards contains four guidelines:

  • Inclusion of only full- or broad-spectrum CBD from U.S. grown hemp
  • CBD must be tested at least three times for quality and purity
  • A Certificate of Analysis (COA) that verifies the CBD content matches any label claims must be available upon request
  • All products must meet Sephora’s Clean at Sephora standards

The CBD industry remains largely unregulated, but certain CBD-specific retailers, like Standard Dose, spell out similar guidelines in order to ensure a safe product for their customers. The use of CBD in beauty products, however, is not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. While Sephora's new CBD standards are an important step in the right direction, they still don't guarantee that these products actually work, says Adam Friedman, MD, a dermatologist and professor of dermatology at George Washington University. "These are just quality assurance measures that you're getting what you're paying for," he says. "We need science to prove that a certain concentration delivered in a certain way works."

CBD is often sought out in beauty products for its potential ability to fight inflammation. “CBD has been shown to have a soothing effect on the skin, and has been used in the treatment of acne and rosacea as well as eczema and dryness,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles. Dr. Friedman adds that most of the the current data we have on CBD in beauty is pre-clinical, meaning it is cell-based or performed on animals.

Sephora currently carries four CBD brands: Prima, Lord JonesSaint Jane, and Flora + Bast. Byrdie reports that the retailer will also continue carrying CBD products from skin-care brands that adhere to its new standards.

Here's a break down on all things CBD, and a yummy recipe for a celery juice CBD lemonade:

One Well+Good editor used only CBD beauty products, here's what happened. And this is what a CBD massage is like.

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