Beauty & Balance

What to Watch: CBD Takes America

CBD is just getting started.
The ingredient, cannabidiol, which has turned up in everything from face lotions to gummy bears to lattés, is about to go even further. Part of that is due to the signing of the Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp (where CBD comes from) in late December. The other part of it is due to the proliferation of the wellness trend. CBD oil is purported to have antianxiety and anti-inflammatory benefits.
"Now that passed, I think everything is going to be more lenient," said Cyndi Ramirez, founder and chief executive officer of Chillhouse, a wellness destination on New York's Lower East Side.
At Chillhouse, CBD was wound into service, beverage and product offerings over the course of 2018. Customers could add CBD oil to a massage for example, for a few extra dollars. Next year, the outpost is planning to launch a CBD manicure, Ramirez said.
Even a few months into adding CBD options, about 25 percent of customers add CBD to their massages. The percentage is roughly the same for Chillhouse's café, which has CBD beverages, and slightly higher for Shop Chill, the company's e-commerce operation, Ramirez said.
"People want to try it," said Anthoni Dippoli, senior manager of brand partnerships and events at Chillhouse, and the company's resident CBD expert. "Our customers like that they can add it on for a pretty minimal cost to something they were already getting."
"Our sales in general in retail are doing well on the lower-end ingestible items rather than the more expensive tinctures for the more experienced user," Dippoli noted.
Next year, even more beauty and wellness brands are expected to jump on the CBD train, experts agreed.
"A lot of brands we're working with are launching CBD oil skin-care products," said Cecilia Gates, ceo of Gates Creative. "It is aligning with health and wellness. It's an ingredient you can ingest and also use topically, so what are the different formats and ways that brands are innovating to use this ingredient? I think that will really set them apart."
Education is a key part of the equation, Gates noted. "There's a whole level of how are you communicating to the consumer around benefits, being transparent around purity or where it comes from or the dosage," she said.
"It's starting to become like vitamin C or argan oil or marula oil," she said. "As more awareness of CBD grows, so does the demand."
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