Long gone are the days when public hysteria surrounded a certain leafy plant (cannabis). Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form or another—mostly for medical use, but four states have given the green light for recreational use. The times, they are most definitely a-changin’.
We all know about “wacky tobaccy,” but what’s the difference between marijuana, hemp and cannabis? Marijuana (bred to be wacky) and hemp (bred for reasons not involving intoxication) are forms of the cannabis plant, which, it turns out, has many health and beauty benefits. Not too shockingly, there’s been an influx of cosmetics and even foods that contain this controversial ingredient. For the most part, the products I’ve found contain hemp oil or hempseed extract, both of which boast high levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Some brands are even having fun with the familiar scent of Mary Jane. Here are my favorites:
Hemp Face Protector ($14) at The Body Shop
Fabulous for extra-dry skin, this rich and lightly scented cream hydrates, moisturizes and soothes courtesy of fair trade hempseed oil (from plants grown in England), shea butter and vitamin E.
Gnarly Whale Natural Makeup Remover ($8) at The Gnarly Whale
If you’re been on the hunt for a natural makeup remover, this is the one. It’s handmade, vegan and contains just eight ingredients, including hemp, jojoba, olive and coconut oils, which gently dissolve makeup while also moisturizing the skin.
Aubrey Organics Lip Balm ($2.51) at iHerb.com
This extra-moist lip balm utilizes organic ingredients like hempseed, rose hip, coconut and jojoba seed oils to nourish and soften dry lips. Buy it in a variety of yummy flavors, including vanilla and honey, peppermint and tea tree, and tangerine.
Nature’s Gate Hemp Shampoo ($5.24) at Vitacost
This creamy shampoo is an excellent cleanser for dry or frizzy hair. The combination of hempseed oil, panthenol, soy protein and milk thistle will leave locks gently cleansed and soft and smooth.
Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner ($13.99) at Target
A powerful remedy for dry hair, this emollient, paraben-free, sweet-smelling conditioner contains hemp oil, silk proteins, aloe vera and fatty acids to help restore damaged hair while detangling and softening.
Naturelle Hemp Firm Hold Gel ($7.49) at Drugstore.com
Void of alcohol, this versatile hair gel contains hempseed extract to nourish the hair as well as silicones for excellent humidity control. The formula will prevent your color-treated hair from fading and won’t result in flaking.
Hemp Soap on a Rope ($12) at The Body Shop
Although this quirky soap looks like a novelty item, it’s actually good for your skin thanks to moisturizing hempseed oil and shea butter. Plus, you can hang the soap by its rope, so it won’t pick up gross bacteria from the tub. Pro tip: Use the soap with the Hemp Body Mitt ($10 at The Body Shop) for an exfoliating cleanse.
Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Castile Soap ($9.89) at Drugstore.com
This super-concentrated wash contains hemp extract along with jojoba, coconut and castile oils. You can use it on everything from your face to your scalp. Because the formula is certified organic, it’s great for camping trips that require bathing in the wild. Several fragrances are available, including peppermint, lavender, organic rose and “mild” (for babies). You can also grab the formula in bar form.
Hemp Body Butter ($20) at The Body Shop
If you have dry skin, you’re probably familiar with The Body Shop’s “Body Butter” collection. This particular butter contains hempseed oil, making it extra hydrating for incredibly dry skin. Despite its thick texture, the product absorbs faster than you would expect and leaves the skin feeling silky and replenished with a slightly earthy fragrance.
Malin + Goetz Cannabis Hand & Body Wash ($22) at Barneys New York
If you want a product with a sexy, peppery, marijuana-esque scent, this wash is a must-try. It contains amino acid–based agents to thoroughly cleanse the skin without drying, stripping or irritating. The fragrance is smoky, sultry and not remotely hippie at all. And if you want to fill your home with this awesome scent, grab a candle ($52 at Barneys New York).
Demeter Fragrance Library Cannabis Scent ($20.51) at Scenting.com
Let your cannabis flag fly! At first spritz, this scent really does smell like the “finest green,” but in a few minutes, it dries down to a subtle earthy and spicy floral reminiscent of the cannabis flower—not the dried green stuff that one smokes. The Demeter credo? “Smell it. Don’t smoke it.”
Some people are calling hemp the new flax. Hempseed’s oil is high in protein (second only to the soybean) and contains fiber and nine essential amino acids as well as vitamin E.
Now, don’t go running off to grow your own plants to eat—because that would be illegal—but you can find hemp food products at your grocery store or online. My latest discoveries are Hemp Milks ($7.99 at Daily Greens) andNature’s Path Organic Hemp Plus Granola ($4.59 at Vitacost). The Hemp Milks come in three varieties (Enlighten, Symmetry and Replenish), which contain ingredients like hemp, vanilla, cocoa, blue-green algae, coconut nectar and spinach. In addition to hempseeds, the non-GMO Nature’s Path Granola contains a tasty mix of flaxseeds, oats, molasses and cane juice.
Want hemp on the regular? Sign up for a subscription of Hempbox ($19.99 per month) to ensure that you receive a monthly bounty of hemp beauty, home and nutritional products on your doorstep. I haven’t gotten to try this yet, but it looks cool!