One fine day, twenty summers ago, French police raided The Body Shop in Aix-en-Provence, seizing lip balms and hand creams from the brand’s new Hemp Range (ooh?!), writes Beauty Shortlist founder, Fiona Klonarides.
As Anita Roddick pointed out when the news broke: “You’d have to smoke a hemp joint the length of a telephone pole to get the least buzz and you’d die from carbon monoxide poisoning first,” but police were concerned that her new range might encourage illegal cannabis use.
Meanwhile, over in Canada, The Body Shop’s “calculatedly controversial” hemp products were flying out of store doors, accounting for 7% of total Body Shop sales in that market.
Three out of the five hemp range products sky-rocketed onto The Body Shop’s Top 10 global best-sellers list. In the company’s 20 year history, this has never happened before,” said a spokesperson.
Fast forward to 2018 and one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs is back. CBD oil, this year’s “it” ingredient, is mushrooming. While the US is blazing the trail this time, brands like MGC Derma Skincare and Kiki Health’s CBD Oils have already crossed the pond to Cult Beauty London, while out on the British High Street Jacob Hooy’s CBD+ capsules (ingredients: hemp leaves and flowers) have landed on Holland & Barrett shelves.
But the biggest buzz around the new “cannabis beauty” launches is more about their arrival rather than their effect, as CBD is not psychoactive whereas THC, the tetrahydrocannabinolis compound, is.
Hemp fans are growing fast. The plant’s omega-rich seeds and pain relieving properties (now appearing in post-workout muscle lotions) are no longer a herbalist’s secret, and The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector is still a best-seller…and twenty years on, you can almost feel Anita Roddick watching over, as hemp makes beauty headlines “for the first time”, once again.