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Brief Published: 17 Mar 2020

Why Sephora’s CBD Regulations Are Overdue

Saint Jane

As we cover in Beauty’s CBD Rush, regulation regarding the beauty industry’s use of cannabis’ non-psychoactive compound is lagging. To bolster consumer trust in its inventory, cult retailer Sephora has devised a safety checklist for CBD-infused goods. It’s a shrewd move that emphasises the retailer’s role in industry regulation.

These guidelines build on Sephora’s 2017 rules for ‘clean beauty’ lines. Products containing CBD must use either full- or broad-spectrum US-grown hemp, and brands must get the CBD tested three times to ensure it’s free of pesticides or heavy metals. Products also require third-party verification that the CBD content matches the on-label claim.

Searches on Sephora.com for CBD products have increased more than 1,000 times since the retailer launched them in 2018 – but it’s not only Sephora where interest has skyrocketed. General consumer demand for CBD beauty grew by 279% between 2018 and 2019 (Social Standards, 2020), edging out food and personal care as the most popular infused products.

Unfortunately, regulation hasn’t followed pace. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to release guidance for CBD-infused ingestibles. When third-party regulations have been proposed – such as the 2019 Hemp Scorecard – lack of input from industry leaders has stymied adoption.

Yet Sephora’s guidelines could be a bright spot. The retailer collaborated with leading companies such as Californian skincare brand Lord Jones, NY cosmetics company Saint Jane and Californian tincture producer Flora + Bast. The resulting three-point scheme, which adheres to commonly supported advice from manufacturers, gives customers a guideline they can use when purchasing CBD elsewhere – a clever move to establish Sephora as an arbiter of quality. 

For more on CBD’s popularity spike, see How CBD is Fuelling the Anxiety Economy, Canna Culture Grows Up: Store Concepts and Top Flavour Trends 2019/20.