I love a good skin care treatment. For me, it's the ultimate form of relaxation and self-care. In my experience as a beauty writer, I've also learned about the benefits of cannabis and CBD oil, so when I had the opportunity to try a cannabis infused facial, I jumped at the chance.
For me, professional facials are a luxury. At least once a week, you'll find me masking at home in the comfort of my bed while watching SVU.
However, when it comes to products, I tend to only stick with a few trusted ones and don't really like to switch up my routine. I have sensitive skin that gets irritated easily, so I was a little hesitant about if the cannabis-infused facial would irritate my skin. However, with so many cannabis-infused beauty products out in the world that thousands of people swear by, I was inspired to give the facial a go.
You may be wondering: What are the actual benefits of cannabis when it comes to our skin and health? According to Harlem Skin and Laser Clinic founder Seven Brown, cannabis-infused beauty products are chock-full of inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Brown says that cannabis can help reduce puffiness, redness, swelling, and even soreness. "CBD binds to a special set of receptors in the skin known as TRPV-1 receptors, where it can help alleviate feelings of heat, itch, and pain and the natural fatty acids and antioxidants heal dry skin conditions and eczema," Brown says.
What's more, CBD is celebrated for its benefits, specifically when it comes to skincare. "CBD as a phytocannabinoid has amazing antioxidant properties. Since a large amount of aging is attributed to oxidation from free radical damage, this is a promising area where CBD facials could help. Our skin is lined with cannabinoid receptors so applying it topically will have an immediate effect on maintaining the homeostasis of things like oil production, cell turnover and collagen maintenance as well as healthy muscle tone as hemp extract is simply topically feeding the system responsible for those functions, the Endocannabinoid System. In addition to CBD, Hemp extracts also contain fatty acids like GLA which help keep skin plump, soft and aging nicely. Hemp extracts also contain other antioxidants like vitamin E, which has been shown to the protect skin as well," Maggie Frank, National Educator at PlusCBD Oil tells Bustle.
So, for the sake of *science*, I went over to Harlem Skin and Laser Clinic to see what this whole cannabis beauty trend is all about. And let me tell you, it was absolutely mind-blowing in the best way possible.
Step One: Welcome Ritual
Before beginning the actual facial, Brown applied hemp seed and coconut oil balm to my feet as a welcome ritual.
"In Chinese medicine, feet are full of points that are related with different areas and organs in the body. Therefore, when you massage the specific points on your feet that we use in the treatment, it automatically reduce stress, help you get rid of anger, tension, menstrual cramps insomnia and anxiety," Brown tells me.
Fun fact: 85 to 90 percent of the products Brown uses throughout the treatment are made in-house, so you can be sure you're getting the best of the best when it comes to the treatment. Plus, CBD oil is infused in every product she uses except for the cleansing and exfoliant.
Step Two: Cleansing & Exfoliation Treatment
After the welcome ritual, Brown got straight to work on my face. I explained to her that my skin was sensitive and that I was a bit nervous to try anything that'd be too harsh on my skin.
However, Brown customizes each treatment to meet the clients' needs, and used gentle products on me. While my eyes were closed, Brown would hold a bit of product under my nose so I could smell it. If I would gag, she'd know that the product would be too harsh on my skin (which I thought was absolutely fascinating).
The cleansing products she uses are either almond or coconut based (depending on the clients' needs), and the exfoliation is "food grade digestive enzymes." After exfoliating, Brown nourished my skin in layers and layers of masks and serums made with honey, essential oils, frankincense, and pearls with crystal rollers.
To top it all off, Brown uses Shungite water for extra cleansing. And if you're wondering what Shungite water is, you're not alone. Brown explained to me that Shungite Water is water that has been charged with Shungite for a period of at least three days. The stone, Brown says, is a powerful ancient healing stone made of almost pure carbon, and can be found in the Karelia region of Russia. "It is incredibly powerful as it is one of the only known natural materials to contain fullerenes [when carbon molecules come together to form hallow molecules]," Brown says .
Shungite is used for healing and purifying water, which in turn "helps with detoxifying and purifying your body by absorbing and eliminating any negative energies or anything that is health hazardous to the body," Brown says.
Steps Three & Four: Moisturizing & "The Gift"
For the final touches, Brown applies moisturizer from Hemp Garden in NYC. Depending on the client, Brown uses Moon Blend or Self Love.
And, before heading back into the hustle-and-bustle of NYC, Brown urges her clients to take a moment for themselves, reflect, relax, and remember to take care of themselves.
She ends the treatment by handing the client a crystal to hold against their heart in their right hand as a a symbol of self-care and the importance of taking care of yourself. Brown calls this ritual "the gift," where you hold a crystal with your right hand over your heart to remind you to take care of yourself. The crystal is used to healing or reinforcement of the facial, Brown says.
Below is a before and after of my skin.
All in all, the cannabis infused facial truly went above and beyond all my expectations. Brown's unique techniques and dedication to her craft makes it a truly one-of-a-kind experience that heals your body and mindset.