Estée Lauder's Origins Capitalizes On Cannabis

Origins are the latest mainstream company to capitalize on the burgeoning cannabis beauty market by launching a new celadon green face mask that contains cannabis sativa seed oil from hemp.

Sara Brittany Somerset ContributoriVices

The cannabis beauty business is booming, according to the industry’s main market research firm the Brightfield Group. Their latest study claims, “As hemp CBD is extremely versatile, companies have begun infusing it into everything from facial scrubs and deodorant.” However, its efficacy in such products is sketchy. 

"There is very little cannabidiol in seed oil; almost none," stresses Chris Bunka, CEO of Lexaria Bioscience. "This is why seed oil is allowable to sell in grocery stores as a cooking oil. Even if refined/distilled, the amount of CBD is negligible. Seed oil ("cannabis" or "hemp") is a healthy dietary item with little or no CBD or THC."

"Often categorized as 'topicals,' skin care and beauty products are items such as face masks, eye serums, and CBD-infused mascara, which are often applied topically but are not generally used to treat medical conditions. These products are most frequently purchased online but are also often found in health food stores. As is to be expected, the buyer base for skin care and beauty products consists mostly of younger women – and is especially appealing to older, high-income women; but a fair number of men across the board are also purchasing these products. There is a great deal of room for innovation in this sector, and topicals and beauty products are expected to explode with legalization and the entry of major consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies," according to The Brightfield Group's report. 

Origins was originally utilized by Estée Lauder to compete with independent phenomenon Aveda, in the 1990s. Aveda's CEO Horst Rechelbacher's interest in developing products without toxic chemicals launched the mainstream market for natural beauty products in the United States. Origins never successfully overtook Aveda; however, it became a quasi-natural brand comparable to The Body Shop. Eventually, Estée Lauder purchased Aveda from Rechelbacher for $300 million in cash and subsequently cornered the market with a strong portfolio of "natural plant-based," beauty companies.

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