Are you one of those curious beauty enthusiasts who like experimenting with new products, new ingredients? If the answer to this is yes, high chances are that you must have tried your hands on hemp – one of the buzziest ingredients of the hour. It may or may not give you a high, but it definitely gives one to your skin – in a good and beneficial way, of course. Packed with an effective plethora of nutrients like vitamins and fatty acids, hemp sets your skin on a path to better health. However, what’s most interesting is the recent explosion of hemp as an ingredient in the beauty and wellness space – it’s everywhere from shower gels to oils, from shampoo bars to face masks. To dissect the role of hemp in the beauty and wellness space, we spoke to industry experts who walked us through the A-Z of the ingredient.
Hemp As A Beauty Gem
“In recent years, hemp has become increasingly popular in the beauty industry and for good reason. It boasts a variety of benefits for the skin, scalp, and hair,” says Megha Asher, COO & Co-founder, Juicy Chemistry. The superfood ingredient is one true gem for your skin, “When it comes to skincare the many benefits of hemp or hemp seed oil make it a hero ingredient. One of the many benefits of hemp-infused skincare products is it’s a source of good fatty acids, helps repair damaged skin barrier and generally helps skin recover from environmental irritants as well as wear and tear due to lifestyle,” says Antara Kundu, Deputy General Manager, Asia South, Marketing, Brand & Customer Acquisition at The Body Shop.
Additionally, hemp is versatile and offers something for every skin type. “It is helpful in dry skin conditions, inflammatory skin conditions, skin sensitivity, acne and skin complications. For oily skin, hemp leaf extract regulates the production of oil and sebum via the cannabinoid receptors present in the skin. It helps improve the texture and appearance of the skin. It further assists the skin in its natural healing process, causing a shortening in the lifespan of acne breakouts. Skin ageing which is a huge concern for most, is an indirect result of inflammation. Hemp leaf extract has been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory compound which in turn makes it a great anti-ageing solution. Hemp with its restorative properties is a magic solution for all skin types including acne-prone and sensitive skin,” explains Yash Kotak, Co-founder, Boheco. Its utility in the beauty industry is booming, and for all the right reasons, “It can be used as a carrier oil on its own or can be used in creating a concoction of oils that serve a variety of purposes,” says Asher.
Hemp As A Wellness Superfood
“Hemp is considered as one of the world's best superfoods due to its dense nutrition profile,” says Loveena Sirohi, Co-founder and Director, India Hemp Organics. “The health benefits of hemp are multifarious, ancient and effective. It is listed in our own Atharvaveda as one of the five sacred plants. Each hemp seed contains a wholesome nutritional profile with a wide array of nutrients such as protein, omegas, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, to name a few, making it a go-to source for our fast-paced lifestyles,” shares Kotak. “On the medical side, you can use hemp-derived cannabinoids such as CBD to battle stress, sleep disorders, chronic pain, menstrual pain, side-effects of chemotherapy, etc,” reveals Sirohi. Not just hemp oil, but the seeds are also equally beneficial, “Hemp seeds are extremely rich in Oleic (Omega 9) and Linoleic (Omega 6) Fatty Acids. It contains over 30% fat. The seeds can be consumed directly, raw or toasted, blended into yoghurts and nourish bowls, or sprinkled on top of soups, cereals, salads and toasts,” cites Ashar.
The Recent Boom In Hemp’s Consumption Explained
For years and years, people have kept a distance from the ingredient by pointing out that it is akin to ‘marijuana’ or perhaps something ‘immoral’. All of this while absolutely neglecting the bountiful goodness that it had to offer. However, “There has been a monumental change in people’s perception around hemp,” says Kotak. He adds, “This is largely due to two reasons – awareness building and clearing of misconceptions around the subject of hemp and people trying hemp products first hand and owing to the efficacy of the products, more people are taking up to it.” “With the outburst of social and digital outburst, people have started knowing more about its benefits for beauty and wellness,” says Kundu as she attributes some part of the boom to the social media-led awareness.
What Do The Statistics Say?
“Our end beneficiaries are usually the senior citizens of most households as the Cannabis products are very useful in lifestyle-based disorders. However, the purchase decisions are largely influenced by the younger generation in the same households who, being more aware and open, are clearly the champions of our cause,” shares Kotak. “The skincare CBD oil and Hemp Seed oil are top sellers when it comes to the beauty space. The demand usually comes from consumers aged between 25-40, in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India,” mentions Sirohi. “In our product portfolio, the Hemp seed oil and Hemp Hearts are very popular owing to their versatile uses. In the leaf-based product offerings, the ones for arthritis, pain, stress & sleep and muscle relief top the charts. Basically, we see pain and mental health as a category is most sought after,” adds Kotak.
The (Bright) Future Of Hemp
“Cannabis has the power to transform the future of Indian agriculture, health and wellness arena benefiting communities at large,” affirms Kotak. “We expect hemp-based and CBD-based products to definitely gain more traction as time goes by. Our hemp products have been well received by the Indian market and we’re expecting them to gain more popularity as awareness grows,” says Asher. “Over the years, we have now added many new products in our already existing Hemp Range. The Body Shop Hemp Nourishing & Protecting Dry Body Oil, Hemp Overnight Nourishing Rescue Mask and Shower Oil are doing amazing in the market and we are expecting more rise in demand with time due to the awareness around the ingredient,” shares Kundu. A hopeful Sirohi states, “We are growing month-on-month at 10%, with a retention of 40-45%. India is currently the largest untapped hemp industry in the world, and we foresee it to become a billion-dollar industry in the next couple of years once more states legalise the cultivation.” Pressing on the vital ingredient’s benefits, Kotak says, “The uses of hemp are kaleidoscopic and too mammoth for them to go to waste.”