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These are the musings of a skincare junkie + writer + brand guru with 25+ years of product wisdom put into action to demystify skin care. 

You can change your skin’s destiny.™


Something really dope is happening in the US consumer marketplace that is barely visible to most of us currently. Consumer trends are, of course, nothing new. Some are gimmicks that vanish almost as quickly as they come onto the scene. Fashion is like that. And, I hope, man buns. Others suddenly appear and can alter the very way we live our daily lives. Look at the smartphone. That started as a trend that became embedded in our lives, now virtually indispensable. The idea of being without my iPhone is unfathomable to me. The course of my entire day would be altered. I’m writing this blog in a cafe right now. I paid for my latte with my iPhone. I’m receiving alerts and emails about apartments that I want to view this afternoon for my move to Brooklyn. Lots of urgency in that! And, I’m meeting a friend here in an hour or so. Without my iPhone, there’s a chance he won’t easily find me. I don’t want to exaggerate the importance of this particular technology. Yes, I can survive without it, we all can — but it makes my life easier and makes me more productive.

So what’s the trend that got me going this morning?


And what’s going on? Well, it seems that the CBD market for topical skin care and ingestible liquid tinctures and supplements has exploded. And I’m all in. I want to be ahead of the game to watch this tidal wave come to shore — from the shore! Every morning for the last two weeks, I’ve been shooting a few drops of full-spectrum CBD oil under my tongue. It’s supposed to help me focus. On alternating nights, as the last step in my skincare regimen, I’ve been testing a soothing facial oil infused with CBD extract to nourish and balance my skin. I love how calm my complexion looks the morning after. On especially stressful days sweating and fretting over the move, work, and the complexities of daily life in New York City, I’ve been popping a 15mg CBD supplement before bed to help me sleep. The sleep is so deep, I wake up like I’ve been in a coma!

Me hitting the blunt circa 1995

Me hitting the blunt circa 1995

What’s interesting with this particular trend is that it has been building up behind a wall for several years in anticipation of a change in the law. That happened on January 1st of this year when the US government finally recognized that the hemp, or cannabis plant, has a multitude of uses outside of marijuana cultivation. Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are what are called cannabinoids — derivations of the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive component of the plant that we refer to as marijuana, weed, bud, dope. It gets us high. And CBD doesn’t.

Think of THC and CBD as twins — fraternal twins, not identical twins. Like my godson and his brother — they look like brothers, but they couldn't pass as one another. Couldn’t fake out the teacher or their Uncle Coo (me!). And they definitely have their own personalities. Now, imagine that THC is the wild child, the one who’s always getting in trouble. Like my own brother, blowing up frogs and talking back to our mother. CBD is the book smart twin brother, the nerd — like me, the one who studied Latin and would never address our mother by her first name.

My godson and his brother are fraternal twins and really love ice cream with their uncle, The Coo.

My godson and his brother are fraternal twins and really love ice cream with their uncle, The Coo.

As cannabinoids, both CBD and THC have a unique interaction with our bodies, syncing with the body’s processes in similar ways, with wildly varying effects. We know that THC has a psychoactive effect that gets us high and can turn off pain receptors in the brain. That’s why medical marijuana, a natural substance, has been such a great alternative for pain management over conventional chemical substances. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has the ability to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, migraines, muscle aches, sleep disorders and even epileptic seizures. How though? Well, recent research into the functions of the body has explored a system in the human body called the “endocannabinoid system.” It’s comprised of receptors that interact exclusively with cannabinoids like CBD and THC. You can read more about the body’s intriguing endocannabinoid system here.

"On the one hand, CBD is nothing new. One of two cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that has been the subject of any recent substantial research (the other, THC, is the one that gets you high), it has been used to a somewhat limited degree since the 1940s. But the recent surge in the popularity of this non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis owes to some studies suggesting that — in high-enough doses — it may help with anxiety, sleep and pain management. In modern times, the appeal for a natural solution to these common struggles is obvious. And if it feels like you've been hearing these three letters just about everywhere, brace yourself: Experts say we've only just begun." - Sara Spruch-Feiner, Fashionista, January 30, 2019

Meet Hempfield Botanicals, “grown to be good”!


I first met Heather, who along with her husband Nathan is the founder of Hempfield Botanicals, at a massive spa skincare and technology convention at New York’s Javits Center a few weeks ago. As I said, I’ve been paying close attention to the budding CBD market with its 87,000 new brands and products that claim everything from moisturizing skin and soothing irritation to alleviating migraines and easing anxiety. In fact, a few weeks ago, I reviewed several topical skincare products made from hemp-derived Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil. The nourishing extract is actually a good moisturizing, non-fragrant plant oil similar to Squalane and Jojoba Oil. You can read the article on these interesting product offerings from Kiehl’s, Peter Thomas Roth and The Inkey List on the Skincarma blog here.

Back to Heather and her intriguing indie CBD brand. At the convention there were about a dozen of these CBD brands popping out among the LED facial beds, French-themed spa brands, wild K-Beauty mask shops, and more. It was like the skincare version of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. But something about Heather and Hempfield Botanicals stood out to me. They seemed to have their $hit together. They had a solid offering of products, really great packaging, and even really well-thought-out educational materials — something I was dying for. Those pamphlets have helped me to understand more intimately the miraculous effects of CBD.

Heather, co-founder of Hempfield Botanicals, and me at the spa convention!

Heather, co-founder of Hempfield Botanicals, and me at the spa convention!

Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, all Hempfield Botanicals products are formulated with whole-plant hemp CBD extracts that are sourced from sustainable farms around the U.S. The products are tested for potency, quality, and purity to ensure consistent, effective results every time. The mission of Hempfield Botanicals is “to help people feel and perform their best, whether at work or at play, with our expertly formulated, all-natural CBD products.”


Soothe Face Oil (100 mg CBD)

As I mentioned, I’ve been testing the Hempfield Soothe Face Oil intermittently over the past couple of weeks. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t have much hope that it would do anything special beyond moisturizing. Having had no groundbreaking visible results from the earlier Kiehl’s and PTR topical treatments, I naturally began with this bit of skepticism. But…this stuff actually does something. On the mornings after I use it, I notice that my skin is much more calm than on mornings when I haven’t used it the night before. And there’s something so wildly sensorial about it that I can’t help but cup my hands and breathe it in when applying it. I never do that. And, I have literally felt a certain degree of FOMO on the nights that I’ve forced myself not to use it. What’s in it? Well, a whole slew of non-fragrant plant oils, including Borage Oil, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Chamomile Oil — and, of course, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil. Those are the top four ingredients and a huge win IMO. I don’t love the inclusion of Lavender and Patchouli oils, both of which are fragrant plant oils that I try to avoid in my skin care — but they’re in tiny amounts, close to last on the ingredient list. Hempfield says that its 100% natural, vegan Soothe Face Oil has anti-inflammatory benefits and is intended to calm sensitive and acne-prone skin. Rounding out the formula’s seven ingredients is something called Crystalline Cannabidiol — the natural state of CBD which can actually be micronized and used in ingestible powders to inject cannabidiol into the body’s system more readily. This is such good stuff!


CBD Salve (112.5 mg-300 mg)

Okay, so I’m gonna admit something that slightly horrifies me because it makes me think I’m getting old. About two weeks ago, I started noticing weird, itchy red patches on my elbows and my left wrist — where I wear my Apple Watch. While what was going on with my elbows was a bit “out of sight, out of mind,” my wrist was another story. The watchband was only making things worse. I had to face the reality that I was afflicted with a bout of eczema for the first time in my life. Ignoring it wasn’t gonna make it go away.


What was I gonna do? Well, I ordered an eczema treatment from but wouldn’t get it for at least 2-3 days. Then I remembered that I’d gotten a CBD Salve from Hempfield Botanical and thought maybe, just maybe, it would help a bit until the Amazon shipment arrived. While it’s intended to relieve intense pain and inflammation of muscles, nerves and joints, could it help with my eczema? The CBD Salve is formulated with cannabidiol, hemp oil, shea butter, soybean wax, spearmint, and menthol — which gives it that icy cooling Ben-Gay pain relief that I’m all too aware of. Did this little pot of CBD goodness cure my eczema? Well, no, not completely. But it did actually alleviate the itching and calm the irritation until the real eczema cream arrived. And, thanks to this, my watchband wasn’t an issue until then either!

My savior CBD salve!

My savior CBD salve!

Tunnel Vision Oral CBD Oil (300 mg-1200 mg)

40 Winks Oral CBD Oil (300 mg-1200 mg)

Head Ease Oral CBD Oil (300 mg-1200 mg)

The interesting thing about the CBD market is that all the product claims can be a bit tenuous as the new, unregulated market feels more like the wild west than modern medical science. Like if you sought out a pharmacist in a small South Dakota mining town in the 1800s, he’d have a tincture that cured all that ailed you. That’s what the CBD craze feels like to me. Alas, it’s 2019, not Deadwood, SD, circa 1893. The Hempfield Botanicals team comprises licensed pharmacists and even a chemical engineer with real knowledge of the benefits of CBD. There are several oral CBD oils in the range, each with a specific key benefit. Need help sleeping? Check out the 40 Winks Oral CBD Oil (1200mg) with its dosage of 2mg per drop. Ten drops of that and you’ll be out like me, waking up from a coma. Feeling unfocused and unable to concentrate? Try 30 or so drops of the Tunnel Vision (300mg) tincture. What makes the formulas unique, with specific benefits to relieve sleeplessness, headaches and anxiety? It’s the terpenes. According to Canna Insider, “Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants.” These fragrant compounds interact with the human body to prompt a physical or mental response. There are more than 100 different terpenes in the cannabis plant alone. By isolating specific terpenes, chemists are able to target a formula to treat various concerns like anxiety and insomnia. Modern medicine, meet the Wild West!


Use code SKINCARMA10 to receive 10% off any Hempfield Botanicals purchase! Follow the link below to the Hempfield site and use my exclusive code.


There’s so much more to come, so much more to learn — and so much more to experience with CBD. I appreciate the thoughtful, measured and professional manner in which Hempfield Botanicals has broken through. And how fortuitous was that meeting with Heather in the sea of skincare chaos? Willie Wonka needs a CBD chocolate bar. And I want to name it for him!




The Ingredient List of the Soothe Face Oil (100 mg CBD):

Organic Borago Officinalis (Borage) Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Crystalline Cannabidiol.

The Ingredient List of the CBD Salve (112.5 mg-300 mg):

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Wax, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Menthol, Citrus Paradisii (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Crystalline Cannabidiol.

The Ingredient List of the Tunnel Vision Oral CBD Oil (300 mg-1200 mg):

Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Crystalline Cannabidiol, Beta Caryophyllene, Limonene, Humulene, Alpha Bisabolol, Nerolidol, Myrcene, Beta Pinene, Alpha Pinene, Terpineol, Linalool, Caryophyllene Oxide, Phytol, Camphene, Terpinolene, Geraniol, Valencene, Citronellol.