“I tried a CBD skincare routine for 21 days, and this is what happened”

Written by Charlotte Wolff

It takes 21 days to change a habit according to science. So, to put this theory to the test, we’re trialling various beauty trends, treatments and techniques for 21 days. Here’s what happened when production manager Charlotte Wolff used a CBD-only skincare routine.

I was really keen to try some CBD (an abbreviation for cannabidiol, which comes from a marijuana or hemp plant) products. I had heard a lot of good things about its calming, healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s thought to reduce redness, soothe stress, ease aches and prolong your skin’s health. I mean it almost sounds too good to be true – and I was definitely up for all those benefits. I also live in London, where I cycle, and really wanted something to clean up any impurities on my skin’s surface.

I have combination skin (both oily and dry), which means it can be difficult to find products that suit my skin type. I frequently have small blemishes on my face, my pores clog up quite easily because they are fairly big and I have a small, weird scaly, red patch just above my top lip, which I am not a fan of at all. That has been lingering around for a few months and I am hoping that this CBD routine will help to clear that up and make my skin beautiful. You can only hope…

I am also a BIG fan of natural ingredients. I’m always hunting for beauty products that are kinder to skin, organic and full of herbs, basically. I wear an aluminium-free deodorant, my current SPF is organic and smells like potatoes – for me; the earthier, the better.

For my three-week trial, I’ll be using The INKEY List’s Hemp Oil Cream Moisturiser, £7.99, Herbivore Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil, £42, Superdrug’s CBD Creamy Facial Wash, £5.99, Milk Makeup’s Cannabis Hydrating Mask, £21, and Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate, £40.

My usual morning skincare routine consists of washing my face with water and then applying a serum, moisturiser and an SPF. In the evening I wash my face with a cleanser. I’ll use a mask if my skin is feeling bumpy and apply a night oil.

With the products that I have been assigned I have decided that my new routine will be cleansing both morning and night with the Superdrug cleanser. In the morning, I’ll follow up with the Kiehl’s oil in the morning and INKEY List moisturiser. At night, I will use the Herbivore oil every evening and the Milk mask once or twice a week. 

Day 1

I reach for the Superdrug cleanser first – it smells good, a sweet, herbal, soapy smell. It foams just as it says on the bottle and leaves my face feeling fresh and clean without leaving it dry. I have also read up on this product and it is 100% vegan, which is great news to me.

Next, I apply 2 – 3 drops of the Kiehl’s oil. It’s my favourite colour green (a kind of a chartreuse when it comes out the bottle), but it has a very strong herbal smell. I’m not sure I like it but here goes anyway. It feels good on the skin and soaks in pretty much straight away considering it smelt so oily. I’m hoping this transforms me instantly as I have read great things about it.

Then, I apply the hemp moisturiser. Again, no animal testing, one point. No parabens, another point. Plus, it’s fragrance-free – I mean I like a little fragrance but that’s fine because I am already covered in another very potent fragrance (the oil). The moisturiser feels nice on the skin; not too light, not too rich but just right – the Goldilocks of face creams. Despite being fragrance-free it does have a slight smell that I can’t put my finger on – I’m leaning towards earthy veg. Set for the day, my skin feels good. There are no sudden changes just yet but I wasn’t expecting anything instantly.

In the evening, I started my nighttime routine with the Herbivore oil. It feels lovely to touch, a bit thicker than the Kiehl’s oil, but it doesn’t soak in straight away. The formula contains a combination of many herbs and natural ingredients, including shitake mushroom, turmeric and ashwagandha root, so I am sold. The packaging is also very beautiful and inside is a note from the founders explaining a bit about why they created this product and what benefits its ingredients have. This oil feels very soothing and gives my complexion a nice glow. Shame I’m off to bed! 

Days 2 – 5

I’ve continued with my routine as per day one and haven’t really noticed any changes as yet. My skin has not miraculously turned into that of J-Lo’s, unfortunately.

In my first week, I decided to also try the Milk mask. It’s extremely satisfying to apply – never before have I been able to get such precise coverage with a face mask. This mask comes in a glue stick-like packaging that lets you wind it up and down to apply the formula directly to your face, meaning no messy hands, win. It is also bright green which instantly turns you into Stanley Ipkiss from the film The Mask (one of my childhood favourites). Lots of fun to be had here. The mask dries fairly quickly and doesn’t make your face feel shrivelled up like most, I assume this means it’s quite gentle. You will however need a flannel to remove this as it is quite stubborn to get off. Some masks I’ve tried in the past have made me break out or seem to disturb my skin, but this one just seems to give you a really good cleanse. Once it’s off, my skin is left feeling fresh.

Days 6 – 11

I’m starting to think that this skincare routine might actually be making me break out a bit. I do think that happens sometimes when you try out a new product and here I am trying out five all at once! This wasn’t quite the result I was going for.

After a little bit of research, I found that Kiehl’s say to pat the oil in rather than rub it in, so I have started doing that to avoid aggravating my skin as much.

I have also swapped the Kiehl’s oil to nighttime and the Herbivore oil to the morning because the smell of the Kiehl’s one was just not doing it for me first thing in the A.M. I could smell it on my face all day – it sure has staying power.

Days 12 – 16

Okay, it’s official, this routine is definitely making me break out. I’m going to stick with it but mix it up a bit as I am not one to back down from a task.I decide I’m now going to use the Herbivore oil and the INKEY List moisturiser on alternate days; I’m thinking the double moisture might be clogging me up. I am also going to go back to cleansing in the evening only and using water in the morning.

Day 17 – 21

My skin seems to have calmed down now, I think maybe it was a case of having to get used to the various different products I was using. I have been less regimented with using every single product this week. The INKEY List moisturiser has taken a back seat and the Herbivore oil has become go-to morning product, I really like it. 

The result?

So after three weeks of following this routine I can’t say that I have noticed any difference really. I think I will continue to use some of the products but maybe not all at once. Maybe a solely CBD skincare regime is not ideal for my combination skin.

My favourite product was the Herbivore Emerald Oil. It really did give me a nice glow for the entire day and felt light on my skin. I think it also made my skin a little softer when using it. The Milk mask came in at a close second. I liked that it wasn’t too heavy and the green colour made it a lot more fun to use. Plus, it seems as though it will last at least six months when using it two times a week, which makes its £21 price tag very reasonable.

I’m going to keep trying to use the Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Oil – I just think it will take a bit longer to work its magic and I have warmed to the scent a little. But I’ll still only apply it at night. The Superdrug cleanser felt nice but I’m not sure it really had anything that special going for it and it’s actually now been discontinued. As for The INKEY List moisturiser, the texture was fine but I would normally go for a thick rich cream that really felt like it was getting in there and hydrating my dry skin. It may work for other skin types, it just wasn’t for me.

Would I recommend trying out a CBD regime? Maybe try one or two products but I don’t think there is any need to keep it CBD only.

Charlotte’s CBD skincare kit

  • The moisturiser

    The INKEY List Hemp Oil Cream Moisturiser, £7.99


  • The oil

    Herbivore Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil, £42


  • The face mask

    Milk Makeup Cannabis Hydrating Mask, £21


  • The oil concentrate

    Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate, £40


Images: Charlotte Wolff

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