How Milk Makeup is spearheading the rise of cannabis-infused products in the beauty industry
By Bridget Schneider
It seems every couple of months a new trend sweeps the beauty and wellness world. Crazes past have included matcha, rose quartz, spirulina and turmeric — with consumers always on the look out for the latest ingredient promising to up the ante on their beauty routines. For this reason, the industry must remain ahead of the curve, zeroing in on what consumers want before they know they want it. Perhaps sparked by the substances increasing legality across the country or spurred by the intrigue in its formerly taboo nature, cannabis is the beauty industry’s current obsession. Most often seen in association with skincare, cannabis offers a myriad of benefits — it promises to ease inflammation, hydrate, provide nutrients and reduce signs of aging, among other tall claims.
Now the trend has trickled into the cosmetics realm of beauty, and someone has to lead the way — that “someone” being Milk Makeup.
“I think our cannabis oil products differ from other brands’ because we started by infusing the skin and hair benefits of this ingredient into color makeup products,” said Jessica Blanco, senior director of product development and packaging at Milk. “This is one of the reasons we decided that our first cannabis product launch would be our Kush Mascara.”
Milk’s Kush mascara is certainly the first of its kind — infused with plant-derived, cannabis sativa seed oil for added volume and maximum hydration.
“We were first in Sephora to incorporate cannabis sativa seed oil in a product with the mascara,” said Hannah Spicijaric, product development coordinator at Milk Makeup. “I think we paved the way for other brands who followed in our footsteps, and we showed Sephora and the public that we’re not promoting ‘drug use’ in any way. [Cannabis] is a beneficial ingredient that tells a fun story.”
Since the launch of the mascara, Milk has put out a still-growing line of products under the Kush umbrella. It offers a lip balm, lip glaze and fiber brow gel, in addition to fun add-ons like stickers, pins and a puff bag. The Kush line seems to have taken on a life of its own, feeling in some ways separate from the brand’s other products.
And, in a sense, it has taken on a life of its own. As one could imagine, the process for producing cannabis-infused makeup differs quite a bit from your more run-of-the-mill products. One might imagine the science behind curating a formula around a previously un-used ingredient would be the tricky part, but the true obstacle lays in the regulations.
“There’s a lot of paperwork and legal documentation that goes along with adding an ingredient like cannabis into a product, that will be sold commercially,” Spicijaric said. “We have to prove that the formula is free of THC and CBD, since both are not legal across the United State.”
“We also need to make sure all of our regulatory information is in specs as we are registering our products in other countries like Canada,” Blanco added.
Previous beauty products that centered around a specific, unfamiliar ingredient may have been subject to a bit of skepticism from consumers, but this is increased in tenfold with cannabis. The substance is inherently cataloged as “criminal” in a sense, not only meaning regulations are tight, as Blanco and Spicijaric explained, but also that consumers may be hesitant to endorse the product. Perhaps because they are unable to part with the herb’s reputation or they feel they don’t fit the demographic meant for cannabis-infused products. But Milk’s set out to make its Kush products as all-inclusive as possible. The Kush line is, to put it simply, for anyone and everyone.
“We strive to use the best ingredients in our products that are always vegan and cruelty-free. We use the best ingredients we can find to make sure our products are easy to use and work great for everyone,” Spicijaric said. “They’re very popular among teenage and young adult girls, but we would love for everyone to be a part of the Milk family.”
As cannabis becomes more widely accepted in our cultural landscape, so too will the use of the substance in day-to-day lifestyle products. Though, fresh on the scene, who’s to say if it’s here to stay or simply another passing fad of the beauty industry? Will cannabis’ benefits and lasting effects be enough to solidify its place as a staple of cosmetics? Or is it something that will eventually die out when the excitement surrounding cannabis’ legalization settles and consumers have moved on to the next big thing?
“I think cannabis-infused products are going to continue to grow in the beauty and wellness industries, especially as more research and testing is being done to discover the benefits of the ingredient,” Blanco noted.
Spicijaric added, “I do think cannabis-infused products are a trend and the hype around the novelty of cannabis products will definitely slow down. But I also think that research and findings on the ingredient is only just beginning.”
It certainly is just the beginning, for Milk at least. With an already well-established Kush line, growing evermore with the launch of new products every Monday at 4:20 p.m. throughout April in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the original Kush mascara, the brand shows no signs of slowing down.
Though pioneers of cannabis cosmetics, Blanco and Spicijaric are experimenting with other CBD skincare products — eager to explore the benefits for themselves. For Spicijaric, its Herbivore’s Emerald CBD + Adaptogens Deep Moisture Glow Oil, and Blanco likes the Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concrentrate.
Whether you’re keen to try something new for your skin, unsure about the intersection of cannabis and cosmetics—a crossover I’m sure many never thought they’d see—or you’re wary of integrating foreign substances into your beauty routine, Milk Makeup’s Kush line isn’t something you want to puff puff pass on.