Weed all about it – CBD hair care

Listen, it’s a stressful time, and anything that can help you relax has to be a good thing, right? Layered Online investigates how cannabidiol’s (or CBD for short) next stop is your haircare stash

Locked down at home, many in quarantine, stressed about health, jobs, family… it’s no wonder that, according to CBD marketplace Alphagreen, 8m Brits have spent more than £150m on CBD products so far this year. According to research*, interest in CBD products has doubled since March, with CBD being used for insomnia and anxiety, among other things.

As we all look for as little help to cope with the craziness, perhaps your haircare can help too. CBD as an ingredient has crept into hair and skin care – but just what is it, what benefits can it bring… and *whispers* is there a danger lathering up with a bit of green will get you stoned? It’s time to blaze through the info and weed out the facts from the fiction.

The 420  411 on CBD

Extracted from hemp flowers – a variety of the cannabis plant that is related to, but not the same as, marijuana – cannabidiol is a 100% legal, naturally-occurring compound that is usually processed as a fatty acid-packed oil. Said to have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties when applied topically (hence the number of serums and creams lighting up the skincare market) or ingested (CBD-infused teas, gummies and even chocolate are a thing), it does not contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes a marijuana high.

Instead – and here comes the science bit –  it stimulates responses in your cell receptors in something called the endocannabinoid system, which spans your lungs, nervous system, immune cells and beyond. It is also rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin E, which can all help promote healthy skin (including on your scalp).

High expectations – what can CBD do for your hair?

Ross Kernick is co-owner of H&Co Hair Salon in Torquay, one of the first salons in the UK to offer professional CBD-infused haircare. He is convinced of its anti-inflammatory and skin-calming properties.

“Our CBD products are very popular with clients, particularly those with scalp problems such as psoriasis, eczema or dandruff,” he explained. “One of our clients has suffered with psoriasis for more than 20 years. Her condition is so bad that she finds washing her hair herself painful and has been coming to the salon three times a week for a shampoo and blow dry using our regular professional products designed for scalp problems. This has helped a little, but she was still left in a lot of discomfort.

“Over eight weeks, we used our CBD shampoo and conditioner on her hair and within four weeks, her psoriasis had improved dramatically,” he added. “Where she previously had large sore areas on her scalp, she then experienced nothing more than a little flaking and it continues to improve. We now have a sizeable client base who buy these products on a regular basis.”

H&Co Hair Salon, Torquay

In London, legendary salon group Hari’s has a CBD-based service at its flagship branch on Fulham Road (it’s worth getting in the queue now for when the salon reopens). Described as ‘a transforming treatment for mind, body, hair and scalp’, the 100% organic Spirit of Hemp CBD Life Force service uses the purported calming and soothing effects of the compound in combination with natural conditioning ingredients found in hemp oil.

Hari’s, Fulham Road London

“I worked hand-in-hand with the CBD experts at ‘Spirit of Hemp’ to create a blend and experience that is bespoke to Hari’s and tailored to my client’s needs,” said founder Hari Salem of the treatment. “CBD has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine and haircare producing incredible results, and I’m thrilled to now be able to share these amazing benefits with my clients who want to re-balance and reset.”

Hari’s also offers a colour toning treatment that’s boosted with CBD. The base ingredient is its bespoke CBD oil blend, with added essential oils and both tamanu and coconut-derived MCT extracts, designed to nourish hair and balance sebum production. Vegetable and fruit powders are then added by hand to create the end tone of your choice – warming up chocolatey shades, neutralising brass-tinged blondes, or switching things up with a semi-permanent tint. Perfect for those who need their colour sprucing up once lockdown is over. The key effect of the CBD in this treatment? It’s all down to its ability to stimulate blood flow and the presence of an amino acid, tyrosine, within the oil. Tyrosine is said to help maintain hair colour, and it is thought that by waking up vessels in the scalp, CBD may have the potential to encourage hair growth. Is there anything these three little letters can’t do?!

Sold? Sorry, there’s a catch…

Although interest is booming, professional CBD haircare is still an emerging market in the UK and currently, there are only a handful of independent names like H&Co offering products for use at home. However, with brands including Design.Me introducing CBD oil-based hair serums and scalp scrubs in the USA (where the market is more established), watch this space…

*Research based on a survey of 5,000 UK adults in April 2020 by LM Research Consultancy