Forget retinol or hyaluronic acid for a second, because this year, one ingredient has outshone them all: CBD. Otherwise known as cannabidiol, the component, which is derived from the cannabis plant, has been spotted in facial oils, moisturisers and masks from big-name brands like Herbivore, mgc derma and The INKEY List to name a few.
Said to be rich in omega fatty acids, which are essential for skin hydration (something we're all in need of right now, thanks to winter temperatures and central heating zapping water from our skin), CBD is now making its way into haircare, and one London salon, in particular, is pioneering the use of the ingredient in an exclusive scalp and hair treatment.
Hari's hairdressers in Fulham is famous for its lush botanical decor, so the treatment seems apt. Still, with a high-profile celebrity clientele that includes Princess Eugenie, it's also somewhat unexpected. So what does it entail? Salon founder Hari worked closely with the experts at CBD oil brand Spirit of Hemp to create a four-part experience which is entirely unique. The Life Force oil, used throughout the treatment, is made of hemp flower extract and blended with hemp blossom terpenes. It combines raw CBD oil with CBDA oil – the latter is the plant-derived compound before it goes through decarboxylation, a chemical reaction that removes the acid (A). Essentially, before it is 'treated'.
What I thought would be a simple scalp massage and a speedy blow-dry turned out to be one of the most relaxing and beneficial salon treatments I've tried – and as a beauty editor, I've experienced my fair share. According to the salon, the all-natural, non-toxic, 100% organic remedy is meant to "breathe life into lacklustre hair", leaving lengths revived and the scalp balanced, which is exactly what I needed having upset my hair and scalp after experimenting with too many different products.
The treatment began with a few drops (optional) of CBD/CBDA oil under the tongue for 6o seconds. I often take my vitamin B12 supplement this way, as it's said to find its way into the bloodstream quicker – but apparently, there's a knack to it, and micro-doses are most beneficial. In fact, both Spirit of Hemp and my therapist (who revealed she starts her day with a swig) mentioned that larger doses can sometimes have the opposite effect or do nothing at all. It tasted like a very strong, bitter olive oil with an extra green kick – not bad, but not great. It only took 15 minutes for my legs to feel lighter. At first, I wasn't sure if it was all in my head, but paired with a cup of hemp flower tea (much more palatable and packed with flavonoids, proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), I was entirely zen.
While the same oil, combined with coconut oil, was slathered onto my roots, brushed through my lengths and massaged firmly into my scalp, neck and temples, I was given a CBD oil hand massage and left to relax under heat for around 30 minutes so that the treatment could work its magic by penetrating my strands and scalp. A hair wash, condition and blow-dry completed the treatment, and it's safe to say my hair has never looked or felt better. Softer, shinier, with no frizz or flyaways and a hell of a lot stronger, too. And no, my hair didn't reek of weed.
At £125, you'd expect more from the treatment than simply instant results, and it does deliver. I noticed fewer flakes, my scalp didn't feel as itchy and my ends weren't as parched despite the straightener abuse. I also found that I could skip a hair wash, and as Hari himself explained while I was sitting in the chair, CBD oil has the ability to stabilise sebum production. Like most salon treatments, this is a great way to practise self-care, but all the little elements, like the massage, supplement and tea, combined with the salon's hospitality, give it an edge over others. I'm a CBD convert.