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CBD Skin Care: How Female-Founded Sagely Naturals Is Entering the Hot New Market

October 22, 2019, 10:00 AM UTC
Sagely Naturals co-founders Kerrigan Behrens and Kaley Nichol
Sagely Naturals

If you’ve read about CBD you’ve surely read this next disclaimer before. CBD is touted by some fans (and marketers) to be a wonder drug. But scientific studies are not conclusive yet as to just how life-changing or miraculous its health benefits might be—if at all.

CBD (cannabidiol) is an active ingredient in cannabis, but it is not psychoactive. (That would apply to THC, another active ingredient in cannabis.) For this reason, among others, CBD products are now legal in many (but not all) states. Experienced effects might be different for everyone, but CBD has been found to be effective in treating pain, insomnia, and anxiety.

It’s also been quite revolutionary for skin care in treating acne, redness, and wrinkles as CBD can be a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient when added to topical products. Sagely Naturals, the largest female-founded CBD wellness brand on the market, is expanding into skin care with this week’s debut of a new luxury skin-care line developed to soothe, hydrate, and brighten skin.

Sagely has been producing similar, more body care–minded products (i.e., pain relief and recovery body creams and plant-based oils intended to help you sleep better) ever since the company was founded in 2015 by Kerrigan Behrens and Kaley Nichol. The Santa Monica–based brand ships orders from its digital storefront nationwide (but not internationally), and its products are also carried by major retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Ulta Beauty. Thanks to the awareness around and popularity of CBD in the past few years, the company touts 514% year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019 and projects 900% annual growth by year’s end.

Skin care has also seen enormous growth in the past few years, not only in sales but in general interest. Searches for the term “skin care” have more than doubled since 2015. And facial skin-care sales grew by $190 million in the U.S. in 2018 compared with the previous year, according to Statista, with the global skin-care market projected to be valued at $189.3 billion by 2025.

Behrens tells Fortune that she and her cofounder decided to branch out to facial skin care partially based on customer feedback and demand, citing it as one of the top requests they received. “We’ve noticed that natural skin-care products don’t always perform to the level of products made without natural ingredients,” Behrens says. “We have worked for years on making products that perform only leveraging clean ingredients, and this collection is no different.”

Sagely Naturals cofounders Kerrigan Behrens (left) and Kaley Nichol.
Sagely Naturals

Among Sagely’s investors is actress and humanitarian Molly Sims, who says she became a fan of the brand after a friend tipped her off to it. Even though she didn’t know a lot about CBD at the time, Sims liked the body-care products so much she bought some for her mother and reached out to Behrens for a meeting.

“I love how the brand is changing the stigma of CBD,” Sims tells Fortune. “It’s definitely had a negative connotation in the past, but now that Sagely is being sold at local drugstores like CVS, I feel like it’s becoming more normalized.”

Sims specifies that she chooses her CBD products from a company that’s transparent about where its hemp is grown. All of Sagely’s products are manufactured in the U.S., using hemp grown in Colorado and Oregon. Sagely sources its CBD from organic and non-GMO hemp. The brand’s products are also quadruple-tested to ensure every ingredient is free from contaminants (including heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides) and—of course—THC.

Behrens notes that hemp seed oil is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as 21 amino acids, and is rich in Omega-3 and -6, which are essential for strengthening and balancing the skin. When used on the face CBD, in combination with the other ingredients in the label’s brightening line, should improve hydration levels, reduce redness, and regulate oil production, Behrens affirms. To ensure that the products deliver brightening benefits, Sagely added Cannabis sativa seed oil, while hyaluronic acid and vitamin C contribute hydration, and meadowfoam seed oil balances skin tone and locks in the other moisturizing ingredients.

“In spite of the fact that more consumers each day are looking at the ingredient labels of their products, we also know how hard it is to find natural skin care that performs,” Behrens says. “This line is the obvious evolution of our desire to help our customers make over their medicine cabinets with honest ingredients that support whole-self wellness.”

Definitions of “clean” beauty and skin care products are muddled, especially as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a far more limited list of banned chemicals for these products compared with its counterpart in the European Union. That said, many businesses have taken it upon themselves to set up certain standards while banning products with certain substances from its stores. Sagely says its products have been developed to adhere to the Whole Foods “unacceptable ingredients” list and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

“I try to use natural products across my entire beauty routine, from skin care to makeup,” Sims says. “When it comes to skin care, I am a total label reader and want to have insight into where and how ingredients are sourced, but also look for those that have efficacy and truly work. My routine needs to be streamlined and under 10 minutes—I just don’t have time for anything else.”

The Sagely Naturals CBD-infused Brightening collection.
Sagely Naturals

The Sagely skin care collection will consist of three products at launch: a serum (250 milligrams CBD) with an oil-based formula filled with vitamins A and C to help stimulate cell turnover and increase collagen; an eye cream (150 milligrams CBD) for reducing dark circles and puffiness while targeting dryness via amino acids and hyaluronic acid; and a night cream (150 milligrams CBD) with a heavier dose of antioxidants and moisture to refresh skin by morning. The entire line is vegan and free of synthetic compounds such as parabens, artificial colors and dyes, and sulfates.

Available now online through Sagely’s digital storefront, the products retail at $49 for the eye cream, $64 for the night cream, and $89 for the serum. The Sagely skin-care line will be available later this year in stores at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and Lord & Taylor.

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