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CBD Packaging, Raw Materials, and CBD Formulations for Cosmetics / Cosmeceuticals

Packaging of CBD Products, Raw Materials, and Launching a CBD Product

After visiting the Cosmoprof Conference in Bologna Italy 2022 I was more than pleased to see innovations in the Beauty and Packaging with promise of a bold and innovative future in Cosmetics which one can only hope filters into the CBD Beauty and cosmetics sector.

As I have watched since the first products launched by firms like Sephora, or cannabis companies such as Tilray, a now vast industry of CBD Beauty products has begun. When once a kilogram of CBD isolates was $15,000 to the now low price of $500 per kilogram, or a liter of CBD Oil ranges from $500 -$2000 for cosmetic cosmeceutical grade products.

More than anytime in the history of Cannabis and CBD, there is an opportunity for making small MOQs of 1000 to 20,000 units for under $1,000 in active ingredients. With the ability to produce large volumes of CBD products, it will now come down to the competitive nature of Packaging, Promises, Safety, and Stability of this new era of Cannabis 3.0, the mass market.

What luxury products have paved the way, standing out amongst competitors, making impressions that last, and ensuring the first impression is the best. Whether it be Saint Jane Luxury CBD beauty that stood out in 2020, to the others that came before it, it is now a new era, new brands, new lines, private labeling of CBD cosmetics, major investment into CBD research and development, and the 3+ years many firms have committed to reach the 2022-2023 market with new CBD Formulations for cosmetics.

While Hemp oil is useful, it isn’t as restorative or effective as cannabidiol-rich CBD. CBD has many anti-aging and skin restorative benefits. Cannabidiol reduces:

  • Inflammation, including inflammation due to chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Acne
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Wrinkles
  • Skin dullness
  • Ruddy skin tone
  • Excess sebum
  • Eczema and Psoriasis

What do CBD beauty products promise?

The reality is, the products have always promised the best version of yourself, we know this, you know this, the authors of many articles before me know this. However, the question is, does smoother skin, wrinkle reduction create all that you are looking for and others look for in you. As a new addition to the promises in lotions, salves, make-up, toothpaste, you name it, CBD has the ability to stand high amongst the many.

CBD cosmetics has the ability to be part of the growing new Active Ingredient market and formulations of neurocosmeceuticals. A product that doesn’t only promise a better you, but actually improves your standard of living and quality of life by enhancing your mood, as well as acting as bodies anti-inflammation and soothing qualities.  The skin would contain no less than 800,000 neurons, 11 meters of nerves and around 200 sensory receptors per cm². The potential of the skin for applications in neuroscience, and in neurocosmetics, opens up a wide field of possible applications.

In Pursuit of Happiness and Well-Being

Many of the companies we spoke to in the cosmetics sector have been undergoing research for 3-5 years already in the CBD formulation of products that range from skin care, after-sun, lotions, serums, oils, toothpastes, antiaging, burn creams, beard creams, and hair products.

As the market conforms within the US and Europe, the FDA and European Market Novel Foods regulations and cosmetics have allowed for an increase in formulations as a “standard” for offering the product legally, which was paved by all the firms who have lobbied for the standards that are being accepted today. With no more grey area to operate in, the formulations that have had years of investment poured into has now come to fruition. Like any powerful ingredient that affects the structure, function, and mind or body, including the skin can be considered a drug. Subsequently, many clinical trials have occurred globally from Switzerland, Netherlands, Israel, Spain, Germany, Poland, Romania, UK, Ireland, all proving the effects of CBD as an ingredient in cosmetics and a drug. The challenge in this, is the claims one can make or not make now in the CBD formulated products. It does lean a large percentage of the industry towards ready private label formulations that have undergone testing.

How does much of the market get around being “a drug” because they use CBD versus a cosmetic?

When you are at risk of making a drug claims, which could include commonly touted benefits such as “acne treatment, cellulite reduction, stretch mark reduction, wrinkle removal, dandruff treatment, hair restoration, and eyelash growth” what can you do?

Many have taken formulations of products that already exist with “like” qualities and results, such as addition of Shea Butter, Tea Tree Oil, Lemon Grass, etc, with CBD. The proven past formulations combined with the CBD product imply only what is already being touted for cosmetics but simply with the added benefit of having CBD inside.

The alternative approach is simply to avoid branding language from the start that makes claims. Or at least be cautious in the marketing language as a passive voice, such as “can help with soothing” dry skin, “may have a relaxing effect” has been suggested to relieve tension. Within the marketing world, much of the claims are best to come from client testimonials, product descriptions from a personal point of view, and the continued clinical trials hopefully will catch up with the times.

Language and packaging calls to the question, who is the target market for CBD Beauty products? I would like you as a creator of products to imagine the world today, and who those people may be? Who is looking to flock to the CBD market and why in cosmetics?

  • Anxiety: Stress produces many of the lines on our face, and effect of our emotional state as well as the healing of our skin. CBD has been proven to relieve anxiety, and anti-inflammation. After Covid, much of the world is under stress, exhausted, tired, and need to feel emotionally and physically different than ever before. Feel different, in body and mind.
  • Tension, uneasiness, bad nerves, require the soothing and relaxing that can be offered by CBD infused cosmetics. The formulation from the smell, texture, and chemistry, must combine an experience that offers the release of all the concerns of the audience who wants to have a better quality of life. Like the fresh ocean spray on your face revitalizing body and mind.

It is not just the words and formulations effects, but it then comes down to the actual packaging that matters to appeal to the target audience. Not the craft-cosmetics look of waxy green CBD creams, venture beyond the “Cannabis” stigma and stereotypes, and stick to the fundamentals in both formulation and design. Remember, it is not the green leaf on the packaging that sells the product, in fact it will turn away more potential buyers than attract them.

If you wish to give the laid-back relaxing natural packaging, think then of using mixed mediums, such as glass bottle or jar with a wooden top, to show natures mixture. Combine the product possibly to use reclaimed ocean plastics, glass, for the fun beach like look of an ocean spray like day. Ceramic jars that resemble European antique apothecary-style jars with images of relaxed etched figures and natural scenes, both usable and collectable and unique. When people judge your product, they will look at what they represent buying your product. Lovers of art, life, beauty, revitalized, new, and also prestige. They must look at the product and love it, and try it and love it, and if both can be made possible the formulation will win.

Most common in the CBD market is white-packaging with eye-popping colors, and subtle green hues to represent its natural source.

Ceramic, dark, and other product packaging that don’t permit light and maintain the integrity and stability of the CBD infused product also must be a consideration. They must protect against light, heat, and air exposure. This is one of the reasons many choose tubes, or even metal containers as we have with some of the Black Sea CBD branded products,

An ideal CBD packaging solution not only communicates brand messaging and ingredient claims, it’s also mindful of protecting the formula—which can be tricky since the ingredient sourcing, handling and testing is still evolving.

We have covered much to do about lotions, balms, and salves, but what of the market of Serums, Lip gloss, and hair?

Especially with liquid lipstick and glosses, most would package in clear tubes, to preview the color of the product being placed on the lips. Transparent tubes however are not recommended for CBD infused product, and therefore, the packaging and incasing should reflect the color to follow, for a convenient glimpse at the product shades contained within the protective packaging. CBD can be added as a form of microdosed lip gloss.

CBD Beauty Serums for example in matte black bottle droppers emblazoned with gold-colored metal labels. Droppers housed in secondary paper tubes, heavy walled dark tubes with tasteful metallic labels.

CBD Market Snapshot

Retail sales of cannabis-infused topical products were estimated at $850 million in 2019, according to the Freedonia Group. Demand for cannabis product packaging was estimated to be $278 million in 2019, and could increase 31% a year to $1.1 billion by 2024.

Impact on Packaging: Primary and secondary containers like jars, bottles and folding cartons will continue to account for the largest share of packaging demand at 62% of sales in 2024.

All containers used to package CBD products will experience growth. Demand for jars and bottles is expected to account for 62% of sales gains.

Freedonia suggested packaging suppliers will remain competitive by offering containers that can support product differentiation—such as high-quality graphics and a premium image.

Raw Material Sourcing and Procurement of CBD

As a supplier of CBD to the cosmetics industry, as CEO of Seed To Science Ltd,, and Director of CBD Agrocasa,, the largest producer of CBD Oils and Isolates in Europe, we can attest to the number of clients we have gained over the years who truly have needed full assistance in launching their CBD cosmetics brands and products. CBD product within the cosmetics industry requires a brand to perform due diligence on raw materials sourcing and procurement, as well as to extensively review the legislation and regulations in its markets of distribution. Enabling a turn-key partner helps to work with professional teams that can assist in the care and knowledge required how CBD interacts with other ingredients and packaging.

Combined with the knowledge of both packaging partners, including airless packaging that protects and evacuates these costly formulas at the highest levels. CBD Agrocasa includes its own branded products,, as an example of the formulations and packaging with partners in Europe for CBD Cosmetics. However, we have within Seed To Science Ltd, partnerships with over 20 packaging firms and 50+ private label cosmetic laboratories to offer the largest catalogue of CBD infused products and formulations one can find in the CBD market place.

Working with a professional team also helps to validate the doses per formula produced, where CBD-containing products bring with it the need for more oversight on the raw material source and dosing per product. Clients typically look for a specific grade as there are a plethora of options as well.

From a formulation standpoint, CBD Oil is fairly versatile and works well with most formula bases, however depending on the grade of source. Depending on the terpenes or no terpenes, the scent of the product also matters. CBD contrary to belief, actually has no smell when brought to an isolate, also, using nano-carbon fiber filtration systems, terpenes can be removed from the oil without further processing and distillation. The techniques of producing the custom formulations for the desired effects in needed for creating an authentic high quality product without scents and smells that may be displeasing.

Quality Formulations Begin with Quality Raw Ingredients

Before starting any product development endeavor with CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes, it is critical to start only with ingredients and raw materials that have been thoroughly tested and validated to be of the highest purity and quality.

There are a number of important considerations when evaluating the quality of CBD and hemp extract ingredients to be used in any product or formulation, including:

  • 3rd Party Lab Testing & Documentation—Rigorous certified lab testing is essential in efforts to be sure you are getting what you pay for, to build customer trust, and avoid regulatory and legal complications. This is most often in the form of the COA of the raw materials provided by the extraction company, but also you must do third party testing of the batches of product that you create, so that the end market knows they are receiving also what they paid for.
  • Botanical Authentication—Is it really hemp? Ask for certification and verification.
  • THC Levels—Hemp biomass must contain no more than 0.2% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis, and so must the final extracted ingredient. It is even better if you can find a source with 0.0% THC.
  • Contamination—Make sure thorough testing for pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants is conducted to prove purity and that your hemp extract/CBD ingredients come with full documentation and COAs (Certificates of Analysis).
  • Adulteration—Are the CBD, other cannabinoid, and THC levels accurate, or has the product been adulterated (often for economic advantage) in any way?
  • Agricultural Practices—Where is the hemp grown, by whom, under what conditions, and using what cultivars/strains, cultivation, harvesting, and other agricultural methods?
  • Extraction Methods—What methods are used to extract the CBD? The most common and acceptable methods are ethanol and CO2 extraction. Also, is the facility cGMP certified with proper quality, batch control, and other processes?
  • Acceptable Form—What forms of the ingredient does the supplier offer, and is it appropriate for the targeted applications?
  • EU Certified Organic—Consumers are increasingly demanding organic ingredients. Make sure that not only your CBD is EU Certified Organic, but the handling/manufacturing also needs to be EU Organic certified.

With a facility like CBD Agrocasa, one can be sure for example to get EU GMP Certified product, which guarantees all of the considerations. Including being certified organic products within the EU, HACCP, ISO, and Kosher manufactured.

The Extraction Process

CBD is a lipid-soluble compound and must go through an extraction process. The two main acceptable extraction methods for CBD are carbon dioxide extraction and ethanol extraction.

Resulting CBD ingredients are typically available as: full-spectrum hemp oil distillates; broad-spectrum hemp oil distillates; and CBD isolates.

Testing for cannabinoids in hemp extracts in oil or wax form is generally pretty straightforward.

More challenges are faced in the testing of finished products formulated with other active ingredients, particularly products in powder form.

Work only with suppliers that are knowledgeable of the various extraction and testing methods, the variances and subtleties involved, and those who can assist you in properly formulating CBD for your particular product format(s).

Additional Considerations in Sourcing CBD

  • Water-Solubility—This is an important consideration particularly when the CBD will be used in beverages or topical products.
  • Carrier Oils—Typical carrier oils include MCT, hempseed, sunflower, avocado, grapeseed, pomegranate seed, and extra virgin olive oils. These can either hinder or aid bioavailability, affect taste, cost, texture, shelf life, and formulation considerations.
  • Nanoemulsion—This technology breaks down oily substances (CBD) into tiny particles that are then emulsified into a stable form to improve solubility and absorption in products, and also improve bioavailability within the body. Otherwise, a Pickering emulsion is also a method used by many cosmetics companies.

Ensuring Shelf-Stable Products  

Like all oils, CBD and hemp extract oil is subject to oxidation and rancidity over time. It is important for suppliers and product manufacturers to be proficient in the handling and stabilization of oils. However, powdered forms and water-soluble products can introduce other variables that affect finished product stability. No matter the form, it is best to partner with experts that have strong technical knowledge and experience in the production of shelf-stable products that can provide stability testing results. In many cases, natural botanical extracts with high levels of antioxidants may be incorporated to help support product stability. Hemp Seed Oil with CBD is preferrable for stability purposes in cosmetics.

Considerations for Specific Market Applications

Dietary Supplements. Because CBD is lipid soluble, CBD extracts naturally work well in oil-based formulas and soft gel capsules. CBD extracts in oil-based formats tend to remain generally stable.

Work With Knowledgeable Suppliers & Partners

EU GMP-certified manufacturers are held accountable for ensuring the full supply chain complies with applicable standards, and there could be some handholding and a learning curve for suppliers that are new to the space. Additionally, brands require product consistency and reliability in their ingredient supply chain, areas in which the nascent hemp supply is catching up.

The following are factors that growers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers should consider when selecting a reputable supplier/extractor:

  • Experience and reputation
  • Capacity and scaling
  • Vertical integration to farming practices and traceability
  • Extraction methodology and yields
  • Testing and compliance programs
  • Organic status for both biomass, extraction, and carrier oils
  • Sustainability

Because of the rush of new players, it is critically important for brands to verify if the supplier can truly guarantee reliability, transparency, and stock to scale with your organization’s growth. Many companies say they are vertically integrated, but are they really? Do they have the infrastructure in place to prove they truly have end-to-end control to provide supply chain security?

Brands should seek out established food and dietary supplement ingredient suppliers that have added CBD hemp extract solutions as an extension of their core competencies, instead of partnering with inexperienced or undercapitalized newcomers.

There continue to be significant financial, technical, and operational resources being invested into the CBD supply chain. A number of larger companies with deep roots in botanical extraction and related intellectual property and systems are entering the space to bring scale and efficiency not seen previously in the hemp supply chain.

From a purely technical perspective, hemp cannabinoids are just like any other fat-soluble herbal compound; an experienced formulator will know how to formulate with hemp extracts to achieve the desired finished product and label claims.

Important to the Consumer and CBD

It is important that consumers closely read product labels, which should include all of the following:

  • Name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor;
  • Identity of the product;
  • Cannabinoid content;
  • Net quantity of contents in terms of weight, numerical count, or other
  • appropriate measure;
  • A batch, lot, or control number;
  • Production date or expiration date (products susceptible to spoilage must bear a “use by” date and/or a “freeze by” date);
  • Instructions for use;
  • Dosing guidance;
  • Appropriate warnings for use, including any individuals for whom the product
  • is contraindicated, as appropriate; and
  • Instructions for appropriate storage.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Beginning the CBD venture in Cosmetics

  1. Are we going to enter the market for CBD topical products given the rapid growth of the industry or should we stick to the traditional offerings of our organization that are less scrutinized?
  2. What’s the “size of the prize” for CBD for our organization, and what is the opportunity cost of missing out on early entry?
  3. How is the market of CBD-interested consumers currently segmented, and where does our customer base fit?
  4. How aligned is our brand positioning to the various CBD segments?
  5. How are our current customers’ perceptions of our brand going to change (for better or worse) if we offer a CBD product?
  6. Where should we position our company’s CBD products within the market, from consumers to formats to channels? With whom should we partner across the CBD value chain?
  7. What would the role of CBD products be in our company/
    brand’s portfolio?
  8. How (and why) would our brand’s CBD products cut through the noise to win market share?