The Unexpected New Leaders of the Clean Beauty Movement

June 30, 2020  22:44  |  News

Move over Goop and Saint Jane; there’s a new breed of brands taking the clean beauty movement to the next level, and the reason may surprise you.

The secret is the most controversial plant in America: cannabis—as in marijuana, not hemp—which is legal in some form in most states but still illegal at the federal level.

Cannabis is held to stricter standards of ‘clean’ than organic food in most states, particularly California. Not to be confused with CBD hemp products, THC-containing cannabis products — even those that won’t get you high, including topical skincare—must pass multiple rigorous tests per batch.

The Unexpected New Leaders of the Clean Beauty Movement

Photo – Green Bee Botanicals ©

Hemp products have no such oversight, nor do cosmetics in general.

“Many beauty brands claim to be clean, but the only ones actually backing up their claims are those in the legal cannabis sector,” says award-winning science journalist David Downs, California Bureau Chief for

While the testing lab costs are widely considered a burden, some see it as an opportunity.

San Francisco-based Green Bee Botanicals, which touts cannabis as a super-ingredient for skin, is one of only a handful of clean beauty brands in the US that publicly shares its test results, called certificates of analysis (COAs), for every batch of product.

“People are more aware of toxins in products,” adds Bridget May, founder and CEO. A former analytical chemist, May formulates all of Green Bee’s products. “People want non-toxic products that actually work. This requires meticulous formulation and research. Best intentions aren’t good enough; if you don’t test for over a hundred impurities like we do, your products may be contaminated, whether they’re organic or not. What goes into the product unintentionally matters just as much as the ingredient list.”

According to NPD Group, clean skincare is a rapidly growing segment—up 39% in 2019—within the $19 billion “prestige beauty” market in the US. During the pandemic, sales of skincare products surpassed makeup sales for the first time ever, NPD reports.

With the US cannabis market also growing—to $17 billion in 2020, according to New Frontier Data—Green Bee Botanicals is uniquely positioned to attract trendsetting clean beauty aficionados.