After a family health scare and a work-induced body breakdown, Teresa Norvell emerged with a new approach to wellness. Four years ago, an all-too-familiar feeling began to overwhelm Teresa, and symptoms like exhaustion, mental fog, disrupted sleep, and a stress-triggered eczema outbreak signaled that her body was in surrender mode. Desperate for relief, she unwittingly turned to a solution that is currently raging onto the skincare and wellness market.
Welcome to the new normal: Once taboo ingredients, alcohol and marijuana are now heralded for their powerful healing abilities, and are catalyzing a nascent trend in wellness and beauty across a wide range of product categories. At the helm are hops and cannabis, close cousins in the plant world who share a host of beneficial properties and offer previously untapped ingredients for wellness. As legislation begins to catch up to research and science, the beauty industry is awakening to a whole new approach.
Historically, cannabis and alcohol both arrived on the scene the hard way, facing strict legislation, or more precisely, prohibition, and while alcohol merged into the mainstream, cannabis continues to face a more arduous journey. In the botanical world, cannabis sativa and humulus lupulus are genetically related and share similar aroma and flavor molecules. In addition to physical similarities, both are proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic, and even anti-cancer properties. Compounds found in the plants’ flowers and buds contain flavonoids, terpenes, and essential oils with remarkable potential for application in skincare and beauty.
Players across the beauty industry are sitting up and taking notice, from dermatologists to dietitians, stylists to makeup artists. Brands harnessing the power of these previously stigmatized ingredients, and combining them with skin health-oriented organic ingredients, are showing up on the shelves of Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Goop, and Net-a-Porter.
“Reducing inflammation is the key to skin health and overall wellness,” said Ms. Norvell, founder of Intoxicating Beauty, a line of organic and natural alcohol-based skincare products. “Cannabis and alcohol are no longer lurking in the background. They are actually reclaiming their rightful place as ingredients that offer undeniable remedies for skin and health issues.”
These powerful elixirs are showing up in established brands like Estée Lauder, Kiehl’s, Origins, and Fresh, which have all launched new products at the luxury level. Skincare featuring organic alcohol and CBD (the non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana) have always had a grassroots following, but research science and technology are now placing them firmly at center stage. Most importantly, consumers are creating an insatiable demand that has made this new niche the fastest-growing sector in the beauty industry.
In Palm Beach, where Teresa Norvell began brewing solutions to inflammation in her own kitchen, Intoxicating Beauty now represents the only skincare brand exclusively using the detoxifying properties of organic alcohol found naturally in beer, vodka, sake, and wine. Bestselling products like Craft Body Brew, a hops-infused body butter, and Radiance On Tap, a luminous body sugar polish, are satisfying the cravings of health and beauty enthusiasts turning away from synthetic or prescription drugs in favor of nature’s powerful alternatives.
“It is liberating to see our culture embracing the healing properties of cannabis and organic, natural alcohol,” Ms. Norvell said. “Historically, our ancestors relied on both for medicinal and beauty purposes. After all, women in Egypt and Rome bathed in beer, and Europeans originally developed vodka for medicinal purposes. America is last to the table in this trend, but it’s nice to see we are finally pulling up a chair.”
Photo: via Annie Spratt