How Clean Is Your "Clean" Skincare?

Guest post by Kim Howard, Co-founder and COO of Green Bee Botanicals

Most of us who care about the health of our skin and our bodies know by now that a lot of mainstream brands use harmful chemicals and ingredients that are not good for us. But an informal poll of friends suggests that the majority still don’t know that cosmetics companies are legally allowed to put almost anything in their products, safe or not.

Would it surprise you to learn that many companies who market their products as “clean skincare,” “green skincare,” “natural skincare,” “organic skincare” and now even “blue skincare” also use harmful ingredients?

Turns out that of all the emerging flavors of skincare, the cleanest of them all might surprise you even more: It’s cannabis skincare. Read on to learn why.


Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry in the US is so poorly regulated that brands can still legally use over 1,300 harmful ingredients that were banned by the European Union more than 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the US bans or restricts the use of only 11 ingredients (!) and the FDA itself says, “a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” Worse, the FDA does not require testing of cosmetics, and companies aren’t required to disclose harmful ingredients or even share their safety information with the FDA. They are allowed to make all kinds of claims on their labels without oversight. 

So how do we filter through the marketing hype and keep ourselves safe when using skincare products? 


For those of you not already in the habit of reading skincare product labels, at a minimum you’ll want to avoid the ‘Toxic Twenty’ that can cause cancer, reproductive problems, and kidney and neural damage: 

  • Pesticides, heavy metals like lead and mercury, microbial impurities like mold, residual solvents, mycotoxins, processing chemicals, parabens, PFAS, formaldehyde, and phthalates

Read more about these harmful skincare ingredients, including names to look for on labels, in the Green Bee Botanicals FAQ

Green Bee Botanicals products harness the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers of clean cannabis and organic plants, flowers, and herbs that nourish the skin, including tea tree essential oil. Photo by Anita Austvika.


Your best bet for knowing what is and isn’t in your skincare is to review their lab test results. Few skincare companies provide this information, if they even test their products (most don’t). Some hemp CBD skincare manufacturers do publish test results, but often don’t test for the most harmful things: pesticides and heavy metals, including lead.

Helke Criado runs tests on a cannabis flower sample at Cannalysis, the cannabis testing laboratory that tests Green Bee Botanicals products. Photo by Chris Carlson of The Associated Press.

At Green Bee Botanicals, we pay to have all of our products tested by independent labs, and only products that pass these rigorous tests go to stores. We use natural, organic ingredients, and none of the nasty stuff. We proudly publish our test results on our website and share them with anyone who asks. In fact, here’s a screenshot from the last lab test of our best-selling cannabis eye cream:

Excerpt from the most recent California-mandated lab test — considered by most to be the strictest in the country — conducted by Cannalysis on Green Bee Botanical’s award-winning Brightening Eye Cream. Note the 100% green “PASS” results. Cannabis skincare really is the cleanest you can buy.


Simply put, cannabis skincare products — the kind found at cannabis dispensaries and delivery services — are the cleanest you can buy. Why? California cannabis testing is stricter than organic food testing, and only the cleanest, purest, safest products pass. Products are tested for and must be free of heavy metals, pesticides, and a myriad of harmful chemicals and additives. Your cannabis skincare must pass the same testing standards as the flower you smoke and the edibles you eat.

Meanwhile, mainstream beauty products are notoriously dirty. Reports like the Clean Label Project’s hemp CBD report confirm that most hemp-based CBD products have incorrect labels; many have pesticides, phthalates, and more lead than the Flint Michigan water crisis; and some have no CBD in them at all!

What you do want to see in your skincare are active, effective ingredients that nourish your skin and body, such as organic essential oils, plants, flowers, and clean, full-spectrum cannabis — one of nature’s strongest antioxidants and a true superpower for your skin.

California cannabis regulations are so rigorous, that the cleanest skincare products are not in your local beauty store, but in your local cannabis dispensary. Who knew!? 

Green Bee Botanicals’s clean cannabis skincare line includes two face serums — for normal-to-dry skin and normal-to-oily skin — and Brightening Eye Cream, which won Silver in December 2019 at The Emerald Cup, the largest cannabis competition in the world. Send us your product ideas...we’re expanding our lineup!

Green Bee Botanicals is one of a small handful of companies making clean cannabis skin products today. We’ve made it this far based on word-of-mouth recommendations. If you like our products, we invite you to support our tiny-but-mighty women-owned, women-run business by telling your friends. Namaste

Besides our own cannabis products (shown above), we also love and recommend the award-winning craft cannabis products made by QuimCosmic ViewSomatikNewell’s Botanicals, and Sweet Releaf.