Janice Buu, founder of KANA Skincare, was first exposed to cannabidiol (CBD) when she worked as a behavioural therapist for children with developmental disorders in 2013.
At the time, she found out that the mother of a three-year-old patient had added small doses of CBD oil to the latter’s afternoon snacks. Progressively, it seemed to help increase the child’s attention span and reduce self-destructive behaviours.
“Inspired by the mother’s courage and persistence, I went on to study the hemp plant and eventually decided to develop a range of CBD skin care products from scratch. I assembled a team of Korean chemists and formulators to realise the concept of vegan K-beauty skin care that also incorporates aromatherapy. Our customised formulations are gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin, yet strong enough to see overnight results,” Buu told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
After years of R&D and dealing with regulatory barriers, KANA Skincare was launched in the US in December 2017.
Today, the products are available at chain stores and beauty shops in the US, and on its website. The company also ships to all countries worldwide that allow the entry of CBD cosmetics.
Although Buu said that CBD was a “powerhouse ingredient” with anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and a quick-healing agent for the skin, she cautioned consumers against misinformation.
“More CBD isn’t always better. Some brands may pack high amounts of CBD in formulations to showcase on labels or raise pricing, without fully understanding its true efficacy. The synergy of all ingredients is the most important in resolving skin problems, with CBD being the star player of the team.
“Rather than just adding CBD to any existing formulas or white-label products, manufacturers should take time to research and learn about this ingredient to use it to its fullest potential,” Buu explained.
Citing KANA Skincare’s Purple Rice CBD Sleeping Mask as an example, she added: “The mask is made with two strong anti-ageing ingredients, purple rice and licorice root extracts. When combined with CBD, they create a new chemical that slows the breakdown of hyaluronic acid to retain moisture and firmness, and improve skin texture.”
Diverse plans ahead
Among KANA’s products, the crowd favourite is Lavender CBD Sleeping Mask, an adaptation of K-beauty’s famed sleeping mask.
While most sleeping masks on the market typically act as a lightweight night-time moisturiser, KANA’s version comprises 28 active botanicals that focus on intense hydration and brightening of the skin overnight.
“We go beyond the regular testing for cannabis and microbial. Aside from submitting formulas and ingredients for review and approval, our products undergo rigorous testing in stressed environments for 90 days consecutively,” said Buu.
The brand will soon be releasing a new product called the CBD + Mushroom Advanced Eye Cream, following 18 months of development.
“Other than Reishi mushroom that’s widely applied in skin care products, our formulation also contains Phellinus, a mushroom used in Korean traditional medicine for cancer prevention and post-cancer treatment. If there were a perfect marriage, it’d be CBD and Phellinus. The formulation is targeted at firming areas around the eyes and improving skin elasticity,” Buu shared.
In the near future, the firm aims to expand its product line-up, create signature K-beauty facial treatments for its spa partners, and establish a presence in all CBD-friendly markets.
“We are currently working on an exciting new concept that will be launched in South East Asia. It is for the food and beverage sector, fully plant-based, and will offer a fresh new perspective on what supplements can look and feel like. At the same time, it serves to further educate consumers on ingredients. Consumers in the region can look forward to it, as more details will be unveiled in due time,” said Buu.