Spectra Cosmetics is a California-based brand that combines the power of CBD and makeup to rejuvenate skin for better complexions.
Spectra Cosmetics’ liquid foundations and liquid lipsticks use CBD to hydrate and heal skin in most makeup consumers’ everyday products. Many consumers use makeup filled with chemicals and then supplement their skin afterward. But CBD makeup acts as an all-in-one product that hydrates, and beautifies complexions.
Kristen Delacruz, founder and CEO of Spectra Cosmetics, is a cannabis cultivator in Humboldt County, California who created the brand in 2017 after using CBD to cure her severe hormonal acne.
“CBD changed my skin in a positive way years before [I came] to the idea of creating a CBD color cosmetics line,” said Delacruz.
But now, Delacruz is using her brand to bridge the makeup and cannabis industries. “Because of the war against drugs, it has been ingrained into people that cannabis isn’t something that helps, but […] creates a problem in society,” said Delacruz. “Education is key to creating change and allowing people to become aware of [the] key benefits of [the] plant.”
Magic for the Skin
“Acne is caused by bacteria in the skin. [It] festers in pores clogged by excess sebum, dead skin cells, and other dirt and grime,” Delacruz explained. “Once the bacteria develop in the pores, it spreads to other areas of the face extremely easily.”
CBD-infused products, such as oils, fight the bacteria and diminish acne spots.
In fact, the compounds in cannabis have anti-aging, acne-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.
“CBD is a more potent antioxidant than vitamins C and E, which [are] hailed for their ability to prevent wrinkles,” said Delacruz. “But it’s now thought that CBD could be the most effective antioxidant of all.”
More specifically, cannabis’ antioxidants kill free radicals to fight fine lines and wrinkles.. Free radicals are molecules that break down collagen and cause skin blemishes, according to Curél Skincare.
Cannabis also contains powerful antibacterial properties that relieve acne-prone skin, said Delacruz.
Likewise, research shows that CBD is an extremely beneficial anti-inflammatory. More specifically, CBD suppresses inflammatory responses, according to the study Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.
Therefore, using CBD-infused foundation can help those with eczema, psoriasis or other inflammatory disorders manage their condition.
Combining Plant Knowledge with a Passion for Makeup
Delacruz, a farmer and wife to a third-generation cannabis cultivator, said her “lightbulb moment” came when she experienced a severe case of the flu.
“My lips were so chapped and, having nothing to put on them, I applied liquid lipstick like it was my job,” said Delacruz. “My eight-year-old daughter at the time said to me, “It’s too bad there isn’t any CBD in it because it would fix your lips so much faster.”
“I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote “CBD Makeup” on the wall,” she added.
While an eight-year-old’s knowledge of CBD speaks volumes to the plant’s pronounced benefits, it also gave way to the beginning of Spectra Cosmetics.
Delacruz began searching for a lab and deciding what products to formulate first. While CBD-infused liquid lipstick was a given, Delacruz also wanted to include liquid foundation in the initial product line to address common skin problems.
“After my daughter was born, I had severe hormonal acne on my jawline that wouldn’t go away,” said Delacruz. “[It] lasted years and affected many areas of my life. Doctors [concluded] that I would have to use a medication that is known to cause tumors in rats to end my suffering.”
But, being in the cannabis industry, Delacruz sought out a natural option in the hopes she could avoid a “sketchy drug,” she said.
“My neighbor gave me a CBD tincture that she made, which I used topically,” Delacruz explained. “[It] ended up healing my cystic acne within a month.”
After experiencing CBD’s benefits on skin first hand, Delacruz shared her idea of cannabis-infused makeup with close family and friends.
“[They] motivated me and guided my decisions,” said Delacruz. “The director of my cosmetics lab and the manufacturers of my broad-spectrum CBD oil [also] felt like this was the direction that CBD beauty would be going in and fully supported the products as being innovative, unique, and game-changing.”
While there was little competition in the area of CBD and color cosmetics —cosmetics made with a combination of colorants and ingredients to enhance appearance — Delacruz said there was a definite interest in combining the two industries.
Cosmetic brands are tapping into cannabis extracts and hemp seed oil to hydrate skin. More specifically, brands like Eos — a lip and body care company — offer cannabis-infused lip balms. Another brand, Milk Makeup offers a Kush makeup collection with cannabis-infused mascara.
Although these brands appeal to dry lips, and eyelashes, Delacruz focuses on addressing a consumers’ entire complexion.
“CBD was just emerging, and my products had the potential to help so many people, which is my ultimate goal,” she said.
Getting the job Done
Spectra Cosmetics is a self-funded brand. But before Delacruz could launch the line, she had a lot to learn about the makeup industry.
“Creating Spectra Cosmetics from an idea to an actual physical product was the most difficult thing I have done in my life,” she said. “Since I was a full-time cannabis cultivator and PhD student, and I don’t have a background in cosmetic formulations. I knew I needed professionals to help me get things done.”
CBD was new and uncharted territory. As a result, it was initially difficult to find someone to formulate cosmetics with cannabis, said Delacruz.
“Just one FDA-approved lab in California was willing to do it,” she noted.
The end products — liquid foundations, liquid lipsticks and face masks —are available online and in stores in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Michigan.
The company infuses their products with broad-spectrum CBD, which contains a range of natural cannabis compounds, minus the THC. For example, Spectra’s formulations also contain CBN and terpenes like myrcene, limonene, or pinene. This means anyone age 18 and 45, according to Delacruz, can enjoy the effects of cannabis without feeling high.
A Woman in Cannabis and Makeup
Spectra Cosmetics is making a name for itself through its unique approach to skin care. But getting there was not easy.
“The cannabis industry was difficult because it is primarily male operated,” said Delacruz. “However, the cosmetics industry is a really hard industry to succeed in [because] it’s extremely competitive, not to mention that when you’re educated in an industry, any man typically would be taken more seriously, unfortunately.”
In 2019, women owned 21% of cannabis businesses nationwide, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily.
In the same year, women in the cosmetic industry remained underrepresented in board and executive roles. For example, women account for just over half of the board members at L’oréal, but only 28% of the executive leadership, according to the research group LedBetter. Coty — which owns brands including Covergirl, Rimmel, Max Factor and more — has zero female executives. Furthermore, only 11% of Coty’s board members are women.
While a gender biases still exist, Delacruz said the makeup industry gives greater appreciation to women-owned and operated businesses, especially indie brands like Spectra Cosmetics.
As for the cannabis industry, Delacruz thinks women are doing a major, and timely, takeover.
“In Humboldt County women are represented and respected after a long time [working] behind the scenes,” she explained. “It is exciting to see an underserved community come up, and I’m excited to see what’s next.”
Delacruz is excited to get the ball rolling again as the country starts to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spectra Cosmetics offers a full refund or replacement for products if the colors do not match a customer. Yet, the brand experienced a gradual decline in sales during 2020.
“[During the pandemic,] the biggest challenge for me is that stores were closed, so was I unable to get into more retail locations,” said Delacruz. “The locations I am in weren’t open for consumers to color match shades with their skin tone [and] this made sales difficult.”
“[But,] luckily, things are becoming more normal, and [sales] have picked up again,” said Delacruz.
As for Spectra Cosmetic’s future, Delacruz hopes to add mascara, concealer, and an all-inclusive foundation line for various skin tones.
“I [also] plan on having a flagship store in Los Angeles within the next five years,” she said. “I can see my brand as a household name and in major department stores worldwide.”
In the benefits of CBD become well known, Delacruz’s vision does not seem so far out of reach. As for what’s to come, Delacruz plans to tackle the eyes and under-eye areas next.