Conversation with Francesco, producer of LIV SKINCARE, a leading company in CBD based natural beauty products.
Hemp in the beauty segment is exceeding all market expectations, thanks to it’s surprising effects and benefits on the skin. This is not a simple trend: according to the forecasts of ArcView Market Research, the cannabis beauty segment will generate $ 22 billion by 2021. And it is an inevitable process considering the healing, moisturizing and antioxidant properties of hemp.
We analyzed the sector's prospects with Francesco, producer of LIV Nutrition Beauty, a leading company in manufacturing of natural CBD-based cosmetics.
“Before, in 22 years - Francesco tells us - we managed to export to a dozen countries around the world at the most. Since we started making products at CBD, in one year and a half we have managed to export to 70 percent of the countries of the European Union and even overseas. And now we are growing so fast that we can hardly keep up with the entire production."
Francesco tells us about his journey, from the first steps in cosmetics, in '96, to the choice of using hemp (at first with the oil produced from seeds, 9 years ago, then, since a year and a half, via CBD products).
His passion for the plant with a thousand uses, can be perceived from his work and expertise in making award winning natural skincare. And when he talks to us about the sector, he defines it with these words: “I thought it was like that of cosmetics, from which I came, that is, to be kind, solely focused on profits. Instead I found another reality, a sector with a soul, in which it exists a really great desire to change things.
Let's start with the benefits of CBD products. What are they mainly?
Cannabidiol stimulates the mitochondrion, or, said in other words, the engine of the skin cell. Having relaxing, stimulating and balancing properties for biological functioning, it manages to make sure that the cell optimizes and functions at its best, inevitably generating an aesthetic improvement of the skin. In practice, by stimulating the mitochondrion, CBD-based products make the skin younger and more relaxed. More, the most interesting aspect is that we are talking about products that have no contraindications.
You have a consolidated experience in the field of organic cosmetics, and you took your first steps back in 1996. Then, about 9 years ago, the turning point with the use of hemp. How did you choose to focus on the thousand-uses plant?
I started using the hemp seed oil after discovering its fantastic properties on the skin, because it has omega 3 and 6 characteristics that no other plant can offer. With the seed oil - fantastic for nourishing and maintaining the skin - we have made organic products because pesticides, as known, eliminate and neutralize the organoleptic properties. Then we began to study products with CBD for a foreign company and, at the end of many difficulties, we finally managed to find an effective product. The hard part was keeping the percentage of CBD in the product, preventing it from degrading and disappearing.
And how did you find the solution?
It happened a bit by chance ... At 4:31 am of a Saturday morning last year a beaker fell down from a table in the laboratory and light went on in my head. I remember that episode perfectly, on June 9, 2018, with my wife asking me to close the laboratory and go home to sleep. Well, that fallen beaker made me finally think about the right production process to keep the CBD constant: to ensure that a relatively low amount of Cannabidiol is recreated to maintain effectiveness from an epidermal point of view.
Knowing how to change and innovate therefore made you take a big leap. How do you judge the hemp sector, also in terms of research and innovation?
When we started making products with CBD, I thought I had landed in a sector with the eyes only on profits. Instead I found a sector with a great desire to change things. There is a kind of "soul" in this business, and this aspect gave me strong motivations.
In terms of research, however, I realized that there is still not much literature on CBD for cosmetics purposes. A deficiency that has stimulated me even more, since doing research fascinates me and gratifies me a lot.
Your company pays very special attention to the environment. How important do you consider environmental sustainability within cosmetics?
We care a lot about the environment, so we keep it in mind at any step of the production process. Between 2010 and 2016 I audited 573 Chinese companies, I observed skills, working methods, know-how, and in the end, with two of those companies we managed to set up a patent that allowed us to eliminate the recycling of air inside some bottles, thus almost canceling the preservatives and drastically reducing the weight of the plastic (up to 70%). Now we are trying to create a material completely made with hemp and corn, a product that would pollute enormously less, especially at the origin of the process. Moreover, we don't use secondary packaging boxes. When we exhibit at fairs, we design our stand using walls entirely made of recycled honeycomb cardboard; another example is that in the company we have machinery to recycle the water we use for cooling. In short, where we can, we pay close attention to the environment.