Long-term Usage & The CBD Skincare Sector

Long-term Usage & The CBD Skincare Sector

Skincare products that include CBD ingredients are still in their infancy, as the CBD category was only legalized in 2018 in the US. However, the category is expected to grow considerably as CBD has multiple benefits for the skin. While several CBD brands now focus on the skincare category, what will help this category flourish long-term? Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm and brand consultancy, wanted to help answer this question. The agency fielded a survey among 1,500 Americans to help understand the market.

The CBD Consumer Purchasing Habits

Before looking at the skincare sector of the CBD industry, it is essential to understand what the category looks like as a whole.

A third of Americans have purchased CBD infused products in the past; this includes six percent of those who purchased CBD in the last month. Millennials, males and parents are the consumers who have most recently purchased these items.

Price (54%) and quality (37%) are key influences when purchasing CBD products. As a result, coupons and other types of discounts will draw these shoppers to buy specific brands. When marketing CBD brands, it is also essential to promote that the CBD item is of the highest quality, as this is a top purchasing decision factor.


These consumers also seek sustainably-sourced items, with over a third (36%) willing to pay more for this benefit. This makes transparency in ingredients key for appealing to buyers. Framing marketing around sourcing ingredients and processes behind making the product can appeal to those most likely to purchase.

Current CBD buyers prefer purchasing from small businesses compared to those who did not buy the product (41% vs. 21%). The CBD industry could increase its revenue if it expanded to more national retailers or big box stores; this will help capture other consumers who do not necessarily shop at the smaller retailers.

Who’s Buying Skincare with CBD

CBD is used to help a range of ailments, including insomnia, anxiety and pain. Skincare products that contain CBD have grown in popularity due to their ability to help with inflammation, eczema, and acne. 

Skincare products containing CBD have piqued interest among US consumers, with a quarter of Americans reporting trialing this item. The products are especially popular among Generation Z, Millennials and parents. Interestingly, they are also more popular among males than their female cohort.


Over a fifth of consumers (22%) that have yet to try CBD skincare products are planning to buy them in the future. These individuals are more often millennials and Democrats.

There are distinct discrepancies between the age groups willing to try skin care products with CBD. While younger Americans are more likely to make these initial purchases, Gen X and Baby Boomers continue to steer clear of CBD. These products also lack initial interest among Republicans, females and those with higher household incomes.

As CBD skincare products are often ailment based, consumers who do not have specific skin issues have no need for these CBD-infused products. In fact, this is the top reason (49%) for those who have never purchased and likely will not purchase in the future.

Over a fifth also mentioned that they needed more knowledge to purchase the items. Brands can educate those who are uninformed about the category by promoting first the healing benefits and second, the ingredients.

Marketing CBD Skincare

Over a third (35%) of consumers purchase CBD skincare products to treat inflammation, followed by 29% who use it to treat eczema and 15% to treat acne. As a result, brands should lead with the ailment it cures in marketing initiatives. This is especially true when using media channels such as organic and paid search, where consumers look for a solution versus an ingredient.

Word of mouth is also a large driver for purchasing skin care products with CBD ingredients. Almost a third (29%) purchased due to a recommendation from a friend or family member. These recommendations are far more influential in the category than professional referrals, of which only 15% of buyers consider their primary reason for purchasing. This revelation makes a positive reputation and word-of-mouth an important tool for bringing in new buyers.


Growing word-of-mouth can happen through a few marketing platforms. Referral programs incentivizing current product users to drive word-of-mouth may help prompt new consumers to try these skincare products. Another option is to encourage user-generated content that discusses the benefits of using CBD in skincare products. This could be through online boards or social media. Lastly, customer reviews can help add value to the claims the CBD product promotes.

As the CBD-infused skincare category is still new, these shoppers are not largely influenced by big brands associated with the products as a barrier to purchase. Only a tenth of these consumers state not having products with a well-known name associated with them. This allows newer or small companies to compete more easily against more traditional brand names in the skin care space. However, as this space matures, awareness of brands of specific skincare CBD products will grow, resulting in higher demand for specific brands. As a result, marketing is essential for these products as consumers are still unsure of the brand leader.

Barriers Facing the Industry

While many are willing to try CBD skincare products, it is not part of their regular skin care regimen. Repeat purchases are low among those who have trialed the skin care products. Among previous buyers, only a quarter would buy CBD skin care items again. Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers would likely avoid making these repurchases. Remote workers and those with a household income under $100K are also less likely to buy the products a second time.


Among those who bought it in the past, a third state cost as the largest barrier to repurchasing.  This is not surprising as concerns about inflation and the economy grow. Almost three-quarters (70%) of consumers are entering “saving mode” and becoming increasingly cautious about spending. Many are cutting back in various categories, from eating out to discretionary spending.

As an ailment is cured, a fifth state that there is no longer a need for CBD skincare products. As a result, these skincare brands should consider expanding category usage to preventative care and anti-aging products where re-use may be more common.

Recommendations for Beauty Brands

The CBD skincare sector is seen as an ailment-based solution. As a result, brands need to focus on the issue it solves, followed by how CBD solves it. Education still needs to happen as this is a barrier for several consumers from purchasing these CBD infused items. As online search is essential, the category needs to focus on ailment education when promoting search terms, as well as in content marketing initiatives.

New growth may be focusing on getting the products into national drugstores or big box retailers where there is an opportunity to target new consumers and where people are searching for a cure to an issue.

As cost and need is a barrier to repurchasing, brand retention is a critical area that the category needs to focus on. How do they do this in an economic time when people are cautious with their money? Discounts, coupons and focusing on preventative care may be opportunities to mitigate attrition. CRM programs that capture email addresses are optimal in helping to bring the product top of mind to consumers. This is essential as retaining current customers is much more cost-efficient than advertising to new ones.

Also, as ailments seem to be the reason for purchase, expanding the skincare category to also focus on preventative or other categories such as anti-aging may help encourage more long-term usage of these products.  •


Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. The study was in-field in Autumn 2022.A random stratified sample was used followed by weighting to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household).Results based on this sample have a maximum margin of sampling error of ±2.5% at a 95% confidence level. Check out Provoke Insights for the latest CBD research.

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