Introducing Green Bee Botanicals, The Latest Buzz In Skincare
We first met Green Bee Botanicals’ founder Bridget May in the fall of 2017. We were part of a loose coalition of medical cannabis retailers, manufacturers and cultivators lobbying local lawmakers for sensible regulations ahead of California’s move to legalize adult-use of cannabis.
We were intrigued by her story (botanist/chemist turned cannabis entrepreneur) and charmed by her sweet yet feisty personality. But it was her products that had us deeply and madly in love. Her cannabis-infused serum and eye cream quickly took center stage in our skin-care regimen, and we’ve been fanatics ever since. (You know why? They actually work!)
There were a few sad, dark months for us when Bridget was working through the regulatory process and we didn’t have access to her products. But we’re thrilled to announce that Green Bee’s miracle skincare line is now back, bigger and better than before!
We caught up with Bridget recently on the eve of her brand re-launch.
Society Jane: Bridget, you know that we are HUGE fans of you and Green Bee Botanicals, and we are beyond excited to have you back on our shelves! Where’ve you been, girl? We missed you!
Bridget May: Oh, you know…fighting the good fight, launching a business, nothing big. But seriously, learning and complying with the new California cannabis regulations was a huge undertaking. Before Prop 64 passed, Green Bee was a one-women show. I was still working full-time as an analytical chemist and selling my topicals as a side-gig under Prop 215 medical marijuana laws. In 2018, everything changed. California created regulations so onerous that many small businesses have failed, which sucks.
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. It was actually a saving grace that it was just me at the time because it helped me stay afloat. I had to read hundreds of pages of regulations, sit through regulatory meetings, hire an attorney, re-do all my packaging and labels to meet the new requirements. In the middle of all that, I found a new manufacturing space, developed formulas for new products, hired a team, quit my day job, figured out how to pay for it all (goodbye savings!), and kept up with our loyal Green Bee Hivers. Phew! It was a bummer not being on Society Jane’s shelves during that period, but I think I used the time wisely.
Society Jane: You sure did! And we’ll get to that in a bit. But first tell us about Green Bee Botanicals and what made you want to start a cannabis skincare line.
Bridget May: First off, I have never trusted most of what can be bought in stores. I’ve been making my own plant-based lip balms, moisturizers and the like for years. But at some point, my studies of botany, Native healing traditions and Western herbalism led me to cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. That’s when I had my aha-moment. The endocannabinoid system has receptors throughout the body that ‘click’ with cannabinoids—compounds made by cannabis and other plants (pepper, echinacea, cacao, flaxseed, among others) as well as by our own bodies. These receptors help regulate pain, the immune system, metabolism, reproduction, the gut, and a whole lot more—notably skin. The fact that we each have a built-in system that binds perfectly with cannabinoids like CBD, THC and others is absolutely amazing. It changed the way I viewed medicine and our bodies’ ability to heal themselves.
I put my training as a botanist and chemist to work and started experimenting with cannabis-infused formulas. My friends were my test subjects, and to my happy surprise, they loved my serums and creams as much as I did. It grew organically from there.
Now Green Bee Botanicals makes clean, full-spectrum cannabis-infused topicals to promote naturally healthy, beautiful skin and salves to help the body heal itself. We’re focused on quality, sustainability, self-care and giving back.
Society Jane: Ok, tell us about all your products.
Bridget May: Yay, thanks, I’d love to! We have four products so far, all made with high-quality cannabis: the three originals with tiny-but-mighty improvements and one new face serum. All of our products to date are non-psychoactive, and all are great for anyone who wants to look and feel fabulous.
I’ll start with our original Renewing Serum, our best seller. It won Best Topical in California last year (woo hoo!). It’s still a 1:1 ratio THC-to-CBD blend, but I added vitamin C to increase the antioxidants and boost collagen to help with sun damage. This one is perfect for normal-to-dry skin.
I created our new Perfecting Serum because people kept asking me for something for acne-prone skin, especially from hormonal imbalances. For this face serum, I loaded up the CBD because CBD oil helps balance too much sebum production and has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties. This one is perfect for normal-to-oily skin.
Our massage oil, now called Deep Calm Massage Oil, is our first foray into pain relief. It’s still an olive oil infusion of healing herbs with three times more THC than CBD, but we changed it from a rollerball to a pump bottle that holds twice as much. I was excited to read in the August 2019 Phytochemistry journal that researchers in Canada figured out the science behind why the pain-relieving properties of cannabis are 30 times more powerful than aspirin. It boils down to two molecules unique to cannabis, cannflavin A and cannflavin B, which reduce inflammation but are not psychoactive. How cool is that? Fans of our massage oil say they use it for relief from arthritis pain, soreness from heavy exercise, mosquito bites, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, chafed skin and even minor burns.
Our Brightening Eye Cream is still loaded with antioxidants in a balanced ratio of clean CBD to THC, but we added a little caffeine alkaloid to stimulate circulation and minimize under-eye puffiness. Combined with healing calendula, it’s also a great every day/every night moisturizer that helps reduce dark circles and fine lines. I use it above my lip, on my neck and on my décolletage too.
Society Jane: So what is it about cannabis that makes it particularly effective for skincare?
Bridget May: Ha! How much time to you have?
I think one of the main reasons is cannabis’ anti-inflammatory prowess. Inflammation is the root cause of so many skin woes, and cannabis fights inflammation like crazy.
Additionally, cannabis-based serums are able to penetrate multiple epidermis layers and bind with our skin’s natural endocannabinoid receptors, sealing it all in for the most intensive results.
But it’s not just the cannabis that makes our products so effective. We also use super-targeted healing botanicals and essential oils to boost the healing properties. We call these our “virtuous ingredients.” It’s truly a group effort.
Society Jane: Why choose Green Bee’s skincare products over say, La Mer or SK-II?
Bridget May: Two words: ingredients and price.
Most of the ultra-expensive brands I've researched are full of chemicals (look them up, it's crazy!). Green Bee products are clean, pure and fully tested—I use it myself and I'm very careful about what I put on my skin.
And our prices reflect the high-quality ingredients inside, not the cost of marketing and celebrity endorsements, so we're a fraction of the cost of La Mer, SK-II and the like, but more effective.
Society Jane: We completely agree!
Bridget May: Plus all Green Bee products are paraben-free, formaldehyde-free, phthalate-free, cruelty-free, 100% vegan and never tested on animals. Our ingredients are pure and organic. And our products are made with love, which is probably the most important part.
Society Jane: Speaking of love, tell us about Green Bee’s philanthropic efforts.
Bridget May: One of the many reasons I love working with my three partners Kim, Lilli and Heather is that we all believe in working toward the greater good and working together to find solutions. Supporting organizations doing good work benefits not just them but us too, making our individual and collective lives healthier, our communities healthier and our planet healthier. We pledge 1% of our profits to address climate change, clean water, wildlife and social injustice. So when you use a Green Bee topical, you’re contributing too!
Society Jane: What’s next for Green Bee?
Bridget May: I’m in the lab now experimenting with recipes for our next products. High on the list are face serums for sensitive skin and for very dry skin. We have a whole white board of products we want to make, so I invite you and your readers to give us feedback on what you want so we can prioritize accordingly.
I have a science background, but I’m also an environmentalist, activist and artist. Green Bee allows me to use all that knowledge and passion to pursue being a healer as well. My goal with Green Bee is to help others do the same: heal their bodies naturally to become their healthiest and most beautiful selves inside and out.
Society Jane: Thanks, girl! Our customers are going to love Green Bee.