The most-talked about skincare ingredient has now been approved for use in some parts of the Middle East, with the region’s first CBD-championing brand, Juana Skin, about to drop in the UAE. With celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Alessandra Ambrosio all publicly praising the benefits of CBD oil, the bio-derived ingredient has been trending internationally, with both scientific and natural health communities fueling the positive buzz around CBD.
Derived from a sub-species of the Cannabis Sativa plant, cannabidiol or CBD is an active, natural ingredient that boasts its de-stressing and healing benefits. Juana Skin’s co-founder and namesake, Juana Martini, says that it’s important to note the differences between the regionally-approved and safe to use CBD, and the psychoactive THC compound. “The beauty of CBD is that it’s completely natural – our bodies produce its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, which regulate and balance the system, and are clinically proven to positively impact mental and physical well-being,” explains Martini. There are three widely proven and evidenced benefits to CBD usage in skincare, she says, with the extract helping with moisturization, providing antioxidants, and acting as an anti-inflammatory aid. “In addition, because it balances oil production, CBD is also excellent at fighting acne,” adds Martini. “It’s suitable for all skin types and as a natural ingredient, it is bio-available for skin, meaning, your skin recognizes it and knows what to do with it. In short, CBD is a balancing, healing, hydrating ingredient that helps the skin to look and feel its best everyday.”
Having grown up in Syria in the 1970s, Juana Martini took inspiration for the new brand from the ritual of Aleppo soap-making. Pressing olive oil and infusing it with bay laurel, she first learnt from her father the therapeutic benefits of natural herbs and tonics. “I was always passionate about creating clean, therapeutic beauty products that would benefit health of the body and the skin, naturally,” she says, leading to her experimentations with her own natural formulas for use at home. After migrating to France, Martini noticed the rising pressure, stress, and anxiety experienced by her children while pursuing stressful careers, and its impact on their health and wellness. “This was the trigger. I became determined to find a natural remedy that will support them from a health and overall balance standpoint,” she tells Vogue Arabia. “Together with my son Yann, I looked to hemp, knowing it to be a beautiful, medicinal plant with exceptional healing powers.” After researching formulas for several years, Martini and her son, Yann Moujawaz Martini, launched Juana Skin. The result is a Middle Eastern-born skincare range which combines high-potency CBD with naturally effective botanical extracts, designed to help destress and rebalance the skin. “I was blown away by the positive impact a high-quality oil can have on your wellbeing,” shares Martini. “I remember seeing game-changing skin benefits combined with unexpected feeling of relaxation and de-stress.”
It’s an ideal time to launch, with the global CBD cosmetics market on the rise, and expected to increase by more than 30% from 2020 to 2024 to reach a value of US$3.1 billion, according to Market Reports World. But the benefits of hemp are nothing new. As the world’s oldest known plants, hemp has been cultivated since at least 500 BC and used as a medical salve for relieving pain and fever. Juana Skin has launched with seven products – the Brightening Day Cream, Face Oil, Cooling Gel, Deep Cleansing Emulsion, Ultra-Rich Night Cream, Velvety Body Butter, and Exfoliating Face Scrub. “The duo – Wake Me Up Brightening Day Cream and Switch Me Off Ultra-Rich Night Cream – are our healing heroes that address the full range of conditions, from ultra-dry to acne-prone skin,” says Martini. “In a clinical study of 20 respondents, conducted by an independent German institute, 95% of respondents have agreed that their skin feels hydrated and nourished, 90% agreed that their skin feels more balanced, and 75% agreed their skin appears calm with inflammations reduced – after just two weeks of daily application.”
Each product has a measure of hemp CBD spanning from 90mg to 450mg. “There is no golden rule when it comes to CBD potency,” explains Martini. “Generally speaking, higher levels of CBD would provide you with higher efficacy – and there is a certain minimum threshold level at which adding CBD would not deliver any benefits. In order to select the level of potency for our products, we have conducted more than two years of rigorous trials and testing, including in vitro research, clinical studies and user self-assessment trials. As a result, we have crafted formulas with optimal efficacy of CBD, blending it with other botanical ingredients and emollients that help to increase speed of delivery of CBD to skin receptors. We are proud to claim that our products have two to four times the potency of the market average global, in line with CBD brands with top standards, and have clinically proven results.”
Launching in the region as the Middle East’s first CBD skincare brand, the Martini family say they feel it’s important to emphasize that the active ingredients used in Juana Skin are natural remedies at heart, modernized to soothe contemporary skin stressors.“Juana is for wellness-conscious people looking for clean skincare that actually works – for effective, trustworthy and clean remedies to rejuvenate and balance their skin, as well as address skin concerns such as eczema and acne, in a natural way,” says Martini. The brand, she says, is particularly suited for women in the Middle East. “The exceptional balancing, moisturizing, antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties of our formulas make Juana Skin particularly well-suited to address the harsher environmental and climatic conditions of the Middle East: extensive sun exposure, extreme temperatures, constant AC, dust – which trigger skin dryness and other concerns such as eczema, blemishes and pigmentation.”
In addition to the skin-soothing properties, Martini says that having a clean beauty focus was crucial to the Juana philosophy. After spending a childhood making Aleppo soap with her family in Syria, Martini says she was inspired to create a brand that was aligned with a natural ethos. “Back then, I learnt that in order to enjoy the immense therapeutic benefits of natural ingredients, we must strive to preserve the natural state as much as possible.” Juana Skin’s range is non-toxic, plant-based, ethically-sourced, and created with the health of both consumers and the environment in mind. The bio-friendly dedication is expanded to sustainability, with Juana using 100% recyclable glass bottles, 100% recycled & FSC-sourced outer packaging, and 100% hemp-made delivery bags upcycled from residual leaves following the oil extraction. Martini and her son say that while the initial launch will see Juana Skin first retail in the UAE and Europe, there are plans to introduce the range further afield. “Eventually, we will be working on bringing the wellbeing movement everywhere around the world!”
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