This fragrance is like Child’s Pose in a bottle

“It’s like Santal 33 but … more affordable,” a friend DMed me a few months ago. 

He was talking about The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance, a scent that has the same musky oud and cedarwood notes that made Le Labo turn into a sensation. It’s not a surprise then, that the same fragrance architect who created Santal 33, Frank Voelkl, was the same who created The Nue Co’s. But what separates the two (other than the stronger cardamom notes in The Nue Co’s) is that this one it said to relieve stress.

SEE ALSO: The Lightning Awards for Best Boy 2018

“This fragrance is not like a typical perfume,” Voelkl says via a release. “It’s not one you would get from a designer or a crowd-pleaser fragrance. The intention here was to create something that felt more organic and natural. It has a naturality, is refreshing, has texture, and possesses some richness—but not in an overwhelming way. For me, this is a scent not a perfume. It’s a perfect balance between freshness and warmth—exhilarating and stimulating versus calming. It’s a scent to promote well-being.”

Indeed, The Nue Co claims that this fragrance alone can create zen in your emotional state. According to them, cognitive function and the olfactory system are closely linked and smell can definitely trigger both emotional and physiological responses. The result is the brand’s own is beautifully clean and woody from its notes including: cardamom, bergamot, cilantro, myrrh oil, violet, jasmine, cedarwood, among others. The mix is slightly sweeter than Santal 33 and feels a little more feminine with its violet and jasmine notes.

Though the fragrance is certainly beautiful – it’s since become my go-to fragrance alongside my Maison Louis Marie No. 4 – did it calm me down in any way?

On The Nue Co’s site, there are clear instructions for users to spray the concoction on your wrists and neck, inhale for eight, hold for four and exhale for eight seconds. It also says to use two spritzes and rinse and repeat at more stressful times in the day. According to The Nue Co’s own findings, 93% of people would recommend this fragrance as an anti-stress aid. 96% of people felt instantly calmer after spritzing and 89% of people felt calmer “more composed and less stressed with 30-minutes of use.”

While I’ve used this before bed at certain days of the week – especially when I’m high strung or really exhausted – I did feel that stopping myself, calming my brain and re-centering myself did quiet my mind. Spritzing Functional Fragrance while doing the eight/four/eight breathing method truly did seem to do the trick and bring me back to the present moment. The act of remembering to breathe – while doing so with a truly excellent fragrance – allowed me to practice stillness, almost like being in child’s pose without getting onto my yoga mat.

Was it because the fragrance, or was it because using the scent allowed me to remember to calm TF down and to breathe, I’m not certain. What I am positive about is that using this and reminding myself to meditate has certainly helped for sure. And for $155, this is certainly an amazing dupe to Le Labo’s $220 Santal 33 – something that we can all agree allows your mind – and wallet – to fret just a little less.

BUY The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance, $155, here

Does this new Lord Jones CBD body oil work or is it just cool?

Has CBD reached peak oversaturation?

That’s what I thought when I discovered that Lord Jones, the ultimate in cool CBD brands, launched at Sephora. As I’ve said before, I got into the brand through its jellies, which Georgie Greville, co-founder of Milk Makeup, passed over to me last year in NYC.

SEE ALSO: Why the beauty industry is obsessed with CBD

For a once discreet indie brand to go mass is interesting intel for several reasons. For one, it signifies that CBD is no longer a secret ingredient for beauty enthusiasts or health gurus. And two, it perhaps means that it’s so effective – and safe – that it’s being readily available to the masses.

The skeptic in me (and past fashion editor) equates this as if a streetwear brand like, say, Palace, was suddenly sold at Macy’s (no shade to Macy’s). In fashion street cred terms, this would mean the end to Palace completely as its soul would be completely crushed by such a mass retailer.

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Of course, Sephora isn’t exactly Macy’s, even if it is mass. Sephora still has that sexy “cool” factor – and cache – in beauty and that added allure of exclusivity certainly doesn’t hurt. And so it’s an interesting choice for Lord Jones to partner with Sephora. The latest launch at all Sephora doors is Lord Jones’ High CBD Formula Body Oil, which goes on sale at all doors, today. Like all things Lord Jones, the packaging is chic, timeless and cheeky. It comes in packaging that’s in a form of a beautiful brown box with its bold lettering in gold.

The brand’s body oil comes in a roller, which is super convenient and gliding over any pain points you may have wherever on your body. It can swipe on your forehead if you’re having a headache, or your shoulders from typing too much, or your elbow if you’ve been texting too hard on your iPhone. Its formula includes 100 mg of CBD oil mixed with organic jojoba, safflower and avocado oils and a hint of citrus notes (it’s super feint!).

The formula doesn’t go on greasy at all, which is basically witchcraft. It glides onto your skin but quickly absorbs into your pores, leaving nothing but soft, supple skin. You do have to rub it in with your fingers though, or it’ll sit on top of your skin in its thick, oily form.

I feel as if CBD works for some people and for others, it doesn’t. This formula is completely beautiful – but does it work like, say, a Tiger Balm for your sore muscles? No. What it does do, though, is provide your skin with a lot more nutrients and better ingredients than any icy hot cream would to.

I will say that though the CBD formula doesn’t work immediately, with continued use, I did feel my sore hot yoga-ed out muscles melt and my headaches from my caffeine addiction dissipate quickly. And for $75 it’s not for everyone – you do get 1 fl oz., which is pretty good.

Is it a panacea for all of your problem areas? Hm. Will it fix your migraines for good? Probably not. But what I will say is that it’s a superb glide-on oil that’s a true multi-tasker, moisturizing, providing you temporary relief as well as giving you all the beauty street cred you’d need. Lord Jones, after all, is still cool in beauty – for now.

BUY HERE, $75

Beautycounter just launched Counterman, making ‘clean beauty’ sexy for the boys, too

Ever since Google came out with their list of 2018’s biggest trending terms, I’ve been curious about the beauty brand called Beautycounter.

The company beat out Fenty, Glossier, Drunk Elephant and everyone else as the biggest searched beauty brand, coming in at #1. That’s quite a feat. Doing a little more research, I discovered that the brand, which has been around since 2011, has championed clean beauty before it was trending. A browse through the site brings us to “The Never List,” a guide that details 1,500 or so ingredients and why they could be harmful. “We live in a country that regulates everything,” its founder, Gregg Renfrew says on Beautycounter’s website. “So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.”

SEE ALSO: I tested CBD for half a year. Here’s what actually works

It’s true. Currently, the FDA is virtually free of regulations, allowing the beauty industry to use most products and ingredients banned elsewhere like in the E.U. Beautycounter’s mission is to become more transparent when it comes to what ingredients they use and is proactive when it comes to demanding change. Last year, the brand and its 100 sales consultants, lobbied for the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which pushes the FDA to closely regulate personal care products.

The mission for change as well as being a great resource for consumers, reminds me of what Paula’s Choice used to be when the brand first launched. With so much interest from Beautycounter, it was only natural that the brand would foray into men’s. Just this month, Beautycounter launched Counterman, an entire clean beauty brand created for men. From a daily exfoliating cleanser, toner pads, oil-free face lotion, to shaving products just for guys.

Below, we spoke with Michael McGeever, the head developer for the entire brand who gave a breakdown to why he believes guys need Counterman in their regimens.

Very Good Light: What makes Counterman products so different from others?

Michael McGeever: Our formulas help keep men’s skin looking healthy in the form of cleaner products designed specifically for their unique skin needs. Each Counterman product features our high-tech Sequoia Stem Cell Complex to protect the skin from every day stress. We handpick every ingredient that goes into our products using our rigorous selection and testing process to ensure our products are high-performing and safer.  

VGL: There are so many men’s products out there now. What was the goal in going into men’s with the brand?

MM: A men’s line was the number one request from our customers, both women shopping for men and men who were using our unisex products. We previewed men’s as a Holiday set in 2017 – it sold out in less than 12 hours when it was planned to last the entire season, so we knew we were headed in the right direction. Men’s skin has specific biological needs, so it’s best to use products that are designed specifically for them. We believe that men deserve safer skincare, too.

VGL: Okay, so tell me then about what the main ingredients are for Counterman

MM: The signature ingredient in each product is the Sequoia Stem Cell Complex. Plant stem cells have the ability to self-renew, and never undergo an aging process. Technology helps increase the availability of these extracts and allows us to have consistency in our formulas. In addition to the Sequoia Stem Cell Complex, each individual product is created with ingredients that help deliver the results of that formula. A few examples of our key ingredients are:

  • Daily Exfoliating Cleanser – jojoba beads provide gentle mechanical exfoliation
  • Clarifying Toner Pads – witch hazel and green tea help tighten pores
  • Oil-Free Face Lotion – taurine for skin resiliency

VGL: Finally, are men ready for progressive grooming in 2019? How do you perceive men and their skincare in 2019? 

MM: Prestige men’s skincare is trending as men start to pay more attention to the products they’re using. There’s an opportunity to provide enhanced education to this audience around their skin and how safer products can make a difference. We haven’t seen anyone leading the conversation around cleaner products for this market and we’re hoping to change that with Counterman.

Below, our favorite items from the brand:

Conditioning beard oil, $30

This lightweight beard oil instantly relieves dry skin. Created with oils like sunflower, jojoba and macadamia, it’s super hydrating. You don’t have to use it just for beard though – use it as an all-over face oil. BUY HERE

Clarifying Toner Pads, $36

The pads make this super easy to tone your face. Created with witch hazel and green tea, it helps to remove excess impurities from your pores. Includes beautiful bergamot and vetiver essential oils – super Earthy. BUY HERE

Energizing Charcoal body wash, $25

Made with activated charcoal and Sequoia Stem Cell Complex to detoxify skin, this beautifully blended body wash (a mix of citrus, mint, rosemary and cedarwood oils!), is so soothing and refreshing, you won’t want to leave your shower. BUY HERE

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This $9 hydrating gel will instantly quench your thirst.

If you’re a penguin and love subzero temperatures, no need to read any further.

For all others, this is required reading.

SEE ALSO: This skincare made me SO lazy and that’s a good thing. 

If you haven’t noticed, there’s something called a “winter storm” happening across the country. Her name: Indra. Her game: putting you on ice. As I’m typing this I wonder, is it possible for something to have too much chill?

Symptoms of freezing weather: frozen toes, flushed cheeks, slushed out tears and possibly worst of all, chafed skin. If you bathe every day, you’ll probably notice that your skin during this winter season is a little scalier than usual. Some would say ashy. If you’re chronically itching and scratching, you’re not alone. While there are plenty of oils, creams and body gels on the market, I’ve been testing one for the past few weeks that’s REALLY FREAKING GOOD.

Neutrogena Hydroboost

(Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream goes for $8.99 and may be the biggest steal of your life. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Yes, we’ve named Kiehl’s own Creme de Corps, the best cream of the year for our Lightning Awards. And there are certainly amazing oils out there as well to soothe the scaliest of skin. But sometimes these creams and said oils can be a little too thick and dare I say too oily. I, for one, hate using something that makes me feel as if I’m drenched in canola oil.

Which is why I was jumping for literal joy when I came across Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream ($9). It’s an offshoot of the brand’s bestselling Hydro Boost Water Gel, which is a hyaluronic acid-based formula. The body gel – which is paraben-free – is equally as hydrating but formulated not for your face, but for your entire, well, body. The hyaluronic acid-filled formulation boosts your skin’s hydration and then seals it in like *THAT*. It’s also lightweight and so the cream absorbs almost instantly.

Neutrogena Hydroboost

(The formula is super lightweight, absorbs instantly and is hydrating AF. Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

It’s also non-sticky, oil-free and so lightweight that you won’t even know you put anything on – until hours later when you realize your skin isn’t itching. The bottle says it’s fragrance-free but I’d actually say that misleading. There is certainly a fragrance – it’s sweet, fragrant and feint. But it’s definitely there. Okay, the best part is that it’s $9 for 16 oz. (okay, fine, it’s actually $8.99 – every cent matters in this economy!). That’s roughly $1.78 for every ounce and will certainly last you a couple of weeks.

If you’re itching all over and suffering from Indra, I’d say this Neutrogena option is a fantastic – and affordable – remedy.

Buy Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream, here, $9

The Lightning Awards ⚡️ for Best Body 2018

Your skin is amazing.

Well, other than the fact that it’s incredibly moisturized and velvety-smooth, it’s also insanely smart and resilient. For one, it’s made up of three complete layers: epidermis, dermis and the subcutis. Each has a very important function. The epidermis, or the “horny layer,” defends your body from outside forces with cells being renewed every 5 weeks. That means your body’s constantly growing, shedding, and renewing itself. The dermis, helps regulate your body temperature by increasing blood flow or restricting when it’s cold. Finally, the subcutis is basically a seam of fat there to help insulate you and also as fuel reserve for food storage.

Lightning Awards

Other than skin functioning for your overall health, it’s also important because it’s the first thing that people notice about you. And hydration is the most important for maintaining your skin. After all, the human body is made of 60% water. The skin has even more hydration with 64% of it being made of H20.

And because of that, you want to protect, nourish and hydrate your body just as you would your hair and face. Below, we’ve highlighted THE BEST products of the year that really struck a chord with us. From body oil to sprays to deodorants, we tested mostly ALL products on shelves so that you didn’t have to. Below, our FAVORITE from the year!

SEE ALSO: Best makeup 2018!

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

BEST DEODORANT SPRAY – Dove Men+Care 

Fresh, clean, classic. Works ‘round the clock, doubles as fragrance in a pinch and goes on clear. In other words, no-fuss, completely affordable and basically perfect.

BUY HERE, $7.49

BEST HOME FRAGRANCE – Burkelman “Ambassador So-and-So” candle

The perfect candle is like cologne for your home and Burkelman’s singular “Ambassador So-and-So” is unlike anything we’ve ever smelled. We believe that every home should have a signature scent and this combo of sandalwood, bergamot and lemon twist is a complete and total knockout.

BUY HERE, $38

BEST BODY WASH – Love Beauty & Planet

From the lush scent to the skin-loving moisture (come thruuuuu, shea!), this is the champ of all drugstore body washes, which too often are either tragically thin or regretfully residue-y. The cute packaging and sturdy pump bottle are added bonuses.

BUY HERE, $6.99


BEST EXFOLIATING BODY WASH – Grown Alchemist

We like to actually feel our exfoliating body wash over at VGL HQ, so the first time Grown Alchemist’s perfect formulation hit our skin, we knew we had a winner. Not too gritty, not too smooth, with sloughing abilities that hit all the right places. Yes, please.

BEST DEODORANT STICK- Helmm

 Natural deodorants are all the rage, but acclimating your body and pH levels to live that #aluminumfree life often leads to a few weeks of not feeling, um, your freshest. Helmm is here to change all of that with a formulation that goes on dry (goodbye, swamp pits), lasts all day and smells so luxe (pro tip: get fragrance in “Night Market”) you’ll wonder if it’s deodorant or armpit cologne.

BUY HERE, $37

BEST BODY SCRUB – goop

We have to admit that Goddess Gwyneth knows a thing or two about salt. Her TDF (to die for) goop body scrub features five: Himalayan pink salt, Dead Sea salt, Celtic sea salt, New Zealand solar salt and epsom salt. It also swims in 3 bomb (and bougie!) oils: cold-pressed moringa, pure unfiltered rose hip and organic extra virgin olive oils. Add it all together and you’ve got skin-softening perfection – scrub me, queen!

BUY HERE, $40

BEST LOTION – KIEHL’s 

There’s a reason this beloved classic brand has been kicking ass since 1851: it’s just that good. Eczema, winter dryness and the itch factor are no match for this creamy, non-greasy, lightly scented balm from heaven that’s chock full of cocoa butter, beta-carotene and squalane. #triplethreat

BUY HERE, $30


BEST FRAGRANCE – Aesop “Hywl”

Be prepared to get stopped every few hours or so by what-are-you-wearing need-to-knows whenever you spritz on this ethereal, earthy, eccentric fragrance that boasts a mix of cypress, frankincense and vetiver. We love it so much, we’ve even started spraying a little in our hair, on our socks, under our arms, inside our underwear. Yes, it’s an obsession.

BUY HERE, $125


BEST BODY OIL – Herbivore

You see me shining! No, seriously. And you can thank HERBIVORE for the insane glow-up. The sheen is sexy, not tacky, and the scent is 100% luxe: Moroccan rose and jasmine grandiflorum. Now go SHINE for the holidays!

BUY HERE, $48

BEST BAR SOAP – Rudy’s Barbershop

We can’t get enough of this little bar that packs plenty of punch. Oh, and it’s a multitasker too, moisturizing, exfoliating and subtly scenting all at once. Need we say more?

BUY HERE, $8

CREDITS: Photographed by Melissa Chu; Creative directed by David Yi; Styled by Garrett Munce and David Yi; Hair by Patrick Kyle; Makeup by Eric Vosburg; Assisted by Kai Procshan

What happens when you mix soju, drag queens and a noraebang party?

“You’re giving me SO MUCH SEOUL,” says David Yi, the editor at Very Good Light.

He’s there hosting a party alongside Bubble T, the queer Asian party for Kare Package, a pop-up shop inspired by Seoul’s night markets at Canal Street Market. The pop up is the brainchild of Joyce Lee, the founder of Talk to Her, a NYC-based consultancy who curated the entire space with brands from Seoul. These include beauty brands like SSANAI, Baebae, M/M (Paris) postcards, beauty items from the likes of SKINRx LABYupan C by YuYu PharmaKosette and more.

“Whenever I went to Seoul I was inspired by the night markets the most,” she tells Very Good Light. “The entire experience of Seoul is the 24-hour markets where everyone from all over the world come together. I wanted to replicate that experience to everyone here in New York City.”

It seems to have been a success – at least from the colorful crowd. Among them: drag queens, fashion buyers, stylists, beauty editors among others.

It’s a little past 7 p.m. and guests are already crowding the space. There’s Korean snacks being served out like ddukbokki (rice cakes), bbundaegi (Korean silk worms), kimbab, from Toi et Moi, with a free-flowing of alcohol including soju and beer in flavors like peach and yogurt. Desserts are being served by Spot Dessert Bar as guests were bopping to a few hip hop beats DJed by Bubble T’s own co-founder, Pedro Vidallon Jr.

The night starts with a live beauty talk show between David and David Lopez, the celebrity hairstylist to the likes of “it” girls including: Chrissy Teigen, Ashley Graham and Hailey Bieber (whose name just changed recently). The two beautified in front of the crowd while first wiping away the makeup already on their faces.

“This is the most vulnerable I’ve been in a long time,” David Lopez says. “But beauty to me is all about opening yourself up and being real. It’s that self-care and meditation that’s so important.” He patted on his foundation under his eyes with a brush followed by some misting.”

The two were showcasing the differences between men’s makeup standards in the States (which is all about that no makeup-makeup look) versus South Korea (it’s all about dewiness and that K-Pop eyeshadow). “There’s still this stigma with men and makeup and the more we showcase how normal it is the better we’ll be,” David Lopez says.

The night transitioned into a noraebang party where things got L-I-T. The prizes included an amazing package worth around $1,000 including: sunglasses from Gentle Monster, facials from Sofie Pavitt, a NY-based esthetician, among goodies include a banana stress reliever, M/M Paris postcards, beauty items from the likes of SKINRx, and more. The night’s final winner? A man named Robbie Saludares who sang a rendition of Jennifer Holiday’s “You’re Gonna Love Me.”

“This was for Manila,” he says into the mic as he proceeds to do the splits in heels and leather pants.

After the noraebang acts, it was Bubble T’s own drag stars that came out to slay. They included fierce acts including Mahal Kita, Bibingkamama, Dynasty and West Dakota.

As it inched towards 11 p.m., the entire night came to a close. The hour was late but inside Kare Package, the night was still very, very young.

QQ: I’m really hot but I think I have bad breath.

You’re a vision of sugar plums dancing in your Tinder date’s dreams.

Your skin is moisturized – dewy, some would say. Your hair’s as soft as Santa’s chest hairs. Your Byredo fragrance is warm, inviting, like a milky hot chocolate. You’re GLOWING and it’s not only because of these blinding Christmas lights you’re standing next to.

But you get to dinner, go to hug your date and suddenly – suddenly! – their face winces, they turn away, they tell you they have to go to the bathroom. You’re refreshing “Thank U, Next” for the seventh time, admiring the Bend and Snap and realize your date never came back. What gives?

This exact situation has happened to a close friend years ago. Let’s call him “George.” George is 6’2″ with modelesque features, doughy dimples, caramel skin and bleached blonde hair. He’s everything you want to be. But after every date he’d come back and look confused, as none wanted to head home with him. It’s then and there that we (his friends) told him he DEFINITELY had halitosis.

Halitosis. Dragon breath. STANK breath. Death breath. Whatever the case, it’s a real dire situation, one in which can put your very social life in danger. To get to the bottom of BAD BREATH though, we need to understand that the most probably cause of this is this: volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that are created after you eat something. That’s a fancy term but one that explains HOW bad breath starts. That’s from oral bacteria eating the protein you eat and converting it into stinky sulfur gas. Those who are on a low-carb high-protein diets, like Ketosis, know that a side effect is … horrible breath.

But sometimes it’s not just normal bad breath or hygiene. Other factors include:

Dental issues. These come in the form of  cavities or gum disease that gives bad breath bacteria places to hide. Brushing along cannot solve this and you’ll need to get professional dental help.

Infections. Your breath can be its worst if you have mouth, nose or throat infections, where bacteria feeds on mucus.

Dry mouth. Believe it or not, a lack of saliva can make your breath become completely uninhabitable for the people around you. Saliva is important as it rinses out your mouth of leftover foods. Without enough saliva production your mouth becomes a deserted, hot place for bacteria growth. Yipes!

If it’s not a real dental or medication condition (which it isn’t for most of us!) you can start by practicing good hygiene. Apparently after speaking more with George, he informed all of us that he only brushed his teeth in the morning. “Morning breath sucks,” he said. But not brushing at night causes ALL of your food to literally become a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re like George and won’t brush more than once, at least floss at night, a better option any way, than brushing. While brushing will definitely clean your teeth it won’t get into the small crevices where bacteria (and overall plaque) builds up. So, long story short, BRUSH TWICE AND FLOSS!

For everything else, here are some wonder products that will get you going.

The one toothbrush we stan for is from Philips Sonicare. Every electric toothbrush from the line (from it’s most affordable to its expensive DiamondClean line) is really, really good. Almost as good as going to the dentist. We love Coco Floss because it’s made from real coconut, is sustainable, and does a great job at flossing. Our favorite toothpaste is actually from Crest. It’s the brand’s new Gum Detoxify line, all about neutralizing plaque bacteria. A good tongue scraper is from Dr. Tung‘s, one that removes harmful bacteria and debris (they say it’s 5x more effective than a toothbrush!). After, we recommend TheraBreath, a rinse create to neutralize sulfur-producing bacteria for up to 24 hours. For maintenance, we’re into Listerine’s new Ready! Tabs, a chewable tablet that converts from solid to liquid in seconds. It’s kinda weird to swish this with your own spit … but we’ve done crazier things!

These CBD products actually work for anxiety

The first time I tried a cannabis-enhanced product was while walking on 14th street in New York City.

It was with my friend, Georgie Greville, co-founder of Milk Makeup, one of my life mentors and overall badasses of the world. We were walking from brunch to Milk Makeup’s offices when I mentioned that I had been experiencing deep anxiety. It was March, a season of change, when the ice was melting into puddles around the city. Ironically, it was symbolic of how my brain’s condition was as well, thawing out from the doom and gloom of winter and latching onto hope and better days ahead.

SEE ALSO: Why the beauty industry is obsessed with CBD oil

That’s when Georgie pulled out something from her bag.

Say no more, she gestured, taking out a chic, Hermes-orange box and revealing a gorgeous display of multi-colored gummies. She opened the lip and plopped a red jelly immediately into my hand. It was from the brand, Lord Jones, a CBD brand that has an array of products ranging from lotions to ingestibles. “This really helps me with centering myself – it’s really powerful stuff,” Georgie told me.

CBD? Isn’t that from…the cannabis plant? I asked myself, a total newb, trying to keep it cool. I’d read so much about CBD and its power, hell, we wrote about CBD for this site. But I never actually used the powerful cannabinoid before. Was it out of fear? Out of stigma? Both?

The powerful product, found in the hemp plant, has no THC – which is the ingredient that gets you high. Instead you will find mental clarity, helping with inflammation, calming the mind, as well as healing properties.

Being a CBD virgin, I decided to take the gummy while I was in the comfort of my home. Who knew how my body would react for the first time? After taking the fruit-flavored gummy, I imagined I’d feel super stoned a la James Franco in Pineapple Express. But it was quite the opposite: so powerful, it put me right to sleep. In the following 6 months, I started using CBD regularly, from balms, salves, tinctures, to ingestibles, to help clear my mind, calm my anxiety and put me to sleep. I felt as if in the past half year, my stress immediately melted away, my anxiety went quiet and I became a new person. Thanks, weed.

Below, are my findings for the best CBD products on the market and how using them for half a year changed my life.

For that immediate quiet: Charlotte’s Web Everyday Plus.

Charlotte’s Web is possibly one of the best known brands of CBD oils. The brand, launched in Colorado, made its name after Dr. Sanja Gupta featured its owners, The Stanley Brothers, on CNN. It also just went IPO yesterday. The oil is said to have helped a girl named Charlotte Figi with epileptic seizures brought on by Dravet syndrome. She went from thousands of seizures to a couple a month. Since, the brand has launched its products nationwide, providing the same oil to the public. The drops instantly give you clarity and a few drops allow my body to instantly relax itself. The brand comes in two flavors: Chocolate Mint and Olive Oil, neither are the tastiest of flavors and takes getting used to. Continued use allowed my anxiety to dissipate and at the end of the day, I had better sleep and better clarity. The brand says to take a few drops in the morning and a few at night for the best results.

For a delicious bite: Lord Jones Gum Drops

Lord Jones is probably the chicest CBD brand of them all. As mentioned, the brand’s packaging is luxe, which any beauty lover can appreciate. The brand’s gumdrops are made by hand with CBD extract, sugar, gelatin, fruit flavors and citric acid. Immediately, I felt that eating one gumdrop stabilized my emotions and made me feel an immediate sense of calm. This is great for anyone who sits behind a desk and needs to concentrate.

For a drinkable option: Dirty Lemon’s Cannabis Blend

A fan of Dirty Lemon’s lemon water? Well, you’re in for a treat with the brand’s CBD blend. The entire 16 oz bottle of liquid is a blend of water, lemon and pineapple juice, L-theanine (a therapeutic ingredient found in tea), as well as CBD, ocean minerals and some pink Himalayan sea salt. The taste is SOUR AF – so if you’re looking for something more mild, this isn’t it. But after drink all 16 ounces, you’ll not only feel hydrated, but you’ll feel as if you’re floating in a pool, with your mind feeling as if you’re on a breezy vacation. Stress melts away after 30 minutes.

For a great balm: Charlotte’s Web Hemp-infused Balm

I’m telling you, this balm is POTENT. After I used it on my arms one night before watching a movie, I immediately passed out within SECONDS. It was magical. The balm’s fragrance reminds me of Tiger Balm and the texture is also similar. But this isn’t overly greasy and is amazing at melting into your skin. Created with apricot kernel oil, oleic and linoleic acids, it moisturizes while the CBD helps with inflammation. If you have any muscle ache, try this – it’ll calm the inflammation and make your body feeling lifted.

For a spray: CBD For Life Extra Pain Relief Spray

CBD For Life isn’t the chicest of brands on the market, nor does it have the best of names. But the product is no frills and works really well. My favorite from the entire line was the brand’s pain relief spray, a mixture of CBD oil, camphor and menthol. Wherever you’re having pain, simply spritz the spot without having to rub it on. Sit back, relax and the spray will do the healing for you.