How Lord Jones became the biggest CBD brand on the market

And in the sixth year, the Lord said, “Let there be light.”

Well, Lord Jones, that is. The CBD brand, which launched in 2013 – and best known for its colorful gumdrops – is now one of the most recognizable in a crowded market of cannabis products. The brand made a major step when it was Sephora’s first-ever CBD brand to land inside brick and mortar stores, a major signifier that cannabis was on its way to becoming destigmatized. And Tuesday, the brand announced it would be available in all 171 Sephora locations with its bestselling CBD Formula Body Lotion, Body Oil and new Royal Oil.
So how did the brand do it?
For one, Lord Jones was one of the firsts to develop cannabis products in California by working directly with those who experienced ailments. Its founder, Robert Rosenheck, created a non-profit wellness collective and soon discovered how effective cannabis was. “We discovered the healing and wellness properties of cannabis and had patients of all walks of life with a variety of issues,” he tells Very Good Light. These included those with serious conditions such as cancer, AIDS, autoimmune diseases, migraines and chronic pain.
After creating confections, supplements and skincare for his patients, he realized it was the CBD and not the THC that they wanted. A few iterations later, Robert realized just how effective CBD was for alleviating major pain. It’s then that he decided to dedicate himself to destigmatizing cannabis and creating an aspirational brand to appeal to others in need.
Lord Jones

(Photo by Lord Jones)

Cannabis is complex and our understanding of CBD and the other constituent compounds in the plant comes from working directly with patients who suffered from serious conditions,” he tells us. “This work changed our lives and is the heart of everything we do.”
It’s what he says distinguishes Lord Jones from all other products on the market. Though he admits they’re known for their chic Hermes-orange packaging, Robert says it’s really the product that speaks for itself. But in an Instagram universe, of course aesthetics only help. 
The brand became an almost overnight sensation when it released its gumdrops. Coming in beautiful orange square boxes, the nine beautiful CBD-filled jellies seem almost irresistible. It’s what brings people to recognize the brand and allows customers an easy entry point into discovering its other offerings.
Like the brand’s lotion, which gained an immediate cult following in Hollywood. It was after celebrities began applying the product to their feet before walking the red carpet to alleviate pain, that Lord Jones was cemented into the zeitgeist of beauty culture.
Since, the brand’s launched at Sephora online in October, was the first CBD product to launch in all SoulCycle doors in March of this year as well as all Sephora brick and mortar stores starting yesterday. Its newest offering is the Royal Oil, which comes at 1,000mg per bottle. With such potent CBD, it’s said to relieve pain almost instantly.
Lord Jones

(Photo by Lord Jones)

In terms of best uses of CBD, Robert says it differs person to person. “Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different and dosage can vary by individual in order to achieve desired benefit,” he says.We are constantly discovering new ways to utilize the product from our consumers. As a pre/post work out recovery tool, sleep aid, anxiety reducer and pain reliever. It’s a blessing for us to make these natural, plant-based remedies available to people seeking alternatives to chemical pharmaceuticals.”
Though it may seem as if CBD is a passing trend, Robert begs to differ. He says the ingredient is here to stay. “Cannabis is ancient medicine that has been used around the world for centuries,” he says. “We are in the midst of a revolution: the mainstreaming of cannabis. It’s a wellness revolution. It’s an economic revolution. It’s a social justice revolution and it’s a revolution of consciousness.”

Patrick Ta dedicated his beauty brand to all the girls he loved before

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 04: Patrick Ta and Shay Mitchell attend the launch of Patrick Ta’s Beauty Collection at Goya Studios on April 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – “This brand has been built from friendship and all the women around me growing up,” says Patrick Ta, the makeup artist at his own beauty brand celebration Thursday night.

The 28-year old artist, whose clients include: Shay Mitchell, Olivia Munn, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Gigi Hadid, among others, just released his own makeup collection, Major Glow at Sephora and patrickta.com. Available today, the collection includes items like a body oil, $52, highlighting mist, $32, lip shine, $22, and a setting fan for $24.

Celebrating his own beauty brand palette, the entire night was blush-themed, with a who’s who of beauty sporting their most vibrant pink outfits. These included celebs like: Shay, Olivia, entrepreneur Michelle Phan, YouTuber James Charles and Gabriel Zamora, along with other celebrity stylists like Chris Appleton, who does Kim Kardashian’s hair, Andrew Fitzsimmons, who works with Kourtney Kardashian.

In true Instagram style, this event was all about promoting FOMO. With a boba bar, poke station, a champagne hub in the venue’s center, golden backdrops, #InstagramHusband male models to snap a photo with, plenty of balloons and more, it was certainly the biggest event before Coachella.

But with all its glitz and glam is a true business, one that Patrick’s been quietly working on for the past two years. Wanting full creative control, the artist wanted to oversee every aspect of the brand, from formulation to packaging. Ultimately, he says creating a brand that inspires and uplifts women was what he had in mind.

“When I was starting this beauty brand I wanted to create products to empower women to feel confident and beautiful and comfortable in the same way they made me feel,” he says. “I always knew I was gay but I wasn’t out and women made me feel confident and beautiful in my own skin.”

And with that, the fete ended with – what else? – confetti bursting in the air with Angelenos tickled pink, their skin dewy from dancing as if without a care. They glowed.

BUY Patrick Ta on Sephora, 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

Is Sunday Riley writing fake reviews?

UPDATE: Sephora responded to Very Good Light’s request for comment, below:

It’s no secret that the beauty industry thrives off of peer-to-peer reviews.

It’s one reason why the site Influenster is so successful – it allows “real” people to come and write their own personal takes on different products. And so it wasn’t more than an eyebrow raise when we came across a disgruntled ex-employee from Sunday Riley who made some shocking allegations. The anonymous post, from a user named “throwawayacctSRiley” says on Reddit’s SkincareAddiction that Sunday Riley forces all of its employees to write fake reviews. In this case, the user specifies that this incident targeted Sephora.com to boost the brand’s acne product, Saturn (full disclosure: We partnered with the brand last year, here. From our findings, sulfur did help fight our blemishes) and its upcoming product, Space Race.

SEE ALSO: This $185 serum has a cult following. But is it actually good? 

The poster goes on to write that she, along with all employees were “forced to write fake reviews” on an “ongoing basis,” which is said to come directly from the brand’s founder, Sunday Riley herself, and her head of sales. “I saved one of those emails to share here.”

That entire email is below:

In the email are incredibly shocking tidbits. The entire Subject line alone is pretty insane. It reads: “Homework time – Sephora.com Reviews.”

“Hi All,

Now that Saturn is up and Space Race coming up next week, we need to make sure the reviews for clients stay positive and help generate and [sic] confidence in the products.

Credibility is key to the reviews!” it goes on to say.

The email then instructs each employee to write at least 3 reviews for Saturn over the next week and for Space Race the week after. To make it look a lot less suspicious, the email instructs, all employees should “create fake profiles ASAP” and write a couple reviews on “makeup, hair or nail product to build a profile history.”

Allegedly, all employees were supposed to write that Saturn “doesn’t dry out the skin like all other acne masks do,” and that it “helps to make yourself seem relatable.” And if there are any negative reviews, Sunday Riley’s employees were asked to write the opposite. If any user writes a negative review. “The power of reviews is mighty, people look to what others are saying to persuade them and answer potential questions they have.” The post ends with an elaborate 7-step guide to VPN (virtual private network) instructions on how to hide your own IP address aka trick Sephora.com’s website.

If these allegations are true, it’s insight into just how much pressure a young brand has to succeed under Sephora’s extremely competitive landscape. It’s also a signal that maybe – just maybe – it’s time we stop relying on brands and their own on-site reviews. In a very thorough report on Racked.com (RIP), Cheryl Wischhover last year, she goes into detail on how brands incentivize users to provide them with reviews.

“Brands can also request, as a condition of getting the free stuff, that reviewers leave reviews on other channels, including Sephora.com,” the article says.

In the same article, it’s noted that 89-90% of all consumers use reviews to make purchase decisions, “up from 72% in 2014. “It is the most influential thing in terms of making a purchase decision.”

It’s scary. And it’s also infuriating. Many Very Good Light readers have DMed and emailed us this article vocalizing how they really do spend a lot of their hard-earned money specifically on acne-fighting solutions. To then spend so much on a product that doesn’t work isn’t only unfair, it’s cruel. In a pay-to-play world – it’s really disappointing to know that user reviews, once seen as truly authentic, could also be fake news.

Be warned.

Very Good Light has reached out to Sunday Riley and still has yet to receive a response. Sephora provided us with the below:

“At Sephora, we believe in the power of the beauty community and that knowledge should be shared to benefit all.  Sephora has very strict brand rules regarding our Ratings and Reviews, which we know are an important decision tool for our clients.  Additionally, we have teams dedicated to protecting the integrity of our Ratings and Reviews, ensuring through detailed moderation that it’s a constant trusted, unbiased, authentic source for all. We do not believe this incident is representative of the Sephora Ratings and Reviews culture, or the countless hours our clients have spent sharing their product experiences with us and others.  We’ve been in touch with Sunday Riley on this matter, and they have committed to adhering to our review policy.”

This jelly-pudding sleeping mask is like memory foam for your face

(This beauty product is like memory foam – for your face. David Yi/Very Good Light)

Continue reading “This jelly-pudding sleeping mask is like memory foam for your face”

Fenty Beauty is the best new beauty brand. Period.

One of the highlighters, called Killawatt from the Fenty Beauty collection. (Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

“Fenty Beauty. Believe the hype. This is not a game. Wow.”

That’s exactly my sentiments after testing Fenty Beauty. If you haven’t heard of Fenty Beauty yet (seriously, who are you?), the line now sold at Sephoras in 17 countries (!!!) is Rihanna’s first foray into beauty. Rihanna’s already had major success in the fashions sphere with her collaboration with Puma, which just had its latest fashion show Tuesday in NYC.

SEE ALSO: Brands are obsessed with Boy Beauty. Is it a passing trend?

But it’s the beauty brand that’s got everyone’s tongues wagging. That’s because the brand is all about inclusivity and ensuring at the get-go that all women and men are accounted for. At launch, Fenty Beauty had 40 foundation shades, called Pro Filt’r for all colors, highlighters that would flatter any skin tone, as well as lip glosses that would glide on and make any and everyone sexy AF. It’s this mission to serve all people that made the process of building the brand take a little longer than normal.

“In every product, I was like: ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between,'” she said to the press.

Since, it’s been reported that some of the darker shades of foundation have been sold out worldwide. On my own trip to Sephora on Wednesday, I confirmed that most dark shades were sold out though some were still in stock. This is obviously telling that inclusivity not only is the right thing to do, but it sells. The beauty industry at large now needs to pay attention that it’s not only socially responsible to sell a range that meets all people’s needs, but it’s also lucrative to do so.

On my trip to Sephora, I decided I’d try out a couple of products and purchase them for a review. I was skeptical like everyone else. Celebrity makeup brands come and go and many of them leave you underwhelmed. One only need look at Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty contour line to feel a little scammed. At $48 you get a tiny amount, not to mention how little variety of shades there are.

After asking one of their very knowledgable reps, Lisa, at a local Sephora store here in Columbia, SC, I discovered my perfect shade was 240. Though 250 was what seemed like my perfect shade, it had reddish undertones. The 240 was a lot more golden and matched my yellow undertones for my Korean skin. She then applied a few different contour colors on my cheekbones and jawline. We tested the Matte Skinsticks in Mocha, Truffle and Espresso before agreeing that Mocha wasn’t too dark or too light for my skintone. After testing the scintillating highlighters, called Killawatt, I was amazed at the golden one called Trophy Wife. With just a small swipe your face is completely metallic. Like, the glow up is INSANE.

Trophy Wife is L-I-T.

While I’m all about getting that flare of light to hit your face, for me, this wasn’t very practical as I’d probably never use it. So Lisa suggested going with something more rose-hued for a natural flush of pink. We decided to go with Girl Next Door/Chic Freak.

After purchasing the items I went home to test them IRL. These are my thoughts.

Pro Filt’r Foundation

Fenty Pro Filt'r Foundation

The foundation comes in a whopping 40 shades! (Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

I usually stray from foundations just because they’re 1) too heavy 2) too cakey 3) ~way~ too obvious. This one from Fenty Beauty is mattifying, which, as mentioned, terrified me. The thought of something going on so dry in my mind equates to cracking. One thing that already made me feel impressed about the foundation was that it was a little more affordable than others brands. Make Up For Ever’s is $43, Giorgio Armani’s is $42, Too Faced goes for $39. Now it might not be ~so drastic~ of a price difference, but if you’re pinching pennies at Sephora like the rest of us, every dollar counts.

Fenty Beauty foundation

The product definitely seeps into your pores quickly. You have to be prepared for this. (Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

There was actually a learning curve when applying the foundation. I was taken aback by how quickly the product seeps into your pores and then sets. It’s perfect for someone who’s on the go and has little time for a foundation to dry. For others, it’s a bit unsettling as you have to prepare yourself to dab the foundation across your complexion quickly. But once I learned how to use the product, it went without a hiccup. It’s buildable, meaning you can put the product on top of blemishes or any other spots that need more coverage. It’s also not drying like I thought, though it doesn’t feel completely weightless like say, a BB cream or a cushion compact. Since it is mattifying, I would recommend using a serum before or an oil if you’re looking for more of a dewy look. But after applying this to my acne scar face, I found that the results were really, really amazing.

(As you can see, the foundation took away shine, mattified and did a thorough job at concealing my acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Contour Sticks

They’re magnetic!!!

The contour sticks can be purchased individually, $24, and come in ~many~ MANY shades. These sticks are used for concealing, highlighting or contouring. Called the Skinsticks, Fenty Beauty offers them in a trio for $54. As someone who doesn’t contour that often but has definitely used his fair share of contouring products, I was extremely elated to find how the product melted right into my skin. Perhaps the best part? The magnetic packaging. Apart, the sticks stand alone but together they attach at the hip (Cue: Neyo’s Make Me Better here). Apparently, Rihanna thought about makeup bags and how everything is lost in them. To ensure your sticks stick together, she wanted to add magnets so that you’d never lose any of your sticks, ever. Like, how cool is the design??

 

It’s not only buildable, but creaseproof, meaning, you can seamlessly add more on top for a range of layered colors. The sticks are really great at blending and I found that using a brush was just as easy as using my makeup sponge. I was extremely surprised and giddy to see that the result was natural in the “no makeup makeup” that I’m always trying to achieve.

Here’s a before and after:

One thing I will note is that since I purchased the Trio, I also have a highlighter which gave a little color but didn’t really do much. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t apply enough or that my contour was too dark, but it wasn’t so dynamic. And having already purchased the Killwatt highlighter, I don’t know if a stick is all that worth it TBH.

Highlighter

Possibly the biggest draw to the Fenty Beauty collection is its highlight. Rihanna, for one, is obsessed with her Trophy Wife one that I mentioned above. For me, the Girl Next Door/Chic Phreak seemed the most natural for my everyday (that is, if a highlighter could ever look natural, lol). It gave me a pink flush and some beautiful color that contouring and foundation alone does without. The glow was REAL AF but not overbearing.

I could imagine myself wearing this out with a light dab of highlighter for the day and then building it so that I absolutely GLOW UP at night. For $34, it’s definitely worth it and I’ve realized a little truly goes a long way.

In conclusion: Other than the fact that Fenty Beauty is the most inclusive brand maybe ever, it’s also a really, really good product. So good in fact, I’m going out of my way to say it’s possibly the best new beauty brand of 2017. For the price, the actual amount of product you get and the quality, Fenty Beauty is now officially the industry standard. Kudos, Rihanna. (Cue: Bitch Better Have My Money here)