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Do I Look Like a Stoner?

Posted by Emma Baron on

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Song of the WeekUnder My Skin by Ella Fitzgerald

Jazz is always a favourite during a rainy spell of weather. It’s the perfect background to some light reading. Curl up with your favourite newsletters and a stack of magazines and relax a little - stress release is a big part of our skincare routine. Also, while you read about cosmetics, keep in mind that beauty is beyond skin deep - Ella’s going to tell you all about it.

The Long Form - You're Saying I Should Put That On My Face?

So, how often do you take something that’s been illegal for years and smear it all over your face the moment it becomes regulated? ‘Ha!’ - you must be thinking - but hear us out…

The chances are that you’ve probably adopted at least one new & hyped cosmetic ingredient over your consumer lifetime. In the spirit of this stigma-busting streak we’re on, let’s reminisce about a few cosmetic crazes of the past. We’re pretty sure that cannabis will seem like less of a stretch after you hear about some things people have done in the name of beauty.


While it may feel like we’re more vain than ever, beauty routines have been a part of every culture since time immemorial. Even in hunter-gatherer societies, the maintenance of skin and body is still an important consideration in the ability to contribute to the labour force; participate in social and family duties; and almost always an essential for survival in harsh climates.


Of course, you always have to be careful with helpful vs. hype in skincare. The more we evolve our understandings of science and technology, the more we expect out of products on shelves. Alas, we have not yet found the fountain of youth, but that certainly hasn’t stopped people from trying and claiming all sorts of things, both in the past and now.


Heard of Belladonna? From Italian, “Beautiful lady”, this flower’s nickname stemmed from its use amongst the women of the Venetian court in the 17th century. The poisonous flower was used in a tincture to give the ladies large pupils, which were considered attractive. They also rubbed the leaves on their cheeks for a flushed look. The painting below - ‘Woman with a Mirror’ by renaissance artist Titian - was created around the same time and place, and is thought to reference this trend. (The large round mirror behind the woman is a visual metaphor for the size of her pupils.)

In ancient China, during the Roman Empire and later in the 16th to 18th centuries, both men and women in used lead-based powders to whiten their skin. Used to even out the complexion and cover smallpox scars (Think of your vanity, anti-vaxxers!), unfortunately these powders irritated the skin and slowly poisoned the wearer. Although we’ve known that lead is a neurotoxin for quite some time, it turns out you can still find it in lipstick and other cosmetics as recently as 2010.


Moving into the modern beauty era, there’s a multitude of new hyper-engineered products on the market. Retinol, Retina-A®, Tretinoin - check your toner, night cream, or anti-wrinkle serum - chances are you’ll see this ingredient highlighted. Approved by the FDA in 1971 for the treatment of acne, Retina-A is a synthetic form of Vitamin A at a higher concentration than retinol. Also known as Tretinoin, this ingredient rose to popularity in the 80s shortly after studies discovered that it was also effective in minimizing wrinkles.

From legalization to widespread, trending use within a decade… sound familiar?  Retinol and co. remain a very widely-used potion for young and old alike, although recent research notes that both deficiency AND excess of Vitamin A can cause issues in the human body.


The lesson we’ve learned here is modulating deficiency and excess is really the whole name of the game when it comes to any inputs to our body - food, knowledge, exercise, social activities. Learn to look beyond the hype and read the ingredients list.

Although it may seem like cannabis is having a moment of hype in skincare, the Body Shop has been producing their infamous hemp line of products for over a decade. Cannabinoids, whether sourced from hemp or cannabis are thought to be beneficial for skin for their potential modulating properties like reducing inflammation.

We look forward to the new Health Canada regulations planned for cannabis topicals, slated to be passed in October 2019, and to the controlled studies that will hopefully show us our suspicions are true. One day we may begin to treat cannabis like a vitamin - maybe you and your mom can start by swapping vitamin E and cannabis softgels when you’re home for Easter weekend? 

The News

YUMMM - Hello, Canada Post!! In more lighthearted Canadian affairs, Canada Post has recently released a set of stamps that is thoroughly Milkweed-approved: famous Canadian sweets! Already there's controversy over such an innocuous topic  - but as sweet tooth savants, we'd have to agree - what the heck were they thinking with those Nanaimo Bar proportions?! We're suspicious it may have been an East coast illustrator with a taste for revenge.
The Social Calendar
It's a big week ahead - whether you're celebrating 4/20 or Easter, or both. Take care of yourself and don't forget to take a look at your beauty routine, which should include getting your daily servings of water and zero servings of lead, at a minimum.

- Emma & Carol
Milkweed website

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