In Your Face, Anxiety
Young entrepreneur introduces CBD-infused cosmetics line
Prior to 2020, few would say that anxiety looks good on them. But thanks to one local entrepreneuress, Anxiety ® is getting a proper rebranding.
Anxiety Cosmetics is a recently launched line of CBD-infused beauty products conceived by Brielle Brown, a 2017 graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania's business program and an alumna of Girard High School. Like 40 million other American adults (over 18 percent of the population), she lives with an anxiety disorder. Unlike the majority, however, she considers it a positive.
"I feel like it makes you look at things a little differently, gives you an outlook that some people might not have. I never looked at it as something bad."
For better or worse, with anxiety comes a heightened sense of awareness, of the self or of one's surroundings. When you notice more, you tend to think about more — of course, not all of those thoughts are productive or even rational. Conquering the condition, then, is about choosing which thoughts to let go of and which to latch onto. What it does not mean, however, is dismissing any thought that might make us uncomfortable. "I always say that if there's something you fear, do it anyway … because it's still going to be there," Brown advises.
It's a little frightening to start a small business, but Brown has long found the alternative more unsavory. "I always hated the idea of working my life away for a company that doesn't care about you, where you would just sit there from 9 to 5. So I always wanted to work for myself." Although she wasn't exactly sitting around post-degree, she wasn't independent either. She toiled "all months of the year" on the Erie International Airport tarmac for United Airlines, all the while struggling to get her business idea off the ground.
"I knew nothing about the cosmetics business. I did a lot of research," Brown admits. "I ended up quitting on it a couple times because I didn't know what to do. I'd get stuck or I'd get frustrated; I would have something come up with work or family or school. I thought about going back to school for cosmetics chemistry — thank God I didn't," she laughs.
Fortunately, she was able to leave her airline career baggage behind, trading the fluorescent safety vest of a runway worker for the more fashionable wardrobe of a certified realtor. Since then, Anxiety Cosmetics has gained altitude, culminating in the June 12 launch of its online store. Above the clouds, of course, the sun always shines — apt symbolism for a brand that seeks "to formulate and create conversations around beauty, positive self-esteem, and mental health." It's much easier to have those discussions removed from the shadow of societal stigmas and negative self-talk.
While a portion of the proceeds from every sale goes toward the "research, education, care, and awareness of mental health and disorders," Brown wants to make it clear as a cloudless day that Anxiety Cosmetics can benefit all women — after all, what woman (or human being, for that matter) doesn't occasionally experience self-doubt? Furthermore, what woman doesn't consume 4 to 9 pounds of lip gloss in her lifetime?
You may be surprised to learn that the answer is very few. That is what made lip glosses an obvious candidate for the initial product line. They currently come in four colors — Radiance (red), Brighter Now (coral with some shimmer), Daybreak (brighter pink), and Light of Day (shimmer clear) — with plans for more in the fall. Blush and mascara are the likeliest product categories to follow.
Each tube of lip gloss contains 30 milligrams of CBD, or cannabidiol — a naturally-occurring substance found in cannabis plants that is believed to have many health benefits, but that does not have the psychoactive effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — that is, it does not get you high. Given the excitement and research surrounding the therapeutic possibilities of cannabinoids, marrying CBD (an industry that has grown 700 percent since 2016) with cosmetics (a billion-dollar-a-year industry in its own right) was a no-brainer.
"I wanted to do something that would end up growing. Everybody does a cosmetics business — okay, we get it — but i wanted to do something a little bit different," explains Brown. "I didn't want to be the girl that starts her own business where there's nothing special about it and it just dies from there."
Lip gloss consumption may be more incidental than, say, the CBD gummies Brown would eat at night to help her fall asleep. But the point is it won't hurt you. In fact, there is nothing in Anxiety Cosmetics to worry about, as that would defeat the purpose. Each product is certified cruelty-free, paraben-free (parabens = a class of artificial preservatives believed to disrupt hormones and impact reproduction and fertility), THC-free, and vegan. Brown extensively studied what ingredients should and shouldn't be in beauty products before partnering with a manufacturer that met her requirements — and didn't make a mess of her kitchen like her failed test batch did. "I wasted so much incense," she laughs.
Regarding the effects of CBD, Brown has this to say: "I literally hate it when people think that CBD is going to make them high. It is not going to get you high. I use it and I swear it helps my headaches … but we can't claim any health factors. I can only say that there's an immense amount of research behind CBD and the effects behind it and what it does when it gets into your system." She is especially encouraged by its compliments to skin health, which you'll recall is the preeminent sign of overall health.
With all those concerns out of the way, Anxiety Cosmetics can focus on being a reliable, trustworthy brand that helps you "find the beauty in who you are — quirks, flaws, weaknesses, and all." And to us, that's just perfect.
Anxiety Cosmetics can be purchased online at anxietycosmetics.com. Limited distribution to local shops and boutiques is in the works.
Matt Swanseger cut lip gloss from his diet ages ago, but might dabble with Chapstick from time to time. This signoff is just paying his email (firstname.lastname@example.org) lip service.