Combining K-beauty with cannabis might seem like a totally modern idea, but for Dr. Jenelle Kim, this concept goes back—way back. She used the herbal wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine, along with secret beauty formulas from the Korean royal court, in developing her new line of CBD-rich skincare products, Cannabis Beauty Defined.
“Certain families in East Asia are known for having very powerful formulas for specific things, like helping organs function, strengthening muscles and joints, or [in my case] the ultimate secret foundation for youth and beauty,” she said. “These bi-bong [secret] formulas have been handed down in my lineage from Korea for many generations. This is the first time we’re letting them out to the public in such a huge way.”
Nationally board-certified in herbology, Oriental medicine and acupuncture, Kim has spent years promoting traditional medicine as a way to balance and harmonize our contemporary lifestyles. Cannabis Beauty Defined became a tangible way she could introduce the power of of that philosophy to the general public. She doesn’t look at Eastern healing as a substitute for Western medicine; rather, each plays a specific role in helping people look and feel their best.
“I always say that the main concern for a truly good doctor is understanding the human condition. Whatever you can use to make the patient better is the best thing,” she said. “I love Western medicine for technology and emergency situations, but I’m also happy that this society is starting to understand that there are other things out there [that can help].”
Enter Cannabis Beauty Defined. The brand features a collection of products, such as a detox soak, exfoliant, moisturizer, and toner, that feature ingredients considered to be effective around the world. For example, the ginseng in the Cannabis Beauty Defined anti-aging day and night serum has been found to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, the facial cleanser contains sweet almond oil, a rich source of vitamin E which protects the skin from dangerous free radicals. Each herbal ingredient has a power and a purpose, as described in medical texts from renowned herbologists.
But anyone can throw a bunch of natural ingredients and put them into a product, said Kim. She takes Cannabis Beauty Defined one step further through the best practices of herbology, which looks at how to create an effective formula from a combination of herbs.
“An herbologist will say it can take a lifetime to understand just one herb. True herbal medicine and good formulas come from the understanding of how herbs work together,” she said. “Are vitamins good for you? Yes, but only if your body can absorb them. Our bi-bong formulas are properly balanced so those ingredients become the best food for your body.”
When Kim was first approached by Kannaway with the idea of infusing beauty products with cannabis, she admits she wasn’t immediately on board. But after taking a look at studies, like one that found critical links between the endocannabinoid system and skin cells, she started to see cannabis as more than just a trend. What really convinced her, however, was the fact that this ingredient had a long history of use in beauty and health remedies.
“The truth of the matter is that cannabis or hemp didn’t just become a great thing. It was one of the first 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese medicine,” she said. “This was important because we use many of those herbs in our bi-bong formulas.”
Kim saw how powerful CBD could be when obtained from the right source. She sought out triple lab-tested CBD oil derived from a proprietary strain of sustainably-grown hemp from Europe. Then, she worked to make it even more effective by infusing it into a well-balanced herbal formula.
“It became part of my mission to take hemp, understand its powers and use it the correct way. Our formulas are so readily-absorbed by the body that they enhance the active ingredients we put in there. Many people find that Cannabis Beauty Defined blows other cannabis products away because our bi-bong formula makes the CBD more bio-available to the body,” said Kim.
The result is a suite of products, each of which contains from 10-30mg CBD, that work in tandem to prevent wrinkles, purify the complexion, and nourish the skin.
“People always say their skin comes back to life after using these products. The formulas help all of the skin cells function optimally—that’s the secret to beauty and health,” she said.
But more than just a way to improve people’s complexions, Cannabis Beauty Defined serves another very valuable purpose: Bringing natural formulas, backed by the principles of both science and Eastern medicine, to a mass audience. They honor the traditional healing philosophies practiced by generations of Kim’s relatives. And people have welcomed the teachings with an open mind.
“It’s never been a challenge to explain Eastern medicine or the benefits of CBD. In my heart, I’m a true practitioner—I was born into this. When I’m standing in front of another person, it’s not about me. I know how much these things can change someone’s conditions, and when you share that with someone else, it becomes something they really understand,” she said.