Topical CBD Buyers Guide

CBD topicals are a great way to combine your skincare routine with your recovery routine. In this comprehensive buying guide, we’ll cover the key factors for selecting the right CBD topical for your needs. First, let’s start with the difference between topical types.

Types of CBD Topicals

The main difference between CBD topicals like creams, lotions, salves, and roll-ons is their texture and consistency.

  • Lotions are lighter and more easily absorbed, making them a good choice for normal to oily skin.
  • Roll-ons are like lotions but come in a convenient roll-on bottle, making them easy to apply and great for use on the go.
  • Creams have a heavier consistency than lotions, making them ideal for dry skin and deep penetration.
  • Salves are even thicker and contain additional ingredients like beeswax, making them a good option for treating certain skin conditions and providing a protective barrier.

The Quality of CBD Inside

Or course, when it comes to any CBD product, the most important part is the CBD itself! It’s critical to seek out products that are made from whole-plant CBD, as opposed to isolates and distillates that are fractionated versions of what nature can produce on its own.

The methods of processing and extraction used to obtain the CBD are important too. Products that are made from naturally extracted CBD, using fresh plants, are generally of higher quality and free from harsh chemicals. Speaking of harsh chemicals, solvents are liquids that are used to dissolve solids (plants in this case), to form a solution. They act as a medium for chemical reactions and can be used to clean, extract, and separate substances. Some common solvents include water, alcohol, carbon dioxide, and butane. Chemical solvents can harm the skin and potentially cause irritation. Water-based extraction is the safest bet!


Man applying CBD topical creamThe product’s potency is also important to consider. CBD topicals come in different concentrations or strengths. Products with higher concentrations can be more effective, but finding the right balance for your needs is important.

Some common potency levels for CBD topicals include:

  • Low potency: Low potency creams typically contain less than 100mg of CBD per container. They are generally used for minor aches and pains, or for those who are new to using CBD products.
  • Medium potency: Medium potency creams typically contain 100-500mg of CBD per container. They are generally used for moderate aches and pains, and for those with some experience using CBD products.
  • High potency: High potency creams typically contain 500mg – 1000mg+ of CBD per container. They are generally used for severe aches and pains, or for those with experience using CBD products.


Another important factor to consider is how well the topical product will be absorbed into your skin. Again, the key is the bioavailability of the core CBD ingredient itself. CBD from fresh plants has high levels of terpenes and CBDA which increase the bioavailability and improve the absorption into the skin. There are several other factors to consider as well, when it comes to absorption. CBD topicals that are water-based tend to absorb more quickly than oil-based products. If you decide to buy an oil-based product, look for topicals with ingredients known to enhance absorption, such as emu oil, coconut oil, or shea butter. These ingredients can help the CBD penetrate the skin more effectively. However, they also tend to leave less of a greasy residue on your skin. The texture of the CBD topical can also affect absorption. A product with a thinner consistency may absorb more easily into the skin than one that is thicker and harder to spread.


Most CBD topicals are formulated with other ingredients that can enhance their effectiveness or provide additional benefits, such as essential oils or other plant extracts. We already mentioned oils like shea butter. But there are others as well. 

For example, premium CBD topicals use ingredients like Menthol and peppermint oil, which are derived from the peppermint plant. They have a cooling effect on the skin, which may help relieve discomfort associated with muscle aches and other types of pain. Another common ingredient in quality CBD topical formulations is the Arnica Flower, a daisy-like flower that belongs to the sunflower family. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

If you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s a good idea to look for products that are hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic products typically contain fewer potential allergens, such as fragrances, preservatives, and dyes. They are formulated to reduce the risk of skin irritation and other allergic reactions.

And, because parabens can potentially be harmful to the skin, it’s worth looking for products that are paraben-free. Parabens are a type of preservative that are commonly used in personal care products to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause spoilage. Some studies have suggested that parabens may disrupt the endocrine system and have estrogen-like effects, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and other health problems. While the safety of parabens is still a subject of scientific debate, if you’re concerned about exposure to parabens, it’s always best to read the label carefully and look for products that are specifically labeled as “paraben-free.”

Testing and Verification

When shopping for CBD topicals, third-party verification can also provide peace of mind. Third-party testing is a process in which an independent laboratory tests products to verify their contents and quality. The laboratory performs various tests, such as potency and purity tests, to determine the product’s exact composition and ensure that it meets industry standards. A certificate of analysis (COA) is a document that summarizes the results of the third-party testing. When purchasing any CBD product, it’s always a good idea to look at its COA to ensure that it has undergone 3rd party testing. Brands that publish COAs tend to be more reputable, committed to transparency and quality.

Additional Factors

Other factors to consider when shopping for CBD topicals include price, sustainability, and user reviews.

  • Price is always a factor to consider, but it’s important to remember that you often get what you pay for when it comes to CBD products.
  • Many consumers like to buy from brands that are committed to environmentally friendly and cruelty-free practices. If that is you, look for products from companies that do not test on animals and are committed to sustainable, ethical, and humane practices.
  • Choosing a reputable brand with a strong track record and a commitment to producing high-quality products is always a good idea. Reading reviews from other customers can be a great way to get a sense of the product’s effectiveness and any potential issues to be aware of.

In summary, when it comes to providing nourishment for your skin, choosing a product made from pure, naturally-derived CBD and other natural ingredients can help ensure that you are using a safe and effective product. Careful consideration of the factors outlined in this guide can help you find the right CBD topical. Of course, our recommendation is embodygreen’s Deep-Pentrating Muscle and Joint Cream, made with 500mg of Fresh Plant CBD+CBDA.

Before using CBD products of any kind, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your needs.