How This THC-Infused Skincare and Haircare Was Born from a Game-Changing Scalp Massage

Allow us to reintroduce you to L.A.-based Steam.

Steam Pop-Up at Fred Segal

Cannabis products have infused themselves into every aspect of our self-care routine, from high-end smokables and topicals to sweet treats and more. While many are concocted with the cannabinoids (CBD), there's a new L.A. brand that's harnessing the power of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to treat our tresses and skin.

Enter: Steam, a recently-launched label co-created by former Dosist events director Brittnie Green and Harper Salon co-owner Carla Gentile. After developing a holistic aromatherapy-powered scalp massage treatment and haircare line, Gentile teamed with Green to reformulate her products with both CBD and THC, resulting in concoctions that are naturally anti-inflammatory. And while you won't get high from slathering on their healing scalp and hair oil or getting clean with their body wash, instead, your skin and strands will feel soothed, restored, and balanced.

The treatment room at Steam's pop-up at Fred Segal Sunset with Recess Worldwide in February. Photo: Courtesy of Steam

Green was already a fan of Gentile's original Steam line of hair products. "If they were this good alone, adding the powerful components of cannabis would be a game-changer for the industry," she tells UncoverLA. "I knew the moment I met Carla there was magic to be made together. We wanted to create an affordable luxury brand and we also wanted to be the first to include THC to stand out from all the CBD-only lines. It was a lot more work due to compliance, but it has been worth it."

Steam relaunched in February with eight affordable products ($16 to $54) across three categories, all available with or without THC. The Active Botanicals Shampoo and the Rich Recharge Conditioner keep the scalp hydrated while keeping hair smooth and promoting healthy growth, while the High Healing Scalp and Hair Oil is formulated with ingredients like calendula to reduce inflammation and can be used before shampoo or as an overnight treatment.

For the visage and decolletage, the Make Over Face Wash's bakuchiol joins forces with THC and hyaluronic acid to reduce redness, calm pores, stimulate cells and brighten; and the Ultimate Defender Face Oil will protect skin, balance oil production, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots.

Photo: Courtesy of Steam

For below the neck, the Power Full Body Wash soothes and moisturizes dry and itchy skin while keeping natural oils. There's also the healing Moisture Wrap Body Oil that helps improve circulation and forms a barrier to protect the skin from free radicals. And the Skin Nurture Body Cream was designed to help alleviate eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

Before the coronavirus store closures, Steam popped up at Fred Segal (which is also temporarily closed) with Recess Worldwide, where its mini-spa offered restorative gua sha facials and hair massages. While you won't be able to get pampered by Steam's pros until non-essential businesses are allowed to reopen (cross your fingers that Steam will extend its stay!), the good news is that here, Gentile and Green are sharing their own work-from-home-friendly routines for maximum relaxation.

Keep reading below for her recommended regimen as well as both co-founders' own Mary Jane journeys, what led them to create Steam, and what Gentile and Green are planning for the brand's future.

Can you tell us more about the role of cannabis in your lives and if or how it has shifted?

Brittnie Green: This may sound dramatic, but cannabis has saved my life and my skin in so many ways. Back in the day when I was in the fashion and marketing industry life was fast-paced and prescription medications were so normalized. If I was tired it was normal for a coworker to say, "take Adderall." If they were stressed out, [it was] "take a Xanax." Sleep-deprived? "Take an Ambien."

It wasn't until I  moved to California and I was on my journey to get pregnant that my OBGYN said, "Woah, you've been taking all these medications?" I said yes, literally everyone I know takes the same medications as I do. At that moment, I realized it was not normal and I needed to retrain my brain to find alternative medicine and replace my prescription medications with them. 

My husband is the co-creator of the Dosist vape pen and that's where I started, because I didn't want to get high all day — I still had shit to do, and I needed the right amount of cannabis to manage my anxiety, ADD, and sleepless nights. I replaced every prescription with a [formula] by Dosist. Now, Steam has replaced the harsh medications for my psoriasis. It's so helpful with my sensitive skin issues. Cannabis is such a powerful plant for so many reasons and I'm so thankful that it is legalized in most states for the masses to enjoy all its benefits. 

Carla Gentile: I've used cannabis flower for many years as a sleeping aid. I became interested in CBD because it allows you to get the stress-relieving benefits without the high. I use a CBD:THC tincture in different ratios depending on what I'm needing, whether it's stress relief, sleep anxiety relief, or creative inspiration. I find the Dosist pens work great as an alternative to a tincture.

Steam's pop-up at Fred Segal Sunset with Recess Worldwide in February. Photo: Courtesy of Steam

What was the "a-ha" moment that inspired you to blend the signature Steam treatment into a larger cannabis-powered beauty brand? And what were you not seeing in the market that also inspired the idea?

BG: Creating a CBD and THC beauty line has been a dream of mine for over six years. While making my way through the cannabis industry as event director for Dosist, I met some really amazing people. Cut to Carla, now the co-founder of Steam. I learned she had an existing, successful line of hair products she had created for her salon, Harper. Carla sent me her line to try and I loved the products. I had an "a-ha" moment in the shower. I thought, "I should ask her if she would be open to reformulating her already amazing products to include CBD and THC!"

CG: I started to learn more about CBD benefits for skin from trying it in homemade salves, and noticing it wasn't only soothing to my muscle pain but was helping replenish my dry cuticles and skin. If it was making a difference in my skin I wondered what it could do for hair. The first product we tried it in was our Hair and Scalp Oil. We saw instant hydration, better elasticity, and smoother ends. It was increasing the efficacy of the other ingredients, so we knew it would enhance the other products as well.

The cannabis market has always been about healing, especially in the medical [sector]. People using cannabis to relieve pain and skin conditions were searching for better products. We knew that they desperately needed quality hair, face, and body products.

What are your current favorite Steam products right now, and how are you using them?

BG: All Steam products are my favorites, but if I had to pick only four products for a trip I would choose these in this order: Ultimate Defender Face Oil, Makeover Face Wash, Skin Nurture Body Cream, and Moisture Wrap Body Oil. To really get the benefits of the products it's best to take your time while applying them and letting them set in the skin. I use the sensitive skin Clarisonic brush with the Make Over Face Wash to really buff the ingredients into my skin, then I follow up with the Ultimate Defender Face Oil all over my face, including under my eyes, neck, and decolletage.

After a shower or bath, I pat down my body with a towel and immediately apply the Skin Nurture Body Cream, and then I follow up with the Moisture Wrap Body Oil. This combo is like Saran wrap for the skin. It keeps my skin hydrated and glowing all day. 

CG: That's hard for me to say because I feel like there are only a couple in each category and they are all amazing. If I had to choose right now I would choose the oils. They are all exceptional. I leave the High Healing Hair Oil in my hair all day, lately! Your hair will only absorb so much, so the longer you can leave it in the better. On a normal day, I would sleep with it in my hair and shampoo it out in the morning.

I also use the face oil every morning and every night. It's light enough to wear under makeup, and does magic overnight to hydrate and plump up my skin. The same goes for the body oil, morning, noon, and night! This oil is so replenishing and helps increase circulation when you massage it into your dry skin.

A facial in progress at Steam's pop-up at Fred Segal Sunset with Recess Worldwide in February. Photo: Courtesy of Steam

Is there a pampering routine that you recommend, especially during our self-distancing/quarantine?

BG: With shelter in place going on right now, it is the best time to pamper yourself! While I type away at my desk, I'm pampering myself throughout the day with Steam products — multi-tasking self-care and my workload.

CG: Now more than ever we need self-care rituals and at-home treatments. Steam has three categories: Hair, face, and body. Each category has two to three products, which all work well in your pampering rituals.

For the hair, massage the High Healing Hair Oil into your scalp and hair, comb through with a wide-tooth comb and let it sit on your hair for 30 minutes or longer. Don't forget to take time to give yourself a scalp massage, it feels great and it gets the blood flowing to your hair follicles. While the oils are on your hair, its a great time to do another activity like meditate, exercise, garden. I recommend making a zen moment out of it if you can!

Use the Active Botanicals Shampoo and then work the Rich Recharge Conditioner through your hair. Leave on for five minutes for extra hydration and rinse thoroughly, and style your hair as usual.

For the face, this is an essential mini treatment for all skin. We all need to cleanse and we can all use a little skin firming and toning. Gently apply the Make Over Face Wash onto clean dry skin until evenly distributed. Add water and massage with gentle circular motions starting at the chin and moving up toward the forehead.

Rinse the cleanser off and pat skin dry, then apply the Ultimate Defender Face Oil until the face is completely covered, if you have a jade roller or qua sha stone, this is the time to use it. If you don't you can try doing some simple face massage always moving the skin up and out. Gently tapping on your skin is also good to get the circulation going.

Our line of body products can be used for massage and daily body care. Shower with the Power Full Body Wash. Its invigorating scent will refresh your mind. We suggest using the Skin Nurture Body Cream first followed by the Moisture Wrap Body Oil to seal in all the nutrients. Use these all day to keep your skin hydrated and feeling soft.

We loved our facial at the Fred Segal pop-up, especially the sculpting treatments. Are there any plans to expand Steam into beauty tools? And what do you see in the future for the brand?

BG: During our Fred Segal pop-up in West Hollywood, our beauty experts provided face treatments in-store utilizing the gua sha stone and jade roller to maximize the Steam product experience by tightening and sculpting the skin. I would love to come out with a set that includes the same tools so clients can experience the same results at home. For the future of Steam, I see growth and expansion. I  want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of Steam CBD and THC products, not just the top 1% and that's why we wanted Steam to be so affordable.

CG: Right now we're focusing on continuing to introduce Steam to the beauty market in both the compliant cannabis and the beauty retail areas. Since the cannabis beauty segment is new and growing, our next products and accessories will complement each category in our brand based on what we feel the consumer needs.

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