From Farm to Face: Growing hemp for skincare

Michele Zagorski discusses her Farm to Face journey. (Felisha Le'Cher/News 10).

Michele Zagorski, the owner of Zagórska Hemp Body and Beauty in Ashland, graduated from Purdue University with a degree in engineering.

“I worked in corporate headquarters for Fortune 500 companies on the east coast,” she says.

She met her husband, who also holds an engineering degree, while in college. The two vacationed in Ashland and fell in love with the town. “We had always really wanted to live on land, be out in the country, connected to nature.”

After moving to Ashland and living in the city for four years, they decided to purchase land and build a straw-bale house, grow food, and raise their own animals.

“We’ve always been farming,” says Zagorski. “Everything from sheep, goats, chickens, all kinds of animals.”

During this time, she began making skincare products for her family. Her daughter, Izabela, was often the “guinea pig” for new formulas her mom created. “I was the perfect test run,” says Izabela.

“Over the years I’ve incorporated a lot of ingredients into my skincare that I started taking internally first,” says Zagorski. “Whenever I try a supplement internally, and if I notice a difference, then I’ll do some research about the supplement being used transdermally.”

Zagorski says she was using CBD internally for her stress levels and noticed a difference, so she did some research. She found studies that discussed positive results for those with inflammatory issues.

“Your skin has kind of like its own immune system and when it gets triggered on, you get the immune response, which is the redness, scaliness, and itching,” says Zagorski. “When your skin absorbs CBD, it suppresses that immune response.”

According to her, CBD is also very high in antioxidant levels, which prevents premature aging. “When your skin oxidizes, it's damaged and causes aging,” she says. “Instead of your skin taking that hit and oxidizing, the antioxidant will oxidize.”

Zagorski and her husband decided to combine her love for skincare and his passion for farming and grow hemp for her products. “It’s an amazing marriage made in heaven: CBD and skincare,” she says.

“Since we were little, we’d grow our veggies, have our own chicken eggs, so this just seemed like a natural step to do that with her skincare,” says Izabela.

Last year the Zagorskis grew an acre of hemp for the first time.

“What used to be our seven-acre sheep enclosure is now for hemp,” she says. Zagorski says they grow everything organically.

“Everything gets worked into the soil by hand,” she says. “We don’t use any pesticides at all, not even organically approved ones, and our extract is completely raw,” says Zagorski. “The CBDs, the CBNs, the CBGs, everything is in it.”

“We’ll be doing something called companion planting,” she says. “In between the hemp plants, we’ll be planting things like beans and basil.” Zagorski says companion planting draws pests away from the hemp plants toward the vegetables and herbs. “The wildlife will prefer to eat the beans over the hemp,” she says.

Zagorski recognizes that there is still a stigma surrounding the cannabis industry. “I look at hemp as no different than a lavender plant,” she says. “It’s not psychoactive. Someone could smoke ten pounds of it and not have an effect.”

“I do understand that a lot of people don’t understand the difference between hemp and marijuana,” she says. “I believe that it’s just going to be a matter of time and education.”

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