meet vanessa florentino, the woman behind fifth & root
You might know by now that Lady Suite is about to launch a new CBD product -YAY- but we couldn't have done it without some serious expertise on our side. Enter Vanessa Florentino- friend & colleague, Cosmetic Chemist, Cannabis Researcher and founder of Fifth & Root!
Fifth & Root was created to offer every woman feel-good, body solutions infused with pure plant magic! Fifth & Root doesn't only use significant levels of full-spectrum CBD in their skincare they also pair it with adaptogens like turmeric, rhodiola an ashwagandha. Each formula is also packed with Terpenes aka aromatic oils that impart taste and protective skin and mood-enhancing properties.
We could not be more grateful that Vanessa offered her wisdom to the formulation of our newest launch the No Drama Drops: Pure Hemp Oil Tincture! Get to know lady boss, Vanessa Florentino with us.
let's start with a lady brag!
1. Tell us the 3 things you love to brag about the most:
1. I’m really handy and love fixing things! In fact, I used to have a side gig in college building bunk beds, beer pong tables, and mounting TVs for the neighborhood.
2. I had quite a spectacular crash in the Xgames on live TV which led me to hang up my boots and go study chemical engineering.
3. My backyard golf skills are really coming together now thanks to quarantine…
2. You’re only in your 30s and have already had a career as a professional motocross rider (so freakin’ cool btw), how did you go from tomboy to a top beauty chemist??
It’s funny looking back on it because even in the peak of my tomboy stage, I was always fascinated with the world of beauty. I never raced without wearing a heavy dose of perfume and makeup, which was not the norm in that scene to say the least…
It was actually from getting hurt so much racing motocross that I discovered the world of herbs and energy therapies. Lavender oil and acupuncture healed me so much faster than popping Ibuprofen, so I slowly started going down this rabbit hole of holistic wellness, nutrition, and product/ingredient curiosity. And that is essentially what led me to go to school so I could pursue the beauty/wellness space.
3. What ignited your interest in CBD?
I was working at a large cosmetic company a few years ago studying hemp seed oil and found it was super beneficial for the skin, but the company refused to put it in any of the products out of fear of consumer misconception. This piqued my interest since it was kind of taboo and naughty, so I began researching more about the hemp plant and found multiple CBD studies just starting to come out citing skin benefits. From there Pandora’s box was open and I became a huge advocate for CBD skincare and wellness… you can still find me up at night reading scientific journals on cannabis.
4. You’ve said that CBD is a perfect, multi-tasking molecule, what do you mean by that?
If you look at most skincare ingredients, they tend to have one main benefit that they are famous for - Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, Vitamin C for pigmentation and brightening, Salicylic Acid for acne - but CBD is unique in that it helps with so many different things. By regulating the Endocannabinoid System, it can bring dry skin back into balance just as well as oily skin, and can help younger skin with acne just as much as aging skin. I haven’t found another molecule quite like it.
5. What’s the difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD?
It all comes down to THC content. Full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC (<0.3%), whereas Broad Spectrum CBD has all of the THC removed leaving 0.0% THC.
6. As a certified Herbalist (swoon) we love how you increase the benefits and efficacy (i.e. the entourage effect) of CBD with plant Terpenes and Adaptogens. For our readers who might not know what those are, can you give us the Cliff Notes version?
First of all, terpenes are so underrated! They are the molecules responsible for a plant’s unique scent. Most people are familiar with essential oils. Terpenes are basically the building blocks of essential oils, so if you were to “dissect” lavender oil for instance, you’d find it is made up of primarily the terpenes linalool, linalyl acetate and limonene. Each terpene has unique characteristics and benefits, both physically and emotionally (through aromatherapy).
Adaptogens are plants that work to decrease the stress response in the body, or to help you “adapt” to stress. Think of them as little cortisol sponges. If your body is signaling for the inflammation response, whether it’s from hitting the gym too hard or working a 16-hour shift, adaptogens go in and signal to your body that all is well and extra cortisol is not needed.
7. What inspired you to create Fifth & Root, your own brand of CBD skin care?
Cannabis is such a beautiful, healing plant with so many skincare benefits and I wanted to create a brand rooted in science, one that went beyond just CBD to harness the plant’s magic in its entirety. From our use of the hemp root decoction to the ground stalks, the minor cannabinoids and terpenes, my goal was to bring the plant to life in the bottle.
8. We’re huge fans of Fifth & Root and use it every day. My skin is personally less stressed, smoother and I love the textures. In your mind, what makes Fifth & Root so unique?
First of all thanks so much! We formulated each product with the goal of raising your skin and body’s vibrations. Plants have the power to do this, so we infuse all of our products with as much plant goodness as possible! The combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, adaptogens, and proven plant actives help create effective products that feel good too.
9. As a woman helping other women, i.e. formulating our new No Drama Drops, you chose very specific lady-loving herbs, oils and adaptogens to compliment the benefits of 1500 mg of Full Spectrum CBD. What are some of these ingredients and how can they help women?
To start, the base oil has evening primrose oil added, which has been used for centuries to treat women's health issues. It contains the omega-6 fatty acids "linolenic acid (LA)" and "gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)", both of which have been shown to support overall hormone function and reduce PMS symptoms.
The signature herbal infusion is a blend of Chaste Tree, Raspberry Leaf, Ginger, and Holy Basil which are known in the herbal world as women’s allies. These work together to support healthy menstruation and overall reproductive health.
10. How did you make our tincture taste so amazing!??
I was actually inspired by the Lady Suite Instagram! It’s edgy and playful, yet soft and fem, and I was always drawn to the grapefruit imagery. I wanted to create a flavor that embodied all of that, so I used natural grapefruit flavoring and terpenes to give it a bright cheery taste without being overpowering.
11. Are there any CBD myths going around that you want to set the record straight on?
There is so much greenwashing going on right now! You’ll find products on the shelves that only have a tiny bit of hemp seed oil and use catchy slang words like “lit”, “kush”, or “high” which can trick you into thinking there is CBD in there. It’s important to know that hemp seed oil contains ZERO cannabinoids, so unless they tell you on the front how much CBD is in the bottle or they have CBD listed in the ingredients list, then it’s likely all marketing fluff.
12. Being that you are a chemist, can you give us any insight on how you test CBD for safety and what we should look for?
I always send out samples from every batch to a third-party testing lab where they look for the CBD content, heavy metals, and any residual solvents. Always look for a COA (certificate of analysis) when choosing a CBD product and make sure there aren’t any trace amounts of lead or solvents in there.
13. You don’t have to tell us everything, but being that you’re an incredible innovator, is there anything new you're playing with as far as additional ingredients or products?
Right now, I have my eye on the overlooked parts of the cannabis plant, specifically the minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, CBN and the flavonoids. If you look at what we call “superfoods”, they are usually a rainbow of colors. The flavonoids are the molecules responsible for a plants’ color so I think there could be some big potential there. There are two flavonoids unique to the cannabis plant which are already showing huge benefits for pain relief and healing.
14. Just because we have to ask, what do you think about vulva care? Is this something you practice?
Yes, and I think it’s amazing to see this movement happening right now! The time is long overdue that we break the taboo and stop fostering any feelings of shame, insecurity, or intimidation because that affects you on a subconscious level in other areas of your life as well.
15. Being that you are a chemist, can you give us any insight on how you test CBD for safety and what we should look for?
Lately, I have been loving a good new moon ritual! Taking a moment to light a candle, put on a good face mask, write down an intention, and just slow down for a moment has been transformative. The moon can act as a reminder and a tool for reflection which I enjoy.