M Picaut on lessons learned launching its first CBD product in 2023
How hard can it be to develop a CBD product in 2023? Trickier than you may think, just ask Mette Picaut.
13 Sep 2023

Mette Picaut is the founder and CEO of skincare brand M Picaut, based on the Swedish west coast and launched in 2010.

— The most challenging was that, in the beginning, everyone is like petting you on your shoulder like a little kitten, saying how brave you are and that ’this is so great’, she says. Then, after some time, the kitten is not as cute anymore. That’s when the hard work starts, when you have to prove something. When I met men in my own age, they always wanted to help me, rescue me, saying that they could invest — ’because you won’t do this yourself’… That anger was really healthy. It made me start to study business school instead and work much harder than I was supposed to do, which was challenging. That middle part, when you’re just the brand but you can’t really afford to produce a lot of things that you want to do and you have to do everything yourself, is tough. And then, you come over that, and when I could employ my first skin therapist everything was starting to change. Today we have four of them, full time.

And a healthy business.

— Yeah. And when you have the language, I can always talk to a banker with a banker’s word. Now, it’s easier.

M Picaut just launched Galactic Glow CBD Moisturizer, inspired by the glow from The Milky Way and a product that was challenging to develop in more than way.

— I have a teenage daughter who’s using a lot of metallic and glittery products but since I’m 56, I can’t really use them. So, I decided to make something that was just like the skies and the stars; not too much, but still very beautiful and pleasant for the mature women, says Picaut. She continues:

— For the key ingredients, I love sea buckthorn — it’s like an ingredient with ingredients inside with so many active parts. That is one of the key actives. And Scandinavian people has a harsh environment. It’s very cold and it’s very warm inside. So I’m always looking for something that’s calms the skin and build the barrier and here, it’s the beta-glucans. Pentavitin is an ECOCERT product from France and when you put on the skin, you can’t wash it away. It’s lasting for 72 hours, binding with the carotenoids, which makes it very powerful as a moisturizer. 

— I have MS, multiple sclerosis, so during the last years, I’ve tried a lot of ways to get better. I didn’t find CBD oils very beneficial. But when I looked at it for the skin, I thought it was interesting, so I decided to find a way that was as safe as possible. In Sweden, we’re very restrictive when it comes to Swedish Medical Products Agency, so I had a close contact with them. The lab in the Swedish factory actually also got a little scared when I mentioned CBD so I had to calm them as well, making them very involved in the project.

— It’s picked from the hemp oil and is both calming and antiinflammatory. This is also hopefully not something that is going to be forbidden. I always try to think very long term with everything I do. It’s like you’re building a house — you don’t want to put it down in a couple of years. So, I’m like an architect in the skincare industry, building something nice and long lasting.

What can you say about your contact with the authorities and how they look upon CBD as an ingredient?

— It made me think about the cowboys in the end of the 19th century that went to dig gold in the US. It’s like a wild, wild west. And it’s such a big topic for them, in Sweden and in the European Union, and they don’t know where to start. Since we belong to EU, the Swedish authorities are waiting for the EU to act, so therefore, it’s hard to get some limits (of the CBD dose, Ed’s note). So I made this in my Swedish way, which is the careful way — also because of my long term thinking. I then tried something that had a very high dose of CBD from some Danish company, and I got pimples. So, I suppose this is like everything else — a higher dose doesn’t have to be better for the skin.

— We have a client in Berlin and they were really happy to get the product. But another really nice one, in San Francisco, said no, so it depends on what part of the States that you’re in. It might be because they also have a web shop, so when it comes to export, it’s been a little shaky up and down, Picaut concludes.

If we look at 2024, what ingredients are you the most curious of?

— That’s a tricky one! I usually try not to be the first one with everything, because I was trained as a nurse and when you go to the university, you really want to see proof first. There’s so much marketing and stuff — I’m looking at what goes on and then I’m trying to try myself and read about it. It’s a bit of a slow process.

You look at hundreds of ingredients and then you end up with sea buckthorn.

— Exactly!