The bath has always been a special place for Hannah Bronfman. As a young girl, the native New Yorker would climb into the tub every morning before school while her mother sang a familiar tune, and over the years, her childhood ritual has continued, providing a necessary source of respite and relaxation for the now-32-year-old health and wellness expert, author, and entrepreneur. But as the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have taken hold in recent months, bringing a new wave of anxiety and uncertainty to American life, her baths have proven more important than ever. They’ve become a safe space for Bronfman, a sanctuary to reflect on current happenings and briefly escape the heaviness of it all. Above all else, though, her love of baths and the newfound significance they’ve had in her life served as the inspiration behind Bronfman’s first-ever self-care product: a CBD bath bomb in collaboration with Highline Wellness.
Found in everything from cocktails to skincare, CBD has largely become the ‘it’ ingredient over the last few years, with celebrities, health aficionados, and consumers all swearing by its abilities. But while the rest of the world has caught wind of CBD’s powers only recently, Bronfman has been a fan for over a decade. “I feel like I’ve been a part of the cannabis arena for a long time,” she says. “My brother works in the medical cannabis space and has for the last 15 years. So, CBD was introduced to me really like 10 years ago, alongside some other isolates, and I’m a big proponent of changing the stigma around the different properties of marijuana, including CBD.”
Over time, and particularly as improved technologies have made it more mainstream, Bronfman has used CBD in a variety of formats and to treat numerous concerns. In the beginning, she mostly encountered the ingredient in the form of tinctures and salves, but now that it’s been so readily embraced by brands across many industries, CBD has forged its way into her life through moisturizers, serums, sprays, and gummies. “We’re now seeing some of the most renowned brands in the world using it and really elevating its properties,” the wellness expert notes. “So, it’s been really amazing watching the evolution and seeing so many people embrace it.”
As both a long-time spectator of the cannabis industry and an avid consumer of the isolate, Bronfman watched as CBD began infiltrating nearly every corner of health and wellness and wondered where it might go next and how she could get involved. A multi-hyphenate to the extreme, she was at the time focused on writing her first book, continuing her angel investing, and growing her website, HBFIT, but her CBD dreams remained at the back of her mind. Facing a hectic schedule and seemingly endless deliverables, Bronfman once again returned to the place she felt most at ease. But as she slid into her bath for the umpteenth time, ready to clear her mind and disappear into a concoction of bubbles, salts, and essential oils, she was struck with an idea. While CBD was newly ubiquitous to skincare, there was nothing yet on the market specifically for baths, and Bronfman was determined to change that.
“I actually like fully R&D’ed this product almost three years ago,” she recalls. “I really wanted to put out a CBD bath bomb, but I really didn’t have finances or the manufactures, and I really just didn’t have the time.” After creating a few different formulations and trying some prototypes, Bronfman ultimately decided that it was a great idea but bad timing and shelved the idea while she turned her attention to more pressing pursuits.
In early 2019, however, she was introduced to Highline Wellness and its founder, Chris Roth. “We originally met through one of my friends who was an advisor to the brand, and I really fell in love with their products after I tried a few things that they sent me home with after our meeting,” Bronfman says. She really enjoyed the conversation and asked what Highline’s product trajectory was like the next time they spoke. “They told me everything they were planning, but there was nothing really in the bath space,” she remembers. “So, I said, ‘Just throwing it out there, but I am obsessed with this idea of putting out a CBD bath bomb.’”
Bronfman explained the idea and shared the working ingredient list she’d created years earlier, and the brand loved it. “It was clear how passionate she was about wellness and specifically the bath bomb,” Roth says. “For us, it was a no-brainer—Hannah represents everything we look for in partners. She has a true connection with her community, she’s a thought-leader in the wellness industry, and most importantly, she uses her platform to do good.”
Bronfman and Highline Wellness both knew from the get-go how necessary this product was. “CBD is definitely one of those ingredients that I think can be a cure-all,” the author and entrepreneur says. “But one of the reasons I really love the bath bomb is that it disintegrates into the water as your pores are being opened by the warmth, so you’re really getting the full benefit of it delivered to your skin as opposed to like a topical cream or serum of sorts.”
Although always slated to launch in June 2020, the bath bomb has taken on new form as the world has responded to the spread of Covid-19 and to the murder of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter movement. “Everyone’s anxiety is through the roof right now, and I feel like we’ve gone through so many different waves of emotions since the pandemic began,” Bronfman says. She thinks that at first, there was fear and uncertainty; no one knew what to expect from the virus, how dangerous it was, or how quarantine would impact their day-to-day lives. Then, as the death toll began mounting, it became what Bronfman calls “an anxiety pandemic.” After that, it seemed like people were actually getting the hang of quarantine, easing into their new routines and feeling less stressed. But just as comfort was starting to return, tragedy struck when a horrific video surfaced showing George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minnesota police. “We were hit with just the most triggering content we’ve ever seen—at least, for this generation,” she says. “So, here we are with a whole new cycle of emotions.”
As the daughter of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., a white, Jewish businessman and the former heir to Seagram, and Sherri Brewer, a Black actress, Hannah has had a particularly unique experience of the anti-racism awakening that’s unfolded over the last month. “I’m a Black woman, who grew up in a privileged lifestyle. I went to predominantly white schools and have worked in a predominantly white industry, so I know what it’s like to be the odd person out, whether it’s at school, at a dinner party, in a board room, or trying to raise money,” she explains. “But at the same time, I’m also realizing that a lot of my white friends and especially their parents didn’t necessarily see me like as a Black woman but rather just one of their kids’ friends, and that’s been a really interesting kind of awakening for me.”
In many ways, Bronfman believes that being mixed race has actually given her two different perspectives. As both Black and Jewish, a fairly rare combination, she feels that her identity has allowed her to see both struggles. “The Jews have struggled, Blacks have struggled, and I actually felt both of those traumas at a really young age—but I feel like one was resolved, and one hasn’t been,” Bronfman says. “The way that Jews have been able to rally together and kind of demand this acknowledgement and reparation is something that almost makes it a little frustrating to see what is now happening to Black people and what has been happening to Black people because there hasn’t been the rally or blatant understanding there.”
As she has listened to and taken part in a new dialogue about race, both with her family and friends and on a more global scale, Bronfman has, like so many of us, found it a bit overwhelming at times. “I try not to be on my phone first thing in the morning, and I try to do something that makes me feel good, but I’ll be in like a moment of calm, and then I open my phone, and I’m immediately triggered,” she says. “So, I cry, and then after I cry, I get angry, and after I get angry, I have to find my moment of calm again, and it’s just this cycle that keeps happening over and over.” Bronfman is happy these conversations are happening and that people around the world are starting to think about their own shortcomings and what they can do differently, but as important as doing this work is, she knows how sad and heavy it can be. “I think so many people are watching and feeling really upset and sad and angry, and I think it’s hard to focus on your work, on tasks at hand, on raising your kids, on just being present,” she says. “It’s just really difficult right now.”
But Bronfman has found solace in her bathtub. “I try to have a bath at least three times a week because that’s when I feel grounded, safe, and relaxed, and I can do some reflection in that moment,” she explains. “We’re in this really crazy time right now, when emotions really are so fragile, and self-care is a big part of taking care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically.” Between the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, Bronfman was a little nervous about putting out a product right now, let alone one that can easily be seen as an indulgent purchase, but she knew that the bath bomb really could help people feel better.
“The whole launch took a new role because of the pandemic and because of the Black Lives Matter movement and just the fragility and vulnerability we’re all experiencing right now,” the wellness expert says, and with that in mind, she and Highline Wellness have come up with a few ways to give back. “This product is really a pick-me-up for people, and being someone who receives a lot of gifting from brands, I felt it was really important to not just give those with Instagram followings this product for free, especially when there are so many people who really need a pick-me-up right now—whether that’s frontline workers, single parents, or people who’ve lost their jobs.” Accordingly, the brand is gifting 100 bath bombs to Black women and men who have been affected by the pandemic and by racial injustice. They will also partner with a yet-to-be-determined Black-specific foundation, which will facilitate gifting to its community on a continued basis.
In addition to the 10% of every Highline sale that is already benefitting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Civil Liberties Union, the Equal Justice Initiative, and CampaignZero, 25% of the proceeds from bath bomb sales during the next month will also be donated to these organizations. “I care, I know other people care, and I almost think it makes a purchase more worth-while knowing that your dollars are going to be going to organizations who need it,” Bronfman says. “Emotions are running so high right now, and the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have brought a lot of what we know into question, but I stand by the fact that this product really can help people feel better, and I’m happy to do be doing my part in that.”
The Highline Wellness x HBFIT CBD Bath Bomb is available in a three-pack (300mg) for $35 or in a one-pack (100mg) for $15.