Shelby Wild, Founder of Playa
Category: Clean Luxury
Let’s paint a picture. Think never ending sun (save for a little marine layer), early morning surfers, beach cruisers, fun loving tourists and locals alike, mixed with eclectic Boardwalk-types. Wellness is more than an of-the-moment lifestyle add on, it’s akin to daily bread. Adaptogens, farm-to-table ingredients, and craft coffee rules. Yoga is the past time of choice. And then there’s Abbot Kinney with its boutique shops, up and coming pop ups, and iconic brick and mortars offering a new blueprint for retail.
Shelby Wild started Playa against this creative, laid back cool of Venice Beach. Playa is a highly curated haircare line that favors botanicals over parabens, and where safety and performance parallel play – something that totally gets our Clean Luxury stamp of approval. We interviewed Shelby to get the lowdown on the line, her daily routine, and her steps to declutter your life.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW THAT HAS INFLUENCED PLAYA?
My father is a scientist and I have loved science and chemistry since I was a child. As I grew I became really interested in organic foods, yoga, and Ayurveda. I studied yoga when I lived in New York and when I moved to California I began to study herbalism. With Playa I wanted to make products that worked for everyone, and we did this by balancing science and nature, clinical and botanical ingredients. Studying the medicinal and therapeutic properties of plants was incredibly beneficial when formulating our products, as it allowed me to determine which botanicals we could use to replace the more toxic synthetics you usually find in salon products. It also allowed for enough knowledge to determine how far botanicals would take us with performance, and when we needed to supplement the products with safer clinicals.
YOU TALK ABOUT SEEKING OUT SIMPLICITY WHEN YOU MOVED TO LOS ANGELES. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO SIMPLIFY THEIRS? WHERE SHOULD THEY START?
Great question. I think this is something that is very personal, and differs from person to person. I am happiest when I am in nature and have space to think. When I was living in New York and working in fashion, things were fast paced and I didn’t have much time to leave the city. After a while I realized that I wasn’t being true to myself and started to feel really burned out. This was when I decided that I needed to make a change in my life in order to be truly happy. When I moved to Venice I really paired things down to the necessities which was incredibly freeing.
I would start by creating awareness and trying to identify the root cause of what isn’t right in your life. Change is scary, though it is inevitable and something humans cannot control. Learning to let go and trusting your decision is important and having a good support group can be really helpful. Also, I think creating value through “things” in your life can be dangerous. I found that when I let go of this idea that I needed to look or dress a certain way, I became exponentially happier.
“I realized early in to the process that if I wanted to create hair products that performed as well as the salon based products, that I would need to use clinical ingredients. The process was then deciding what was safe and what was not, and how these ingredients worked together and if they were stable.”
WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO BE MINDFUL ABOUT THE FORMULATION OF EACH PRODUCT?
I care about my body and what I put in to it and when I began developing this line, I wanted to create products that were truly thoughtful. I wanted the formulations to actually work, but I also wanted them to be safe for the consumer. When I began digging into the formulations of products I had used previously it was incredibly eye opening. For example, when you introduce water into any formulation, it is impossible for a product to be 100% organic – yet many companies still claim this.
I wanted our shampoo to be the beautiful amber color you so often see, and realized many companies were using dyes to achieve this without claiming it. So I realized early in to the process that if I wanted to create hair products that performed as well as the salon based products, that I would need to use clinical ingredients. The process was then deciding what was safe and what was not, and how these ingredients worked together and if they were stable. You see so many unstable natural and organic products which contradict the idea of them being better for you – most of these can’t maintain a shelf life because they do not contain any preservative elements. In turn, these become even worse for you than the so-called toxic brands. Throughout this process, I realized the key to developing this line was to maintain a sense of balance.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TWO OF THE PLAYA PRODUCTS AND WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THEM?
In lieu of SLS, a chemical detergent, we use a harm-free cleansing agent that’s derived from coconuts. Instead of stripping the hair with a detergent based shampoo, the small bubbles in our formula work to detoxify strands by binding to dirt and oil and rinsing out. This helps to maintain the natural moisture balance of the scalp, leading to healthier and more manageable hair over time.
“Studying the medicinal and therapeutic properties of plants was incredibly beneficial when formulating our products, as it allowed me to determine which botanicals we could use to replace the more toxic synthetics you usually find in salon products.”
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO BEAUTY AND HAIR CARE ROUTINE?
I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair, which ultimately is why I created Playa.
Most days I either exercise or am in the water so I generally need to wash my hair every day. I also just hate to feel dirty. I use our Supernatural Conditioner (after shampooing) 3 days a week. On these days I take a long bath, apply about two quarters of Supernatural Conditioner all over, put my hair in a bun, and chill out for about 20 minutes. I may or may not attempt to apply a face mask…
Whether I am washing or washing/conditioning I will next towel dry, apply our Ritual Oil, then spray about 15 pumps of Endless Summer Spray all over my hair and mess it up with my fingertips. If I am at home for another 30 minutes I’ll wait for my hair to air dry then spray our Pure Dry Shampoo on the roots. My hair is very fine so I find this to be the step that really transforms the look without having to do much work. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, this is my go to weekly hair routine.
For skin, I scrub my face in the shower with Dr Lancer polish, apply Juice Beauty Organic Treatment Oil, and use RMS makeup exclusively. If I am in the sun I replace the treatment oil with Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum. Most nights before bed I cover my entire body in Desert Essence Jojoba Oil – you wake up with the most incredible glow!
Most importantly, I drink a lot of water, avoid processed foods, and try to find healthy outlets for stress (riding my bike, massage, yoga, etc.)
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE VENICE SPOTS?
Erewhon Market: My go-to lunch spot, and where I do most of my grocery shopping. They also have an amazing breakfast burrito that I eat on the weekends after surfing.
Gjusta: I love having coffee dates and long meetings here. Their courtyard is incredibly relaxing.
My Garden: Where I grow all of my kale, lettuce, tomatoes, and get chicken eggs for breakfast!
General Store: Their clothing and home accessories are on point.
The Beach: I love the beach in front of my house, and this is where I spend most of my time. We live towards the end of the peninsula and it still feels very quiet and untouched.
LASTLY, WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
7:30am: Wake Up. I’ll make coffee with coconut milk and sit outside on my balcony looking at the ocean.
8am: I’ll answer any important emails, and work on product formulations.
1pm: Ride my bike to Erewhon for lunch.
2pm: Meetings at Gjusta or Zinque.
4pm: Return home and work through content production.
6pm: Yoga at Love Yoga or MDR Pilates.
7:30pm: Make dinner from our garden harvest. Unless I am going out, I will usually just eat vegetables and light grains during the week.
9:30pm: I’ll have Tulsi Rose tea in bed while reading a book, the news, or finish responding to any outstanding emails.
FOR MORE VISIT: PLAYA
All images courtesy of Playa.