Hello my dears. A while back, a woman named Shelby Wild reached out to me, wanting to introduce me to herself and her company Playa, conscious haircare inspired by a surf life, for that free and beautiful surfer babe hair. I was intrigued by Shelby’s story, a former NYC fashion stylist turned Venice based surfer & herbalist, and her intention with Playa, to create a haircare line for easy, carefree style using streamlined, non toxic products.
She sent me some products, which I enjoyed trying out and I wanted to know more…….She agreed to let me ask her some questions about her own hair journey and her brand journey as well, as I am feeling very compelled to share the experiences of others who take an Idea and turn it into a Reality because I feel like it helps inspire and elevate everyone who reads it to do the same on many different levels…..Taking steps towards creating the reality that we want to be living in. Fruition!
Here she is, Shelby Wild, and here is her story.
Where do you live and where did you grow up?
I live on the beach in Venice, CA and I grew up in a small costal town outside of New Orleans called Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Have you surfed your whole life?
Growing up I lived close to Florida and would surf recreationally, but the waves in the Gulf of Mexico aren’t that great. I really started surfing when I graduated high school. When I lived in New York I would surf in the summers at Ditch Plains in Montauk and would take one or two long trips to Costa Rica in the winters. I really began surfing frequently when I moved to Los Angeles. There is a great break in front of my house so I usually go out 3 times a week or so. My boyfriend and I are also building a small surf cabin at Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara, so we have been spending the weekends in the water there recently.
Tell me about your journey with your own hair? What is your weekly ritual?
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 (haha).
Wether 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 ill 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 what I am doing, this is my go to weekly hair routine.
How has surfing effected your own hair journey?
The idea or surfer girl hair or beach hair has become so popular, but I have never seen anyone get out of the water and have these blown out curls that you see all over Instagram and Youtube. When I created Playa, the idea was to replicate what your hair actually looks like after a day at the beach or surfing.
Additionally, the salt in the water (or chlorine if you are in a pool) really dries out your hair, so that influenced the creation of our Ritual Oil quite a bit. I put our oil all over my hair to protect any time I get in the water. It also contains lycopene which naturally helps with UV protection.
When did you realize that you wanted to create hair products?
It was something that happened organically over time. Since I was a child, I have always loved making things and that initially transpired to me working in fashion. To be honest, there is nothing more painful to me than having to sit inside an office all day and when my job inevitably became more corporate, I found that I really needed a creative outlet. I have also always loved beauty products and it was around this time that I opened my small new york apartment sized vanity and about 10 bottles of half used salt spray fell on top of me and spilled all over the floor. It was then that I asked myself why I a) had so many products and b) wasn’t using any of them. I then spent a few years trying to figure out what essential products women used on a daily basis and I set out to try to create (in my opinion) the best versions of them. That project eventually became Playa.
What was that process like for you?
It definitely wasn’t easy, and for a long time I was doing it on the side while I had the worst office job on the planet. For a few years I was working on Playa at night and on the weekends which was really tough. I went through about 7 chemists until I found our current formulator, and together we created about 20 variations of each product. You will inevitably have days where you question what you are doing, and these days are what really makes or breaks a startup. I truly love and believe in what we are creating with Playa, and that love got me through some of the hard times in the beginning. Now it has become such a big part of my life that it almost feels like a child of mine where I have created this thing, launched it, and now spend my days trying to nurture it to its fullest potential.
Tell me about your experience with herbalism?
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 and 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.
What are your favorite 3 ingredients used in the line and why?
Every Day Shampoo
Coco glucoside is a natural, non-ionic, surfactant that is ultra mild. This gives a light lather without stripping the hair like harmful detergents would.
Broccoli Seed Oil or Brassica Oleraceae contains a fatty acid profile that allows for excellent absorption while also offering significant film forming properties on the hair, resulting in a natural shine and smoothing of the hair cuticle. The amazing anti-oxidant profile makes it an easy substitute for harmful silicones, which are often found in hair oils.
Pure Dry Shampoo
The Rose Petal Powder in our dry shampoo absorbs oil at the root and due to its weight, shakes out on its own preventing the buildup you often experience. It also acts as an emollient, helping to keep your hair soft and shiny- like you actually did just wash it.
xo, Roxie Jane Hunt