With viral access to makeup and hair tutorials accompanied by ever-growing lists of products to try, it can be easy to find ourselves with an impressively large, though somewhat useless, collection of hair products collecting dust. Combine your shelved products with hour-long processes of blow-drying, straightening, and curling just to get those effortless locks and a hair routine can be quickly overwhelming. So, how do you meet in the middle? One adventurous soul understood this all too well and made it her goal to provide go-to products that make feeling good and looking good as effortless as possible. Meet Shelby Wild, the founder of Playa; an essential hair product line that fuses quality and au natural.
Playa features botanicals, natural oils, and clinically active ingredients that transform your hair into the look and feel you and your hair crave— without destroying its natural character. (For hair stylists big on the au naturale movement, hearing “sulfate free” is a game changer.)
This all stemmed from Wild’s love for the outdoors and connection with nature, yet the idea for a hair care line was actually conceptualized in the place opposite to these passions: in a Manhattan apartment. Wild realized two things while crammed into a limited living space: firstly, nature is where she felt most at peace and secondly, that she had way too many beauty products cluttering space she couldn’t afford to spare.
So, Wild moved back to her hometown of California to reconnect with her more natural roots grounded on the coast. It was her connection with the ocean that made Wild realize she desired a product to make her feel as free as the tides. And it was developing products that are just as natural as the ocean that were able to give her the feeling of freedom she first sought across the country.
With no set office, Playa is far from your average corporate company; taking constant walks and bike rides around SoCal for inspiration, Wild and her team make it their goal to transfer this laid back mindset and infuse it into their hair products. Instead of promoting toxic chemicals and a prep process that involves hours with a curling iron, they created go-to products and a compact daily routine that users can depend on. With Playa, users can strive to become the best versions of themselves by enhancing the natural texture of their hair — not destroying it.
Electrify sat down with Wild to discuss Playa and her “get-out-of-bed-and-go” motto that’s always in-season.
Have you found that there is a connection when it comes to using botanical-based beauty products, being more connected with nature in general, and feeling at peace with oneself?
I don’t necessarily correlate the two, but I do enjoy using botanicals in our products for safety and efficacy. I feel very much at peace in nature, and have taken elements that I find in my day-to-day life (southern California sea salt, star anise) and have introduced them into our formulations.
How does a devotion to a balanced lifestyle translate into the “feeling” one gets when using Playa products on their hair?
The goal with Playa was to give a get-out-of bed-and-go ease to the daily routine. The line is all about effortless beauty and being comfortable in your own skin. We want our products to make each person the best version of themselves by enhancing their natural texture instead of trying to use product to create a look that is a bit more unnatural. Our corporate culture is pretty laid back, we work from my porch and take long walks or bike rides around Venice whenever we need a bit of inspiration and I hope that when you use our products you feel a bit of that spirit.
Is there a specific moment in your life that made you realize you wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path?
I don’t do well in offices or regimented corporate environments and so I have naturally taken a more entrepreneurial path. I love having the time and space to create, and I realized in my early 20s that I would need to start my own company to truly be happy with my work life.
How did you decide that hair care was the specific route you wanted to take?
Since I was a child, I have always loved making things and that initially transpired to me working in fashion. 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 out 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.
Have you found that being able to physically feel the health of your hair due to use of natural products has a positive effect on confidence or inner beauty?
Definitely. I think any woman feels better and more confident when she is having a good hair day. With Playa, we just tried to bottle that so you could recreate the look on a daily basis.
Aside from treating your hair with natural products, what other steps do you take in your self-care routine that allow you to feel more free and connected with nature?
I have a small garden in Venice (California) and I generally eat with the seasons. I also like to take hikes in Topanga and surf whenever we have waves. I use natural skin care products and body brush in the shower to invigorate my skin and stimulate the lymphatic system. My friend Anna Zahn is a total beauty guru and whenever I need a pick-me-up, I will usually go over to her house for a treatment and to try out whatever new beauty tool she is testing that month. If you are ever in LA, I highly suggest going to Anna at Ricari Studios for a treatment, she’s the underground secret in Venice and LA.
There seems to be a stereotype that surrounds women who change up their hair when something drastic happens in their life. Do you resonate with the fact that a woman’s hair and its health are important to a woman’s feeling of self-empowerment?
I think confidence is a woman’s greatest asset and whatever way you wish to achieve that is awesome. I’ve gone through a few hair phases in my life, but I feel most myself when I let my hair be in its most natural state.
Do you have any tips or tricks for readers on how to take a deep breath and not let negative thought take over when life gets crazy?
Practice. Find a daily practice that grounds you and surround yourself with great friends that support and inspire. I meditate for 10 minutes every morning and take a class with Kyle or Sian at Love Yoga to relax. I also love what I am doing at Playa, and that work helps to ground me as well. Most of my friends in Venice work in freelance, so we will find times to get together during the day to work as a group which is really nice.
With Playa’s ability to embrace natural hair by using natural products, how are you able to translate this message into an overall push for self-love?
We live in a really interesting time, where beauty is constantly being benchmarked through social idea. With Playa we hope to instil a sense of self confidence and spread the message that you are beautiful just as you are.
All photos by Jenna Peffley