April 11, 2016
Settle in for a truly magical read: Cortney is the founder of Wildcare, the energetic skin care line rooted in a commitment to sustainably wildcraft plants, and free from toxins and fillers– it naturally radiates, like you, from deep within. We are honored to offer their body oil, hydrosols, and clay mask in our clean + curated SHOP GOOD. She has an otherworldly relationship with nature, and we are in awe of the symbiosis she has found in the Earth and conscious consumption. When she and her husband aren’t exploring California and healing through plants, she is building a business that’s caught the eye of spiritual junkies and Vogue alike. Dive into her mystical world and connect deeper to nature; you’ll be grateful for this passage to a higher-vibrational life.
1. Can you share your story of how Wildcare was birthed?
My sisters and I grew up with the heavy influence of good skin care rituals from our mom who worked previously as a makeup artist for film & tv. We would regularly concoct experimental foot soaks and face masks using pine needles and flowers we would collect on afternoon walks. These special memories have always stayed with me and continue to inspire me. With formal training in both Culinary Arts and Herbal Medicine, I have discovered through my seemingly separate studies that there has always been a special relationship between healing with food and plants. Something that came up in an herbalism internship was learning “what grows together goes together”. Seeing which plants decided to grow side by side in my backyard in California, led me to intuitively craft my first Wildcare product, “The Skin Soother” Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol ! I spent a year doing personal, playful and conscientious experimentation with my first copper Alembic, creating hydrosols for family and friends with what grew in my backyard. It was my first aha moment – I felt like a magician. The process of watching a distillation take place and seeing the effects that this hydrosol has on the skin is transformative.
2. What sparked your passion for plants, and what is it about plants that you find so special?
I have always had a keen eye for noticing patterns and details in nature. My childhood was in California and Wisconsin, and I remember going to the midwest and being surrounded by the spooky woods in awe after living on the beach for years. Noticing the differences of land and seasons was life-changing. More recently, I’ve gotten into gardening, watching plant babies grow from a tiny seed into something that with the right care and support, thrives and supports you right back. Perfect symbiosis!
My older sister, Ash, is an herbalist and chef, continually inspires me to think how the plants we are surrounded by can help us — and to remember the value of plant identification for the times we need to rely on them. It’s brilliant to remember that we basically live amongst everything we need. We don’t need to consume chemical-laden beauty and food.
3. Why are hydrosols such a powerful part of a self-care routine?
Hydrosol distillation is an ancient modality of healing, cross-culturally used for the past 2,000 years and onwards! How magnificent to study ancient healing rituals and their correlations to more contemporary self-care routines. Through the intelligent use of earth grown materials, we are grounding and realigning ourselves back to our core selves.
4. Would you share your favorite uses of hydrosols?
The first time I healed my own eczema using our Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol was something so powerful, I knew I needed to share it. In Wildcare’s second month of being “open” I had received 3 emails from people expressing their gratitude for finally having clear skin. One person used Ojai White Sage Hydrosol for their breakouts, one used Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol for their Psoriasis, and one used Lemon Light Hydrosol for acne and scarring. It is truly magical! Why else would hydro-distillation be a thing for thousands of years in multiple cultures? The continual use of hydrosols can effectively heal and care for skin, and I am humbled in this immense craft.
5. How has your gut intuition played a role in starting Wildcare?
Many decisions I make are directly correlated to the specific guidance I receive in my dreams. Wildcare began first as a dream. About 2 years ago, I dreamt I was filling hundreds of little amber bottles with an aromatic clear liquid in my kitchen. Flash forward to earlier this year – I had an order for 100 Lavender Hydrosols and experienced major deja vu – I was already there ! Upon re-reading my past dreams in my journal and finding that one, I knew I was doing something right. Intuition continues to be a significant guiding force in my life and leads me through all sorts of adventures. Through my products, photography, and stories, I hope to inspire others to playfully explore their own intuitive ways.
6. What does your morning routine look like? What does your bedtime ritual look like?
My routine starts with drinking a tall glass of lemon water, then washing my face. Depending on my mood, I use a gentle face cleanser, either the unscented cleanser by Grateful Body or a special unscented coconut milk soap from our friends at Midnight Collective. If I find time in the morning, I do a quick face massage with a jade roller (normally kept in the fridge so it’s nice and cold, as it helps with dark circles). A few mists of Western Red Cedar Hydrosol wakes me up with a soft, bright citrusy scent. Then, I pat on our Wild Melon Facial Oil. I lock in the moisture with a spritz of our Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol to keep my eczema at bay (pun intended!) .
My nighttime routine is almost exactly the same, except some days if I need more moisture I use Wild Melon as a serum, layered underneath a rich cream followed with a spritz of our Purple Majesty Lavender Hydrosol for sweet dreams.
7. What do you foresee for the clean skincare movement in the next 3 years?
My hope for the clean beauty movement is that it inspires us to lead more educated lifestyles, using ingredients that are natural and primarily organic – no fillers, and consuming food similarly. I hope this “movement” sheds light on the value of choosing companies with ethics that align with our own.
8. What has been your greatest challenge in building your business? What has been the most rewarding?
It was pretty intimidating taking the leap of becoming a small-business owner, harnessing my specific vision, and 6 months later jumping into a full-time, life-time commitment! But– the biggest challenges for me thus far have transformed into the biggest rewards. Being integrated in people’s personal self-care routines is a humble honor, and I love to hear people’s accounts of their own healing and refining. As the business grows, I grow, and continue to be present, staying focused in my clear vision for Wildcare.
9. What big plans and goals do you have for Wildcare for the future? Perhaps product expansion, or distribution expansion, etc?First off – we just officially expanded our product line for the first time since we opened in November! We’ve added a new face mask to the table, and this one is quite different than the typical detoxifying clay masks. SOFT FOCUS is a velvety smooth Coconut Milk Mask with Pearl and Pineapple Extract. It is deliciously rich and replenishing. Aside from SOFT FOCUS, I am continually experimenting with distilling native plants from some of my favorite adventures in this region – check back this fall for one of my favorites to be released!10. What is your favorite healing, whole food meal to make?
The transition from winter to spring makes me want to move slowly and be extra nourished and energized by my food. I’m starting my mornings with an amaranth porridge with homemade dandelion and basil pesto, a handful of arugula from our garden, and a fried egg on top – finished with a little local pink peppercorn salt. I’ve had this 6 days in a row!
11. What is the most important thing you’ve learned about being a female entrepreneur?
As a new business owner, becoming educated in all aspects of Wildcare is essential for my thorough involvement and managing of the business. It is challenging for me to switch gears from delving into a basket of velvety sage leaves to delving into my accounting and taxes. I used to say “I’m just not good at math,” now, I just take the time to re-learn those areas to understand what I’m doing. Taking free webinar classes have taught me a lot! Having the confidence to stand up for my own choices and follow my gut leads me to a stronger envisioning of Wildcare.
12. Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration is vast, but off the top of my head comes most directly from the diverse west-coast landscape that surrounds my husband, Alejandro and I. He and I started a weekly adventure tradition many years ago. We set up a radius on a map and with our eyes closed, point and go. These explorations are profoundly stimulating and they allow us a designated time to reset, think clearly, be patient, and continue to be surprised by the world we are already surrounded by. The Ojai mountains dotted with White Sage, the fragrant jasmine vines in our neighborhood, all of it.
13. How do you live the Good Life?
Currently practicing “happy mind, happy skin”. Eating organic & whole foods, maintaining a consistent creative practice including photography, dancing, drawing, exploring, and balancing myself by working outside as much as I work inside.