How Wildcare's Ethically Crafted Skincare Was Born Organically
As we've proven in the past, we have both a long-stemming love affair with beauty products, and a desire to live more sustainably (spoiler: the cosmetics industry is positively rampant with toxicity). That's why Wildcare recently caught our attention. The Ventura-based brand was started by former chef and organic restaurant manager Cortney Herrera — who was also raised amid a landscape that sparked her interests in botanicals early on.
A few years after its start, Wildcare is still carefully crafted in Cortney's Ventura home using ingredients from her own garden. The only difference is that now it's earned a following, a fact proven by well-respected retailers like CAP Beauty, Sonomama, and Individual Medley stocking its popular hydrosols, face masks, and face and body oils (personally we can't stop obsessing over the brand's Soft Focus Coconut Milk Face Mask, which smells delightfully tropical, and the soothing Rosemary + Bay Hydrosol). We ventured to Ventura to visit Cortney's home lab and learn more about the woman behind Wildcare, including her early explorations into the beauty world and what she loves about being so hands-on.
What's your earliest beauty memory?
My sisters and I grew up with the influence of solid skincare rituals from our mom, who worked as a makeup artist for film and television. We would concoct foot soaks and face masks using pine needles and flower petals we would collect on afternoon walks. Every night before bed my mom would ask if we used our lip balm, washed our face, and used cold cream. These are funny memories that have always stuck with me.
Growing up in Ventura, were you always drawn to botanicals?
I’ve always had a strong connection to the natural world. Growing up in California and Wisconsin, I was introduced to two very distinct ecosystems at a young age: sandy beach and dense forest. I remember when we first got to the midwest being fascinated by trees often saying to my mom as a little girl “it’s too green here!” It was an amazing shock to me. I started to do self-initiated studies of patterns in nature, photographing every teeny tiny curve and shape inside of a single leaf and was always happily distracted by plants: the look, feel, and what you can create with them.
You make the products yourself in Ventura; what do you love about being so hands-on?
I can’t see it any other way. Wildcare is a direct extension of this passion and craft flowing through my hands. Being present to hear the whistles and whirs of the copper still as the water turns to vapor and then condenses into hydrosol is magical. The scent of the first few drops emerging is something that inspires me every time and is always unqiue. I feel that to be hands on and see how we’re thriving is a direct reflection of the passion that goes into making every item.
What's your current beauty routine?
My routine starts with drinking a tall glass of lemon water in the morning, then washing my face. I use a gentle plant-based cleanser in the morning (I love Botnia’s), and a cream cleanser at night (Earth Tonics is my go-to). If I find time in the morning, I do a quick face massage with either my brass facial massager or a jade roller (normally kept in the fridge so it’s nice and cold, as it helps with dark circles). A few mists of Lemon Light or Empress Cypress Hydrosols are my morning picks to wake me up with bright citrusy scents. Then, I pat on our Wild Melon Facial Oil, and if needed on extra windy or chilly days, a cream layered on top. I lock in the moisture with another spritz of hydrosol to finish the routine and voila!
What are you other favorite forms of self-care?
Besides gardening and outdoor exploration, I connect so strongly with bathing rituals. Magnesium baths are my favorite, usually with a dash of an organic essential oil like lavender or rose and a splash of hydrosol. I do love rotating between our face masks every week for balance too! Anything that gets me to slow down, breathe deep and treat myself with gentle kindness.
Lastly, if you were recommending things to do and see in Ventura for a quick LA getaway, what would you tell us not to miss?
Breathing the clean ocean air is a must in this little beach town. Slowly, Ventura is starting to shift and we are seeing great transformations in the city for cleaner food and stronger community. Harvest is the current organic restaurant in Ventura and is a great place to stop for my favorite, their buckwheat pancakes! There’s great thrifting around town too, but most often you’ll find us at the Saturday farmers market each week sampling citrus and berries.