Just as a wildling thrives in its natural habitat, this LA-based wellness brand hopes to inspire every human to feel wild and natural, especially in their skin.
These days, it seems you can’t scroll through Instagram without seeing a video of someone dragging a piece of stone over their of-course-luminous face. To the uninitiated, the practice is called “gua sha” and chances are pretty high that the person doing the dragging is Britta Plug, esthetician and holistic health practitioner extraordinaire (or one of her disciples) and the stone she’s using is from Wildling, a new-ish collection of “self-loving” beauty products. Along with herbalist Jill Munson and acupuncturist Dianna De La Torre, Plug co-founded the line with long-term skin health in mind.
Below, Munson, La Torre and Plug talk wild-harvested ingredients, lymph and all things gua sha.
Let’s start at the beginning: How did Wildling Beauty come to be? Jill, Britta, Gianna — what’s your ‘meet cute’ story? Where does the name ‘Wildling’ come from?
Jill and Britta met at a gua sha workshop where Britta was teaching in L.A. Jill approached Britta after the workshop, praising the technique, and asked if she’d ever thought about designing a tool and lymph-activating products. The rest was history. Britta is the holistic aesthetician, Gianna the acupuncturist, and Jill is the product formulator and herbalist.
We looked to nature to name the brand. A wildling is any plant that grows in the wild. Many of our ingredients are wild-harvested and part of our mission is to harness the healing power of nature in our products. Just as a wildling thrives in its natural habitat, we hope our offerings inspire every human to feel wild and natural, especially in their skin.
How do the Empress Tonic, Oil, and Stone work together?
These products comprise the only facial gua sha system available. Step one is the Empress Tonic: it contains sweet fern, one of the most lymph activating plants on the planet. It also preps your skin for gua sha by delivering deep hydration.
Step two is the Empress Oil. We searched ancient texts for some of the time-tested plants for beauty [and found that] balm of Gilead has been used for thousands of years for glowing skin. Its warming properties assist the gua sha ritual by circulating qi and blood, resulting in plumped and toned skin.
Step three is gua sha with the Empress Stone, made from Bian, which was created when a meteor struck a mountain in China. The therapeutic use of this stone predates acupuncture!
How did you land on this specific blend of ingredients for the Tonic and Oil?
The Empress Tonic and Oil were both formulated following traditional herbal methods using fresh, whole, wild and organic plants. Each plant within the Tonic and Oil was specifically chosen for its skin and anti-aging properties and, most importantly, for its ability to clear the lymphatics and energize blood circulation, the things that make gua sha so effective. The Empress Tonic and Oil are the only products on the market specifically formulated for facial gua sha. They are powerful, healing blends, encapsulating true plant magic.
“Green, sustainable and wild.” Why are these three things so important to Wildling?
Our mission is to bring ancient rituals to the modern human so they may rediscover a form of beauty that is healthy, sustainable and wild. We invite our customers to restore their connection to nature through fresh, wild-harvested products. We also empower them with knowledge: gua sha gives you the power to glow in the palm of your hand.
We live in a culture that is often disconnected from nature. Even within the green beauty community, not all products are created equal so we strive for the highest quality possible. Our ingredients are picked for peak potency and extracted on the spot, sometimes at the first light of day. We don’t use essential oils because they are hard on the environment (and sometimes the skin); it takes so many plants to create one drop of essential oil. When we created Wildling, we felt it had to also be sustainable. We are unwilling to compromise on this.
For the uninitiated…what is gua sha? Can anyone practice it as a self-care ritual? Where do I start? How do I know if it’s working? What if I’m doing it wrong?!
Gua sha literally translates as “scraping” and is a healing modality originating 4,000 years ago in China. A stone glides over oiled skin to move qi, blood and lymph. It releases stagnation from the tissues to restore vitality and flow. Think of dragging the bottom of a lake: it stirs the silt up to the surface. That is what happens in the tissues of the skin.
You’ll know it’s working because you’ll look better instantly! The Empress Ritual lifts, sculpts, tones, and brightens the skin. The main risk of doing it wrong is doing it too hard — not great for the delicate skin of the face! If you’re overdoing it, you can cause bruising and we obviously don’t want that. Luckily, Wildling is also an education brand. We have countless tutorials on how to do the Empress Ritual correctly and release new tutorials every Tuesday. We want everyone to feel empowered and confident to try gua sha.
What’s the best way to use the Empress Stone?
We created an angle for every part of your face. The U edge hugs bony structures like the jaw, cheekbone, brow bone, and spine. The comb edge is activating and works on flat surfaces of the face like the neck, cheeks, and forehead to lift. The short edge is perfect for sculpting under the eye and the long, curved edge buffs the face for a smooth finish.
Why is lymphatic drainage so key to the well-being of our body systems?
Lymphatic fluid doesn’t move itself; it’s propelled by the movement of our bodies. When there is proper lymphatic flow, the immune system is optimized, your body detoxifies impurities effectively, and it also ensures proper circulation to the muscles and tissues of the body.
What does “beauty” mean to you?
Beauty radiates from within and is a byproduct of overall health and well-being.
What inspires you every day?
We are inspired by nature, by self-care, and by self-love. If everyone took a little more time for themselves, we’d all benefit as a species.
What’s the single most important thing someone can do for the health of their skin?
Drink water, get enough sleep, and do plenty of gua sha!