Words by Kelsey Tidball | Photo by Sierra Pedro
Hemp products have a wide range of beauty benefits. Two Oregon-based companies, Wild Grace and Oregon Hemp Works, specialize in the rejuvenating aspects of the versatile plant. We talked to these businesses to find out what goes into making hemp-based beauty products.
Wild Grace is a Eugene beauty company that focuses on sustainable, plant-based beauty products. Katie, the owner of Wild Grace, has spent her life dabbling in the ways of the apothecary. As a little girl, she experimented with the herbs in her family’s herb garden under the guidance of her uncle. He revealed to her that before pharmaceutical medicines became the norm, physicians used plants and herbs just like the ones she played with in the garden to cure all sorts of ills. She would grind them up and mix them together, noting their unique smells, colors and shapes. Katie was always looking to learn more about plants and what they can do for modern medicine and health.
“When I was in college, I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression,” Katie said. “I was looking for a really holistic way to increase my physical and emotional health rather than taking pills, and I think plants can really help complement our self-care.”
Today, Katie uses those same holistic principles to create beauty and skincare products at Wild Grace that are made from all-natural, plant-based ingredients. Many are made with hemp oil and other hemp products and are formulated for a variety of afflictions, including dry or oily skin, inflammation and sensitivity.
Years ago, Katie swore off of harsh, chemical-based cosmetics, realizing just how harmful they can be to body and spirit. However, she also struggled with finding natural skincare products that were right for her lifestyle and for her skin. She kept trying new brands and they kept coming up short.
“I knew there must have been a better way,” Katie said. So, she decided to put her apothecary skills to good use and started to formulate her own products.
“In the process of crafting my own skincare,” Katie says on her website, “the question in the back of my mind was, ‘Why recreate all the products already on the shelf?’” The conclusion that Katie came to was, “the world doesn’t need another version of the same face cream, even if it is ‘all natural.” From that, Wild Grace was born.
Wild Grace offers products such as Fir and Myrtle Gentle Cleansing Milk, which is made from white rose, douglas fir, sunflower and jojoba oils, hemp seed, coconut oil soap and rosemary extract. It is designed to nourish and stimulate dull, dry skin. They offer organic face masks, such as the Rosy Cheeks Exfoliating Mask, the Pumpkin Enzyme Corrective Mask and the Ondine Purifying Mask. They also offer facial creams and serums that are designed for oily skin, dehydrated skin, combination skin and damaged skin.
For Katie, skincare is a ritual. She offers collections of products that are meant to be paired in order to optimize her customers’ experience. She believes that skincare and self-care are deeply connected, and Wild Grace products are designed to encourage responsible, guilt-free, natural “me time.”
Being involved in the company is extremely important to Katie, so each of her products has been designed and formulated by hand. She says she has so many ideas for new products, she often finds it difficult to rein in her creativity and limit Wild Grace’s production; however, she understands the importance of keeping the company small, staying true to her brand and perfecting her products.
“I want to just keep going,” she said. “I love being able to employ local people and offer jobs and a livable wage. I am really excited about the company’s organic, steady growth.”
Wild Grace products are available on her website, www.wildgrace.me, and can also be purchased at local farmers markets and events where she is often found selling alongside her fiance, the proprietor of a local hemp-based printing company, and their friends at Little Bees Candle Co.
Oregon Hemp Works
Oregon Hemp Works is an Oregon-based beauty company that does things a little differently. The company was founded in 2010 by Benjamin Christensen, who was inspired to make soap by the movie Fight Club. Yes, you read that correctly. That scene where Brad Pitt holds that horrible hazing ritual and burns Edward Norton’s arm with lye? That was the inspiration for Oregon Hemp Works. But don’t worry, their soaps will not cause intense chemical burns.
In fact, Oregon Hemp Works soaps are 100% vegan, 100% non-GMO, made without dyes, parabens, BPA or artificial ingredients and scented with essential oils rather than unnatural fragrances or perfumes. And the best part? Each bar is only $6.50.
In addition to soap, Oregon Hemp Works also makes massage oil, deodorant and soap specially formulated for bathing dogs. Their products are created with a deep love for the hemp plant and its benefits, both for consumers and for the planet. Benjamin hopes that, unlike the depiction in Fight Club, hemp and hemp products can inspire genuine curiosity, open mindedness and widespread wellness. Oregon Hemp Works products can be found online at www.oregonhempworks.com.