“I’m from Simi Valley, California, a suburb of LA. I’ve been acting since I was five—I was so young it didn’t matter what I was doing, it could have been gymnastics. I just wanted to try something. But I loved going to acting classes—I learned a lot more about myself than I did about acting. [Laughs] At a very young age, I got to express myself emotionally, to self-critique, and to self-analyze.
If I wasn’t an actress, I’d probably do something with food. Finding seeds, planting seeds, watching them grow, harvesting the fruits, cooking the fruits, eating them, seeing how my body reacts, and even digesting. I’m fascinated with the entire process. I would open a place like Moon Juice and have an elixir bar where people could come in and say, ‘My tooth aches,’ or, ‘I have a sinus infection,’ and I would be able to help them. I’ve been an avid environmentalist since high school, and through that, I learned about agriculture, and about how corrupt the food system is in America. It’s disgusting. I thought, 'Well, if this is unhealthy, and that is unhealthy, and if organics are depleting the soil just as much as GMO crops are, what can I do?' I started studying the lifestyles of indigenous cultures, and through that, herbalism. That empowered me to make my own beauty products—how could I make my own lotion with medicinal properties?
For example, clay is one of the best things you can put in your body. One of my friends was making a clay toothpaste that you swallow instead of spit out. But I first heard about the benefits of eating clay from a taxi driver. He was African and was saying that, where he’s from, the women eat clay when they’re pregnant. Seriously—ask your taxi drivers where they are from and about their customs. You will learn a lot. So, I've discovered that clay is great for you because your body doesn’t absorb it, and it apparently provides a negative charge, so it bonds to negative isotopes. And, this is crazy: it also helps clean heavy metals out of your body. My friend starting eating it and the next day she called me and said, ‘Dude, my shit smells like metal.’ She was really worried, but we did some research together and everything said that when you first start eating clay, your bowel movements, pee, and even you, yourself, will smell like metal. You should obviously be careful about your source. Bentonite clay is good, but Mountain Rose Herbs has a great clay source. I get all of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, too.
I love a natural way to heal. You can do something called ‘oil pulling’ where you swish coconut or sesame oil in your mouth when you wake up and spit it out. It’s amazing! It really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth. I prefer sesame oil, but they’re both good. Another thing I like to do is give my vagina a little vitamin D. [Laughs] I was reading an article written by an herbalist I studied about yeast infections and other genital issues. She said there’s nothing better than vitamin D. If you’re feeling depleted, go in the sun for an hour and see how much energy you get. Or, if you live in a place that has heavy winters, when the sun finally comes out, spread your legs and get some sunshine. [Laughs]
On my skin, I keep everything very natural, too. I use Sea Buckthorn from Living Libations to take my makeup off at night and to moisturize my face. The company is based in Canada and they have the highest-integrity products that I have ever found. Everything is next-level, beyond pure. They source essential oils and all of their ingredients from small farmers who are treated well. Even the way they ship is mindful—they have a zero-emission standard. They also make some amazing dark chocolate.
For makeup, I use products from 100% Pure. RMS products are too oily for me. 100% Pure makes my skin feel better, and it comes off so easily. They have every single makeup product that you could want. Everything is amazing except the mascara, which doesn’t really work. Day-to-day, though, I don’t wear makeup at all.
I will get my makeup done for appearances and events. For me, to show up to something like Live with Kelly and Michael with Converse on and no makeup would be disrespectful. They’re dressed up; it’s their territory. I think there is something to be said about switching up old paradigms, but you have to turn the wheels slowly. You have to pick and choose where you are going to represent you and the things you keep sacred, and then there are the things you have to do for the public, for Kelly and Michael, and for the Oscars. I respect the establishment, but I don’t sacrifice my own integrity. I wouldn’t wear fake eyelashes or crazy extensions. It’s always me—just maybe the public, pretty-in-a-Cinderella-dress me.
Hair-wise, I’m very lucky. My mom is 45 and she doesn’t have a single grey hair on her head. It’s the most beautiful, thick, strawberry blond. I basically have horse hair. It’s so low-maintenance. The less I put in it, the better. When it was long, I used shampoo from Living Libations, but now it’s really short. I only shampoo it like once a month—the oilier, the better.”
—as told to ITG
Shailene Woodley photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on March 12, 2014.