“This is really the only ‘me time’ I get,” says Olivia Wilde, our founding activist, of her True Botanicals ritual. “The fact that the products feel so deluxe and smell so incredible really makes the whole experience feel more therapeutic,” she adds, “for my skin and soul, you know?” And that precious “me time” is well-earned, after a whirlwind year that included a much-acclaimed directorial debut. Here, she catches us up on her clean beauty journey, how motherhood made her better at her job, and what she learned from her new role behind the camera.
When I was pregnant with Otis and trying to really clean up my routine, I asked around for product recommendations—friends, makeup artists, etc. What I really struggled with was finding stuff that was natural but that also worked. Then, several friends brought True Botanicals to my attention. The Pure Radiance Oil was the first thing I tried—and I was immediately blown away by how it made my skin glow, like I suddenly had my own personal lighting crew. After reading about the third-party clinical trials and the Made Safe certification, and I knew I had stumbled across a real unicorn of a brand.
Forgive me for sounding cliche, but knowledge is power: Once you know that conventional products are laden with health-disrupting chemicals, you can’t unknow it. And that’s when real change happens, when we start voting with our dollars, when we start prioritizing our well-being, and when companies start making better choices for us and the planet. I, for one, didn’t realize just how unsafe and unregulated beauty products were until I was pregnant. I think it’s the case for many women that we don’t consider how our skin absorbs all these toxins until we’re responsible for growing another human. I wish I had known sooner.
I had already done the whole “face of a brand” thing, and I had zero desire to do that again—it didn’t feel authentic or aligned with my personal beliefs. When I came across True Botanicals, I was sort of like—okay, if I were to ever dream up a beauty brand, this would be it. I’m not a spokesperson. I am committed to the mission of this brand, and I’m pushing a movement, not a product.
When I came across True Botanicals, I was sort of like—okay, if I were to ever dream up a beauty brand, this would be it. I’m not a spokesperson. I am committed to the mission of this brand, and I’m pushing a movement, not a product.
We are more than we give ourselves credit for—and can surprise ourselves with a “there’s more where that came from” moment. For a long time, I put off my goal of directing because I felt like, “oh well, I didn’t go to film school. I don’t have the right training.” And then I finally got over it and quickly realized that my decade-plus life as an actor was all I needed. Every day on a set led me to my turn as a director. It made me realize, a little more fully, how every experience—even ones that you dismiss as inconsequential in the moment— teach you something very valuable about yourself and your abilities.
Using the bathroom alone is a rare luxury. That and motherhood has been the greatest gift to me as an actor and director—you think you understand empathy, and you think you can imagine yourself as someone else. And then you have a kid: Your heart expands to the size of your entire body, the selflessness just sort of knocks you over, and your ability to channel another human being becomes way more natural.
Given my passion for nontoxic beauty, my friends ask me a lot about overhauling their own routines. And, of course I try and recommend the right True Botanicals products for them. But the other thing I say is to take baby steps. I think the thought of throwing everything in your bathroom out—aside from being bad for the environment—is incredibly overwhelming for most people, and can actually paralyze you into just not making a change at all because the effort seems too great. Listen: You don’t have to be perfect. Find one product that you love that is good for you and for the environment, and give it time to make a difference in your skin. Then go little by little—finish another product, find a clean replacement. It’s much less daunting this way.
This isn’t exactly advice—it’s more like a realization I had. I’ve always dealt with breakout-prone skin, and I viewed skincare as a means to fix a problem—to destroy breakouts. I would smother my breakouts with chemicals and harsh treatments. Now I view skincare as a way to support skin health. When you come from a place of caring instead of destroying, in skincare and in life, the results are much more positive and satisfying.
When it comes to the products she uses: Expect better. Demand better. You deserve better. Otherwise, no advice. I just want to show her with my actions and love every day that she’s the most wondrous creature in the world. Beauty is something you get to define for yourself.
Being uncompromisingly yourself.