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Meet the Maker: Energetic Hair Care with Under Luna

An interview with Carly Castillo, the founder of cult-favorite hair care line Under Luna. Discover why she started Under Luna, her emphasis on conscious sourcing + in-house extracts, and bringing forth creations from the heart.

Let me begin by saying, I am so grateful to interview you, Carly! I am such a fan and honored to have the opportunity…thank you! So, I’d love to dive right in and discuss how Under Luna got its start. What did the journey look like that brought you to embark on creating your phenomenal line?

A small seed of creativity, passion and, unfortunately, a lot of frustration were planted in me in late 2014 to build my own shampoo and conditioner. Unable to find natural hair products that were in fact natural and effective, I was determined to create my own. A product that is completely natural, healing, nutrient dense without sacrificing the lather and luxurious feel that commercial shampoos and conditioners have (without the scary chemicals) is the ultimate, right?!

I decided to strip down current commercial "formulas" and build them back up from scratch using the teachings and rituals of Ayurvedic and Native American cultures. I looked to these cultures for guidance, studied and did some cold hard investigating on their original use of herbs, oils, and rituals for hair care. I entered into the world of herbalism and quickly got sucked in. After months and months...which turned into a year of working and reworking it, I was led to my first few products: Warrior Shampoo, Revive Conditioner + Luna Love Conditioner. It became a line of products I made solely for my family and friends.

Soon after, it became more than just a passion project after realizing I wasn’t the only one struggling to find these products, so it needed a name. Under Luna was born in 2016 and shortly after another seed was planted, this time in the form of a baby girl who fittingly is named Luna, the creator, inspiration, and planter of the original seed.

You source herbs directly from small farmers and farms, which gets me so excited! How did you come about sourcing this way, and why is this kind of sourcing vital to not only the vibrancy of the final product you create, but also for the health of Mother Earth?

The way the earth is treated, the soil, farming, all of it is really critical especially at this time for the health of the earth. Whenever I purchase herbs/ ingredients for myself personally or for Under Luna products that is always factored in. If I can help support the farmers who are doing it with heart, intention and are also supporting the earth by farming, harvesting with care then the decision is made. There’s a palpable difference in these herbs too raising the quality of these final products.

Under Luna products coalesce an abundance of nutrient-rich extracts that you create in-house. How exciting! How do you create these extracts and why did you decide to create them in-house?

Getting into herbalism, I had to get my hands dirty and start working with these herbs, creating extracts and experimenting with different blends to get to the formulas I use now. After making batch after batch of these extracts and knowing exactly what I could expect from each, I just never stopped making them in-house. This way too I can control the quality of the glycerin I use in each as well as the herbs and ratios.  
Talk to me more about Warrior Shampoo. It has pretty much gained cult status, and has countless reviews detailing how it has helped with scalp issues when no other hair care products have made a difference. What inspired you to create it, and what plant magic makes it so special?

To be honest, after reading a number of books that focused on traditional herbs from the native American culture, I kept coming across a few that just struck a chord in me. Warrior shampoo was originally just a shampoo I wanted to make to keep for myself and at that time the herbs were according to my needs. I was transitioning from not so loving hair care products so I needed balance, hydration and heal on going scalp issues so from there I chose the herbs that I still use today to make warrior shampoo what it is. It contains white willow bark, chamomile flowers, yarrow flowers and horsetail. It’s a powerful blend of herbs that have so many healing benefits for the scalp, helps calm irritations, hydrates and strengthens due to the high amount of natural silica found in horsetail.
You seem really intentional about and mindful of how your creations can contribute to honoring the earth. How does sustainability + integrity get infused into Under Luna on a daily basis?

These products are powered by plants and so the herbs and oils I use are the integrity of this line. Selecting the best suppliers with the best quality is so important. Not only that finding those farmers that are extracting, foraging, distilling herbs in a way that is sustainable is always important. Especially with essential oils, I’m very sensitive to this because so much plant material is used to create essential oils. I work with a distiller that I really love and they are very mindful of the plants, not over harvesting and also distilling in the original old-fashion way with copper pots underground (fascinating process) that also really honors that plant.

In addition, our glass bottles, our eco packaging everything is a serious decision and I really try to make sure every area, every detail is in alignment to be supportive of our earth.
What’s one of the most exciting parts about owning your own business? What’s one of the most challenging?

The most exciting of course is watching these creations that once were being made in a tiny kitchen aid are now being shipped around the world and loved by so many! The most challenging is this is still a small business so I’m literally wearing every single hat you can imagine while juggling being a mom and a wife. The balance act is definitely the most challenging.

Along your Under Luna journey, what’s one thing of which you are super proud – both as a human being and as a business owner?

I’m really proud of the process that led me to these products. People ask me all the time how I created these products and what that process looked like. To be honest, I went down a crazy rabbit hole that I can’t explain. It was near out of body experience because I was so determined with such little resources, but I buried myself in books, research and ingredients. There was an inner knowing I was onto something and I think back now how I could have given up on this overwhelming project so many times, but I was listening to my intuition. I really relied on my inner knowing and followed this path that I believe was already laid out for me. That entire process really strengthened my trust with myself that I had never really relied on before, not in this way. I made a leap into this business that I’m not sure I would have if it was all about being logical and business minded about it. Listening to my intuition is what let me to create these specific products, create a business and build something I can be so proud of.  
What is one product from your beautiful line that you’ll never be without?

Warrior shampoo!! My favorite.
What are some healthy beauty + wellness creations you love to use that are created by other makers?

Ohh to keep the list somewhat short? The creations I’m currently using are all made by wonderful, amazing women that have inspired me in so many ways. pAra Botanica’s Haima Skin Dew (so good!), Heart of Gold – too many to name, her ingredients are next level, H is for Love’s Rapha, Wildcare’s Rosemary + Bay hydrosol. These ladies are so intentional about the ingredients they use, they pour their love into each products and you and your skin can without a doubt feel it.
And, finally, what does consciously crafted mean to you, Carly?

There is intentionality behind the creation. We are all energy and energy is put into everything that we make. Being conscious of that and how you use your energy changes the product. With that, I try to be in a mentally good and calm space each time I make these products because I know there is a transfer of that. Behind me are the suppliers, farmers, distillers I’ve chosen to use for these ingredients. There are layers and layers of craftsmanship and intentionality in each bottle.