The luxury, non-toxic skin care movement is well underway and at the forefront is May Lindstrom Skin. While many brands are popping up with the sole hope of appealing to newly conscious beauty buyers with money to spend, May, brings forth her products with a powerful (almost spiritual) truth. If vain-ultra-health-consciousness and pretension are on one end of the spectrum, then – May Lindstrom, beauty as the celebration of women and a connection to mother earth are on the other. We chatted with the founder about her organic skin care line on – why simple is better, ingredients, her favorite spas in LA and how she keeps her skin glowing.
Tell me about the ingredients in your organic skin care products.
“Spices, clays, salts and honey are common foundational threads that weave between my formulas… I’m not one to follow trends or grab onto the ingredient of the moment. I utilize ingredients that have a strong history, that I know I will be able to ethically source for years to come, that will be of superior quality with little risk of dilution or adulteration (common, particularly with exotic oils) and that will truly change skin. Sometimes a new trial will begin with an ingredient that has me enamored (which was the case with blue tansy and ultimately became the star of The Blue Cocoon). Other times, it’s to address a particular skin concern (acne, eczema, painful inflammation, etc), or to fill a gap that feels apparent in the ritual I present (The Honey Mud was born as a super gentle, nourishing cleanser to compliment and balance the powerful stimulation and exfoliation of The Clean Dirt).”
What was the process of bringing your brand to fruition?
“I began dreaming of the concept for May Lindstrom Skin in May of 2009, while refining the first four formulas that had been in the works for nearly three years. My website quietly launched introducing The Clean Dirt, The Problem Solver, The Good Stuff and The Youth Dew over the week of Thanksgiving 2011 and in January of 2012, the entirety of my packaging was finally and the first pre-orders were shipped out. On July 31st of 2012, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. The following morning, I launched with my very first retail partner!
“I worked out of my very small home studio with my darling daughter Talia at my breast in a sling as I blended products and filled bottles for shipment for the first nineteen months of her life, entirely solo. I finally moved the business out of my home and into our Los Angeles studio in February of 2014, and hired my first three employees that same week. My tiny dream became real. Last February, we knocked down a wall, and took over the space next door. Today, we sat down to lunch together in the studio and I looked around realizing there are now a dozen of us. My little family is growing, and I could not be more proud or delighted.”
What was the biggest struggle you overcame bringing your line to life?
“It’s a challenge to balance the responsibility of nourishing a quickly growing business, while simultaneously giving what is needed of myself to my own family – my dear husband, sweet daughter and all our animals (we have chickens, a pig, a dog and a cat!). I’m pregnant now with my second child, and know that the challenge will continue. It’s vital for me to remember that I chose this, and that I keep choosing it every day. If I need something to shift, it’s my responsibility to determine what that is, and how to do that in a way that is still true to both my company, my family and myself.”
What did your experiences modeling teach you about skin care?
“I learned that my own skin is not something I can compromise. I have the kind of complexion that is so sensitive and reactive that one application of the wrong product will leave me covered in blisters and rashes, or a terrible breakout. Not having a voice to say ‘No’ to the products used on me as a model was one of the biggest reasons I happily closed that career door. At the end of the day, my health is too important and I wanted to share a different message with the voice I was given.”
What does your skin care routine look like?
“I begin my mornings in the shower, brightening my skin with gentle exfoliation with The Clean Dirt. The spicy and exotic aroma wakes up my senses and gives the most incredible start to my day. I follow with The Youth Dew, layered with The Blue Cocoon, for incomparable glow and health. The Youth Dew provides graceful aging protection, a host of antioxidant superpowers and balancing moisture. The Blue Cocoon eliminates all redness and sensitivity, heals and deeply hydrates and calms both skin and spirit effortlessly. It’s also my favorite treatment for eyes and lips of all time. Then before I exit the shower, I massage The Good Stuff over every inch of my skin and even a few drops through my hair. It’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever found in a bottle. I call this my “fabric-free lingerie”. After exiting the shower, I mist my face, neck and décolleté generously with The Jasmine Garden, and then go about my day.
“In the evenings, I love to wind down with a bath. I wear The Honey Mud as a masque (it doubles as a cleanser) into the water, allowing the heat and steam to further activate the raw honey enzymes and infuse moisture into my skin. This is a wonderful treat to rotate with the powerfully effective and warming superhero – The Problem Solver. I try to make time for a full treatment with The Problem Solver once or twice a week.”
I didn’t have any big connections in this world, investors, or any extra power moves that were super special. I had me, and a dream.
Number one beauty tip and DIY?
“The most important tip – simply make time. This is for YOU, and there is no one more important than that. This moment is yours. Claim it. Cherish it. And watch yourself transform. And my go-to DIY: A hot bath, salty as the sea, and pure raw honey blended with a bit of cinnamon, slathered thick from forehead to breasts… simple, and life-changing.”
Do you have a favorite spa?
“I’m a total addict for traditional Korean Spas; they are inexpensive, functional and not the least bit fluffy and fancy. $20 gets you in from morning until late night, and most serve super yummy Korean food (I can live on spicy tofu stew and their soothing seaweed soups) so you really can stay all day. I’ve been going to Olympic Spa in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. They have killer shiatsu massage and the traditional, super aggressive and amazing Akasuri Scrub. I recently started frequenting Hugh Spa as it’s a bit quieter and darker (a plus). They are known for their V Steam treatments. I haven’t tried this yet, but have friends who swear by these treatments to help them with painful periods. Also in Los Angeles is Willow Spa. I love this little sanctuary and their Enzyme Bath is a must-try. Developed in Japan for Olympic athletes, this is a dry bath that consists of a combination of finely cut wood shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. You are buried up to your neck in this stuff, and it gets HOT. You feel like a flower bulb, waiting to bloom. It’s amazing.”
What’s one powerful experience that has led you to where you are today?
“My country girl upbringing has largely shaped my foundational roots. I was born at home, and home was a literal red barn on eighty acres of forest and daisies. We were an hour from town, and that town’s population was a whopping total of 800 people. I was raised on very little money, but with much attention to our planet and our relationship to it – growing our food, trading with neighbors, altering life dramatically with the change of seasons. I am deeply infused with this past, and it shapes how I form my future as well as how I view today.”
As a working mother, what advice would you give to other women out there who are juggling work, motherhood, family, etc?
“I will admit this is an ongoing challenge for me, an incredibly important one. My days are intensely busy and are spent working long hours personally filling bottles, mailing packages, discovering new ingredients and playing with future blends for the line. I love what I do, so it’s hard to leave my studio at the wrap of the day, and at the same time, I can’t get home to my sweet little girl soon enough. I often feel like I didn’t have quite enough bandwidth to give my all to my daughter, my husband, the pile of emails from clients and stockists. I’m often a step behind and mildly overwhelmed, but I do my best to breathe through it, to actively count each and every blessing and to treasure the miracle that is this life.”
What advice would you give to young women out there starting their own venture?
“Advice is tricky. All I know is what I did – leapt, full force. You really have to start from the heart, pour all of yourself into it, and fall in love with the process. It’s from this organic and centered place that the magic comes, and will naturally lead you to a place where an income is possible. There are a bajillion beautiful small scale brands that eventually fail. You have to be willing to do it anyways. I didn’t have any big connections in this world, investors, or any extra power moves that were super special. I had me, and a dream. No marketing, no PR, no sales team. I made something that was good, and did all I could to share it authentically. It resonated, and touched who it was supposed to. And it grew, as organically as the ingredients I used. There was a good amount of luck and great timing, but more than that was the intention that shone through and couldn’t be overlooked.”
-as told to BOND EN AVANT
Photographs provided by May Lindstrom