Who was inspired by the recent post on May Lindstrom’s products? I’m still feel a rush of pleasure and joy whenever I hold those bottles in my hands, or rub their contents into my skin. I really hope the collection will soon be made available in Finland.
Thanks to our collaboration on this blog, I was given an opportunity to interview May. I am posting the interview in English, to avoid things getting lost in translation. Some things just can’t be translated, you know?
Reading May’s responses had me close to tears. The words resonate with me, and indeed May’s philosophy of beauty could just as well have been penned by me. So, good ladies, be inspired and enjoy!
What is your background? What have you studied and where have you worked before creating your own skincare brand?
I have been formulating since I was a small girl. This was my play, in the way that other children choose dolls or toys, I chose plants and dirt and oils. I was always captivated by working with ingredients in their raw form, transforming these simple things into potions of beauty. I had every intention of becoming a chef. Working with food has always been a passion and such a strong instinct to me. Somewhere along the line, I became distracted and found myself working as a model for over a decade, taking a time-out from professional kitchens. As wonderful as that chapter was, I knew that my heart was not in a career build in front of the camera. I began to explore again what my core values are and that led me back to formulation and the creation of this line.
What is the philosophy behind the brand?
This line was born out of a desire to create blissful bookends in my day, a time-out morning and night that was just for me. Having formulated for years out of necessity (I am blessed with highly sensitive and chemically reactive skin), I yearned to create something that was simply luxurious and lovely. My foundation in purity and simplicity is solid, but it was time for me to embrace playfulness and beauty in my potions. I wanted to feel something when I picked up a bottle and entered my cleansing ritual. I wanted to feel peace, joy and celebration all in that one moment. And I wanted to share that with every woman I loved and cared about so she could feel this too. I believe our skin has the ability to heal itself if we let it. It is our responsibility to provide abundant nutrition and hydration and to be gentle in our care. By limiting our exposure to harsh chemicals and extreme treatments, we open up to gentler methods. I build each of my products on the same philosophy and ingredients that have been treasured and shared by women all over the world since the beginning of time. I trust in earth’s bounty and the wisdom of those who came before me. I invite you to create the time and space for the personal connection you deserve with yourself. This action alone will transform you.
Have you ever had problems with your skin?
My skin has been a battleground since childhood. During my career as model, this was exacerbated to a new level. Keeping my complexion clear and healthy was definitely a struggle. I have the kind of skin that breaks out in rashes and hives, that blisters on contact with certainly synthetic ingredients, particularly preservatives. Being covered day in and day out with mainstream cosmetics was a nightmare. The more I worked, the worse my skin would be. I had to schedule regular periods of rest for my skin in order to maintain any kind of balance – not always the easiest thing to do in such an industry. During pregnancy, my eczema flared up and only The Blue Cocoon could help. I still work to keep hormonal acne at bay, but as long as I am consistent in my self care ritual, my skin is the best it has ever been.
Where and how the products are made? Do I really understand right that you don’t have a lab and you’re doing everything by yourself?
Our entire collection is made by hand in our private studio. There is no outside lab or factory. We are a very small team. Up until the beginning of this year I worked fully alone – creating the formulas, blending and filling each and every bottle, handwriting a personal note for each order and sending out each beautiful package for shipment across the globe. I have help now, and am so incredibly grateful. We are like family here, each of us pouring love into these bottles as we share stories and grow together. I am very blessed.
How do you select your ingredients? Where does your knowledge come from?
I purchase raw ingredients in their fresh and active state from a very small handful of suppliers who work directly with farms from all over the world. With the plant ingredients especially, this is incredibly important. It is imperative to fill each and every bottle with the most vibrant raw materials possible. That sometimes means a lot of searching and alternating areas of the world I source from for each ingredient as seasons fluctuate and certain crops are more or less abundant. I select only ingredients that are organic, bio-dynamic, wild crafted, cruelty free, sustainable and conscious. I create my own proprietary formulas. No outsourcing – this means I do not purchase base formulas, use labs, generics or shortcuts. I promise to deliver powerful action, uncompromising purity and maximum efficacy without parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, artificial dyes, fragrances or carcinogens.
My highly concentrated formulas do not contain fillers. Each and every ingredient is chosen with intention and sourced at the peak of its harvest’s potency to deliver exquisite results. The best ingredients are not necessarily the most rare or exotic, or the ones that have had millions of dollars spent to develop them synthetically. More often than not, I kept coming back to the materials that have been used all throughout the world since documentation on beauty rituals began – clays, salts, plants. For me, proper skincare is about restoring balance. Don’t do too much, keep it simple. We need to allow our skin the space to heal itself. I have a strong background in food and formulate much in the way that a chef designs his or her recipes. I combine a learned knowledge of the characteristics of certain plants and minerals with an intuitive response to how these ingredients blend together, creating aromas and textures and reactions that are lovely for the skin and inspiring for the self.
What makes your products specific and effective? What is the magic in them?
My formulations are not magic, it’s better than that. The changes you will see in your skin over time will not be a temporary illusion. My goal is always to restore your own natural balance, bring health to your skin and illuminate your individual beauty.
What is it like to run your own skincare business?
Chaotic and beautiful. Each day is a challenge – I am learning so much. About business, about myself, about my team. I am reminded constantly to step back and look at my own life and my own relationship to my skin and self. I’ve learned that I have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and it’s not always easy. I am always behind on emails and all kinds of correspondance, I get home late each day and never have as many hours with my sweet husband and darling daughter as I would like, I constantly feel ten steps behind. But I also feel on fire in the best possible way. I am full of life, and rich with passion for what I do and the world I am building.
What has been your star moment with May Lindstrom skincare?
I’m not sure that has been just one moment I can pinpoint. Every day feels like a win, and an opportunity to grow and learn and bring joy to someone. When I sit to check my emails and the inbox is flooded with the kind of testimonials that literally bring my own husband to tears, I know I am exactly where I need to be. My star moment is right now.
How about the future? Are you planning to create more products? What is the biggest dream with your brand?
I have many dreams for the future. One of the most rewarding elements of my days comes with being able to add new members to my team as we grow. It is an incredible gift to be able to facilitate the making of this family. Over the coming years, I definitely plan to continue creating formulas, slowly adding new special treats to the main collection and even more fun things as limited edition. I also want to expand on what this lifestyle is about, and provide tools to enhance your ritual at home far beyond what I can offer in a skincare bottle. My imagination spins with ideas and I cannot wait for them to all rise to the top in their own time.
What would your advice be to people who is dreaming to run own business some day?
Dream big. Surround yourself with people who make you fearless, and are there to support you in the days that are difficult, and who will celebrate each small win alongside you. Pay attention to you heart, and develop your team and core values around that.
What makes you happy?
The gift of this life. Our time here in these bodies is so short and precious. I try to remember that consciously and to really be in the moment. It is a challenge, but one of the greatest joys to touch on what that really feels like. Nothing is more beautiful than the kisses from my baby girl, the warm embrace of my husband, the love beamed at me from our dog, kittens and pig. My family is my heart and soul, what gives me life each day.
All photos May Lindstrom Skin