Tuesday, 30 June 2015

May Lindstrom at Content



I often feel very grateful for the fact that I live in London (well occasionally I do wish I lived on a coast in South of France, you know grass is always greener and all that), on this particular Saturday, there was no other city I wanted to be. Central London was extremely busy as there was a very festive London pride parade taking place, I and several other green beauty enthusiasts however were tucked away in a quieter Bulstrode street, for a much more intimate affair. Content beauty and wellbeing had a very special guest, May Lindstrom.

In my eagerness and desire to snag a good spot, I arrived seriously early, which gave me time to have a look at some newly arrived goodies from other brands, and witness Imelda setting the scene with gorgeous empty bottles from the line filled with flowers and mood uplifting crystals. May had some seriously bad luck while travelling, starting with witnessing Paris taxi riots and severe delays when coming from Italy. She arrived a little late with all her luggage in tow, looking absolutely glowing, if I did not see it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that she came straight from the airport.


To begin with, May started talking about her line and how she uses it. She is very animated when she talks, with some hand waving involved, immediately it was obvious that all the pretty crystals weren't going to last very long. Here I am looking at one of the most graceful put together women I have come across, placing the pretty decorations to one side, while saying that she is not very graceful. I immediately felt a lot of respect for how sure of herself she was, it was not said in any away of false modesty or self criticism, just stated as a matter of fact, that if things were going to stay how they are, those items would just get knocked down and it is best to find another place for them.

The first product that she spoke about was Honey Mud. This is her chosen cleanser for the everyday and one that doubles up as a mask. May also suggests using it in the shower (this happens to be my favourite way of using it) to protect your skin from hot water, the steam and moisture in the bathroom will also activate honey in the mask as it is a humectant, and you will get an even more therapeutic effect from the mask. As the rest of her line, this product was designed to delight your senses and make you feel pampered, as well as making your skin look and feel wonderful. May confesses to selfishly designing the range for herself. She has always had very sensitive and reactive skin, to the point that while shopping and brushing up against different fabrics while in the store, she is likely to come away covered in rash like blisters because of the dyes and protective chemicals used on the clothes. All the products therefore have been made to help her skin find its healthy optimum and calm it down after being exposed to the elements.

Clean dirt she uses about three times a week in the shower to give her skin a really deep clean. How often you can use it really would depend on how tolerant your skin is, some people can use it everyday, for others it is a once a week type of affair. There is a way to make Clean dirt a little gentler and that is mixing it with coconut oil prior to applying (a little coconut oil, tea spoon of clean dirt and a drop of water all mixed together). Jumping on ahead towards the end of the evening, when everyone was a having a more informal discussion with May, you could mix clean dirt with any oil that works for you if you have a coconut oil sensitivity. Also mixing it with blue cocoon makes a lovely spa like treat.



Next stop is The Problem solver. I get the impression that this is May's favourite product, she gets so excited when talking about it. It was put together on the premises that inflamed skin needs cooling, and the heat in the spices will provide a cooling effect. This is very counter intuitive and May gives an example of hot countries where people eat spicy food to help their bodies keep themselves cool. How much heat from the mask you will experience will vary greatly from person to person, and even on the way your skin is feeling at the time. May finds she feels most heat when her skin is stressed, and when it is looking good the effect is not as strong. The mask was designed to work in stages, it starts of neutral, gets hotter and hotter, and then back to neutral. You are meant to keep it on for some time, however, even if you wash it off after 5 minutes once you started to feel the heat, it already did some of the good it was created for, you just won't get the full effect (it does provide you with more options, as it means you can use it even if you are in a rush). May also likes to mix honey mud and problem solver together for a more moisturising mask.

Moving on to the Youth Dew. May feels that moisturising is the most important part of a routine, this oil has been created to sort of do it all. It has Coq10 that has been scientifically proven to fight wrinkles, and while this fact and the name of the product may lead you to believe that the product is for mature skin, it is actually really good for acne prone skin too. The bright orange colour is thanks to sea buckthorn that is rich in beta carotene, your natural sun protection booster.

Blue cocoon is the second moisturising product in the line, specifically made to calm skin and your senses. May mentions that when her daughter gets particularly overexcited, she reaches for the jar of Blue cocoon and the scent immediately calms her down. While it is described as a balm, it doesn't actually have any waxes which is normally what makes a balm, mix of oils and waxes. Blue cocoon is more of a solid oil for oily skin (I feel like I can make a suggestion with a description here, this product is effectively a face butter). She also uses it is as an eye cream. May often combines Youth Dew and blue cocoon together, using blue cocoon around the eyes and mouth and Youth dew on the rest of her face. While she openly acknowledges that this product is expensive, if used sparingly it can last a long time, she even gives examples of clients who buy a jar to share between six people (I can only imagine what sort of fight there is over who gets to keep the pretty jar). May herself on the other hand is quiet liberal in her application of this blue goodness, she admits to spreading it thicker than anyone she knows, I guess it is an advantage when you can make some more as soon as you run out.

Next on the agenda is the Jasmine garden. This is a product that May did not want to make. She was quoted in several interviews saying that she does not believe there is a need for a toner, and despite customer enquiries she did not want to make a product that she felt would be a waste of their money. When a bespoke client had approached her asking for a jasmine toner, May tried to send her away giving her a recipe for apple cider vinegar toner that could be made at home, saying that it would be a much better option. Even the idea of Jasmine was not appealing, bringing up images of very mature ladies. However when the client kept insisting, May resolved to make the best toner she could. Her issue with other toners that she tried has been that they felt sticky and like they did not absorb into the skin. Jasmine gardens does not leave any residue and is very hydrating. Since May tries all her creations on herself first, after sending the mist to the client, she soon realised that she missed it and simply had to add it to the line. Colloidal silver is on of the ingredients in the toner, it is not used here as a preservative, but for the effects that it has on the skin. The formula of Jasmine gardens does not require a preservative to last, but in spite of possible controversy May included colloidal silver as she felt that the product would not be as good without it. Now it is one of the products that she constantly carries in her bag, especially when travelling, constantly spritzing throughout the day.

The Good stuff was the last product to be spoken about, yet it was the very first one created for the line. Body is the largest area of skin and May wants to have beautiful skin everywhere not just on the face. There is a tendency to concentrate primarily on the face and sort of let everything else fend for itself. The Good stuff is here to make you want to change that. It is a gorgeous shimmery indulgence that both looks and smells fantastic. The scent has proven to be rather popular with the men, leading many of May's customers reserving this oil for special occasions, and almost signalling their partners that they are ready for a romantic night. But everyday should be special, and if used how it was designed it will last you a fair amount of time. May does not use towels on herself, calling them harbingers of bacteria (I remember reading somewhere that she would wrap her hair in an old t-shirt instead of a towel too), and her oils are meant to be applied to wet skin anyway. A few pumps of Good stuff applied this way is all that you need for your entire body. This helps the oils absorb better and would not leave your skin looking glittery. Applied on dry skin on the other hand you will use a lot of product and it will sit on top of the skin not absorbing properly, quiet possibly damaging your clothes, so doubly wasteful. May also likes to run a few drops through her while it is wet to help define her curls, and a little less on dry hair to help with fly aways. This oil also works as a hair treatment especially used overnight, it will make not so fresh hair smell pleasant while you sleep, and when you wash it out in the morning, you will be left with bouncy locks. The quality of the oils in the good stuff is just as good as the ones found in the youth dew, there is no compromise as your skin deserves it the best be it your legs or your face. Some of May customers use it the body oil on their face, her attitude is do what works for your skin.

Before letting us all ask questions May said a few words about the brush and the handmade bowl that are also part of the range. The bowl is gorgeous and has a 24c gold dandelion design inside, intentionally, so you can see gold coming through when mixing your mask. This is all part of having a skincare ritual that is enjoyable, and something that you would look forward to. The brush is made with special synthetic bristles that are naturally antibacterial so nothing will grow in your brush between uses. These are the sort of things you don't know that you need until you tried them, and then you wonder how you did without them.

My very first question was about I am love and if it will be making it into the permanent line, to cut a long story short the answer is not likely. May does not want to have unnecessary products in the line as Youth Dew already does everything, I am love was meant to be an indulgent romantic treat and that is how it will stay for the foreseeable future.

Discussion turned to how May sources her ingredients (I was thinking to myself: why did I not ask that question?). May is not a grower, she admits to killing house plants (boy can I relate, poor cactus is the only thing that seems to survive under my care). While they make colloidal silver in the studio, all the plant ingredients come from elsewhere. She has several people that she works with that are effectively middle man between herself and the farmers. Some of the farms are very remote and it is simply impossible for her to visit them all personally, so there is a great deal of trust involved. May does have very high standards for quality, there for it is not uncommon for her to get a phone call saying this crop will not meet your standards, the other one does but you will only get a tenth of what you ordered. Sometimes the best ingredients come from a small farm that can not afford organic certification, but if it is the best quality, that is what May will purchase. Due to how unpredictable farming can be, and even political situations (for the past year May could not get any ingredients from Africa), she does change suppliers quiet often but not the people who act in between. One of the members of May Lindstrom team is completely dedicated to ensuring that they are always well stocked no matter what the situation is. Interestingly two of products from the original line-up came to market with slightly different ingredients to the ones May envisioned, due to the fact that she could not trust her suppliers to deliver consistently. The youth dew was supposed to be based on barbary fig seed oil, and the good stuff was meant to be argan based.

When it comes to creating new products it is all about what is already out there, whether or not May thinks she can come up with something that would top that, and how well it fits with the overall idea of indulgent ritual. That gives you the reason of why there is no foaming cleanser in her line, because she can't beat the one that is currently the best in this category, and doesn't feel like there is any point in releasing something that would be either below or on the same level.

May rarely buys beauty products, if she needs something she just makes it. She does not make her own shampoo and conditioner though, her favourites are from Rahua or Yarok (both liked equally). In the shower May likes to use Korean scrubbing gloves without any soap or shower gel, on a few occasions when she feels like those are not enough she will use Dr Bronner's soap. When it comes to SPF, partly due to the fact that she spends most of her time in the studio, partly because she has not been able to find one that completely agrees with her skin, it is not something that she wears daily. On those occasions that she is out all day, Badger is the brand of choice, this is also what the rest of her family uses.

Of course I could not help myself and ask what makeup May was wearing on the day. To cover some redness around her nose she used alima pure powder, on the eyes just rms solar, no mascara since her eyes get extremely sensitive, on the lips Lover's choice from Kjaer weis, on the cheeks a little of the lip colour plus vapour organic beauty aura multi use blush in spark. The finished effect looked incredible, a touch of radiance, without making the make up look like a mask.



I found the whole evening an incredible insight into what makes this line what it is. In some ways May Lindstrom herself is the line, you can't help but fall in love with the creator. You can see that these products are her dreams coming true, from the packaging to what goes in to every jar. For a person who is so incredibly busy she was still encouraging everyone to send her an email if they needed any advice about the products. If you ever end up ordering from her website directly, you will be getting a hand written note from her, even though she now has a team of people. While it might be awhile until any new product joins the line up of the magnificent seven, you can look forward to mini sizes of some of the products in the near future. I also have a suspicion, if everyone writes an email asking May to add a deodorant to her line, it might actually happen. She has been considering the possibility, but is a little reluctant, as she is not convinced that it would fit into the idea of a pampering self care ritual. I honestly think that deodorant cased inside one of those beautiful jars or bottles would fit right in. Nothing makes me feel more confident than knowing that I smell good, and part of a beauty ritual is to give me that feeling of being confident in my own skin. So if your thoughts are along the same lines as mine, start writing those emails.

7 comments:

  1. Great post! Wish I could have been there but you made this event come alive for us readers:)

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  2. Aw this is such a lovely post! Although I couldn't make it, I definitely feel like I went after reading this email. So lovely to hear that May wasn't keen on making a toner because she didn't think it was necessary - most companies would just whip out whatever they first came up with and say "here you go" but it's so nice to read how much care & attention she puts into her products and you can definitely tell when you try them & read reviews!

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  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, I am so happy I did that for you :)

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  4. Thanks Amber, it means the world! I really wanted to make it as detailed as possible for everyone who wanted to go and couldn't. This and weleda insight day really opened up my eyes to how much hard work goes into creating a quality product xx

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  5. She is so stunning! It sounds like an amazing evening, and I am definitely envious of you London-dwellers :) xx

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  6. My pictures did not do her justice, even more beautiful in person! And her skin, top to toe glowing xx

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  7. Thank you for such a detailed recap! Looks like an incredible event, and she looks spectacular for someone who just got off he plane. I personally look forward to her travel sizes as I've only used The Problem Solver so far. Tammy, can we also talk about your mermaid hair! Gorgeous locks, lady :) xx

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