The self-described “skin chef” proves that the ultimate luxury is applying only the purest ingredients to your skin.
- Written By
- JACK SUNNUCKS
VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to organic skin care guru May Lindstrom.
May Lindstrom, the LA-based beauty entrepreneur, has become a cult figure on the natural beauty scene for her products, which combine hippie know-how with exquisitely sourced ingredients and chic black packaging. Her Blue Cocoon soothing balm has been a runway hit.
As a child, Lindstrom was obsessed with finding natural ways to beautify herself. She dug up iron-rich clays from her parents’ garden and created a sort-of DIY mud mask before it was something you’d spend serious dollars for at a spa. This creativity and curiosity (and perhaps passion for mud daubing) led to art school, where she was first scouted as a model. This probably comes as no surprise if you’ve seen photographs of Lindstrom mixing her products—not many backwoods alchemists look like this. She simply radiates good health and vitality.
Lindstrom’s first products debuted in the fall of 2011. With names such as The Clean Dirt, The Problem Solver, and The Good Stuff, it was clear she was approaching beauty from both a luxurious standpoint and a deeply practical one. The ingredients go back to her childhood—spices, clays, salts, and honey are woven throughout the line, offering the kind of rich nourishment she believes comes only from nature. Shortly after launching her company, Lindstrom gave birth to her daughter, and for her first 19 months as a mother she blended products on her own in her home studio in LA. In 2014, she moved production into a larger-scale facility and now employs a team of 12.
Her story shows that integrity and strength of conviction can be just as important as having the right investors. A true green-beauty success story was born out of passion and a love for the purity of the great outdoors. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to cover ourselves in Honey Mud Gentle Cleansing Silk—maybe we’ll wake up a little more Lindstrom.
MAY BEFORE 10AM
VIOLET GREY: What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
MAY LINDSTROM: My bedroom is simple and set up for sleeping. The walls are soft, beautiful cornflower blue, and the windows are draped in airy ivory curtains. Outside is a peach tree, currently covered in pink blossoms, and our chickens are roaming and gossiping with our pot-bellied pig.
VG: Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.
ML: My bedroom is small, and the bed nearly fills it. I treated myself to gorgeous hand-sewn linens last year during my pregnancy, and they make me feel like a queen. I love the character of the threads, the little imperfections and textures, and how they look best when the bed is totally undone.
VG: What time do you wake up?
ML: My youngest is only 6 months old, so we are still in the stage of nighttime nursing and early rising, so I’m up most days by 6 a.m. He’s my alarm, and a very cute one at that!
VG: How many hours of sleep do you require?
ML: I romanticize the idea of long hours of uninterrupted sleep, but the reality is that I get much less than I require. I don’t know how many years it has been since I’ve slept a full eight without waking—definitely pre-children!
VG: Any bedside beauty essentials?
ML: I’m not a naturally good sleeper, despite loving it dearly, so I have all the tools. On my bedside table is a sleep mask, earplugs, my phone set to a white noise app, essential oils, and a fresh jar of The Blue Cocoon. I’ll also sometimes mist my pillow with The Jasmine Garden—it’s what dreams are made of.
VG: Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
ML: I love coffee and the ritual of it—the aromas, the process of grinding the beans and pouring the water, the whole thing—but my body does not respond well at all. I become instantly exhausted and anxious, with no upside. So I skip it and just stand as close to my husband in the mornings as possible, getting in his way and sticking my nose in his cup. I definitely eat breakfast. Sometimes I even wake up in the night and have to get a snack! By the time morning comes, I’m ready for a real meal. I’m not dainty or traditional about food. I’ll often turn on a pot of beans to cook overnight, and have a big bowl of those in the morning, topped with fresh chopped garlic, a squeeze of lemon, good salt, and lots of olive oil. I have a sweet tooth, but mornings are all about savory for me.
VG: Do you work out in the a.m.?
ML: I’m on Day 4 of a commitment to stretch or do gentle yoga for at least five minutes twice a day. This might not sound like much, but I’ll admit that I’m about as active as a sloth, and prioritizing this kind of care for myself has been very much on the back burner. I’ve never been someone who worked out or had a regular physical practice. It’s time. And so far I love the difference in how I feel, even after just a few days!
VG: What is your morning skincare regimen?
ML: I begin my mornings in the shower, brightening my skin with gentle (and powerfully effective) exfoliation with The Clean Dirt. The spicy and exotic aroma wakes up my senses and gives the most incredible start to my day, leaving my spirits lifted and my skin fresh and glowing. 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 moisture balance. The Blue Cocoon is simply heaven on earth and my greatest skin savior—it eliminates all redness and sensitivity, heals, deeply hydrates, and calms both skin and spirit effortlessly. It also does double duty as my favorite all-time treatment for eyes and lips. Before I exit the shower, I massage The Good Stuff over every inch of my skin, all the way to my toes, 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 I go about my day.
VG: What makeup and products do you use on a daily basis?
ML: I wear less and less makeup as the years go on and as I’ve fallen in love with my own bare skin. This is big for me, as I struggled with skin issues for most of my life. Now that I’ve finally found my balance, I’m in celebration mode! I’m a big fan of Kjaer Weis, and I love her cream blushes for a touch of color. I blend Lovely and Desired Glow for my favorite fresh look. Pair this with a sweep of RMS Living Luminizer and I’m set.
VG: What’s your hair situation in the a.m.?
ML: BIG! I have waist-length, thick, curly hair. It’s a mess. It can be the best hair on a great day, but a little like trying to tame a lion’s mane on the rest. My 6-month-old son thinks it’s his own jungle to play and get tangled up in, so most of the time I wrangle it all back in a braid.
VG: What’s the first thing you read each morning?
ML: My emails, while still in bed, and Instagram questions that need answered. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. These are all things that need my attention, but I realize these first moments of the day are incredibly valuable and belong to my husband, our children, and me. Work can wait until 9 a.m.
VG: What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?
ML: I start my day between 8 and 9 a.m. writing notes to each of our direct clients to go out with that day’s orders. This has been a tradition from the beginning, and there is something that feels right about personally expressing gratitude this way. Then I check in on our client care emails and with our retail partners to determine what needs my priority attention that day. Some days I have calls, and depending who I’m talking to and where they are in the world, these conversations might be super early to navigate the time difference. I’m working mostly from home during this newborn stage with my youngest, but I try to make it into the studio as often as I can to stay connected to our wonderful little team. On days I go in, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, checking on new ingredients that have come in and assessing their quality, approving the latest batch of each fresh treat, and making sure everyone is taken care of and happy.