'Meet the experts' is a brand new series where once a month Abi sits down with one of the Organic Beauty Industries most prominent and experienced voices for a chat about all things natural.
This month it's the turn of superstar Organic Makeup Artist, journalist, writer and self-confessed 'modern-hippy', Linda Öhrström, whose experience includes working with Rankin, Robyn and many others!
What led to your interest in organic skin care and the creation of the organic beauty project at Volt?
Volt Magazine, where l am the beauty editor, was set up by photographer Rui Faria to promote his agency Areia. As a showcase for their creatives; hair stylist, photographers and make up artist. This then grew into Volt Magazine over the years and we are publishing issue 17 this month.
I have been the Beauty Director for about 7 years now. It's not a position that involves any writing, it is purely creative and a great platform for young as well as more established creatives. Volt Café was started as an online sister to the magazine. I was never involved with it until the Organic Beauty Project.
The Organic Beauty Project at VoltCafé was started by me as a journey through cleansing out my make up kit. A few events led to the unavoidable decision to go green;
Back in December 2012 l decided to have all my mercury fillings removed. I then went on my yearly escape and recovery to Costa Rica where l detoxed in the jungle and lived on organic food and juices for about 4 months.
As l returned to London l decided to do a few tests to make sure l was all ok. 3 different test, including one referred by my GP, all came back with the same results; l was loaded with heavy metals! Not just mercury, there was aluminium, cadmium and lead too.
At around the same time l was working on the BBC documentary “Alive” with Rankin, about people surviving cancer. I was doing the poster make up on Sandra Barber and she had requested only organic make up to be used. Rankin thought l was the natural choice for this, having been entertained by my green morning juices and general organic-ness. I was embarrassed to realise how little of my kit was actually clean!
This all led me towards a jar of thought l'd been cultivating for some time; to start researching natural and organic. If you look at my portfolio of work you might understand my hesitation towards opening this jar, l love colour! The idea l had about organic make cosmetics was that it was all beige. But the time was ripe and l opened it!
For the last 10 years l had slept on a yoga mat, surfed the world, living on organic food. A modern hippie in disguise worshipping my VitaMix and using coconut oil for everything!
As l can never do things half hearted this new research obsession was a full time occupation for about 1 year. I became the organic beauty editor at VoltCafé and started the Project to help, guide and inspire our readers. For the first year we created the monthly Illustrated Beauty Cards with tips and reviews. The Beauty Stories were still trickling in, with new additions to the green team.
The photography in Volt is beautiful and stylistically unique. Can you explain a bit more about the creative vision and inspiration behind it?
Art as Fashion. Fashion as Art.
What l think is unique about the Organic Beauty Project is that we are firstly creating beauty images, using natural and organic products is secondary.
I always have to make sure everyone in the team understands that we are not compromising anything, for the sake of “going organic” i.e. there is no need for shots of wild long haired hippie girls running in a field just because the products are clean!
How / when did you become a journalist?
The Illustrated Beauty Cards were my first dip into writing about cosmetics. Now l am also the beauty editor at Women's Health in Sweden.
Have you always wanted to write about health and beauty? No, not at all! But l like the new challenge. Still working in the same area but developing my skills at doing something different. It's a nice addition to the hands on work of a make up artist. It also gives me a different angle on products as well as the industry. All very exciting! The natural and organic world was very new and exciting and so is beauty writing.
What has been your proudest moment with Volt?
With The Organic Beauty Projects it has to be the influences l see in the industry. How more hair stylists and make up artists are now going cleaner.
Do you use organic exclusively? No, l mix and Mac ;) I go as far as l can with organic, which is very very far. But l think we all understand that creating a neon pink full body look to last all day whilst filming under water for example, is never going to be achieved using organic products only.
As a make up artist l can never compromise. It has to work! And the exciting thing is that a lot of the organic products work even much better than conventional ones!
What changes have you/did you notice in your skin and overall health when you started using Organic?
I haven't gone back and done the test l did, it was simply too stressful. When l am ready l shall.
One great perk is always smelling like a spa, and so does our home! I never used to wear much make up but with the Project l had to try everything out on myself as well as on models. So one side effect is that l now actually wear make up. And enjoy it! Cos it's all so yummy and natural l never FEEL like l wear anything. I spend hours in my bathroom, purely for research purposes of course ;) and it's so thoroughly enjoyable to discover all these wonder products!
One thing for sure is l never suffer from spots anymore, l have the perfect cure now!
What's your favourite Odylique product and why?
When you're not writing what are your hobbies / passions? I’m a surfer. So between being a professional make up artist (http://www.lindaohrstrom.com/), running an online organic webshop (http://lindaohrstrom.tailwide.com/), surfing (http://www.organicbeautybylindaohrstrom.com/gone-surfing/) and writing http://www.organicbeautybylindaohrstrom.com/the-beauty-cards/
http://www.organicbeautybylindaohrstrom.com/the-beauty-pages/)… l'm never bored!
You are from Sweden we understand - what do you miss most about home? How is the culture in Sweden different to the rest of the world? Oh l go back for work all the time, so l never miss it!
And when l travel it's England l miss… Swedes are very perfect, clean, stylish, organised and on trend. A great place to grow up in and grow old ;)
I understand you work with a band, can you tell us more? I have been working with Swedish singer Robyn for many years now and have been touring the world a few times. Both on her own show and as opening act for Madonna, Coldplay and Katy Perry. I don't work with many music acts but Robyn is amazing! Love touring as l look after her wellness as well as her make up. So l get to source all the local yoga shalas, raw food restaurants and basically all the WholeFoods of America. We take juicers and blenders on the road and the tour bus is packed with fermenting cocobiotic drinks and fresh leafy greens.