THE INTERVIEW : LINDA ÖHRSTRÖM : ORGANIC MAKE-UP ARTIST
BY KHANDIZ JONI
Linda Öhrström is a London-based make-up artist, beauty editor, consultant and organic cosmetics specialist and rolled into one. A keen surfer, yoga enthusiast, travel junky - Öhrström has channelled the last two years into championing organic and natural brands.
Since moving from her native Stockholm to London in 1996 Öhrström has regularly contributed to a host of leading publications, including Vogue, Elle, Tatler, L’Officiel and Dazed & Confused, and worked with internationally acclaimed photographers and art directors including Rankin, Iain Crawford, John Scarisbrick and Nick Knight.
Linda chats to Khandiz Joni about her favourite organic brands, and how Rankin inspired her to green her kit.
What was your motivation to make the switch?
A. 2 major events: I checked my mercury after l had removed my fillings and found that l was not only full of mercury but also aluminium, cadmium and lead. I did 3 different test including 1 referred by my GP. All came back with the same results; l was packed with heavy metals.
I spent the last 10-15 years practicing yoga, eating organic and drinking daily green smoothies and did regular juice cleanses. I did the healthy wellness lifestyle before it was trendy;) So these results were hard to digest. Plus no one was able to tell me how l was able to accumulate all these metals in my system.
At about the same time l was working with Rankin on a BBC documentary doing portraits of people who had survived cancer. One lady requested an all organic make up kit and Rankin having seen me drink all my green stuff thought it obvious l had a clean kit. This is when it fullt dawned on me that l was living a healthy lifestyle where l read all ingredients on my food but never reflected on the beauty buffet l was using daily.
So thats when l started researching natural and organic products and spend 2 years reading ingredients lists and learning about side effect, certifications, greenwash and what toxic free products were high performance enough to go into my kit.
The benefits of using organic beauty products are clearly evident, but my question is to is what are/were the challenges of switching from main stream to organic products for your working kit?
Finding the brands and products! You can’t exactly pop into Boots or Selfridges and its all there. And just like conventional make up brands, not everything is good.So l had to start from scratch with analysing what my hero products were and then finding the clean replacement. Its still a work in progress.
Do you have a set of rules or criteria for a brand/product to make it into your kit?
They have to perform. I can’t make compromises as a make up artist.There is definite upturn in consumers switching over to more natural brands (albeit sometimes still very misguided by greenwashing and misleading advertising)
In your opinion, where are natural/organic brands falling short against their mainstream beauty brand competitors? Is there anything you think “greener brands” could do to improve their customer base?
Really tricky question as l now have a greater understanding of how the marketing machine works. What l feel we need is education and information about ingredients. If we can get the consumer to wise up about ingredients and not just swallow the “o”
Do you have a favourite organic brand? That is is a rather vague question, let me expand on that: In the following categories, any brands worth a shout out (more for makeup artists than everyday consumer), and why?
Maria Åkerberg DeepSkin Organics. Everything love tried from this range becomes a favourite, and its got around 1000 products! Getting to know this brand that has been around in Sweden for 20 years, the more l learn the more l love it. The company is so clean, starting with the certified natural and organic ingredients and all the way through the company policies and their bank of choice.
rms un-cover. Pretty much the only base l use nowadays. Love that it can go on as a full coverage foundation, spot concealer or a light veil. Truly melts into the skin and looks after it.Mascara
rms Volumizing mascara + Bare Minerals Lash Dominations. But the search goes on!
For powder eye shadows l think the Kjaer Weis are unbeatable! The blend better than any conventional ones. Also very excited about the new powder shadows coming out from rms soon! If l go cream its rms for sure!
Cream Blushers from rms, Illusive fits pretty much everyone!
For powders l like Maria Åkerberg, Ilia, Nudus, rms, Tromborg
What and who inspires you?
Oh, big question. Everyone and everything. Authentic people.
On USP’s…How important do think it is to your clients that the products you use are organic/natural? Or do you feel that is less of a factor and simply your exceptional talents that get you hired?
I get booked on talent. A clean kit is a bonus.
What are your career highlights?
Doing the wedding make up for the Swedish Crown Princess. Because now everyone, including my royalist grandmother, understood my job.
Any tips or advise for young aspiring makeup artists?
Assist lots of different make up artists.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
You are welcome!
If you would like to see more of Linda’s work take look at her website or wise up to what organic makeup has to offer, take a look at her organic beauty project and (if you’re in Sweden) start purchasing some tried and tested organic makeup the really performs, check out her online store.
This interview first featured on our Beauty Editor's personal blog.