Meet The New MVP Of Your Beauty Routine

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I would very much like to be one of those women who refers to their skin care routines as a "ritual." Sadly, as the proud owner of an acne-prone, hyper-sensitive complexion, rituals just aren't in my cards — I'm stuck on the clinical-routine train. No, rituals are reserved for women who already have glowing skin that just needs a little extra oomph — or so I thought.

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely May Lindstrom a few days ago, who introduced me to her handmade, eponymous skin care line. Lindstrom is a former product formulator turned "skin chef" who took her expertise and turned it into her own brand, handmaking and bottling her products herself. The difference between her line and the myriad other "kitchen beautician" brands out there? Lindstrom's looks like something Kate Middleton or some equally elegant lady would have on her vanity.

"I think you should bookend your day with something luxurious, to help counteract all the craziness that happens in between," Lindstrom said, when asked about the inspiration for her line. Sounds like a good life motto to me. But, unlike the majority of those luxurious lines out there, Lindstrom's four-piece (soon to be six) collection features products that are actually beneficial to those who weren't blessed with genetically flawless skin.

I was immediately drawn to the Problem Solver — with a name like that, how could I not be? The treatment mask comes in a powder blend of raw cacao, bamboo charcoal, "soil nutrients," salts, and warming spices that claims to "purify and tighten pores, extinguish inflammations, fight and heal blemishes, jump-start circulation in the epidermis, and detoxify skin." That all sounded like things I really needed in my life, so I went ahead and gave it a try.

The powder formula reacts with water, so it doesn't release its benefits until it's mixed with H2O. The instructions on the box say to mix one tablespoon of powder with one tablespoon of water, but that created a texture that was a little too liquid-y to me. I'd suggest doing one tablespoon of powder with about a little over half that amount of water to get the desired mousse consistency. When the water hits it, the powder has an almost effervescent effect, bubbling and popping as you mix it. Apply it on your face with your fingertips — or, if you're feeling fancy, you can use a brush to paint it on — then let it sit for 45 minutes and wash off.

You guys, if Scandal's Olivia Pope were a skin care product, this is what she would be. It just fixes everything it comes in contact with, but does so in such a smooth, effortless way. My skin felt a little tingly while the mask was on my face, but unlike other products I've tried with the same sensation, it didn't leave me red or irritated. On the contrary, my complexion looked smooth and even upon removing it and patting my face dry. The next day, not to be gross, but everything that had been sitting in my pores for the past week magically pushed itself out. By the following day my skin looked soft, smooth, even, and clear. My problems = solved, at least for the moment.

Now, a word of warning: This magical mask ain't cheap. At $90, it's definitely priced to fit its luxe image. However, I have to say I am truly impressed with this product, enough that I would actually consider dropping that kind of cash on it. The products all smell amazing, they are packaged so chicly, are made with premium ingredients, and Lindstrom even writes every customer a handwritten thank-you note when they purchase. In other words, I feel like I'm getting my money's worth with this line, rather than throwing it away just for a brand name.

The rest of the products in the line — The Good Stuff Radiance Oil, The Youth Dew Face Serum, and The Clean Dirt Cleansing Clay — are equally as pampering and efficacious, just in case you're feeling flush and looking for a new favorite product. As for me, I finally am able to be one of those ritual ladies, and it's everything I could have hoped for. Small victories, kids, small victories.

May Lindstrom Skin The Problem Solver Correcting Masque, $90, available at May Lindstrom.