May Lindstrom The Problem Solver

One of the things I love the most about May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is that it gives me an excuse to treat myself for 45 minutes. That’s 45 minutes of sipping tea and reading Murakami’s insane IQ84 with a jet-black, spicy, chocolate-y, wet cookie infusion sitting on my face. Or watching my new show obsession, Scandal, as this mask tightens, warms, and sucks nasties out of my face.

Try not to snort the powder when you’re scooping it out of the jar or mixing it up with your favorite medium (water, for me. It’s simple)–it’s spicy. That’ll be the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Sounds more like a recipe for Christmas cookies, but this one’s not for your taste buds–these spices warm up my face within the first 15 minutes of the mask. Be careful if you’re especially sensitive to spices or sensitive to excessive warmth (definitely have heard that this is a little too spicy for some people). Luckily, my skin does not act out as a result of this “healthy inflammation” once a week and instead seems to signal to itself, “Yo, go heal yourself.”

While cinnamon and cayenne pepper stimulate blood circulation (read: makes your face feel warm, potentially red under that cookie of a mask), nutmeg and turmeric are both anti-inflammatory. All of the spices are anti-acne in some way–cinnamon is battles acne bacteria, turmeric balances sebum production, clove is antiseptic. But for goodness sake, keep this away from your eye sockets unless you want your eyes to sting excruciatingly, speaking from accidental experience.

During the 45 minutes, you may notice black specks appear on your shirt, your laptop, your desk, and it’s okay–you can just wipe them away. Or wear a towel bib if you don’t want to bother (I have done this). Along with the warm feeling, fuller’s earth clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, and bamboo carbon charcoal powder squeeze and tighten up my face, leaving no place for nasties. The clays are rich in minerals such as calcium, silica, and iron which help to detoxify and draw out impurities, as Evan Healy, aesthetician and founder of Evan Healy skincare, says.

Rhassoul clay is super absorbent, pulling out unwanted toxins with its high concentration of minerals. Fuller’s earth clay (a mix of sodium/calcium bentonite) swells and produces an electric charge that draws out toxins and binds them to the clay–just add water. Bamboo carbon charcoal powder also helps to suck up excess oil and draw out toxins through its ability to attract and hold harmful substances (Google “bamboo carbon charcoal powder” and “adsorption” and various studies about using this powder to remove phenol and nitrate-nitrogen from water pop up).

At the end, you’ll have a gray cast over your face that your mom will laugh at (and then eagerly ask if it will tighten her pores) and if you laugh back, it may crack, so try to be serious. You’ll probably be able to see little air dots from your pores and maybe wet spots where the clays have drawn out a whitehead (score!)

I reach for this mask when I want 45 minutes of time-out. Time-out from work, from pimples. At the end, I’m revived, I’m rested, I can shower (definitely recommend to rinse off in shower–can be a mess) and dry my hair as I finish the rest of my work. If I’m lucky, I end up with one less pimple. I sometimes end up a little rosier than usual, but that is temporary.

A few more interesting ingredients: Cacao. Antioxidants. Is it enough cacao for antioxidants (like have you had enough wine for antioxidants)? Don’t know. Hasn’t hurt.

Ascorbic acid. Is my skin brighter afterwards from the extra vitamin C? Can’t really say. It’s not darker, for sure.

Gotu kola. Wound-healing, antioxidant-boosting, stimulating. Affirmative and cool name for a plant that is related to parsley.

tl;dr Spicy cocoa meets clays & charcoal makes detoxifying and healing mask that jives well with my combo-acneic skin. Be careful if you’re sensitive to spices. Favorite mask for 45 min of time-out. About price for size: it’s a big jar. Also, May Lindstrom is a major babe.

Have you tried this mask? What are your thoughts? If not, what is your favorite time-out mask?

Ingredients: fuller’s earth clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, theobroma cacao (raw cacao)**, red alaea sea salt, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), sodium bicarbonate, bamboo carbon charcoal powder, vanilla planifolia bean*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower*, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, boswellia carteri (frankincense)***, centella asiatica (gotu kola)*, archangelica (angelica) root*, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon)*, myristica fragans (nutmeg)*, syzygium aromaticum (clove)*, curcuma longa (turmeric)*, capsicum annuum (cayenne) pepper*.

*Certified Organic
**Fair Trade Certified
***Wild Harvested

Disclaimer: I purchased this mask myself during a No More Dirty Looks promotion where each order included a sneak peek at the not-yet-but-now-released Honey Mud. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. This post contains affilate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Additional Sources:
Allison, Rhonda. “Understanding Inflammation: The Root Cause Of Skin Aging.” Skin, Inc 26.3 (2014): 54-58. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 21 July 2014.

Dalai, Manoj K., et al. “Anti-Cholinesterase Activity Of The Standardized Extract Of Syzygium Aromaticum L.” Pharmacognosy Magazine 10.38/S2 (2014): S276-S282. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.

Rubino, Jessica. “Ayurvedic SKIN CARE.” Delicious Living 30.6 (2014): 43-44. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.

Wallace, Bevin. “Facial Clays Primer.” Natural Foods Merchandiser 30.11 (2009): 26. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 July 2014.



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  1. July 22, 2014 / 3:53 am

    Great post! I haven't tried that mask yet, but the packaging of this product is beautiful. I also love how it has tons of interesting ingredients like Cacao. I'm definitely putting this on my wishlist.


  2. Amber
    July 22, 2014 / 3:55 am

    I am jealous at all the people who rave about this mask as it appears my skin cannot tolerate it! I don't know if it is the spices or some other ingredient but my skin just burns and then itches even the next morning. Not a pleasurable experience for me and also didn't see much change in my skin either which makes me very sad as I would have loved to love this.

  3. Jody Fan
    July 22, 2014 / 4:12 am

    I purchased this mask last winter to help with some breakouts (and because so many positive comments everywhere)… the spices are OK to me, not pleasant but not something that my skin is particularly sensitive to, maybe my skin is a bit rougher. I was disappointed with it not helping at all with my breakouts, some even became more red. I saw a ayurvedic alternative medicine doctor because I believe acne is very much a problem of balance. The doctor advised this mask promoted "hot" condition which creates more disturbance for acne which is an imbalance of hot condition (inflammation). I stopped using this mask and did a normal clay mask + aloe juice and my skin was much better. Thought I would share in case anyone is also stuck.

  4. July 22, 2014 / 4:18 am

    This mask has become a cult green beauty favorite-and for good reason! I love how you included ingredient descriptions and fun little stories about your experience with the mask.

  5. July 22, 2014 / 11:40 am

    YEAH SCANDAL!!! I love Scandal…actually watching Season 3 over here in the UK on the American netflix…naughty but I can't help it! Are you on season 3? I need someone to talk about this to on Twitter haha 😉 anyway..sorry onto the mask, it sounds lovely! Definitely something I would consider buying in the future but I'd be worried I'd want to eat it haha 😉 Love using masks like this as they definitely do draw out impurities, great & funny post to read 🙂 xx

  6. Sandy
    July 22, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    Do you use this after cleansing or before? When I use it after shower and cleansing, it really sits uncomfortably on my skin leaving it red aggravated and scorched. I emailed May about this and she recommended using it before shower but then I noticed my pores became blackened and larger and it was so hard to get out… like triple cleanser and swipes with cotton pads wouldn't do the trick and I'd keep having to clean it out even 2 days later..

  7. Eni tas
    July 22, 2014 / 10:26 pm

    Complete review Jade! This is next on my list.. like i will find the checkout button really soon for this mask! I received my first May Lindstrom product 3 weeks ago and i understand now the craze about May product! I looove your intro because this is a reality.. taking 45 minutes for taking care of yourself should be a priority..

  8. asti
    July 23, 2014 / 7:44 am

    HI JADE!!

    Glad to see your review on this. I love this mask so much but even more so when it's blended with honey since my skin cannot also tolerate dry clay mask sometimes. I agree with you! I love that this is a 45 minutes ritual – long enough to catch up on my favorite tv show or read a chapter of a book.

    PS: Need to read that book. Are you a Murakami's fan too? Do you have a goodreads account, if so would love to add you! And Scandal easily became my obsession too!!

  9. shortsmallsweet
    July 23, 2014 / 7:14 pm

    I love this mask too, and while it didn't solve my problems completely, it definitely helped with decongesting and clarifying the skin. For first-timers, I was like you and my face broke out in tiny zits with no 'head'. I stopped using it for about a week, and then tried again using a smaller amount. I did not break out/experienced irritation anymore after that. My favorite way to use this is to mix it with a facial oil or raw honey so that it's not as "powerful", and my skin really likes it that way. I use this every Sunday without fail (ok 'cept for certain times I decide to try something else) and that 45minutes down time is such a relaxing period for me! xo

  10. July 23, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    This one has been on my wishlist for too long! Love your review! and yaay for Scandal 🙂 xx

  11. Garcy
    July 24, 2014 / 3:20 am

    Jade have you tried mixing the Problem Solver with the honey mud? It's to-die-for! A spicy and sweet match made in heaven!

  12. July 24, 2014 / 6:21 am

    Thank you Penelope and thanks again for your kind shoutout on Twitter! May Lindstrom's packaging is really stellar–beautiful Miron glass all around. Hope you give it a try soon!

  13. July 24, 2014 / 6:23 am

    So sad to hear your skin doesn't sit well with this 🙁 I wonder if your body is less sensitive to it? (have seen pictures of people using this for body acne/glow) Luckily there are so many great green beauty masks with gentler ingredients for you 🙂

  14. July 24, 2014 / 6:24 am

    Hi Jody! This mask is definitely a warming mask and I'm lucky that even though I'm a Pitta kind of person, it's not too warming for me (though Clean Dirt is another story). I'm happy to hear you've found a mixture that works better for you–aloe is definitely much more cooling and soothing. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  15. July 24, 2014 / 6:25 am

    Thanks Dream & Scheme! I'm glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  16. July 24, 2014 / 6:26 am

    I have flown through this series–can't stop, it's so addicting! I just finished episode 10; where are you at? 😉 Thanks Amber! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope you try it soon 🙂

  17. July 24, 2014 / 6:28 am

    Hi Sandy, I usually cleanse my face out of the shower (first some oil cleanser to remove makeup, then a milk/gel/foaming cleanser to cleanse-cleanse), put on the mask, chill for a while, and then hop in the shower to wash everything out. The water coming down from the shower definitely helps for an easy rinse. I haven't noticed that problem–have you tried removing with a warm, wet cloth or a warm, wet Konjac sponge?

  18. July 24, 2014 / 6:30 am

    Thank you Julie! Which May Lindstrom product did you get? And I totally agree…taking care of oneself is important!

  19. July 24, 2014 / 6:31 am

    Hi Mani, sorry to hear you haven't had a great experience with this product. I have kind of a similar look on Clean Dirt and no matter how much I wanted to love it, it just did not work with my skin and eventually I passed it on to my sister. Everyone's skin is really unique–in my early green days, I kept reading how coconut oil was the all-in-one miracle product and then my skin went absolutely nuts until I cut it out. Hopefully you will find a mask with less spices that will work better for you! (have you tried YÜLI's Pure mask?)

  20. July 24, 2014 / 6:35 am

    HI ASTI! Glad to see you back 🙂 Your review of The Problem Solver was part of what prompted me to purchase this!

    I've also tried this blended with honey and it was too delicious to be a face mask…Without honey, this isn't too dry for me (Aztec clay without honey is way dry for me)).

    Yes!! Honestly, Murakami's books kind of weird me out, but they're gripping. IQ84 was absolutely nuts but also kind of awesome, but also really nuts. Also, Norwegian Wood. I do have a Goodreads account–it's connected to my Facebook, so I think you should be able to find me if you search my full name. Yay fellow Scandal fan!!

  21. July 24, 2014 / 6:36 am

    Hi Ru! Same with me–it didn't solve all of my problems, but it definitely helped with some. That's a great idea to mix it with a facial oil–got to try that before I run out 🙂 You've got an awesome Sunday ritual, girl! xo

  22. July 24, 2014 / 6:36 am

    Thanks Jana! Yeah, Scandal!!!! xx

  23. July 24, 2014 / 6:38 am

    Hi Garcy! I think I tried it once and all I can remember is how delicious it smelled–I wanted to save my Honey Mud for as long as I could!

  24. July 24, 2014 / 12:11 pm

    I know its so addictive! I've just finished Season 3 last night…ahhh! x

  25. July 30, 2014 / 3:48 pm

    This is on the top of my wish list, but the price… You're looking absolutely fab with the mask on haha. Scandal is awesome btw. Can't wait till they're back from hiatus.

    find me on

  26. Ju lie
    August 8, 2014 / 2:54 am

    The clean dirt 🙂 But i ordered the problem solver & jasmin mist! Can wait to receive :)) Xx

  27. Fern & Moss
    August 10, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    I don't think it's possible to lust after a brand as much as I lust after May Lindstrom. After the honey mud, this is next on my wish list. And look at those ingredients! Just amazing <3 x

  28. August 14, 2014 / 2:40 am

    I know, the price hurts. But it's a big pot, and I did wait for a juicy deal before plunging. Thank you! I know…I finished Scandal shortly after…can't wait for the next season…

  29. August 14, 2014 / 2:40 am

    Thanks Amber! Hope you give it a try soon!

  30. August 14, 2014 / 2:41 am

    May Lindstrom is so lust-worthy… <3