An Interview with Indie Lee & Reviews of Every Indie Lee Product I've Tried
An Interview with Indie
I had the honor of meeting Indie at the end of 2018; she came to Dallas and taught a masterclass where she went through each of her products as we used them. She was so bubbly, down to earth, and hard not to love. I think it’s part of why her brand has become so huge— people love her candidness, honesty, and she is still really involved with her own social media despite creating this now massive brand! I personally love her Instagram Live sessions, myself! She makes a point to personally know a lot of the bloggers/influencers that talk about her products which I think is so cool. Anyways, enough rambling..below is a little Q&A I did with Indie..enjoy!!
You have a really interesting story of how you got into the beauty space and created your own skincare line. What was that AHA moment you had when you realized you could really create something special?
In 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and given as little as six months to live. When I asked the doctor how this was possible, he explained that the tumor could be environmentally-derived and attributed to something as simple as what I was putting on my skin. This was my aha moment, or what I like to call my awakening. I had always been conscious about what I was putting in my body - so much so that I built a 750-square foot greenhouse (complete with a chandelier) where I was growing my own organic produce - but I never thought about the impact of the ingredients that I was putting on my skin. After surviving surgery, I knew my purpose was to create change and provide others with healthier options through this line. It’s my sincerest hope that my awakening inspires and empowers others to be more mindful about what they put on as well as into their bodies.
Clean beauty means so many different things to different people. What does clean beauty mean to you?
To me, clean beauty is the new standard in beauty; it’s proved that it’s not a fad or a trend. Clean beauty means beauty without sacrifice. To us, that means products that are formulated in their purest form to be as efficacious, if not more than, conventional products. We work with the world’s leading chemists who source the finest ingredients from our mountains, fields, and oceans without harming animals in the process. Our products are always cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, silicones, sulfates, SLS, formaldehydes, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, soy, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, talc, toluene, lead, TEAs, and DEAs.
How would you describe the brand philosophy of Indie Lee?
We are truly dedicated to education and empowerment. I’ve always wanted to build community and empower others to live their healthiest lives through knowledge - because knowledge is power. Knowledge is what catapulted me into this industry. The products only serve to underline this message.
What is your process for adding new products to your various lines?
When creating new products, we really look at what’s missing, and from there, try to go a little bit wider or deeper in categories. Ultimately, we want to make sure that we are addressing different needs. This is why we created two ways for people to shop our products: by Ritual or Focus. When you shop by Ritual, you can customize your products based on the different steps needed in your personal skincare routine. If you look at the packaging, you’ll see that all of the products have a unique iconography that shows which step of the Ritual it belongs to, like “Prepare” (this would be your cleansers). With Focus, you can shop our products based on your daily skincare needs, such as Clarity. The different Focus collections are marked by color banding on the packaging.
You launched an incredible amount of new products in 2018, and already have several new launches in 2019. What launch are you most excited about and why?
We are actually entering wellness in April and I am so excited about this. The products are symbolic of my recovery post-tumor diagnosis and surgery. Also, April 22, 2019 (Earth Day) will be my 10-year anniversary from waking up from brain surgery, and it felt fitting to enter wellness this year.
What advice do you have out there for other women who are looking to build their own brand?
You can do it! Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed. Surround yourself with positive people and energy, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And you have to believe in yourself. When I started this company, I didn’t know anyone in the industry; my background was in accounting. I had insecurities in the beginning and definitely played the people pleaser. As the company grew and evolved, I realized that no matter how many people told me I was doing a great job, no matter how many people believed I could do it, I had to believe in myself.
What is your favorite step in your skincare routine?
This is so difficult as I really love all of the steps for different reasons! But if I had to choose, I would say our “Prevent” step, as this is where you apply intensive treatments designed to deliver visible results. Some of my favorite products from this step include our I-Waken Eye Serum, Stem Cell Serum, and Daily Vitamin Infusion.
How do you find balance in your work and personal life?
I definitely believe that self-care is a must. I find that if I take just 20 minutes a day for myself, I’m a way better CEO, mother, boss, and friend on a daily basis. I’ve been practicing transcendental meditation every day for a few years now, and it’s made a huge difference for me in so many ways. I also religiously practice Self-Care Sundays, where I take a bath, do a face mask (with our Clearing Mask), and clean my makeup brushes - I even try to make time for this if I’m traveling.
What are your top 5 favorite beauty products that you can't live without?
Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick
Maya Chia Highlight of the Day
Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum
Rahua Color Shampoo and Conditioner
LAWLESS The One Eyeshadow Palette
What is your favorite travel destination & the place you most want to visit?
These days I love traveling to Colorado - I may be biased as my son just started college at Boulder, so going there means I get to see him. ;)
Places I want to visit - The Maldives - because, who doesn’t want to go there?
When we first met, I thought you were from California (must be your free spirit/laid back attitude!) but you are actually from the East Coast. Where did you grow up and how do you feel it has shaped your brand and life?
I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island in East Setauket. I was never more than 10 minutes away from the beach and that is where my love of the water comes from. When I am stressed or need to feel recharged, I drive to the local beach in Westport, Connecticut and take a walk along the shore. Just hearing the waves crash totally resets me.
Indie Lee Product Reviews
For those of you who don’t know, Indie Lee is a popular clean beauty brand, that embraces conscious consumerism by offering safer, cleaner and more ethical options in beauty. Every product is formulated without: Dioxane, Parabens, Aluminum, Petrolatum, BHA, BHT, Phthalates, Coal Tar Dyes, Siloxane, Sulfates, Formaldehyde, Talc, Synthetic Fragrance, Triclosan, Nanoparticles, Mineral Oil, Toluene, Methylisothiazolinone, Methychloroisothiazolinone, DEA, MEA, and TEA. More about Indie’s restricted ingredient list can be found on their website.
Please note** I took all product descriptions directly from Indie Lee’s website, so I could focus solely on the reviews!
What is it? Gently wash away makeup and impurities with this antioxidant rich formula. Strawberry Seed Oil, hydrolyzed Wheat Protein and Tomato extracts help strengthen, firm and protect, leaving the skin hydrated, silky and luminous. Doubles as an exfoliating mask if left for 5 minutes before rinsing. Ideal for all skin types. Helps with brightening, uneven texture and dullness, makeup removal and waterproof eye makeup (use on a wet cotton pad for eye makeup removal).
My Thoughts: I’m not sure if you remember, but I wrote about this in my top 25 products of 2018. It’s still one of my favorite cleansers EVER, and I would 1000% repurchase. Not only does this completely remove makeup, but it works as a second cleanse, leaving my skin soft, clean but not stripped, and glowy. It also works as a mini brightening mask if you leave it on for a few minutes. I love that I can use this for both the first and second cleanse, which means its also amazing for travel or for people who don’t want to own more than one cleanser. Highly recommend.
What is it? Gently, yet thoroughly, remove makeup and impurities with this antioxidant-rich foaming cleanser. Java Plum, Orange and Lavender extracts soothe the skin while dissolving excess sebum. Clove, Burdock and Mandarin promote a clearer, brighter complexion. Rose Damascena and Jasmine ensure skin feels soft and supple, never tight. Great for normal, oily, and combination skin types. Has brightening effects and is great for makeup removal.
My Thoughts: I was very skeptical of this cleanser at first, because although it is meant for my combo skin type, I always get nervous about anything that says its purifying, which often can come with dryness and/or that stripped-skin feeling. However, this ALSO removes makeup really well, and it also cleanses without leaving your skin stripped. I was blown away by how soft my skin was after this! It’s truly so gentle. I will at some point grab this cleanser once I’ve worked through my stash a bit more! I would especially reach for it when I’m feeling extra congested, visiting a pollution-heavy city, or the weather is just gross, hot and humid.
What is it? Hydrate and rebalance your skin's pH level with this Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera based essence. Alcohol-free and formulated with antioxidant CoQ-10 and Sage, this non-drying formula leaves skin primed and protected from pollution and environmental aggressors. For all skin types. After cleansing morning and evening, mist toner on skin and wipe away any excess residue with a cotton pad, avoiding the eye area.
My Thoughts: When I first spritzed this toner, I thought I was going to hate it to be honest. I am picky about the mister on a bottle, and this one isn’t very fine. However, I like to spray it into my hands and pat into the skin, or even spray into a cotton round and apply that way. It has a delicious scent, and feels quite hydrating. It plumps the skin, and with a layer or two, almost acts as an essence. What stands out to me is the ingredients of this toner. CoQ-10 is an antioxidant that our bodies naturally make, but we make less as we age. It is known to zap free radicals in our cells, so it’s really effective at anti-aging, and there have been studies done to show its effectiveness! Love this, and would repurchase.
What is it? This active conditioning serum addresses skin firmness, texture and tone and is hard at work to promote the appearance of increased collagen. Refined ingredients help protect against pollution leaving skin feeling hydrated and supple. This is a great step before your moisturizer or on its own. For all skin types, to target fine lines and protect from environmental aggressors.
1oz/$135 & .33oz/$52
My Thoughts: I’ve talked about this before, but this might actually be my favorite Indie Lee product ever. Yes, it’s pricey but this 1oz bottle LASTS FOREVER. 2-3 drops of this covers your entire face. It’s incredibly hydrating, tightening, firming, and also helps even my skin tone. So, it’s really a perfect hydrating and anti-aging serum in one. It layers amazingly well with everything in my routine, and I am going to buy the mini size because I need to travel with it! Forever repurchase.
What is it? Light textured daily eye serum with Horse Chestnut, Mountain Ash Bud and Witch Hazel to address dark circles and puffiness. Calming Chamomile, Arnica and Cornflower soothe and refresh the delicate eye area. Antioxidant Spirulina and Blackcurrant Leaf extracts hydrate, nourish and protect, while powerful humectants leave skin with a more smooth and firm appearance. For dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles. Meant for all skin types.
My Thoughts: This is a really nice, hydrating eye cream. I am going to preface this by saying that I don’t really have fine lines or dark circles, so for me, I like something that feels nice, layers well, is hydrating and will prevent wrinkles. If it depuffs, that is a plus for me, but usually I will just use a cold jade roller with my eye cream for depuffing. This checks all the boxes for me. It has a nice light, watery texture that is pretty unique when it comes to eye creams (well, I guess it’s technically a serum)…anyways, this is really nice and a great day-time eye cream. It also lasts a long time, because a little goes a long way. At night, I prefer something that has retinol in it (when not pregnant, obviously). I would repurchase to use during day-time!
What is it? Reveal a brighter, more even-toned complexion with this Vitamin C rich exfoliating blend of Java Plum and Banana extracts. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) from Caviar Lime combine with Mango derived Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A and Glycerin to leave skin looking soft, supple and luminous. To optimize radiance and tone, gently wipe over dry cleansed skin. Designed to be used daily, or 2-3x per week for sensitive skin.
60 peel pads/$70
My Thoughts: I was really excited about these, because I think that the clean beauty space is lacking clean, gentle, daily exfoliating products. In case you don’t know, I do not wash my face in the morning, as I found that it contributed to a lot of redness in my skin. Instead, I like to wipe my face down with a toner instead. Sometimes, a hydrating one, and sometimes and exfoliating one. The way I used these was to cleanse my skin in the morning, about 4 days a week. Firstly, the price on these is pretty hard to swallow— and shockingly this is the first product of Indie’s where I feel this way about the price. I have hydrating and exfoliating toners I love that are much more cost effective. Secondly, the pads themselves don’t feel very gentle. So this gives you a good physical exfoliation, and at points I felt it was too much for my skin. The pads on the gentle daily peel are much softer, and I wish they used those pads in this product as well. (I’ve used the gentle daily peel pads 3-4x so I can’t speak to how they perform long term, but enjoyed the few times I tried them). I didn’t notice enough brightening with these that I could fully replace my Vitamin C serum or my other exfoliating products. So for me, I would not repurchase because I just didn’t feel that for the price they were eliminating other steps in my routine, and have other products that do the same thing for a better price point. If you are someone who absolutely will only use a clean routine, and don’t tolerate acids or vitamin C that well, this could be a good option for you, but they were a miss for me. I really want to try the gentle daily peel pads over a longer term to see how they compare!
What is it? Improve the appearance of texture and tone, skin elasticity with this readily absorbed, 100% pure, Olive derived Squalane. Non-pore clogging, this oil leaves the complexion soft, nourished and never greasy. Balances excess oil production, great for dry and dehydrated skin, and helps even skin tone and texture.
My Thoughts: I’ve also talked a little bit about this before, but if you have any type of skin you’re going to love this, but especially if you have combo, normal or oily skin. It has one ingredient and no scent too, so if you’re sensitive I think you’d love this oil! It’s super lightweight, and is really a dry oil. It does this while still being hydrating. It also helps even the skin tone, and fade hyperpigmentation. This is such an incredible oil and is SO affordable. I keep the .34oz size (that is only $14!!!) in my travel bag at all times. A must repurchase.
What is it? This Ceramide-enriched daily facial oil will soothe and brighten complexion. Rosehip and avocado oils protect while vitamins A and E help rejuvenate and vitamin C promotes a more even tone. Rosemary leaf extract and sugarcane-derived squalane ensure skin is left supple, smooth and beautifully nourished. After application skin will appear noticeably supple, smooth and beautifully nourished. Daily Vitamin Infusion pairs well with Daily Skin Nutrition. Great for sensitive and aging skin.
My Thoughts: This oil is a bit more heavy duty than the squalane facial oil. Which, wasn’t surprising to me given the ingredients and who it is targeted for. This is a gorgeous oil that I would reach for in the winter, or if I still lived in a cold climate. I think dry, sensitive and mature skin types will love this, or anyone who prefers a more heavy duty oil. Because of my skin type, and because I prefer something a bit lighter, the squalane suits my needs a bit better than this, but I know people with dry/sensitive skin that LOVE this oil. For this reason, I personally wouldn’t repurchase.
What is it? Soothe and hydrate skin with this reparative cream blend of Sugar Cane derived Squalane, Rosehip Seed, Olive and Avocado oils. Conditioning Vitamin E and Rosemary Leaf extracts help protect against environmental stressors while Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C leave skin looking plump, bright and more even toned. Pairs well with the Daily Vitamin Infusion.
My Thoughts: My thoughts on this are going to almost mirror that of the daily vitamin infusion. This cream is thicccc (as expected), as it’s meant for dry and aging skin types. It has tons of delicious oils, and considering this, it’s not incredibly heavy, but heavier than I prefer or need for my skin! Again, all my dry skin friends liveee for this cream. I have actually tried Indie’s oil-free moisturizer and that is the lightweight moisturizer of my dreams. However, I would actually love this moisturizer if I still had to suffer through Boston winters! Again, this is not going to be a repurchase for me because of my skin type and climate, but you should consider if this sounds like a fit for your preferences/skin type.
My Thoughts: I am a body oil girl at heart, but I loved the sound of this because I think while body oil solves my dry skin needs, sometimes I need a moisturizers to seal water into my skin, and keep me hydrated. Yes— just like my face, I try to give my body skin both water and oil— your skin needs both! This one has the perfect gel-cream texture that is really unique to anything else I’ve tried. Indie nailed it, and I would repurchase. But you know I also have my eye on the new body wash and body oil! They are screaming my name.