The Story Behind Indie Lee
Indie Lee, founder, and CEO of Indie Lee & Co. was inspired to create a high-end, non-toxic beauty line after surviving surgery to remove a life-threatening brain tumor. When doctors told Indie that environmental toxins in her cosmetics and personal care products could have contributed to her tumor, she embarked on a journey to learn everything she could about natural beauty. She spoke with dermatologists, aromatherapists, homeopathic doctors, and beauty lovers. Instead of being negative and worrying about what would happen with her health, she spent her time creating a vision of what healthy beauty looked like.
Indie took all of her new knowledge on natural beauty and created the Indie Lee skincare line in 2013. Her mission is to educate others that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. As the clean beauty movement began to grow, so did the Indie Lee brand. Today, Indie Lee skincare products are available in 7 countries and more than 50 retailers. In this review, we’ll discuss the 8 best Indie Lee skincare products, the key ingredients you’ll find in those products, customer reviews, and more.
What Are The 8 Best Indie Lee Skin Care Products?
Indie Lee skincare products include cleansers, toners, mists, peels, serums, moisturizers, eye care, lip care, and more. Below we’ll review the 8 best Indie Lee skincare products, starting with the brand’s most popular product, the Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil.
1. Squalane Facial Oil
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil is a moisturizing facial oil that contains only one ingredient: 100% olive-derived squalane. The texture is very light and thin, and this oil absorbs well without leaving a greasy residue on the skin. This facial oil will help your skin to feel soft and moisturized, and it can also help to balance excess oil production.
2. Brightening Cleanser
Another popular product from this brand is the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. The gel transforms into a light foam to help remove makeup and clean your skin. The cleanser includes key ingredients like strawberry seed oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and tomato extracts to exfoliate and nourish the skin. Overall, the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser is said to promote hydrated, silky and luminous skin.
3. COQ-10 Toner
The Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner is a hydrating toning mist. The alcohol-free formula features coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) as the key ingredient, with supporting ingredients like aloe vera and cucumber extract. Overall, this Indie Lee toner is said to prime and soften skin exposed to environmental aggressors.
4. Soothing Cleanser
The Soothing Cleanser replaces the Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser, which has been discontinued. The Soothing Cleanser is a cream-gel cleanser that produces a mild lather to aid in the removal of makeup, excess oil, dirt, and other impurities. The formula contains soothing ingredients such as oat kernel oil and chamomile extract, which help to calm redness and irritation.
5. Clearing Mask
The Indie Lee Clearing Mask is a rinse-off clarifying mask that is said to help draw impurities out of pores while gently exfoliating and hydrating your skin. This mask is packed with beneficial ingredients, such as AHAs, BHAs, bentonite clay, zinc oxide, chamomile, red seaweed extract, and more.
6. I-Waken Eye Serum
This Indie Lee eye serum is claimed to reduce dark circles and infuse skin with lasting hydration. While there are beneficial ingredients in this formula — such as chamomile, arnica, cornflower, spirulina, and more — we can’t ignore the fact that alcohol is the fourth highest concentration ingredient in this formulation! We’ll discuss why this is a problem in the next section.
7. Purifying Face Wash
The Indie Lee Purifying Face Wash is a foaming gel cleanser that removes makeup, excess oil, and other impurities while also nourishing the skin. This face wash features ingredients like clove, burdock, and mandarin to promote a clearer, brighter complexion, while rose damascena and jasmine help the skin to feel soft and supple.
8. Blemish Lotion
The final product we’ll review from this brand is the Indie Lee Blemish Lotion. This talc-free overnight drying lotion is said to help combat breakouts and reduce the appearance of redness, irritation, and minor skin eruptions. Ingredients like colloidal sulfur and salicylic acid work together to draw out impurities, reduce the appearance of excess oil, and clarify, while zinc oxide soothes and calms the skin.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Indie Lee Skin Care Products?
Before we get into the key ingredients used in Indie Lee skincare products, let’s talk about the ingredients that you won’t find this brand using. The brand states that they always formulate without 1,300+ banned ingredients, including parabens, mineral oil, sulfate-based detergents, synthetic fragrance, petroleum-based ingredients, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, and GMO ingredients.
After evaluating the Indie Lee skincare formulations, we noticed that the brand does not use one key ingredient throughout its collection. Rather, each product contains unique key ingredients. Below we’ll discuss a few of the key ingredients that you’ll find in the best-selling Indie Lee skin care products we introduced above.
All of the cleansers we introduced above — Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, Soothing Cleanser, and Purifying Face Wash — include surfactants as the key ingredients. A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspends oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away, leaving the skin clean.
The Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner features ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) as the key ingredient. CoQ10 is naturally found within the mitochondria of cells and is essential for cellular energy production. When applied to the skin, CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant that can counteract both short‐term environmental oxidative stress as well as age‐related CoQ10 deficits.
The only ingredient in the best-selling Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil is squalane, a saturated hydrocarbon that mimics squalene (note the e). Squalene is naturally found in the skin but becomes depleted with age. When applied to the skin, squalane helps to replenish the skin’s lipid barrier, restore lost moisture, calm irritation, help to maintain hydration, and leave the skin feeling soft. According to a publication in the journal Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, anticancer, antioxidant, detoxifying, skin hydrating, and emollient activities of both squalene and squalane have been reported both in animal models and in vitro environments.
Another key ingredient that you’ll find in several Indie Lee skin care products — including the Clearing Mask and the Blemish Lotion — is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that is lipid soluble, which means it can easily penetrate pores. After entering the pore, salicylic acid exfoliates the pore lining, which loosens clogged dirt and oil and helps to wash these impurities away. It also has the ability to dissolve keratin, the protein that acts as a “glue” to keep dead skin cells together in the stratum corneum. This is effective because dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it looking dull and also possibly clogging pores.
Zinc oxide is another key ingredient that you’ll find in the Indie Lee Clearing Mask and also the Blemish Lotion. You may have heard of zinc oxide being used in your favorite mineral sunscreen, but did you know that zinc oxide can also help to combat acne? It works as a skin protectant that is effective to reduce the production of sebum (oil) and while also soothing inflammation associated with blemishes.
The final product formulation we’d like to discuss is the Indie Lee eye serum. Unfortunately, this formula contains a high concentration of alcohol (it’s the fourth high concentration ingredient). The problem with this type of alcohol is that, at first, it seems like it’s benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, imparts a weightless feel, and temporarily tightens the skin. The major problem with using high concentrations of alcohol is that this ingredient is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier. Ultimately, this ingredient will make it seem like the Indie Lee eye serum is improving your skin, but really that’s just the temporary tightening effect of alcohol.
Where are Indie Lee Skin Care Products Sold?
Indie Lee skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as through several third-party online retailers such as Sephora, Dermstore, The Detox Market, and more.
What is The Indie Lee Return Policy?
The Indie Lee return policy states, “If for whatever reason you are not satisfied with your order, send an email to [email protected] within 30 days of your purchase and we will provide a return authorization and mailing information so you can make a return and receive a product refund. Once the return has been received, we will deduct a shipping charge from the total refund.”
Is Indie Lee Cruelty-Free?
Indie Lee Skin Care is cruelty-free and the products are officially Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny Certification means Indie Lee skin care products are free of animal testing at every stage of product development.
Indie Lee Reviews
Indie Lee reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, with most of the products receiving four and five star ratings. The product with the most reviews is the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, which has received an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars after more than 200 customer reviews.
Positive reviews for this cleanser confirm that it really does help to brighten the skin without causing any dryness. For example, one review says, “This line (for brightening) really makes your skin glow! I don’t know how, but it works! I am delighted by the ingredients of this cosmetics – absolutely pure, natural! Doesn’t make your skin feel dry. By the way, you can use it as the brightening face mask for skin glow – and it really works! Definitely love it. This is the third time I have ordered it!”
There aren’t many negative Indie Lee reviews for the Brightening Cleanser, but those that we did read were from customers who either didn’t like the smell or who had skin reactions after using this product (or both). For example, one review says, “I really wanted to love this cleanser. I was intrigued by clean, natural ingredients. Usually, I prefer unscented skincare and makeup products. This cleanser has an overpowering artificial strawberry smell– think strawberry chapstick. I was willing to try to overlook that but the few times I tried it, it made my face itch and burn. Beware if you have sensitive skin (usually I don’t have a problem with sensitivity).”
What Are Some Alternatives to Indie Lee Skin Care?
Overall, we think most of the Indie Lee skin care products are formulated well, with the exception of the Indie Lee eye serum. Using high concentrations of alcohol on the skin may provide a temporary tightening effect, however, this may result in skin dryness and even damage long term due to the drying nature of alcohol. For this reason, we’d like to recommend an alternative eye cream for you to consider: Formulyst’s Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream.
The Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream is a lightweight, fast-acting formula that contains a rich blend of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to help visibly brighten and smooth the delicate skin in the eye area. Key ingredients in this Formulyst eye cream include quinoa seed extract, caffeine, and butcher’s broom extract. Quinoa seed extract is rich in essential fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help to restore the skin’s barrier function, which keeps the skin hydrated and soft. Caffeine helps to reduce the amount of blood that accumulates under the eyes (dark circles) while also reducing puffiness. Butcher’s broom extract has astringent and soothing properties. Together, these ingredients help to brighten and smooth the under eye area.
Adv Food Nutr Res 2012;65:223-33.