Clean beauty has become mainstream, and Indie Lee is one of the brands that led the way. Launched more than a decade ago, it offers a range of skincare products made from only safe, effective and ethically-sourced ingredients. With colourful, Instagram-friendly (and soon-to-be refillable) packaging, it was also one of the first clean skincare lines with mass appeal.
The first thing you need to know is that Indie Lee is not just a brand but a person—and she was inspired to create her own natural skincare products after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour in 2008. Doctors said she might have as little as six months to live, and that the trigger was likely environmental, which (to her alarm) could include what she’d been using on her skin.
Against the odds, she survived a surgery to remove the tumour, and then embarked on a new mission: to launch Indie Lee (the brand), and to educate others that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. (Read more about her story in my interview here.)
Today, there are more than 20 facial products in the range, all created according to Indie’s philosophy: “when in doubt, formulate out.” To help you navigate them, I’ve put together this guide to the Indie Lee skincare line. Keep reading for my thoughts on each product, what’s really worth buying, and the closest dupes that I’ve found.
The Indie Lee Edit
Indie Lee (formerly Lisa Swengros) in 2009
New York, USA
Products grounded in nature, supported through science, and inspired by life
Best Face Oil
Best Spot Treatment
Best Face Mask
Best Eye Treatment
Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
- What it does: Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser is a non-drying foaming gel cleanser that cleans your skin, removes makeup and gently exfoliates for a brighter glow. It can be used to cleanse both morning and night. You can also leave it on your skin for five to 10 minutes as an exfoliating mask.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Sulfate-free surfactants, hydrolyzed wheat protein, strawberry seed oil.
- Editor’s notes: This is one of my all-time favourite gel cleansers that I always recommend, no matter what your skin type. It’s surprisingly effective at both removing makeup and cleaning your skin—so if you don’t have time to double cleanse, this product can do it all in one step (without causing dryness). That being said, I wouldn’t expect major brightening benefits from any cleanser, since it’s only on your skin for a short time before rinsing off. Leave-on acid exfoliants, vitamin C and niacinamide are more effective ways to brighten.
- Similar products: Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser and Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser are all sulfate-free gel cleansers that are similarly gentle on the skin.
Indie Lee Purifying Face Wash
- What it does: Indie Lee Purifying Face Wash is a foaming gel cleanser that cleans and nourishes the skin while dissolving excess sebum. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: Normal to oily and acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Sulfate-free surfactants, glycerin, plum extract, mango pulp extract, capric triglycerides, orange extract, rose extract, clove extract, lavender extract, jasmine extract, burdock extract.
- Editor’s notes: You only need a small amount of this cleanser to produce a good lather, and like the Brightening Cleanser, it’s effective at both removing makeup and cleaning the skin in one step. Since it’s geared toward oily skin, it’s a little more drying, but it’s still much gentler than most foaming cleansers, which can be harsh and stripping. (I have combo skin, and it never feels uncomfortable or tight after using this.) Just keep in mind that for excess sebum, you’ll get even better results from a leave-on treatment with BHAs or niacinamide, both of which have oil-controlling properties.
- Similar products: BYBI Crystal Clear Gel Cleanser and Follain Balancing Cleanser are both non-drying gel formulas that are geared at oilier skin types.
Indie Lee Soothing Cleanser
- What it does: Indie Lee Soothing Cleanser is a gentle cream-gel cleanser that cleans your skin and removes makeup while also moisturizing and soothing redness. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: Sensitive skin.
- Key ingredients: Sulfate-free surfactants, oat kernel oil, glycerin, gluconolactone, rosehip oil, chamomile oil.
- Editor’s notes: This cleanser replaces the old Rosehip Cleanser, which has been discontinued. It produces a mild, milky lather, and similar to the brand’s other cleansers, you don’t need a lot of product to get off makeup, oil and debris. With calming oat kernel oil and chamomile, it’s a good choice for anyone with reactive skin. If you are acne-prone, I would suggest following this cleanser with a swipe of toner (such as the CoQ-10 Toner), to make sure any residue is thoroughly removed from your skin.
- Similar product: If you enjoy cleansers with a cream-gel texture, you’ll also like Herbivore Pink Cloud Creamy Jelly Cleanser.
Toners & Exfoliants
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
- What it does: Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner is a non-drying toner mist that hydrates, softens, balances and refreshes your skin. It can be used after cleansing, both morning and night, or as needed throughout the day.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Aloe, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, sage extract, cucumber extract.
- Editor’s notes: This toner is not only alcohol-free, it’s also high in humectants that draw moisture into the skin. Plus it has coenzyme Q (ubiquinone), an antioxidant that is proven to defend against UV-induced free radical damage. I love that it’s so multi-purpose—you can either spray it on a cotton pad to tone, mist it directly onto your skin to use it as a hydrating essence, or spritz it on at any time of day for a cooling, refreshing pick-me-up. Just keep in mind that it does not play well with acid exfoliants. I’ve found that if I apply it before AHAs or BHAs, I get red, flushed skin that takes a couple hours to go down. For this reason, I recommend using it at least 30 minutes away from acid exfoliants.
- Similar product: Agent Nateur Holi (Water) is another great toner mist that doubles as a hydrating essence (it’s packed with rose water and hyaluronic acid).
Indie Lee Gentle Daily Peel
- What it does: Indie Lee Gentle Daily Peel is a set of gentle, acid-based exfoliating pads that remove dead skin, dissolve excess sebum and brighten your skin. They can be used up to three times per week on sensitive skin, and daily by all other skin types.
- Best for: All skin, especially dull and acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Witch hazel water, salicylic acid, glycerin, japonica flower extract, jasmine, tangerine extract, burdock root extract, caviar lime extract.
- Editor’s notes: These pads are worth trying if you are seeking mild exfoliation and a clearer, brighter complexion. Salicylic acid is doing most of the work here to smooth the skin surface, deep-clean pores and reduce oil production. (The brand doesn’t disclose the concentration, but it’s likely less than 0.5%.) Should you worry that these pads are high in alcohol? Probably not—it’s a penetration enhancer that makes them more effective, and the moisturizing humectants will offset its drying effects. Just keep in mind that oily skin or acne may require a stronger formula (typically at least 1% salicylic acid or 2% betaine salicylate). The most effective exfoliant I’ve found for oily and acne-prone skin is COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (reviewed here).
- Similar products: Try COSRX Original Clear Pad, which has 1% betaine salicylate (equivalent to 0.5% salicylic acid). Or, for an even stronger treatment, there’s First Aid Beauty White Clay Acne Treatment Pads with 2% salicylic acid. For more options, see my guide to the best exfoliating pads.
Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel
- What it does: Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel is a set of gentle exfoliating pads that remove dead skin, brighten and even out skin tone. They can be used up to three times per week on sensitive skin, and daily by all other skin types.
- Best for: All skin, especially dull and mature skin.
- Key ingredients: Glycerin, plum extract, mango extract, banana extract, caviar lime extract.
- Editor’s notes: Rather than hydroxy-acids, these pads are soaked in botanical extracts like plum, mango and lime, which have natural exfoliating and skin-softening properties. That makes them a milder option than the Gentle Daily Peel, and ideal for people who can’t tolerate strong acids. That said, I would only expect minor brightening benefits. If you want more dramatic results, a 5-10% lactic acid exfoliant would work even better (such as REN Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic or ClarityRx Brighten It 10% Lactic Acid Solution).
- Similar product: Naturally Serious Get Even Cold-Pressed Peel Pads exfoliate with pomegranate enzymes instead of acids.
Indie Lee Daily Vitamin Infusion
- What it does: Indie Lee Daily Vitamin Infusion is an oil-based serum that hydrates your skin, protects from free radicals and diminishes the look of fine lines. It can be used morning and night, either alone on clean skin or layered underneath moisturizer.
- Best for: All skin, especially dry and sensitive skin.
- Key ingredients: Squalane, rosehip oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ceramides.
- Editor’s notes: Unlike the typical serum, which is water-based, this one is a blend of oils—primarily squalane. That gives it a thinner, more absorbent texture, and makes it more moisturizing than most oil blends, since squalane is an emollient that improves skin softness, flexibility and smoothness. The ceramides also help to repair and strengthen your skin barrier, so this could be a good choice if you are dry or sensitive. But if you’re acne-prone, it could be comedogenic, so I’d stick with the Squalane Facial Oil instead. Also keep in mind that the rosehip oil will oxidize quickly (since it is highly polyunsaturated), so you’d need to use this up quickly (ideally within about three months).
- Similar product: Cocokind Ceramide Barrier Serum is loaded with squalane and five types of ceramides, but has a lightweight aloe vera base.
Indie Lee Stem Cell Serum
- What it does: Indie Lee Stem Cell Serum is an oil-free serum that hydrates your skin, minimizes fine lines and the improves the look of firmness, texture and tone. It can be used both morning and night, either alone on clean skin or layered underneath moisturizer.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, apple extract, echinacea stem cells.
- Editor’s notes: This is one of my favourite face serums because it’s super lightweight and unlikely to cause irritation or breakouts. While the echinacea-derived stem cells don’t have rigorous clinical data behind them, they are thought to improve hydration and elasticity, reduce lipid and protein oxidation in the skin, and normalize the microbiome—all contributing to an anti-aging effect. Still, the results won’t be comparable to more proven treatments like retinoids (the gold standard). For treating wrinkles and less of firmness, I recommend A313 Cosmetic Cream with Retinyl Palmitate (reviewed here) and Shani Darden Retinol Reform (reviewed here).
- Similar products: Éminence Organic Skin Care Bamboo Firming Fluid and Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum are both infused with plant-derived stem cells (although unlike this product, they are not oil-free).
Moisturizers & Oils
Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer
- What it does: Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer is a lightweight, oil-free lotion that hydrates your skin and protects it from free radicals and pollution. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: All skin, especially oily and acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Fatty acids, fatty alcohols, alkanes, lethicin, glycerin, pomegranate extract, curry extract, daisy extract, knotweed extract, jasmine extract, tangerine extract, burdock root extract, rose water, capric triglycerides.
- Editor’s notes: This lotion-textured moisturizer sinks in fast, with no greasy residue and a matte finish, but it’s still surprisingly hydrating. Not only is it free of oils, it’s also made without silicones, fragrance or essential oils. So most skin types should tolerate it well—I am acne-prone, for example, and it never breaks me out or leaves me looking like an oil slick! If you’re dry, you probably won’t find it moisturizing enough on its own, so I would suggest layering it over a serum (such as the Stem Cell Serum) and underneath an oil (such as the Squalane Facial Oil).
- Similar product: Although I’m not aware of any other oil-free moisturizer with the same lotion texture, Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream is a nice alternative. It’s an oil-free gel-cream that’s made with clean ingredients.
Indie Lee Brightening Cream
- What it does: Indie Lee Brightening Cream is a brightening moisturizer that helps to even skin tone while locking in moisture for plump-looking skin. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Capric triglycerides, propanediol, safflower oil, fatty alcohol, squalane, candelilla wax, mango seed butter, glycerin, silica, aloe, Centella Asiatica extract, strawberry leaf extract, hyaluronic acid.
- Editor’s notes: This medium-weight face cream promises to brighten your skin with strawberry leaf extract, which works by inhibiting tyrosinase (an enzyme that controls the production of melanin in your skin). While it may help a bit, I wouldn’t expect it to deliver dramatic results. You’re better off incorporating a more proven brightening treatment, like vitamin C or niacinamide, into your routine. But my main concern with this moisturizer is the safflower oil, which is high in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. This makes it chemically unstable and prone to oxidation. For these reasons, I would stick with the Active Oil-Free Moisturizer or Daily Skin Nutrition (which are more stable) instead.
- Similar product: Alo Luminizing Face Moisturizer brightens with a high concentration of vitamin C-rich amla extract (Indian gooseberry), and is fragrance-free.
Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition
- What it does: Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition is a nourishing moisturizer that boosts moisture retention, protects from free radicals and diminishes the appearance of fine lines. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: Dry and sensitive skin.
- Key ingredients: Squalane, avocado oil, propanediol, cetearyl olivate, coconut oil, sorbitan olivate, hydrogenated olive oil, rosehip oil, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), vitamin E.
- Editor’s notes: If you’re looking for a richer option than the Active Oil-Free Moisturizer, consider this moisturizer. It’s silicone-free, but not oil-free, and has a cream texture (although it’s still light enough to dispense through a pump). Despite the high oil content, it sinks in fast and doesn’t feel greasy on your skin. However, if you are acne-prone, proceed with caution, as some of the oils here may be comedogenic (I’d stick with the Active Oil-Free Moisturizer instead).
- Similar product: Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Cream is high in squalane, with a creamy but non-greasy texture that normal to dry skin will love.
Indie Lee Meditation Facial Mist
- What it does: Indie Lee Meditation Facial Mist is an aromatic face mist that hydrates and refreshes your skin, protects against environmental skin stressors, and promotes a sense of calm and wellbeing. It can be used after cleansing, both morning and night, or as needed throughout the day.
- Best for: All skin except sensitive.
- Key ingredients: Rosewater, propanediol, pentylene glycol, aloe, sage extract, lavender extract, chamomile, glycerin, hyaluronic acid.
- Editor’s notes: This mist contains weightless humectants for light moisture, botanical extracts to tone and fight free radicals, and fragrant essential oils to calm your senses. You can use it as a toner after cleansing, to prep skin for makeup, or at any other time of day to refresh your complexion. However, it may not be suitable for sensitive skin, since floral waters and essential oils can be irritating. Citrus essential oils also increase photosensitivity, so you should avoid this mist if you’re going to be out in the sun. For a more sensitive skin-friendly option, I recommend the CoQ-10 Toner instead, since it is also a hydrating mist but is essential oil-free.
- Similar product: Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence is a similar mist containing hyaluronic acid infused in multiple floral waters (and no sensitizing essential oils).
Indie Lee Overnight Facial Oil
- What it does: Indie Lee Overnight Facial Oil is a face oil blend for soft, hydrated, firmer-looking skin by morning. It can be used at night, either alone on clean skin or layered over your favourite serum.
- Best for: Dry skin.
- Key ingredients: Heptyl undecylenate, castor seed oil, capric triglycerides, coconut alkanes, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, lavender oil, coco-caprylate, rosehip oil, marula oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E, sunflower oil.
- Editor’s notes: Unlike the Squalane Facial Oil, this is a blend of multiple oils, and it is specifically meant to be worn at night. The main moisturizing ingredient here is heptyl undecylenate, an emollient derived from castor seed oil that is an alternative to silicones and mineral oil. I’d stay away from this one if you are acne-prone, since all of the oils, as well as the coconut alkanes, could trigger breakouts. (The Squalane Facial Oil is a safer bet.) If you do try it, be sure to use it up fast (ideally within about three months) since several of the oils will oxidize quickly.
- Similar product: Herbivore Orchid Facial Oil is also geared at dry skin, and contains a more stable blend of capric triglycerides, orchid extract, camellia oil, jojoba oil and squalane.
Indie Lee Retinol Alternative Cream
- What it does: Indie Lee Retinol Alternative Cream is an anti-aging moisturizer that improves the look of elasticity, firmness, fine lines and wrinkles, without causing dryness, irritation or photosensitivity. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: Signs of aging.
- Key ingredients: Capric triglycerides, propanediol, safflower oil, fatty alcohols, shea butter, squalane, glycerin, candelilla wax, cetearyl olivate, mango seed butter, sorbitan olivate, aloe, paracress extract, rambutan extract, hyaluronic acid.
- Editor’s notes: This treatment promises retinol-like benefits without the unpleasant side effects—plus you can use it twice per day, instead of only at night. Most clean beauty brands with retinol alternatives are using bakuchiol, but it’s not in this formula. The star ingredient is rambutan, a fruit similar to the lychee, which has been shown to improve elasticity, inhibit collagen breakdown and suppress melanin production. Still, it has nowhere near the amount of research behind it as actual retinol, so your results are likely to be modest. Another concern is the high concentration of safflower oil, which means this formulation will oxidize quickly. For these reasons, I recommend sticking with the Active Oil-Free Moisturizer or Daily Skin Nutrition instead.
- Similar product: Alpyn Beauty Wild Nettle & Niacinamide Firming Serum also contains rambutan (along with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid), however, it is high in polyunsaturated sunflower oil.
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
- What it does: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil is a moisturizing but non-greasy face oil comprised of 100% pure squalane. It can be used both morning and night, either alone on clean skin, layered over your favourite serum, or mixed with serum, moisturizer or foundation.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Olive-derived squalane.
- Editor’s notes: I call squalane “the face oil for people who hate oils” because it has such a light and fast-absorbing texture, it doesn’t feel like anything is on your skin. Not only is it effective at hydrating and preventing moisture loss, it also heals chapping and helps to balance excess oil production—all while remaining non-comedogenic for the majority of people. This version is one of the most high-quality (according to Indie: “I found the highest grade you could get”). All you need are a few drops, whether alone, mixed into another skincare product as a booster, or on top of a serum or cream for enhanced barrier protection.
- Similar products: BeautyStat Universal Moisture Essence and ClarityRx Nourish Your Skin 100% Squalane Additive Oil are other olive-derived squalane oils with an equally elegant texture. There are many inexpensive alternatives, too, including Good Molecules Squalane Oil and Timeless Squalane Oil. See my squalane oil guide for more options.
Indie Lee Superfruit Facial Cream
- What it does: Indie Lee Superfruit Facial Cream is an anti-aging moisturizer for the face and neck, which hydrates, brightens, and improves texture and tone. It can be used both morning and night, either alone on clean skin or layered over your favourite serum.
- Best for: Dull skin and signs of aging.
- Key ingredients: Glycerin, dicaprylyl ether, propanediol, vegetable oil, bilberry extract, sodium levulinate, fatty alcohol, sugar cane extract, hyaluronic acid, orange extract, lemon extract, baobab extract, hibiscus extract, vitamin E, sugar maple extract, green tea extract, Centella Asiatica extract.
- Editor’s notes: This cream has a higher price tag than the brand’s other moisturizers, but that’s because it doesn’t just hydrate—it’s also an anti-aging treatment. It claims to smooth and plump with natural peptides (although their source is unclear), and contains antioxidants and naturally-derived AHAs to protect from free radicals and gently exfoliate. I also note that it’s high in bilberry extract, a natural source of arbutin for brightening. Like the other creams in the line, it is silicone-free, with a non-greasy texture. Just keep in mind that it won’t be that potent, since it contains only mild actives. For best results, I suggest layering it over treatments with more proven anti-aging benefits, such as retinoids or L-ascorbic acid. (Think A313 Cosmetic Cream with Retinyl Palmitate or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic). Also, since the vegetable oil is likely unsaturated, I recommend using this cream up quickly (ideally within three to six months), before it oxidizes.
- Similar product: January Labs Retexturizing Night Cream has a high concentration of lactic acid to gently exfoliate and brighten, and peptides to boost collagen synthesis.
Masks & Spot Treatments
Indie Lee Banish Solution
- What it does: Indie Lee Banish Solution is an intensive acne spot treatment that clears blemishes without over-drying. It should be applied with a cotton swab dipped into the sediment at the bottom (do not shake the bottle), and left on your skin for at least two hours or overnight.
- Best for: Acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Alcohol, colloidal sulfur, zinc oxide, salicylic acid, magnesium, clay, camphor.
- Editor’s notes: This is a natural, talc-free alternative to the OG acne spot treatment, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. It contains many of the same ingredients—including sulfur, zinc, clay, salicylic acid and camphor—to dry out blemishes, absorb excess oil, disinfect pores and reduce inflammation. (There’s also alcohol in here to kill bacteria, but since it’s only being used as a spot treatment, I would not be concerned.) I definitely think this is a better choice than benzoyl peroxide, which is irritating, triggers free radical formation and could be linked to premature skin aging. However, acne sufferers will get the best results not from spot-treating but from using an all-over BHA treatment as often as daily. This will keep your pores clean and prevent breakouts before they happen. (Three formulas that I can highly recommend are CORSX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner and First Aid Beauty White Clay Acne Treatment Pads.)
- Similar product: Derma E Sulfur Spot Treatment is another clean dupe for Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, and features clay, calamine, camphor, zinc, sulfur and salicylic acid.
Indie Lee Banish Stick
- What it does: Indie Lee Banish Stick is an invisible acne spot treatment that can be used on-the-go to clear blemishes without drying out your skin. It can be used throughout the day as needed.
- Best for: Acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Alcohol, witch hazel water, pentylene glycol, wintergreen extract, glycerin, Tasmanian pepper fruit, burdock root extract.
- Editor’s notes: This is an ideal solution for treating breakouts during the daytime. Unlike benzoyl peroxide or acne patches, it’s completely clear and undetectable on your skin, and can worn both under and over makeup. Wintergreen-derived salicylic acid is the star of this formula, so it’s gentler than most spot treatments, and won’t leave you flaky. (It does contain alcohol, but this is important to kill bacteria, since the wand applicator will touch your skin.) But I would not rely on this product alone if you are someone who is truly struggling with acne. Rather than spot-treating, you’ll get the best results from a daily all-over BHA treatment to prevent comedones from forming in the first place.
- Similar product: Skinfix Acne+ 2% BHA Acne Spot Treatment can also be worn during the day, since it dries clear. It treats acne with an even more potent mix of ingredients: 2% salicylic acid, 10% azelaic acid and 2% niacinamide.
Indie Lee Clearing Mask
- What it does: Indie Lee Clearing Mask is a deep-cleansing face mask that draws out impurities and gently exfoliates to combat blemishes, while also hydrating and calming your skin. It should be applied in a thin layer to clean, damp skin for 20 minutes, and can be used as often as needed.
- Best for: All skin, especially oily and acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Bentonite clay, zinc oxide, colloidal sulfur, propanediol, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, camphor.
- Editor’s notes: This is one of my favourite face masks for oily and congested skin. The clay and sulfur pull gunk out of your pores, while the AHAs and BHAs whisk away dead skin cells and smooth your skin surface. I also note that it has a high concentration of zinc, which helps to reduce inflammation, and it’s free of essential oils. The texture is thick and creamy, and even though it’s left on for 20 minutes, it doesn’t dry out. I love that when I rinse this off, my skin feels clean and calm, not irritated. Just keep in mind that this shouldn’t be your primary treatment if you’re dealing with acne. You’ll get the best results from using it in combination with a regular BHA exfoliant.
- Similar product: Youth To The People Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask is another clay-based clearing mask, with BHAs to unclog and 2% niacinamide to tighten pores.
Indie Lee I-Waken Resurfacing Mask
- What it does: Indie Lee I-Waken Resurfacing Mask is an exfoliating, brightening and smoothing face mask. It should be applied to clean skin for up to five minutes, and can be used two to three times per week (or once per week if you have sensitive skin).
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Aloe, kaolin clay, triheptanoin, shea butter, propanediol, glycerin, fatty alcohols, wintergreen extract, bentonite clay, jasmine extract, tangerine extract, burdock root extract, citric acid, plum extract, mango extract, banana extract.
- Editor’s notes: This mask only takes five minutes to do its thing—so think of it as a quick fix to transform tired skin from dull to glowing. It contains clays to absorb excess oil, wintergreen (a natural source of BHAs) to gently exfoliate, and vitamin C-rich fruits to brighten. Unlike most clay masks, it has a creamy and hydrating texture, so it won’t dry out your skin and it’s easy to rinse off.
- Similar product: Although Odacité Synergie 4-in-1 Powder Masque is in the form of a powder—you activate it by mixing with water, yogurt or other kitchen ingredients—it has a similar mix of clays, vitamin C and exfoliating enzymes and fruit acids.
Indie Lee Overnight Banish Gel
- What it does: Indie Lee Overnight Banish Gel is a clarifying gel that draws out excess oil and impurities to help clear acne while you sleep, without drying out your skin. It should be applied to clean skin, on affected areas only, and left on overnight.
- Best for: All skin, especially acne-prone skin.
- Key ingredients: Triheptanoin, witch hazel water, kaolin clay, glycerin, propanediol, pentylene glycol, shea butter, fatty alcohols, wintergreen extract, bentonite clay.
- Editor’s notes: If you’re not keen on going to bed with pink dots on your face (from the Banish Solution), consider this overnight treatment instead. As a lightweight gel, it goes on clear, and is ideal for treating breakout-prone areas—like, say, your T-zone—instead of just dabbing it on individual pimples. The clays will absorb oil, wintergreen (a natural source of salicylic acid) will gently exfoliate and clear pores, and the various skin conditioners counteract dryness. This product could help prevent breakouts if used on a regular basis, but keep in mind that the tube is tiny, and the BHA concentration is likely pretty low. You’ll get more bang for your buck with a mild BHA exfoliant such as low-dose salicylic acid or betaine salicylate, which you can use all-over. (I like Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner and COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad.)
- Similar product: bioClarity Treat Acne Clearing Gel has 2% salicylic acid plus moisturizing squalane and soothing oat kernel. Plus it comes in a tube that is twice the size.
Eyes & Lips
Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum
- What it does: Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum is a lightweight eye serum that reduces dark circles and infuses skin with hydration. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Propanediol, glycerin, alcohol, dicaprylyl ether, capric triglycerides, sodium levulinate, jojoba oil, squalane, jojoba esters, algae extract, hyaluronic acid, horse chestnut extract, arnica extract, chamomile extract.
- Editor’s notes: If you’re looking for a light, non-greasy eye treatment that plays well with makeup and won’t cause irritation, this product is for you. It has a fast-absorbing, gel-like texture, but it’s still surprisingly hydrating, thanks to the mix of emollients and humectants. (If you do need more moisture, you could mix or layer this with the Squalane Facial Oil.) It has also been clinically proven to reduce dark circles and signs of aging—although it’s worth noting that the study was conducted by the brand, and had only 32 participants. Dark circles and puffiness are notoriously difficult to treat with topical products, so I wouldn’t expect major changes. Retinol, vitamin C, vitamin K, caffeine and niacinamide are more proven ingredients to try for these concerns.
- Similar product: Pai System D Schisandra & Ceramide Cooling Eye Serum hydrates, soothes and firms with natural ingredients, and features a ceramide complex to strengthen the delicate eye area.
Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint
- What it does: Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint is an ultra-nourishing lip conditioner with a sheer, buildable tint (choose from three shades). It can be used as both a tinted lip balm and as a blush.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Castor seed oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, babassu seed oil, squalane, vitamin E.
- Editor’s notes: As the brand’s first foray into colour, this product combines the skincare benefits of a lip balm with subtle, wearable pigments. Play is a cool-toned medium pink, Embrace is a warm nude, and Evoke is a neutral mauve. These have a lipstick-like satin finish (rather than looking like a balm or a gloss), and can be built up for more intensity. They’re light but creamy, and long-lasting.
- Similar products: For more tinted lip balms made with clean ingredients, try RMS Beauty Tinted Daily Lip Balm, Olio E Osso Tinted Balm and Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm.
Indie Lee Restorative Eye Cream
- What it does: Indie Lee Restorative Eye Cream is a nourishing eye cream that reduces the look of fine lines and other visible signs of aging. It can be used both morning and night.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: Capric triglycerides, propanediol, safflower oil, fatty alcohols, shea butter, squalane, mango seed butter, glycerin, aloe, Centella Asiatica extract, Swiss apple stem cells, licorice root extract, hyaluronic acid, seaweed extract, paracress extract.
- Editor’s notes: This eye cream was recently reformulated, and now comes in plastic packaging instead of glass. It has a creamy but non-greasy texture, and sinks in fast for immediate plumping and hydration. Although it claims to be anti-aging, I wouldn’t expect dramatic results from the combination of Centella Asiatica, Swiss apple stem cells and paracress (which aren’t as proven or as potent as treatments like retinoids and vitamin C). It does have licorice root, which may have a modest brightening effect. Since it’s free of fragrance and essential oils, it is also unlikely to cause irritation. Unfortunately, I preferred the old version of this product, since it is now high in unstable safflower oil. If you do try this eye cream, I recommend using it up fast (ideally within about three months), before it oxidizes.
- Similar product: Tata Harper Restorative Eye Crème contains lavender-derived peptides and Centella Asiatica in a mix of moisturizing, all-natural emollients. Rather than safflower oil, it has safflower oleosomes, which keep the oil fresh until contact.
Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
- What it does: Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is a face and body sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection while keeping your skin hydrated all day long. It should be used 15 minutes before sun exposure, and re-applied every two hours.
- Best for: All skin.
- Key ingredients: 20% zinc oxide, sunflower oil, capric triglycerides, squalane, dicaprylyl carbonate, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, shea butter cetyl esters.
- Editor’s notes: With 20% zinc oxide, this sunscreen offers excellent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also silicone-free and fragrance-free. Unfortunately, it’s high in sunflower oil, an oil that I don’t like to see in sunscreens because it is highly unsaturated and therefore susceptible to rapid light-induced oxidation. This sunscreen also has a somewhat thicker texture, and may leave a white cast on darker skin tones.
- Similar product: For an equally protective mineral sunscreen that you can use on both your face and body, I recommend Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 (which is also more stable). For more product suggestions, see my mineral sunscreen guide.
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