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Reviewed: The Best (and Worst) Skincare Products From Indie Lee

What’s worth buying from this popular clean beauty brand.
Indie Lee review

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.)

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

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 review

Brand Background

Founded By

Indie Lee (formerly Lisa Swengros) in 2009

Based In

New York, USA

Pricing

$$

Known For

Products grounded in nature, supported through science, and inspired by life

Bestselling Products

• Brightening Cleanser
CoQ-10 Toner 
Squalane Facial Oil

Ingredients

• Cruelty-free
• Made without parabens, mineral oil, sulfate-based detergents, synthetic fragrance, petroleum-based ingredients, phthalates, phenoxyethanol and formaldehyde

Similar Brands

• REN Clean Skincare
• Tata Harper
Juice Beauty
Odacité

Editor’s Picks

Best Cleanser

Brightening Cleanser

Best Toner

CoQ-10 Toner

Best Exfoliant

Radiance Renewal Peel

Best Serum

Stem Cell Serum

Best Moisturizer

Active Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best Face Oil

Squalane Facial Oil

Best Spot Treatment

Banish Stick

Best Face Mask

Clearing Mask

Best Eye Treatment

I-Waken Eye Serum

Cleansers

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
Indie Lee Purifying Face Wash
Indie Lee Soothing Cleanser

Toners & Exfoliants

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
Indie Lee Gentle Daily Peel
Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel

Serums

Indie Lee Daily Vitamin Infusion
Indie Lee Stem Cell Serum

Moisturizers & Oils

Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer
Indie Lee Brightening Cream
Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition
Indie Lee Meditation Facial Mist
Indie Lee Overnight Facial Oil
Indie Lee Retinol Alternative Cream
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil
Indie Lee Superfruit Facial Cream

Masks & Spot Treatments

Indie Lee Banish Solution
Indie Lee Banish Stick
Indie Lee Clearing Mask
Indie Lee I-Waken Resurfacing Mask
Indie Lee Overnight Banish Gel

Eyes & Lips

Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum
Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint
Indie Lee Restorative Eye Cream

SPF

Indie Lee Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Further Reading

  1. Knott, Anja, Achterberg, Volker, Smuda, Christoph, Mielke, Heiko, Sperling, Gabi, Dunckelmann, Katja, Vogelsang, Alexandra, Krüger, Andrea, Schwengler, Helge, Behtash, Mojgan, Kristof, Sonja, Diekmann, Heike, Eisenberg, Tanya, Berroth, Andreas, Hildebrand, Janosch, Siegner, Ralf, Winnefeld, Marc, Teuber, Frank, Fey, Sven, Möbius, Janne, Retzer, Dana, Burkhardt, Thorsten, Lüttke, Juliane & Blatt, Thomas. (2015). Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10‐containing formulas improves skin's Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects. Biofactors. 2015 Nov 12; 41(6): 383–390.
  2. Sethi, Anisha, Kaur, Tejinder, Malhotra, S.K. & Gambhir, M.L. (2016). Moisturizers: The Slippery Road. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2016 May-Jun; 61(3): 279–287.
  3. Berkers, Tineke, Visscher, Dani, Gooris, Gert S. & Bouwstra, Joke A. (2018). Topically Applied Ceramides Interact with the Stratum Corneum Lipid Matrix in Compromised Ex Vivo Skin. Pharmaceutical Research. 2018; 35(3): 48.
  4. Nowak, Renata. (2005). Fatty acids composition in fruits of wild rose species. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae. 74(3):229-235.
  5. Korkina, Liudmila G., Mayer, Wolfgang & de Luca, Chiara. (2017). Meristem Plant Cells as a Sustainable Source of Redox Actives for Skin Rejuvenation. Biomolecules. 2017 Jun; 7(2): 40.
  6. Couto, Joana, Figueirinha, Artur, Batista, Maria Teresa, Paranhos, António, Nunes, Carla, Gonçalves, Lidia Maria, Marto, Joana, Fitas, Manuel, Pinto, Pedro, Ribeiro, Helena Margarida & Pina, Maria Eugénia. (2020). Fragaria vesca L. Extract: A Promising Cosmetic Ingredient with Antioxidant Properties. Antioxidants. 2020 Feb; 9(2): 154.
  7. Matthaus, B., Özcan, M. M. & Juhaimi, F. Y. Al. (2015). Fatty acid composition and tocopherol profiles of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) seed oils. Natural Product Research. 2015; 29(2): 193-6.
  8. d’Erceville-Dumond, Charlotte, Bonnet, Isabelle, Mine, Solène, Trombini, Florence, Kalem, Cecile & André-Frei, Valérie. (2019, September). Rambutan bioactives for hair and skin. BASF Care Creations.
  9. Lourith, Nattaya, Kanlayavattanakul, Mayuree, Chaikul, Puxvadee, Chansriniyom, Chaisak & Bunwatcharaphansakun, Pichaporn. (2017). In vitro and cellular activities of the selected fruits residues for skin aging treatment. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias. 2017 May; 89(1 Suppl 0): 577-589.
  10. Baumann, Leslie S. (2014, May 15). Cosmeceutical Critique: Benzoyl peroxide. MDedge.
  11. Ciganović, Petar, Jakimiuk, Katarzyna, Tomczyk, Michał & Končić, Marijana Zovko. (2019). Glycerolic Licorice Extracts as Active Cosmeceutical Ingredients: Extraction Optimization, Chemical Characterization, and Biological Activity. Antioxidants. 2019 Oct; 8(10): 445.
  12. Reis, Murat. (2018). Prediction of fatty acid composition of sunflower seeds by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2018 Jun; 55(6): 2318–2325.

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