We're hooked on their products and inspired by their achievements. In our new interview series, we ask the powerful women behind your beauty go-tos how they relax, recharge and create, starting with Indie Lee.
by Cirilia Rose
From a sobering health diagnosis to do-no-harm skin care, Indie Lee's story is one of reinvention and empowerment. Twelve years ago, Lee faced a wake-up call that prompted action, first in her own bathroom, clearing out all things chemically complicated, and then in the wider beauty community, creating a range of simpler options that still deliver results.
Today, her clean beauty range leads the way for a more mindful approach to self-care, based on easy-to-pronounce ingredients and a focus on total well-being, with glowing skin as a pleasant side effect. See how this New York-based founder and mother of two centers wellness in both her business and her downtime.
What does self-care mean to you, and how does it impact your work?
Self-care is so important to me and has been for a long time. It's a practice that kept me sane through my brain tumor diagnosis and it's something I truly believe is a right, not an indulgence. Sometimes it's easy to forget that among all the responsibilities we have, the greatest one is to ourselves. After all, how can we be of service to others if we haven't taken care of us first? 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.
Luckily, the conversation around self-care has shifted so that it's less of an indulgence and more of an integral part of our overall health and well-being. Self-care is also the inspiration behind our latest product launches. I wanted to create products that gave me permission to speak to bigger topics of self-care like mental health, sleep and what wellness really looks like off the stage of social media.
What prompted you to get into the beauty game?
In 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that doctors felt could be environmentally derived, attributed to something as simple as my skin care. This was my awakening. I decided that if I survived surgery (which I so fortunately did), I would make it my mission to educate and empower others about the importance of what they put on their skin as well as into their body. So I set out to inspire people to live their healthiest lives.
What is your current skin care regimen like?
As the founder of a skin care company, I'm spoiled! What I focus on most is the practice of skin care, so I make sure to wash my face every morning and night. My ritual right now includes CoQ-10 Toner in the morning and Radiance Renewal Peel at night, followed by my Stem Cell Serum, Daily Vitamin Infusion Face Oil, Superfruit Facial Cream and I-Waken Eye Serum. I also love using my jade roller and gua sha tools with my serums and moisturizers. It allows me to be mindful and present while I apply my skin care.
What are your favorite ways to reset or recharge outside of work?
Meditation is huge for me. I meditate twice daily for 20 minutes, and I make time for it even when I'm traveling. It's always grounded me, and I feel the effects if I don't stick with it. Nature walks are another one of my favorite ways to recharge.
What are your can't-live-without Indie Lee products?
Right now, I love our I-Recover Mind & Body Gel. It signifies our entry into wellness, as well as my personal recovery from brain surgery—mind, body and soul. It's a game changer, packed with arnica, black pepper, lavender, patchouli, eucalyptus and menthol. It provides an amazing warm/cool sensation, making it great for everything from sore and achy muscles to aromatherapeutic uses. It’s extra comfort when I experience a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.
I also can't live without our I-Waken Eye Serum. It's my go-to for everything—morning ritual, evening ritual, in-flight ritual, you name it. It's like faking a full night's sleep every time I apply. Lastly, I'd add CoQ-10 Toner, formulated with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, cool and rebalance. I love tossing this in my gym bag with a few cotton rounds for a quick post-workout cleanse and cool, or in my carry-on for a mid-flight mist if I'm feeling dry and dull.
Can you share your favorite beauty advice?
We are all perfectly imperfect. Never try to change yourself because of the outward standards you see. Beauty begins from within.