Inspiration often comes from necessity. Indie Lee’s life actually depended on the launch of her eponymous skin care collection, when a terrifying diagnosis made her question her product choices. Her products are instant faves that win even more loyalty once you know the story behind them—which we asked Indie to share, to cap off a month of inspirational women.
How did you translate a scary medical diagnosis into a brand devoted to helping people live a healthier life?
In 2008, after losing vision in my left eye, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and given as little as six months to live. I didn't understand—I had been living a healthy life. In fact, at the time I was growing edible flowers in the greenhouse in my backyard and selling them to Whole Foods. I was eating healthy and exercising, plus there was no medical history like this in my family. When I asked how this was possible, my doctor asked me a life-changing question: "What do you put on your skin?” This was my awakening; the truth was I had no idea what I was putting on my skin. I started researching the personal care industry and was floored by what I found—suspect ingredients and little regulation. After successfully surviving surgery, I started creating clean products dedicated to educating and empowering others to live the healthiest version of their life. The journey was mine to forge and I haven't stopped since.
Where does skin care fit into an overall wellness practice?
While everyone’s wellness practices can be different, I really like to think of skin care as something you should do for your everyday health just like you would eat healthy, workout, etc. Not only will your skin thank you for taking care of it, but I think taking at least 10 minutes a day, whether that be morning and night or just morning, to really be present and take care of your skin can really enhance your overall well being—mind, body & soul. I also found adding in beauty tools, like a gua sha or jade roller, really allows me to be mindful and present while I apply my skin care, which has been a really grounding practice for me.
What’s the easiest swap someone can make to increase the effectiveness and health of their skin care routine?
I always suggest starting slowly and go clean one product at a time so the transition isn’t overwhelming. That way, you can make sure each product is working for you. If you try to transition all of your products to clean alternatives all at once, not only will you be overwhelmed, you won’t know what products work well with your skin versus maybe give you a negative reaction. An easy practice is to replace an existing product with a clean alternative as you are running out of it. If you’re low on your cleanser, start researching what clean alternatives are out there and interest you most. For people with sensitive skin, it may be best to request a sample from a local retailer to patch test before buying the full size. Then repeat this process when the next product in your routine is running low. Before you know it, you will have a new clean skincare routine.
What’s your personal holy grail product?
It’s so hard to pick just one! However, right now, my favorite product is our I-Recover Mind & Body Gel. This gel is a wellness game changer. It’s 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. For me personally, it’s also provided a ton of comfort when I experience a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up. I was actually diagnosed with RA six months before the brain tumor (which I don’t think is a coincidence). The thermogenic properties of the Mind & Body Gel are so soothing and really help ease discomfort.
What is one small shift any woman can do today to bring more wellness into her life?
Always take 20 minutes for yourself—whether that is to sit in silence, take a warm shower, do your skin care routine, etc. I truly believe that we are better humans when we take care of ourselves. Just like when we get on a plane (or used to) they always said if we have to use the emergency masks, put yours on first before assisting others, and that is something I use in my everyday life. If I make sure I’ve taken care of myself, I’m able to be more available to help others fully.