Winter Skincare with Indie Lee
Beautiful, natural, and anchored by an inspiring mission, the Indie Lee skincare collection has been a favorite at terrain since we discovered it last year. Since harsh winter weather has been taking a toll on our skin recently, we sat down with Indie herself to learn more about how her formulas come to life, and get some tips for keeping our skin healthy until spring.
terrain: We’re longtime fans of your products, but can you tell us a little about the brand for those who are encountering Indie Lee for the first time?
Indie: In 2008, I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain tumor, and my doctors suspected that it may have been environmentally derived. Once I conquered the tumor, I was interested in finding ways to reduce exposure to environmental toxins. Beauty products seemed like a good starting point because there hasn’t been any change in their regulation since 1938—I didn’t think that was right! I made it my mission to create an all-natural line that’s effective, but also really pretty, which is an element that’s often missing in natural beauty products. I want people to feel that there’s transparency and honesty about our ingredients, too.
terrain: What products from the collection are key to your own beauty routine?
Indie: My “desert island,” can’t-live-without-it product is the Squalane Oil; when I started using it, my whole complexion changed. I also love our toner. Even though I'm a lotions and potions junkie, I initially didn’t want to bring out a toner because I thought they were too astringent. We created one that replaces alcohol with a blend of witch hazel, papaya, cucumber, and chamomile so it’s nourishing and hydrating.
terrain: How do your formulations come together? Do you begin with a key ingredient, or with a purpose in mind?
Indie: It’s really a little bit of both. I have so many products in my head that I would love to create in the future. A lot of our products are also inspired by someone telling me, “I love this ingredient,” or, “I’d really like a product that…” Right now, we’re working on some anti-aging products and on color, which is a big challenge! We try to focus on products that can multi-task. For example, our Brightening Cleanser can also be used as a makeup remover, or a gently exfoliating face mask.
terrain: Natural ingredients are key for you-- where and how do you source them?
Indie: I’m a big proponent of buying ingredients where they grow best, often where they’re indigenous. I could go to a local nursery, buy plants, and grow them right here in my greenhouse, but I prefer to find them in their own environments. Tea tree, which has excellent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, is a great example. We source ours from New Zealand because that’s where it grows best. Our Manuka honey also comes from New Zealand because it's made by bees who feed on the nectar of the Manuka tree-- another name for tea tree! We also source our lavender from France, because the loamy soil is best there. Lots of research goes into finding the best of the best ingredients, and I work with our chemist on a regular basis to understand which ingredients have the properties we need.
terrain: It has been a tough winter, especially here on the East Coast. Do you have any tips for winter skincare? What ingredients should we look for to promote healthy skin this time of year?
Indie: I can’t wait for spring so I can go outside, enjoy nature, visit the nursery, and find inspiration in color! In the meantime, my first tip for winter skincare is dress appropriately. It seems silly, but being warm and protected is important. It’s also key to stay hydrated, which can be tough when you don’t want a drink because it’s cold—try having tea if you aren’t in the mood for water. In winter, I love using oils post-shower, and always remember to moisturize.
One of my favorite products for winter is our Calendula Eye Balm. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest, so it dries out really quickly. The balm has healing calendula, squalane, and mango butter, a trio that helps to lighten dark circles and keep skin hydrated. The balm is also blended with beeswax, a natural humectant that keeps moisture near the skin.