How a Brain Tumor Sparked a Beauty Line

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Indie Lee had a big health scare a few years back: Blinding headaches coupled with blurred vision had the then-37-year-old accountant scheduling an appointment with her regular internist to get an MRI.

The results, unfortunately, weren’t so routine: Scans showed Lee had a brain tumor that had to be operated on immediately.

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“I was the type of person who was incredibly into living a healthy lifestyle; I grew all of my vegetables in my own greenhouse!” Lee says. But, when pressed by her doctor, she realized she wasn’t holding her beauty routine to the same standards—a mistake she thinks played a big factor in her diagnosis. “I would apply anything and everything to my body. I never paid attention.”

This past weekend was all about reflection for me. Spending time with family and friends, experiencing things I've always wanted to try. I've kayaked, sent paper lanterns into the sky, practiced yoga by the water and picnicked under the stars while watching a symphony. (All bucket list items.) Don't worry, there's no need for alarm, I feel amazing. However, this week brings with it my annual MRI check in and doctors appointments. Sure it's one of those nerve-wracking things, however I can't help but to reflect on the incredible journey it has been since my diagnosis. This moment serves as a reminder to ask myself "am I making the effort everyday to bring joy, positivity, and my dreams into reality?" Truth is, there's always room for improvement, but collectively between the opportunities I've been blessed with, the lovely people for whom I've met, and seeing my kitchen DIY project turn into a worldwide brand, I'm definitely looking forward to experiencing more magical moments in the future. #indielee

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The surgery proved a success; the doctors completely removed the tumor and Lee got (and still has) a clean bill of health. Plus, on a less serious level, it gave her the spark to start her synonymous skin and body care line, one that prides itself on being nontoxic.

“I had an awakening and I think everyone is having an awakening,” she says, adding that she will be the first to admit the space can be incredibly confusing. “There are so many certifications, so many definitions and so many different words being used. Plus, the regulations still aren’t set across the board. I’m not into buzzwords. I’m into transparency, authenticity and accountability.”

As much as she has devoted the past few years of her life to being an advocate of clean beauty, Lee also says it’s not something you have to go all-in on. “It’s important to know what’s on the ingredient list; it’s important to try to be a little ‘cleaner.’ You don’t have to be ‘all’ anything. You just have to start small. It’s not a trend—consumers are demanding it.”