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“I’ll find a silver lining in anything,” says Indie Lee, and she means anything. In 2008, Lee was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given six months to live. When her doctor told her the cause could be environmental and asked what products she used on her skin, she was floored. “I was so careful about what I was putting into my body; I didn’t think about what I was putting on it,” recalls the former CPA.
After successful surgery, Lee consulted experts and set out to make safer skin-care goods: “I started formulating like mad in my kitchen.” Now she produces it all in a lab, and works with COSMOS, a global third-party certification, to vet formulas and stay true to her mission: educating and empowering people while making cleansers, serums, and creams free of potentially harmful ingredients—more than 1,300 of them, in fact. “But self-care is more than goop in a jar,” the energetic mom adds. She starts every day with a good-morning text to her BFF (“we’ve done this without fail since my diagnosis”), a walk with her two dogs (“I spend time outside daily; it’s grounding”), and meditation; then she heads to work with passion and purpose. “Before my surgery, I was just a passenger in my life,” she says. “Afterward, I stepped into my superpower.”