This Brightening Moisturizer Is Constantly Flying Off The Shelves — Here's Why
Recently, I was chatting with Indie Lee about the brand's upcoming launches, but I just had to gush about a tried-and-true favorite: I love the Indie Lee Brightening Cream. I even used a beauty spatula to scrape the sides of the glass bottle so I could grab every last ounce (absolutely no shame). She tells me I'm not alone; it's one of her favorites, too, and frequently flies off the shelves. Even her stash of editor samples has cleared out—and when beauty editors are clawing to get their hands on a formula, you know it's good.
In fact, the brightening cream is so popular that I've actually struggled to find it in stock online, most recently in January. Luckily, it's currently available on Indie Lee's website and Ulta—but for how long? Only time will tell, but I'd suggest you strike while the iron is hot considering the formula's dedicated following.
My love for brightening moisturizers.
OK, look, I have this thing for brightening moisturizers. At night, I like to focus heavily on hydration and slick on a thicker, balmier formula. Most of the brightening creams I've tried tend to have a lighter weight, so they don't really fall into this category. In the morning, though, it's all about the glow. While I do love a good antioxidant serum (and supplement) in the a.m. to help even my tone, a brightening cream functions as a daytime moisturizer-slash-primer. My complexion appears vibrant all over, but it also manages to catch the light in all the right places.
Technically, all moisturizers help brighten your skin to some degree—after all, hydrated, happy skin cells reflect more light—but brightening creams often fold in extra glow-inducing actives such as niacinamide, vitamin C, and azelaic acid. This allows the formulas to help even your skin tone over time, in addition to immediately nixing dullness. I frequently struggle with stubborn dark spots post-breakout, so any help I can get in that department is very welcome.
What makes this one such a star?
Not all brightening creams follow the same form. Some contain exfoliators, like AHAs or retinoids, to help promote cell turnover and remove dead skin cell buildup (so you're left with younger cells, which are better at reflecting light). Others focus solely on antioxidant-rich botanicals known for their brightening properties. This Indie Lee cream falls into the latter camp, so it's gentle enough to use on the daily.
The star of the popular formula is strawberry leaf extract, as it's rich in polyphenols. Namely, it contains anthocyanins, which are the phytochemical that gives the berries their red pigment. This class of flavonoids is like a bonus nutrient for your skin, with a host of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects1. The cream also contains centella asiatica, which research shows can help2 dial down redness, soothe the skin, aid in skin rejuvenation, and promote fibroblast proliferation (or, the things in our cells that create collagen and elastin). Finally, the ingredient list is rounded out by mango seed butter and safflower oil. Both are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids—specifically, oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids—that can help the skin appear supple and noticeably bouncy.
Despite its lightweight texture, this moisturizer is deeply hydrating—and as I mentioned above, well-hydrated skin tends to appear more luminescent. Humectants, like aloe and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, help pull moisture into the surface of the skin, giving skin an immediate plumping effect. Olive-derived squalane then helps trap all that goodness inside. As a bonus, some of the included brightening actives, like mango seed butter and centella asiatica, come with hydration properties, too.
As for the application itself, the formula instantly sinks into my skin without leaving a greasy film. It also has no overpowering scent, which I always appreciate in a leave-on product. If you've ever tried Indie Lee's Brightening Cleanser (also a winner in my book), you likely noticed its sweet strawberry aroma. That's because it contains strawberry seed oil, which leaves a much stronger trace than the extract. I love that invigorating scent for a wash-off product, but I'm very picky about any lasting fragrance on my skin. It's not that my skin can't handle it; my nose is just way more sensitive. So I'm happy to report that this cream leaves no lingering scent; one reviewer says it "smells powdery clean," and I wholeheartedly agree.
The Indie Lee Brightening Cream is my go-to for a soft daytime glow. With hydrating and radiance-inducing actives, I notice my skin becoming more luminescent with every use, and I can't imagine my routine without it. Just be sure to snag your own bottle ASAP—the cream's fervent fan club means it'll likely sell out again soon.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.