Products for Clean Living
True cleanliness through shopping awareness
Photos by Carli Wentworth
Let Indie Lee help you clean your bathroom … or at least clean up the products you scrub with and soak in. Her story is incredible, and her organic skin care products are pure genius, as are actor Ed Begley Jr.’s home care products. Intrigued?
How toxic is your bathroom? What about the products you keep in your bathroom, the ones you use on your body? Are they clean, or are they riddled with artificial chemicals? If they are, does it really matter? Turns out it does, big-time, and that goes for cleaning products, as well. Indie Lee, creator of the organic, cruelty- and chemical-free line of skincare products that bears her name, found out the hard way that clean means different things to different companies — and in her opinion, it matters little to not at all to the FDA.
After a career as a high-level CPA, the birth of her child and a stint making small batches of her successful essential oil and botanical-based baby products, Lee was sick and exhausted. She’d been working 70-plus-hour weeks and by July 2008, she found that she was deeply fatigued. Plus, strangely, she couldn’t open her hands.
“I couldn’t even get my shoes on. I thought it was Lyme disease, but the doctor said it was rheumatoid arthritis, but it wasn’t,” she says. “I began using lavender oil and calendula, which helped with some of my symptoms, and I kept going. I’m not a complainer. But by November, I’d started losing my vision. Doctors found a brain tumor, and I went from being too busy to live to checking boxes on forms at places like the National Institute of Health and Johns Hopkins. The day my brain tumor was discovered, I was given six months to live — and it was the best day of my life.”
Doctors couldn’t pinpoint what had caused the tumor, but thought it was environmental. Lee knew in her heart it was true: A self-described product junkie, she was using as many as 13 products a day on her body and hair. She’d learned about the toxic load sometimes found in infants, which can be caused in part by their mothers’ skin care products, and after her surgery, which took place on Earth Day in 2009, she woke up with a mission.
Lee’s passion for healing and her personal mission to educate people about the toxic chemicals in everyday products are clear. On her website, indielee.com, are a list of good ingredients and a list of bad ingredients. “You may think that because we have FDA regulation, that all of the products available on the market are safe, but you’d be wrong,” she says. “I was shocked to learn that this could not be further from the truth. So I tell people if there are ingredients you cannot pronounce in your products, odds are that they are not good for you.”
Lee’s products are the antithesis of all of that: effective, beautifully fragranced concoctions that are incredibly clean and beneficial. “Every single batch is tested for stability,” she assures. “Our bath products line was added because I believe that self-care is crucial to our health, and the products we use can either help us or harm us.”
Her product line includes body scrubs and lotions, bath soaks (we love the Jasmine-Ylang Ylang), facial cleansers and toners, moisturizing oils, anti-aging kits and skin cleansers, and is available locally at OKC’s Scandinavian-inspired spa, Udånder.
Switch to Organic Cleaning Products, We Begley You
Now that you’ve cleaned up your personal product game, Ed Begley Jr. is here to help you clean up the rest of your act, er, home.
In addition to appearing on nearly every television show (including “Hannah Montana,” “Portlandia,” “Boston Legal,” “Arrested Development,” “The Simpsons,” “7th Heaven,” “The Nanny” and many, many more), he’s been an environmental champion since the 1970s, when he bought and quickly stopped using his first electric car. From 2007-2010, he appeared on the HGTV show “Living with Ed,” in which he struggled to find ways to live life with a smaller carbon footprint.
He also has released a line of organic cleaning products, Begley’s Best, which can be purchased locally at Plenty Mercantile. We tested the Begley’s Best Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner and can report that we’re sold. Sweep or vacuum, then lightly spray one section of the floor at a time with Begley’s. Run a microfiber mop over each section and stand back. We loved the citrus and bergamot scent and were impressed with the streak-free, haze-free results.
The Begley’s Best collection also includes multi-purpose cleaner, wrinkle remover for fabrics, pet and household odor remover, therapeutic hand soaps, produce wash and stone cleaner.