Indie Lee’s CoQ-10 Toner promises to soothe skin, but the potently fragranced formula is more likely to have the opposite effect. That’s a shame because this toner’s otherwise great attributes would have come recommended.
One of the first things we got excited about with CoQ-10 Toner is that its liquid formula is dispensed via a sprayer so you can easily mist it on skin—no need for a cotton pad. More importantly, we appreciate that the formula delivers a healthy dose of ubiquinone (CoQ-10) and hyaluronic acid, which provide antioxidant and hydration benefits. Inflammation-squelching aloe and chamomile are welcome additions to this toner as well.
Keep in mind that because CoQ-10 Toner comes in a translucent frosted bottle, you’d need to store it out of light to preserve the effectiveness of its sensitive antioxidants.
But alas, that’s a moot point considering things take a turn for the worse due to the Salvia officinalis (sage) and Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) flower oil, which lend themselves to this toner’s wafting perfume-esque aroma. (See More Info for the scoop on why fragrant ingredients are irritating/detrimental to skin.)
Long story short, you can find superior formulas with all of the beneficial properties and none of the irritating ones on our best toners and face mists list.
- Antioxidant-rich formula helps defend skin from daily environmental stressors.
- Contains hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid.
- Spray bottle comes in handy as an alternative to cotton pad application.
- Potently fragrant formula poses a risk of irritation to skin and cancels out this toner’s soothing effect.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
An alcohol-free toner that hydrates, soothes, and protects all skin types with antioxidant coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid.
Indie Lee positions itself as brand focused on clean and natural skin care products. “Clean” is an unregulated term (there is no standardized definition), so how it’s defined varies from brand to brand, and is completely at their discretion. In this case, they choose to formulate their products to be free from ingredients “that have been questioned over recent years.” As they put it, “we at Indie Lee believe in taking a more cautious approach.”
Some of the ingredients they avoid align with published research attesting to the problems they can cause for skin, but regrettably, others are mislabeled as bad despite current scientific literature proving them to be safe as used in cosmetics. We can agree to disagree on that point—what really matters is whether Indie’s products are effective and non-irritating for skin. Unfortunately, the formulas turn out to be hit-or-miss.
While many of the products feature beneficial ingredients, they are often paired with potently fragrant extracts and essential oils proven to sensitize skin. Even though these ingredients are plant-based, this is a classic example of why natural ingredients aren’t always better for your skin, and how many brands touting “clean beauty” keep missing the research showing that some natural ingredients are actually problematic for skin. Other irritants, such as high amounts of skin-drying alcohol, appear in select Indie products. We’re all for safe, effective products that contain natural ingredients (there are tons of good ones) but to our way of thinking, clean beauty shouldn’t mean risking irritated skin.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Indie Lee has some good products too—you’ll just have to sort through the skin-irritating ones to find them. Luckily, we’ve done the detective work for you. Learn more about this brand at www.indielee.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.