Beauty Review: Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil

indie lee squalane facial oil review

Every year as the season transitions to warmer, sunnier weather, my skin always freaks out. Yours too? Whether it’s the change in humidity, general climate, or even sleep (ugh, daylight savings time screws me up for several weeks, minimum), I always end up switching my moisturizer around this time of the year.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’d ordered a few new products, and I wanted to share one of the standouts with you — Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil. I’ve come across this brand before when browsing local beauty shops…you can’t miss the bold, clean, color-blocked packaging. I was ordering some May Lindstrom products from Beautylish, saw this particular oil, and figured for the price, I’d give it a try. To be honest, while I love facial oils, I’ve found that some are definitely far superior than others, with price (unfortunately) usually being the factor that makes the standouts amazing. Given its $32 price tag (affordable in the world of luxury facial oils) and an ingredient I’d never heard of (squalane?), I was curious. 

indie lee review squalane facial oil

So here’s the scoop: this is the facial oil for people who hate facial oils, for all the reasons you’d assume one would. A) It’s pretty much odorless, so if you’re one of those people who can’t stand the floral/botanical fragrance of many facial oils, consider this a huge plus. But (B) what’s amazing to me about squalane oil is that how fast it soaks into the skin, without leaving any oily, greasy residue. A few of the reviews I’d read had mentioned this, and I found myself thinking, “Yeah, I’ll have to see it to believe it.” Well, I believe it. On my skin, a few drops of oil soaks in nearly instantly. And yet, the after effect is skin that feels supple, really smooth, and extremely soft.

I used the oil on its own after cleansing for about a week and a half, and for the last week or so, have been mixing a pump of serum with several drops of the oil. Mix it all up in my hands, then apply to the face, neck, décolletage. The oil mixes extremely well with other serums, and the effect has been great — no-makeup-needed, smooth, blemish free, happy skin (Side note: I read online that squalane oil has antibacterial properties, so it makes sense it could help you stay pimple free!). But the nice part is, the mixture soaks in quickly enough that if I am applying some concealer or cream foundation (I use this for both), I’m not waiting around for my skin to feel prepped and ready.

I’ve been using the oil a lot, both morning and night — and probably definitely more than I need to each time — and I’d estimate that after 3.5 weeks of use, I’ve worked my way through about a fifth of the bottle (which includes the time I knocked it over and spilled at least a dropper full!). The instructions say to use 2-3 drops for the face, but I’ve been using more like 6 to 7, to also apply to the neck and décolletage.

review indie lee squalane facial oil

Are you a facial oil devotee, or are they not your thing? If you’ve been thinking about trying one, Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Oil is a great place to start! You can find it at Beautylish (it was my first time ordering from them earlier this month, and I had a great customer service experience), Anthropologie, Credo, Space NK, or the Indie Lee website.

PS – I was searching around for info on squalane oil and came across this article, and this one too. I also found that you can order generic squalane oil on Amazon for a lower price, but there seems to be some debate about how to guarantee the oil is 100% naturally derived from olives (and organic ones at that), versus animals, so bargain hunt cautiously. Either way, if you try out this magical ingredient, let me know what you think!

More reviews of May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon, Jasmine Garden and Tata Harper’s new Purifying Mask to come!



  1. 3.29.16
    shannon said:

    I knew something sounded familiar about squalane. I got this in a Glossybox awhile back and loved it:

    The price was a little high, so thanks for sharing a more affordable option!

  2. 3.29.16
    Indie Lee said:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful and thoughtful review. Your pictures are gorgeous too! Yes, ours is 100% Organic and Sustainably farmed from Olive. So thrilled you are loving wow 7-8 drops. Your skin must be loving you. ;) I only use two in morning and two at night.

    xx, Indie

    • 3.29.16

      Eek, thanks for your comment, Indie! Your line is so lovely, I’m so happy to have discovered it! Love that your oil is organic too. Yes, I noticed after using only 2 or 3 drops, my skin was like MORE MORE MORE! So I said, “Ok!” :) It’s really done wonders to help the dry patches I get on my cheeks — thank you!

  3. 3.29.16
    Grace said:

    Love the review! I may add this to my must try list as well.
    Any serum recommendations right now? I’ve tried several but still haven’t settled on just one. Absolutely love your beauty product posts.

    • 3.31.16

      I’ve been using the Squalane oil with Tata Harper’s Rejuvenating Serum, and sometimes, a luxe sample I was gifted of her Concentrated Brightening Serum. Both work great! The former has been my staple for the last few years — I really like that it absorbs quickly, works great, and dries matte. I’ve had the bottle for well over a year, however I just looked and realized the price went up by over 50%, so I’m wondering if I’ll repurchase it. Indie Lee actually makes a serum in her line that sounds interesting, though it’s pricey too. Blerg, I just reminded myself that that’s the thing with serums — they’re kinda expensive because the ingredients are so concentrated and wonderful!

      Oh, actually, I just remembered! About 5 years ago, I was using Juice Beauty’s Antioxidant Serum for a while, and I did really like the results. I ended up switching away from it because I preferred the feel of my skin (the “finish” I guess?) with Tata Harper’s products instead of Juice’s — it has a more gel like texture and dried accordingly.

      I’ve also been seeing good reviews for Kypris products, and might check out their serum too.

      Hope that is helpful!

  4. 3.30.16
    Monica said:

    I’m intrigued by this! I relatively recently started getting into jojoba oil (mine’s $7 from Trader Joe’s, haha) and it’s been great for my skin, which usually reacts poorly to just about anything. There was a traumatic experience with tea tree oil, which most people swear by! So maybe I’ll give this a shot to try something different…I at least want to read up about squalane. Thanks for sharing, as always–great find! :) xox

    • 3.31.16

      Yeah, give it a try! A lot of people use it for eczema and other skin rashes, so I think it has wonderful healing properties. Tea tree oil is extremely strong, and has to be diluted a lot or it can burn/irritate the skin. And don’t worry — I recently learned I probably have an aversion to shea butter when used on my face, as it made my skin scaly and funky. Even things that are natural and typically wonder products don’t work for everyone! :)

  5. 3.30.16
    J said:

    Great review Victoria! Out of curiosity, what other facial oils have you used and liked/disliked? Would be interesting to hear how this compares!

    • 3.31.16

      Hi J! I can honestly say it’s not really like any other facial oil I’ve ever used, just because it’s odorless and because of how quickly it absorbs. That being said, here are others I’ve tried and some quick reviews:

      + My other favorite oil, which I’ve discussed on the blog before, is still Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil. I’m obsessed with the way it smells — but it’s a strong, botanical scent. It reminds me of being in a spa, I think! I typically like to wear this one only at night though, because while I’ll wake up with bright, glowing skin, it takes a while to absorb so you can’t wear it during the day, unless you really don’t mind a high sheen. It’s expensive, but I’ve found a bottle lasts me at least a year, probably more.

      + I really loved MUN’s No. 1 Aknari Serum. This stuff was amazing — I tried it when we first moved to NY and was wowed by the results. I never repurchased it though, because it was even more expensive than my Dr. Alkaitis (per ounce), and while the results were great, I didn’t feel like it was almost 3 times greater than other oils. But if you can get a sample, try it.

      + I was sent some Phoenix oil from Herbivore Botanicals last year. The packaging of this stuff is really beautiful! I thought the scent was just ok, and I didn’t feel the oil worked better than others I had tried. Everything about it was just ok for me, other than the packaging. (However, I’m obsessed with their Coco Rose body scrub and have repurchased that a few times!).

      + Tata Harper’s Beautifying Facial Oil is a good option too. Same as with Dr. Alkaitis, it does its thing but leaves that sheen behind. However, it’s $48, which in the world of Tata products, is pretty reasonable.

      + I also ordered some samples of YULI’s facial line from Spirit Beauty Lounge while I was in NY. I think I remember liking Modern Alchemist the best, but the thing was, the bottles were pricey and the brand has this cult following, so it is often sold out online and I gave up pursuing it.

      + I should also note that I’ve tried using inexpensive oils from places like Whole Foods (organic jojoba, that type of thing), and they work okay, but I don’t think they penetrate the skin as well. It might’ve been Tata Harper who told me (can’t remember) that it’s not just about the ingredient, it’s how the oil is processed, because the size of the lipid (fat) matters in terms of how it penetrates the skin. That’s why for most people, you can’t just slap on some olive oil at home and have it moisturize as well as these other more expensive products — the oil might be good for your skin but if it can’t soak in because the molecule sizes are too big, it doesn’t do you any good. I found that to be true with the single ingredient oils from Whole Foods, which is why I’ve been willing to spend more on the others :)

      Hope that helps!

  6. 3.31.16

    I tried a sample of Fresh’s Seaberry Oil and absolutely loved it, but I’ve never taken the plunge and bought a full-sized bottle. Maybe I will have to give Indie Lee’s a try!

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  7. 4.3.16
    Kaitlin said:

    I use this too! It’s great stuff–I had been using RMS face oil, but I prefer Indie Lee(for the moment anyway). This stuff is not full of chemicals, but works like a dream. I’m so happy with it (as is my fair, freckled, Irish, somewhat dry, 33 yo skin).

  8. 4.6.16
    P said:

    As someone who has never used a facial oil, am I understanding correctly that you use this instead of moisturizer and not both? I don’t wear foundation or concealer, so after cleansing I would just put this on be done? I use a serum at night but then lather on moisturizer once it’s dry. The oil seems tempting for the morning if there is no wait time. Thanks!

    • 4.6.16

      Correct, P! I don’t wear foundation or concealer on a daily basis either. My routine is to cleanse my skin, then either apply the oil OR mix it directly with a serum (just mush up the mixture together in my hands, then apply as if it were a moisturizer). It soaks in faster without the serum, but still very fast with it. Sometimes I finish with a spritz of facial mist; other times not. That’s (seriously!) it!

      • 4.7.16
        P said:

        Thanks so much for the clarification, I get it now!

  9. 9.28.16
    Catherine said:

    I am a makeup and skin care addict! I came across Indie Lee products quite by accident. Eventually I reached your site and thoroughly enjoyed reading your post on this product. Of all the sites I’ve been to, yours was by far my favorite because it came across as an honest review. In addition, I loved the fact that addressed questions and answered each one without bias.
    I am a 58 year old with combination skin. I use liquid foundation and primer every day. I have used various serums, facial oils, and moisturizers. I haven’t used toner in years! Indie Lee products sound amazing. I would truly appreciate your advice in what skin care products I should try as well as what order of application should I follow. Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond!
    Catherine Ross

    • 9.29.16

      Hi Catherine! Thanks so much for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the review! :)

      Do you have any specific skincare concerns you are trying to address? Do you only like to use natural/organic beauty products?

      • 9.29.16
        Catherine said:

        Hi Victoria! Thanks for replying so quickly! I’m looking for a new skin care regime, and I would like the products to be natural but effective. I definitely want to control the oily areas, forehead and nose. I can’t get the balance right for having a glow versus having an oil slick. I’m open to anything!

        • 10.3.16

          Her stuff is expensive, but I find Tata Harper’s moisturizing products do a great job. They’re effective, and have the added benefit of not leaving you overly oily/greasy looking (her lotions tend to dry pretty matte). She distributes pretty widely now, and you can find her products at Sephora, Nordstrom, lots of places online, and in most major department stores. A less expensive brand I really like is Andalou Naturals, which you can find at Whole Foods. They have a huge range of products that are pretty affordable, and with their creams especially, they dry matte so you won’t look like an oil slick. Hope that helps! Honestly, there are SO many wonderful products and brands out there. One strategy might be to visit a store in your area that specializes in natural beauty products, and ask for samples so you can try lots of different brands and see what works best for your individual skin.

          • 10.3.16
            Catherine said:

            I agree! MK products are pricey, but a friend was selling so I went ahead and bought products from her. Thank you your suggestions! I plan to go to Sephora this weekend. Have a great week!

  10. 2.11.17
    Gina said:

    I just found your blog while looking up Yuli and have to say I know the feeling! Their cult following is mind blowing. I found out that a store in LA carries them so I called and they told me that they sold out but let me leave my contact information for when their next shipment arrives. I get a call on Wednesday this week saying that a new shipment was supposed to arrive before the end of the day. So I get there today (friday) around my lunch break and basically the only Yuli I saw were two bottles of their cleanser – both in the hands of the girl who got there before me who said she had to buy both for back up. Luckily the store had samples otherwise I’d be crying.

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