Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum
1.7 fl. oz. for $75
Last Updated:12.23.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This thin-textured, water-based serum is mostly a prescription for irritation! We agree that the name is brilliant and tempting, but rather than including proven, state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients, Origins defaulted to using lots of fragrant plant oils that research has shown can damage skin because of the irritation they cause. Please see More Info below for a discussion of this serum’s specific claims.

  • None.
  • Despite Origins’ claims that this serum works without irritation, it contains several fragrant oils that cause acute irritation. See More Info below to learn why irritation is so bad for your skin.
  • Several of the fragrant oils in this serum can cause a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to sunlight (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
  • Contains more fragrance chemicals than beneficial ingredients (fragrance isn’t skin care).

More info:

You may be curious to try this product based on its claims of helping with specific wrinkles, such as furrows between the brows and frown lines around the mouth. Well, the curiosity ends here: There is nothing in this serum that will improve those wrinkles, or wrinkles anywhere else on your face.

Etched lines from repetitive facial expressions are not the type of wrinkles that skin-care products can address. We wish that weren’t the case, but there is no topical product that works like Botox or dermal fillers. Those cosmetic corrective procedures remain your best non-surgical options for dramatically (and we do mean dramatic) improving expression lines.

Origins’ claim that your skin will be “more lifted-looking” is telling many consumers what they want to hear, but in reality it’s not telling you anything at all. Making skin look more lifted doesn’t mean it will actually be lifted. Plus, if skin is sagging and then is lifted, you have to wonder where the excess skin goes? Simply lifting loose skin isn’t going to make you look younger, any more than putting Scotch tape on your forehead lines will prevent deeper furrows from forming.

The irritation from the fragrant plant oils and numerous fragrance chemicals can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal (you can feel this serum cool and tingle your skin). None of this is what you want from an anti-aging product—and none of these problems can be addressed with topical retinoids, which is what this serum is slyly being billed as able to replace in its magazine ads and the claims association to prescription products.


Although it’s not a prescription, in just 4 weeks nature’s next generation power plant noticeably reduces wrinkle length & depth. Without the irritation. Visibly helps repair the vertical fret lines between your eyes, the stubborn furrows across your forehead and the deepening frownies that frame your mouth. Youthful “bounce” is revived. Skin is clinically firmer, smoother and more lifted-looking. And with continued use, results improve.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Jojoba Esters, Anogeissus Leiocarpus Bark Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Anise Oil, Bergamot Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Nutmeg Kernel Oil, Orange Oil, Mandarin Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Hibiscus Abel Moschus Extract, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, Sigesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Sweet Almond Seed Extract, Mango Leaf Extract, Guava Fruit Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Centaury Extract, Sapindus Mukrossi Fruit Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Rosemary Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Salicylic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phospholipids, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Methyl Trimethicone, Zinc PCA, Caffeine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Arginine, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polysilicone-11, Hexylene Glycol, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Tromethamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Silica, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

Origins At-A-Glance

Strengths: The makeup products fare best including liquid concealer, blush, brow enhancer, and lip liner; very good makeup brushes composed of synthetic hair.

Weaknesses: Almost every skincare product contains potent irritating ingredients; no products to effectively address needs of those with acne or skin discolorations; some of the makeup products contain irritating ingredients.

Started in 1990, Origins was Estee Lauder's contribution to the (still going strong) demand for natural products. Their approach and claims all hinge on the wonder of plants and the allegedly miraculous properties they offer for skin, whether it be dry, sensitive, oily, or simply showing the effects of time. Here's the issue: Just as there are good and bad synthetic ingredients, there are good and bad natural ones. Ironically, Origins isn't all that "natural" because it uses its share of synthetic ingredients, and the plant extracts they do use include some that are bad for skin.

We have never been opposed to using natural ingredients. However, it lacks integrity when a company throws in any plant ingredient with no proven benefit for skin beyond anecdotal information, and then boasts about all sorts of improbable results. It becomes a far more serious issue when the natural ingredients in question have published research showing that they are in fact irritating or damaging to skin. That's the predicament of reviewing Origins' skin care products: almost every product they sell contains several volatile oils (another term for essential oils), all of which have their share of negative qualities when used on skin. In their attempt to appear more natural, Origins uses quite a bit of these offending ingredients, and they're often listed before the much more beneficial additives, such as antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-identical ingredients.

You might be wondering why, if Origins has had such continued success, their products can be such a problem for skin? Can't women just use what they like? The answer is two-fold: yes women can use what they like, but often women like what isn't good for them. For example, smoking is bad for skin (and for your lungs), but lots of people smoke; getting a tan from the sun is bad for your skin, but lots of people spend time outdoors getting a tan; and using products that contain irritating ingredients is bad for your skin, and lots of products come to the table with these inconsistencies.

As we have explained in the introduction to the book, there is a litany of problems that take place when skin is irritated or inflamed, but fundamentally this results in the skin's immune system becoming impaired, collagenase (the breakdown of collagen) occurs, and the skin is stripped of its outer protective barrier. What is perhaps most shocking is that all of these damaging responses can be taking place underneath the skin and you won't even notice it on the surface. The clearest example of this is the significant and carcinogenic effect of the sun's "silent" UVA rays. You don't feel the penetration of these mutagenic rays, but they are taking a toll on your skin nonetheless (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2006, pages 30–38; International Journal of Toxicology, May-June 2006, pages 183–193;Skin Research and Technology; November 2001, pages 227–237; Dermatologic Therapy, January 2004, pages 16–25; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, May 2004, pages 327–337; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, November 2003, pages 663–669; Drugs, 2003 volume 63, issue 15, pages 1579–1596; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, March 2002, pages 138–146; Cosmetics & Toiletries, November 2003, page 63; Global Cosmetics, February 2000, pages 46–49; and Contact Dermatitis, February 1995, pages 83–87).

Most of the Lauder companies really have their acts together when it comes to formulating state-of-the-art moisturizers, serums, and sunscreens that leave out the problematic plant extracts (and that represents a lot of products given the almost two dozen cosmetics companies under the Lauder corporate banner). Origins is the exception, and we encourage my readers who prefer to shop for skin care at the department store to explore the truly far better options from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Prescriptives, M.A.C., Bobbi Brown, or even La Mer. Even salon-styled Aveda, also owned by Lauder, with a natural theme similar to Origins, has less problematic formulas.

For more information about Origins, owned by Estee Lauder, call (800) 674-4467 or visit www.origins.com.

Origins Makeup

Compared to the makeup offered by almost all of the other Estee Lauder–owned lines, Origins falls short by virtue of including ingredients that align with its marketing image of offering natural ingredients that have the blessing of Mother Nature regardless of the risks they pose for skin. As omnipotent as Mom may be, this force of nature is a disaster waiting to happen. A secondary reason Origins isn't competing as well with its sister companies is that for many products (particularly the lipsticks, blush, and cleverly named but non-essential specialty products) the technology isn't as advanced. That lack of technological creativity combined with significant amounts of hostile essential oils will help you understand why we recommend exploring similar, but superior (and irritant-free), options from any of the other Lauder companies from Clinique to M.A.C.

If you're prone to being swayed by the promises of natural products (though Origins is not any more natural than many other lines, it just uses the most problematic plant extracts possible), there are a few outstanding gems to unearth here, and at prices that aren't unrealistic. Additionally, Origins' latest tester units, especially in their freestanding stores, are accessible and user-friendly. They include pull-out counters for added space and feature large mirrors. Combine this with a low-key yet helpful sales staff and knowing what to zero in on and you'll find shopping the best of Origins is a pleasure.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
Sort by:
I looked horribly sunburned

After using "Origins Plantscription" for 3 days, everywhere I applied it was deep red and HOT. I recommend if you're tempted to try it, apply to a very small area for at least 1 week. I had even wiped the overage onto my arms which reacted the same way. Be careful. I'll never use it again.

Reviewed by
Soni W
Great product

No irritation and I have sensitive skin. Skin looked better in 5 days it was smoother and fine lines dissapearing. I would recommend it.

Reviewed by
Really? Poor?

Stopped by here tonight to see what you had to say about this product. Got this as part of a super set. Well, I have always had a spot near my cheek bones for about 10 years that had mild sagging. No one could really notice it, but I knew it was there. I have tried darn near everything. Well, I used both this and the night cream overnight and the change is amazing, and in a very short time. Those patches are nearly gone. Lines starting to form around my lips are gone also. Wowza!

Reviewed by
Major irritation

I began product about a year ago and didn't experience problems until I purchased new jars of both eye and face creams two months ago. During first reaction, I was not sure of the cause. I stopped all products for a month until my face healed. Last Friday/Saturday I used the eye and face creams, noticed some irritation Sunday and by Monday could not open my eyes. There were small "boils" on my eyelids and neck and some irritation on my cheeks like a chemical burn. Won't use again.

Reviewed by
Skin reacted to the Plantscription line

When I first started using the Plantscription line I was very pleased with the results but over time my skin became sensitive to the entire line. Whether or not it was the serum that caused it I don't know but my face and neck became very itchy and my jawline developed extremely dry skin that looked chapped. Now I have switched back to Clinique and the irritation is beginning to subside. I can tell that it really damaged my skin and made it really really sensitive.

Reviewed by
I love this product.....

I have noticed a distinct difference in my complexion after using this product since its inception back in 2010. My skin is hydrated and no wrinkles so far at the age of 60. I cannot recommend this product enough and I have fair sensitive skin. I even use it around my eyes and have no crows feet. When I first started using the product, I was noticing faint wrinkles beginning to form around my eyes and now they are gone. I consider this serum a miracle in a bottle....

Reviewed by
Susan C.
Enter a title for your review
First Name, Last Initial
Email Address
How would you rate this product on the following:
500 characters left

Terms of Use

PCWEB-WWW1 v1.0.0.411 8/28/2015 5:18:12 PM