This liquid foundation has a lot going for it, and you may be tempted to check it out due to its claims of reducing wrinkles and pore size while "perfecting" the skin. Although the claims are somewhat misleading (nothing in this foundation can reduce pore size over and above what any foundation can provide), there's a lot to like—but just as much to dislike, as we explain below.
On the plus side, this has a beautifully smooth, lightweight cream texture that blends seamlessly. Light to medium coverage is possible, and this never looks cakey or artificial once it sets to a soft matte finish best for combination to oily skin.
Another strong plus is the shade range. There are options for fair to dark (but not very dark) skin tones, and only a couple of the colors are questionable. Medium-Warm is slightly peach while Medium Deep-Warm is bright orange and not recommended. The rest are neutral or have just a hint of pink or peach, but this foundation's formula has problems.
Turning to sun protection, it's great that an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen is included, but the low amount makes it iffy in terms of reliable UVA protection. We're not questioning the SPF rating or the broad-spectrum claim; it's just that, generally speaking, less than 2% titanium dioxide doesn't instill confidence that your skin will be sufficiently shielded from the sun's most aging UVA rays.
Although we're willing to overlook the low amount of titanium dioxide, the inclusion of several fragrant plant oils is a deal-breaker. Among the problematic plant oils is lavender, which is one of the worst offenders (see More Info for details), but the numerous citrus oils run a close second. Although this foundation contains enough anti-aging ingredients to warrant its name, the fragrant irritants keep it from earning a recommendation.
- Beautifully smooth texture.
- Easy to blend, looks natural.
- Very good shade range.
- Amount of titanium dioxide is on the low side for UVA protection.
- Contains numerous fragrant plant oils proven to be irritating.
Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 3%; Titanium Dioxide 1.4%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Isocetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isododecane, Wheat Germ Glycerides, Magnesium Sulfate, Tribehenin, Anogeissus Leiocarpus Bark Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Lavnadula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Illicium Verum (Anise) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Hibiscus Abelmoschus Extract, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, Mimosa Tenufilora Bark Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Seed Extract, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hordeum Vulgare (Barely) Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Centaurium Erythraea (Centaury) Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethcone, Glycerin, Squalane, Polysilicone-11, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cholesterol, Linoleic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methicone, Polymethylsilsesequiane, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sorbitan Stearate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Trehalose, Triethyl Citrate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Propylene Carbonate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Laureth-7, Maltodextrin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Alumina, Chloroxylenol, Phenoxyethanol
May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
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.
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.