Blade Runner (no relation to the science fiction film of the same name) has been in the Origins line for years. We wish that were great news, but, alas, this is one of the most irritating shaving creams around, if not the most irritating of all time! The plant tea water that forms the basis of this formula is composed of irritants, and this is closely followed by fragrant oils that serve as even more potent irritants. In fact, the ingredient list for this shaving cream is practically a “who’s who” of common plant irritants. For the sake of your skin’s health and appearance, do not subject your face to this product. Instead, consider the gentle and much less expensive shaving gels from Aveeno or Edge. If you prefer a shave cream, go for those from Aramis Lab Series or Clinique Skin Supplies for Men or even Edge Shaving Skin Care Gel for Sensitive Skin, saving you money and taking better care of your skin.
Feel blades sail with no resistance as skin-conditioning Kukui Nut Oil, smoothing Soybean Oil and other plant protectors run interference between skin and blade to help give you a close, friction-free shave. But it’s not just stubble that gets a lift from this lightweight cream. You’ll wake up with a cooling, energizing boost as pores inhale refreshing Coriander, Australian Eucalyptus, French Peppermint plus many other natural revivers.
Water, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Water, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Water, Stearic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylyl Maleate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cymbopogon Martini (Indian Palmarosa) Oil, Fusanus Spicatus (Australian Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Fruit Oil, Eucalyptus Radiata Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, Myristyl Myristate, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Algin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polysorbate 60, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Phytosterols, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Phospholipids, Bisabolol, Phytosqualane, Panthenol, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tromethamine, Dimethicone, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
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.