Ask Diva Series: Origins line of products

Question: Dear Diva, Do you have any info on Origins line of products? I see some of their items say no animal ingredients. Have you tried any? Thanks!

photo via: William Rackley & Heather Alex

Answer: Hi Mary, Origins is an Estee Lauder company founded in 1990. They have a long-standing commitment to being green. They purchase wind power to offset electricity used in stand alone retail stores and have been recognized as one of the top 30 companies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership as a result their green efforts. Working with Global ReLeaf they have planted the equivalent of 1.25 million trees.

In 2009 Origins launched a program to accept empty cosmetic primary packaging from any brand of product for recycling, which is fantastic as most curbside recycling will not accept this type of packaging – you'll even be given a sample of their products as a reward for your recycling efforts.

Origins has also recently launched a USDA certified organic line of products, another great step.

The growing size of the natural skin care market has not gone without note by Estee Lauder executives.

The not so good news…

Origins has 64 products listed in the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database with scores ranging from 1 – 9. This is similar to most conventional cosmetics brands (for lack of a better way of describing it). They have a 13 products listed that are low scoring (3 or less), but to avoid toxins and ingredients with unknown elements you have to cherry pick their line. Over half of the products they manufacture that are listed in Skin Deep score 5 and higher.

They do not test their products on animals and Origins is not a signor of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

Origins is taking good steps in their environmental initiatives, but it feels like a lot of marketing when the parent company doesn't live by the same principles. Visiting the Estee Lauder site there is not one mention of environmental efforts.

For all their environmental initiatives I'd love to see their entire line up score less than 5 in the Skin Deep Database. While they have an entire page dedicated to the purity of their line, touting the absence of parabens and phthalates, but they still use ingredients like BHT, methylparaben's and lemonene.

If insist on buying from a major cosmetics company this is going to be better than some options.

For deluxe organic skincare try Organicare (Skin Deep 0-3) & Juice Beauty(0) for better product safety.

Do you have a question you'd like to Ask Diva? We'd love to hear from you.

Learn more about diva, Tania Reuben at

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