Lifestyle

Published: Thursday April 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 11:42:19 PM

Green cause

In a happy marriage of science and nature, a skincare brand comes up with products that are safe yet still efficacious.

IF the early years of cosmetics and skincare were all about technological advances and chemically-derived ingredients, the 80s saw a shift in consumer attitudes and a growing awareness of the green movment.

Logically, the vision of a “nature-based” brand should look to plant extracts and natural ingredients whenever possible, backed by extensive research to identify what it believes to be biologically active or potent compounds, as well as respect natural resources.

American cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Companies (ELC) built the brand Origins on this premise. It was introduced as a department store wellness brand, way before other sustainable brands were widely available.

Since 1990, the brand has been harnessing the power of plants to create products, using modern yet safe practices based on the understanding of traditional healing methods from around the world.

Today, if you pick up a product from Origins, you will find that it states unequivocally that it doesn’t have compounds such as parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), petrolatum, paraffin and diethanolamine (DEA).

Increasingly known as a skincare brand committed towards championing environmental causes, Origins’ dedication to saving the planet is also evident from its production methodology such as reducing pollution, lowering wastage, utilising alternative fuel (with wind-powered production plants) to wise packaging choices with the least environmental impact.

The beauty industry is not exempt from scrutiny on the amount of waste it generates, be it during the production process or at the post-consumer stage. Bearing this mind, all of Origins’ printed material are produced on recycled paper. The cartons are made from 80% Forest Stewardship Council certified paperboard and 50% post-consumer recycled fibre.

Following ELC’s design guidelines for sustainable package development that calls for the integration of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material in packaging, Origins uses up to 45% of PCR material in its tubes. Its range of products made in partnership with Dr Andrew Weil fare even better – bottles and jars are made with 100% PCR plastics.

In 2009, the brand kickstarted its “Return to Origins” recycling programme, a first-of-its-kind initiative, partly inspired by reports of the growing problem of cosmetics waste.

Launched during April’s Earth Month, the nationwide programme encouraged consumers to drop off all their empty cosmetic containers into dedicated recycling receptacles at any of its 570 Origins retail stores and department stores counters across the United States, regardless of brand or manufacturer. They would then be either recycled or converted into energy.

A similar Return to Origins programme was simultaneously initiated in Malaysia to remind customers to be mindful of how they dispose of their used containers.

In celebration of Earth Month this year, Origins is reintroducing four of its all-time favourites in specially designed packaging: the Check and Balances Frothy Face Wash, Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.

The face wash is said to combine tourmaline (which soaks up oil) while the wheat protein content balances out the equation by protecting the drier zones.

The exfoliation cream features ground rice grains instead of chemical crystals, touted to deliver smooth, radiant skin while the mask is designed to cleanse pores and absorb impurities, thanks to the addition of white china clay and lecithin.

Finally, the overnight mask is meant to restore the skin’s moisture balance through a soothing combination of plant glycerin, hyaluronic acid, apricot kernel and avocado oils, and mango butter. Prices for the limited edition products range from RM68 to RM120.

Under the Plant-A-Tree Campaign, Origins helps restore areas damaged by wildfires worldwide. On a global scale, Origins has aided reforestation projects by helping to plant more than 265,000 trees. The good news is that Origins will plant a tree in Selangor for each limited edition product purchased from Monday until the end of this month.

More sweeteners are available for those intending to stock up their shelves with Origins products. With any purchase of RM220 and above this month, customers will receive one limited edition Earth Month 2013 tote bag, available in four designs and colours (subject to further terms and conditions, while stocks last).

■ For more details, go to origins.my

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Estee Lauder

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