This time of year sends beauty counter tills into overdrive. Big promotions, aggressive advertising and plethoras of sales staff enforce the message that beauty products are at the top of the Christmas list for women AND men. This weekend I braved the shopping masses and ventured into town and came accross a brand with appealing packaging, promises and values that was new to me. ‘Origins’.
Origins ‘Mission’ is to: ‘Create high performance, natural skin care that is powered by nature and proven by science. We use potent plants, organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils. And our long standing commitment to protect the planet, its resources and all those who populate it is reaffirmed by our earth and animal friendly practices’
Listed as one of their bestsellers is, ‘Youthtopia’ an anti-aging serum.
This might be a relevant time to delve into the legalities of a trade marked name. A trade mark like ‘Youthtopia’ is a brand name and says nothing about the efficacy of a product or what it does. The beauty and cosmetic industries often use nonsense sciency sounding trade marks (Like ‘DNAge’) to imply that products have some scientific proven efficacy without actually implying anything.. you do not need to prove anything to create a trade mark. Here is a website that helps to explain the legalities of trademarks and ones that are unacceptable.
So, ‘Youthtopia’ is meaningless. It is not the serum of eternal youth.
So what in it Youthtopia? What do Origins clam it does and what can it achieve?
This is the description on the website:
Age-correcting serum with Rhodiola
Origins phyto-technology helps skin look firmer in the face of aging.
First, Rhodiola the legendary adaptogenic herb linked to longevity, kick starts skin to help correct the appearance of lines and renew skin’s vibrancy.
You’ll see and feel tighter, tauter skin texture, fewer lines and wrinkles and a complexion that appears significantly younger.
Rhodiola – is a plant, nothing new there. People have been using plants to poison each other, eat, get high, treat diseases and other skin conditions for thousands upon thousands of years. There is nothing significant about using a plant in a product.
There is some research about the efficacy of Rhodiola on Guinea Pig skin (collagen, see my intro to skin here) here – http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-BQEB200505018.htm the study concludes that a combination of Rhodiola and Deer serum (yes Deer serum) ‘can defer the aging on skin’. This is based on a study of 6 shaved guinea pigs treated for 60 days. The ‘aging’ was deemed as being deferred by measuring various factors in the skin (volume density of collagen fibres) and number of fibroblasts. I am not sure how these relate directly to ‘aging’. I couldn’t find any information about Rhodiola on human skin.
Rhodiola is linked to ‘longevity’ as a Rhodiola extract makes fruit flies live for longer . Interesting research but I am 120% sure that applying some extract to your skin is not going to extend your lifespan. Also, the paper did not conclude that a mechanism from the extract made the flies live for longer. Rhodiola supplements are a whole different ball game.
I cannot get an ingredient list for this product, so we have no idea what levels or what form the extract of Rhodiola is. There is no information from Origins about the efficacy of this product.
‘Phyto-technology’ means there is a plant extract in the product… this is meaningless and included in the discription to suggest an additional benefit to the product.
I expect that this product contains some kind of moisturiser. This makes the skin feel plump, moisturised and smooth. You can achieve these effects with any moisturiser.
I imagine this also contains some 100% natural essential oils to make the product smell nice.
The fact that Origins do not produce a list of ingredients or any data to support the efficacy of their products is a little disconcerting. They appear, from their brand image and website to come across as a friendly, ‘about the earth and environment’ company. The lack of information about their products could suggest that behind their branding, they are extremely similar to every other beauty and cosmetic company.