Using what Mother Nature gave us

Estee Lauder brands harness the power of plants to enhance beauty

As a third-generation member of the founding family, Jane Lauder joined her grandmother's cosmetics empire in 1996 when it celebrated half-a-century in the beauty business.

‘‘What makes Origins different is that we don’t just use natural ingredients, but the most effective of them,’’ said Jane Lauder, Origins global president.

Estee Lauder Companies now has almost 30 brands under its wing, with three of them under the management of the stylish granddaughter, who was featured on Vanity Fair's 2011 International Best-Dressed List.

Her position as the global president for Origins, Ojon and Darphin makes her a firm believer in natural products as these three brands feature botanical ingredients to beautify skin and hair.

Only Origins, however, is marketed here and Lauder was recently in Bangkok to celebrate its 13th anniversary in Thailand and introduce the latest Plantscription anti-ageing cream.

"What's most important for customers and the brand is that we offer high-performance natural skincare products," she said. "All natural skincare brands are not the same. What makes Origins different is that we don't just use natural ingredients, but the most effective of them. Clinical testing makes sure that they are as efficacious, if not more, than synthetic ingredients."

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Skin Illuminating Serum features the rosa roxburghii complex.

Working with more than 50 "green" scientists around the world, Origins tests over 600 natural compounds every year to find powerful yet safe plant ingredients for formulating skincare products.

"Plants are a primary source of medicine, and many of the world's key pharmaceuticals began as herbal remedies," she said. "Origins skincare products are developed according to plant-based medicine.

"For example, we look at traditional healing methods to find a natural ingredient to tackle wrinkles, which can be considered a wound as the skin is damaged by multiple factors such as UV radiation, pollution and ageing."

The anti-ageing line, Plantscription, features extracts from the leaf and bark of the Anogeissus tree in Ghana, where indigenous people use the plant as a natural wound healer and antimicrobial treatment.

It took five years to develop a serum containing the extract, with a long process involving clinical trials set against a standard anti-wrinkle agent.

"We balance science and nature in developing skincare products and the natural ingredients are benchmarked with the gold standard in the cosmetic industry. The Anogeissus extract proved to be an effective option without the irritation," she said.

The science has now gone to stem-cell level as Origins recently launched a cream claimed to contain raspberry plant cells. Last year Lancome also introduced Absolue L'Extrait elixir cream with rose stem cell technology.

In deciding which plant stem cells to use, Origins looked at different types of fruit and came upon a raspberry variety grown in the Apennine Mountains in Italy. This variety provided the most potent active compounds for the new Plantscription cream.

"There will probably be more skincare products with plant stem cells, which won't replace plant extracts in cosmetic formulations. The two types of ingredients, such as raspberry plant cells and Anogeissus extract, function differently to enhance skincare effectiveness," said Lauder, whose previous responsibilities included overseeing Clinique's strategic marketing and positioning.

"Clinique also uses a lot of natural ingredients, but the brand focuses more on advice from dermatologists in the development of high-performance products," she explained. "Origins, on the other hand, combines the wisdom of Eastern and Western medicine to create our skincare, such as the Dr Andrew Weil collections."

The collaboration with Dr Weil includes the Mega-Mushroom and Mega-Bright collections, the latter featuring the rosa roxburghii complex and an essential oil blend. The fruit of this rose is believed to be a rich source of vitamins A, C and E as well as essential fatty acids that help counteract environmental triggers of skin discolouration.An authority in integrative medicine, Dr Weil pointed out that improper diet and exercise, environmental factors and exposure to toxic agents can stimulate inflammation, which causes illnesses.

"Based on Dr Andrew Weil's philosophy, the Mega-Bright line was developed to target the root cause of skin discolouration as well as the visible signs," said Lauder. "In addition, women have to be aware of what triggers inflammation and better take care of themselves to prevent future skin discolouration."

In picking the right skincare product or regimen, she said women have to be well-informed about active ingredients as well as the other ingredients that may have harmful effects.

Origins skincare products are formulated without, for example, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol, which may hinder product safety.

"In the past 10 years, consumers have been much more concerned about what they eat and what they use every day because of the effects on the body," she said. "In addition, Origins formulations consider scent and texture in order to make it enjoyable to use our skincare products every day."

Raspberry plant cells and Anogeissus extract function differently to enhance Plantscription’s skincare effectiveness.

About the author

Writer: Kanokporn Chanasongkram
Position: Reporter