AT THE COUNTER
TO SEE HOW ORIGINS MARKETS ITS CONCEPT AND PRODUCTS IN STORES, WWD SENT OUT UNDERCOVER REPORTERS TO CASE THE SCENE.INEVITABLY, THE BRAND'S LOW-KEY APPROACH WAS A WELCOME SURPRISE.

Byline: HOLLY HABER / JESSICA GOLDMAN / JEZZICA LINDKRANTZ / ROBERT SHAROFF / MAY ST. JOHN / RUTH GUREVITCH / ROBERT SPECTOR

DALLAS
I have a weakness for botanical cosmetics, which is probably why I find Origins so hard to resist. Offer me something with a delightful fragrance and earthy-sounding ingredients, and I pull out my wallet--even without a sales pitch.
So the Origins saleswoman who helped me at the Neiman Marcus NorthPark Center store had an edge from the start, even if she didn't know it. In any case, once she spotted me eyeing products in the Origins boutique, she presented the line in a pleasant, persuasive way.
"I'm interested in cleansers and moisturizers," I told her when she asked to help.
"Tell me about your skin," she responded.
"It's a little on the dry side."
"Dry all over?"
"No, my chin isn't dry."
"Are you concerned about lines?" she asked.
"Isn't everybody?"
With that she walked to a back wall of products, asking if I preferred a bar, cream or lotion cleanser. "A gel," I said.
She came back with several bottles and jars. First she presented cleansers: Mint Wash, Cream Bar and Pure Cream. The Mint Wash smelled lovely, and she explained how the whole line was botanically based and used only fragrances from natural ingredients.
Although I liked the scent, I rejected the green gel as too drying, since I had already tried it, and told her I didn't want the Pure Cream because you have to tissue it off. That left the Cream Bar, which had a pleasant aroma. It was $9.50, or $13.50 with its own little wooden stand.
"It lasts a long time," she assured me, telling me she used it in the morning and switched to the Pure Cream at night.
Things started to get a little confusing, however, when she began explaining the difference between the products that bore the inscriptions "If your skin acts older than you'd like" and "If your young skin acts dry."
Basically, she said, "If your young skin acts dry" was richer than the other one, even though the names made it sound like the opposite was true. It came down to which texture you preferred, she said, recommending "acts older than you'd like" to me.
First came the Mending Solution. ("Where do they get these names?" I thought.) She offered it to me to sniff and then spread it across my hand, explaining how it would rehydrate and soothe the skin.
Then she followed with the Time Mender, offering the cream to me and spreading it across my hand so I could feel the texture. I told her I preferred one-step processes, but she said that from personal experience she had found that her skin began to feel dry during the day if she used only the Time Mender and that the two worked best together.
Still, the two together cost $37.50, which I felt was steep for a moisturizer.
Then she suggested Starting Over, explaining it was Origins' alpha-hydroxy acid product.
"These are the vitamins," she said, patting the Mending Solution and Time Mender. Pointing to Starting Over, she added, "This is the antibiotic."
Next she showed me the Eye Doctor, a cream that would "reduce puffiness" and do all sorts of wonders for the skin around my eyes. I told her I already have an eye cream.
"Well, I've shown you something you might be interested in in the future," she said.
I figured I had seen enough and told her I'd try the Cream Bar. I accepted her suggestion to take the one with the wooden holder. She fetched one, and without thanking me (the only disappointing experience I had at the counter), handed it to another woman to ring up because she had spotted another customer at the counter.

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