Can Estee Lauder really do organic? The big cosmetics , after all, has been called out by environmental activists in the past for using harmful chemicals in its products.

But late last year, the Estee Lauder-owned Origins brand came out with Origins Organics, a mostly USDA-certified organic line of personal care products. Almost all the products in this line have USDA-organic certification (at least 95% organic ingredients) — and are packaged in FSC certified boxes made with 50% post consumer content to boot.

Do the products work? Some do. I loved Origins Organic’s Refreshing Body Powder (95% organic) and Soothing Lip Balm (97% organic), both of which smelled as nice and worked just as well as the “conventional” products. The Origins Organics deodorant won over Beauty Blabber, and the Conditioning Hair Oil and Body Pampering Massage Oil, which are basically both composed of organic essential oils, also sound like a good bet.

I was less impressed, however, with Origins Organics’ Nourishing Face Lotion. As someone who prefers a very light moisturizer, I found this lotion a tad too heavy. In fact, this lotion also gets a less than positive review from Paris B of My Women Stuff, who wrote: “After a few days I noticed 2 painful spots appearing.”

The Foaming Facewash also got a bad review from Emily Tan of Hippyshopper, who was disappointed it didn’t foam and said “It also doesn’t smell pleasant - it has a rather odd muddy scent. Perhaps due to too many essential oils battling it out with each other. As a cleanser it also fails to perform, despite washing twice with it there was still traces of makeup left on my skin.”

While organic versions of very simple products -- such as massage oil -- that require just a few ingredients seem to work just as well as their conventional counterparts, it seems the organic product makers haven't quite gotten the formula down for more complex products like face lotion and wash. Hopefully the kinks will get worked out soon.

Origins Organics: USDA-certified organic personal care products
Origins Organics face and body care line courts environmentalists with its certified organic products. But do the goods measure up to their conventional counter