A beauty brand has stuck to its vision of offering clean, safe products using everyday ingredients writes Meera Murugesan
THERE is something innately comforting about reaching into your kitchen cupboard or fridge to cook up a nourishing meal.
And the same applies to making beauty concoctions using garden herbs or kitchen spices.
As a teenager, I remember applying fresh aloe vera from the garden to clear acne, using a paste made of yogurt and turmeric as a face mask and crushing hibiscus leaves and flowers to create a natural hair conditioner.
Turning to nature for beauty is nothing new. It’s an ancient tradition practised since the dawn of time.
Cleopatra famously bathed in milk to keep her skin supple and moist and used everything, from honey and rosewater, to grapes on her face to keep her famed beauty intact.
Helen of Troy, another famous beauty was believed to have used apple cider vinegar as a beauty tool while French queen, Marie Antoinette, was said to be addicted to a facial made of eggs, milk and lemon.
Throughout the ages, women have turned to nature to maintain or enhance their beauty because there’s comfort and safety in using familiar ingredients.
It’s a concept Lev Glazman understands well and one he has put to good use through his popular beauty brand, Fresh.
The brand, which he co-founded with Alina Roytberg in 1991 has always embraced the use of natural ingredients in skincare, even though when it first started, it wasn’t popular or trendy to go natural with beauty.
And throughout the years, Fresh has stuck to its manthra or vision of offering safe, effective products using natural extracts.
Flowers and fruit play a key role in the formulation of its products as do simple kitchen ingredients like sugar.
Glazman, who grew up in Russia became fascinated with the use of natural ingredients in skincare from an early age.
He recalls the fridge in his home being empty because everything in it, from jam and avocado to cucumbers was either on his face or his mother’s!
He also remembers his grandmother using raw brown sugar to heal cuts and scrapes, an ingredient now found widely in fresh’s skin, lip and body products.
“I wanted to bring natural ingredients to the forefront. Back in 1991, I don’t think there were a lot of brands with a natural angle. I wanted people to be connected to the ingredients and have a better understanding of what they were putting on their bodies,” he says, talking about the brand’s early days.
Glazman and his co-founder first opened their apothecary shop in Boston, USA. Seeing the need for products that were both effective and indulgent, they created a small set of artisanal, nourishing soaps that they hand-wrapped themselves.
The now iconic Oval Soap sparked their passion to seek out natural ingredients used in time-honoured rituals and transform them into beauty products that offered sensorial experiences.
Lift the lid or twist open a jar of any Fresh product and you can literally smell or see the ingredients used, whether its rose, lemon, orange or lotus and its creams, essences and masks have a texture that feels luxurious on the skin.
“Each product offers a different scent and texture. It really draws you in and becomes a very rich experience.”
A lot of research goes into the development of each product, some have taken up to 10 years to develop.
Glazman has worked with many ingredients over the years but he says rose is very special because it has an amazing smell and he loves the hydration benefits of rose.
The brand’s Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner actually has rose petals floating in the liquid, adding to the whole sensorial experience while its Rose Face Mask (also infused with real rose petals) has a texture that is extremely pleasing.
“How we offer the ingredients and the whole sensorial experience that comes with it makes us different.”
There’s even a new range inspired by kombucha. Glazman says kombucha, the popular fermented black tea is a powerful antioxidant and he is very interested in how it brings benefits to the skin.
Soy and sake are also used in fresh products, drawing from ancient traditions that have stood the test of time.
The brand’s age-delay formula, Creme Ancienne is inspired by the world’s first “cold cream”, the mineral-rich Umbrian clay which can be traced back to the second century while its Sake Bath is part of the centuries old legacy of the bathing rituals of the Geishas.
Glazman adds that the natural trend is huge nowadays because women want products that are safe and familiar,with ingredients they understand or can relate to.
It’s really easier to connect to something when they know what it is he explains.
“When we say rose, lotus or peony, you can easily visualise it as opposed to some chemical composition. It’s all about going back in time and looking into different beauty rituals that have existed for centuries and drawing from that.”
JUICE FOR BEAUTY
FRESH is serving up skin nutrition like never before with the nutritious cold-pressed juice diet for your skin - Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice Antioxidant Face Serum.
Developed using cutting-edge technology, it is an everyday face serum packed with nutrient-rich microbubbles, minerals, and fruit and vegetable extracts, with a juicy, lightweight texture for healthier, stronger skin.
“I’m a big believer in cold-pressed juices for the energy and antioxidant benefits so that’s how I envisioned this serum, like a nutritious shot of juice for your face,” says Glazman.
Harnessing a cutting-edge formulation technique inspired by cold-pressed juices, nutritious oils are chopped by a rotating cylinder (just like a blender) to form over 480,000 pulp-like microbubbles per 15ml bottle, each containing essential vitamins and minerals that remain intact until the serum hits your skin.
The new Vitamin Nectar Glow Juice Antioxidant Face Serum is a nutrient-rich everyday face serum. It has a juicy, lightweight texture, and feeds your complexion the nutrition, nourishment, and antioxidant protection it needs for an energised, healthy look. Over time, skin is healthier, stronger, and more resilient.
The product, priced at RM130 is available at all Sephora stores and Sephora.my
GLOBAL BEAUTY SECRETS
EACH country has its traditional beauty ritual, usually involving ingredients commonly found in those parts.
Here are some of them:
Indian women have a long tradition of turning to nature and their own kitchen to stay beautiful. Coconut oil is used extensively to nourish and strengthen hair while turmeric is used on the face to cleanse and remove blemishes and protect skin from acne. Turmeric also prevents the growth of unwanted facial hair while giving skin a beautiful, natural glow.
Argan oil is used extensively in beauty treatments here because it has very effective moisturising properties and keeps skin soft and supple. A few drops on the hair also helps tame frizz and ensures silky locks. Moroccan women are also famous for using Rhassoul clay on their skin to remove impurities.
A paste made of matcha is used on the scalp to prevent hair loss while leftover water from cooking rice makes a good face wash because it contains nutrients and antioxidants. Rice powder has also been used for centuries by Japanese women to clear blemishes and reduce wrinkles.
Since the Ming dynasty, women have been using pearl powder, made of crushed pearls to maintain the clarity and beauty of their skin.
It is loaded with vitamins and minerals and gives skin a beauty boost unlike no other.
Most of us think of nettles as troublesome weeds but in Croatia it’s a beauty ingredient used for both hair and skin. Hair is washed with a solution made of boiled nettles to soothe the scalp and prevent itchiness and nettle water is also used as a natural toner for the skin.
The most widely used natural beauty ingredient here is olive oil which helps moisturise the skin and add shine and lustre to hair. Water, steeped in rosemary is also used to rinse the hair for deep cleansing while yogurt mixed with olive oil acts as a good hair mask or conditioner.
A country whose landscape is synonymous with cacti so it’s no surprise that the plant is used extensively in beauty treatments. The prickly pear cactus to be precise is a known superfood and is good for the skin, particularly dry or damaged skin. The oil from this cactus has both anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Traditionally, Aborigial women used yarrow root to address unsightly stretch marks and moisturise their skin. Tea tree oil also works wonders on the scalp while the kakadu plum has been used for thousands of years by Aboriginal people as a healing ingredient. It’s loaded with Vitamin E which helps slow down or minimise the signs of skin ageing.
South American women are famed for their beauty. In Columbia, avocado is widely known as a beauty aid, used on both the face and hair. Often made into a paste with olive oil, it’s used as a nourishing hair mask while in Chile, crushed red grapes mixed with a bit of flour makes a face mask for glowing skin.
The baobab tree, also known as the “Tree of Life” is the natural, anti-ageing tool in this country. Baobab seed oil is a precious ingredient used extensively in skincare. Full of omegas, antioxidants and vitamins it regenerates dry skin, and repairs damaged hair.
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