For me, there are three types of skin care. There’s the foundational skin care. Here you’ll find the cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens that we use every day to keep our skin healthy and functional at the most basic level. There’s the targeted skin care that we use to treat specific skin issues. Acids, retinoids, and most of what you’ll find in the toner, essence, and serum categories belong here. And then there are the indulgences.
The indulgences are those products that fall squarely in the “wants not needs” bucket. Sometimes they’re the more luxurious and pleasurable versions of products that might fit into the foundational or targeted skin care categories, but elevated in some way, whether through formulation or design. And other times, they’re the add-ons, the products that bring that extra oomph to an already solid routine—the products that take your results from 95 percent to 100.
After trying out a whole big box of products from Fresh, I’ve found that the best of their products fit into that indulgence category. Some are more elegant substitutions for basic products. Others are the icing on the cake. The three below—Fresh Sugar Lip Wonder Drops, Sugar Rose Lip Treatment, and Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask—are ones I use often, and with pleasure every time.
After trying out a box of products from Fresh, I’ve found that the best fit into the indulgence category. These are the ones I use often, and with pleasure every time.
Fresh Sugar Lip Wonder Drops
Years ago, in a review I wrote of a simple hyaluronic acid toner on my blog, I gave readers a little lip care tip: Swipe a drop of hydrating toner on lips before lip balm for an extra soft, moisturized pout. I’ve been doing it for years. The fast-absorbing humectants of hydrating toners deliver a subtle plumping effect and help slow down the rate of moisture loss through the thin, delicate skin of the lips.
Any hydrating toner that doesn’t have a bothersome scent or taste will do, but Fresh Sugar Lip Wonder Drops takes the concept to the next level. Billed as a “Retexturizing and Smoothing Gel,” this product combines the plumping hydration of glycerin and hyaluronic acid with sugar cane and sugar maple extracts, which provide extra moisture and the potential for some very gentle exfoliation to smooth lips at the surface. A tiny dab of this gel goes a long way. The soft vanilla scent goes perfectly on lips. And unlike a big bottle of hydrating toner, the little bottle fits perfectly into a purse or pocket for rehydration on the go.
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Fresh Sugar Lip Wonder Drops ingredients: Water, glycerin, xanthan gum, polysorbate 20, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, tocopherol, diglycerin, maltitol, pentylene glycol, tetrasodium EDTA, fragrance, stevioside, vanillin, hyaluronic acid, phenoxyethanol, limonene, citral, benzyl alcohol, linalool
Sugar Rose Lip Treatment
I write frequently on the importance of sun protection for skin. I have sunscreens for face, sunscreens for body, UV-blocking sunglasses to help protect any areas around my eyes that my sunscreen doesn’t reach, and a deep commitment to sun protection.
Lips need sun protection too. Skin cancer can develop on the lips just as it can on any other part of your body, and lips are subject to the same UV-induced accelerated aging effects as the rest of the body. That means collagen and elastin breakdown leading to a deflated look and deep lines and wrinkles.
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You can get a lip balm with SPF at any drugstore. But Fresh’s offering adds a sheer, pretty “my lips but better” tint, the same delicate vanilla scent as the Lip Wonder Drops, and a gorgeously weighty tube that screws open and shut, so it’ll never pop open in your bag and leave a mess all over your things. In terms of consistency, it’s a soft and non-greasy balm that’s neither too stiff and waxy nor too sticky and thick. A quick swipe leaves a satiny veil of tinted moisture, which builds easily if desired.
Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 active ingredients: Octinoxate 6.74% (sunscreen)
Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 inactive ingredients: Beeswax, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, hydrogenated olive oil decyl esters, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, fragrance, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, passiflora incarnata seed oil, sucrose tetrastearate triacetate, ribes nigrum (black currant) seed oil, tocopherol, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, ascorbyl palmitate, ammonium glycyrrhizate, vanillin, BHT, polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate, propyl gallate, limonene, citral, benzyl alcohol, linalool, geraniol, citronellol, dyes
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Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask
Almost all of us use a moisturizer at night. For the basics, just about any moisturizer suitable for our skin type will do—you don’t need bells and whistles to add hydration into skin and seal it in with some texture-smoothing emollients and water-trapping emollients on top. Some of us want our moisturizers to do more than just that, however.
Overnight masks, often also called sleeping packs, exist for those of us who expect more out of a nighttime moisturizer than just moisture. At its best, an overnight mask will add some moisture, seal it in along with any other beneficial toners, essences, or serums we’ve applied underneath, and contribute additional special effects on top. That way, we can wake up in the morning with the best possible skin for the best possible start to our day.
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I tried several of Fresh’s facial care products, and the Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask was the one that impressed me the most. It has a lot to live up to. I’m used to steeping my face in all kinds of time-tested luxury goodness from the likes of Sulwhasoo and my other go-to brands. So when I looked in the mirror the morning after my first trial run with the Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask, I was pleasantly surprised to see visibly firmer and tighter skin texture, especially around the lower halves of my cheeks. The product did what it promised to do, most likely thanks to an effective combination of film forming ingredients.
It also performs nicely as a moisturizer, with an excellent balance of hydrating, emollient, and occlusive elements and a velvety, non-greasy finish. The almost paste-like consistency of the product can take some getting used to, since it doesn’t spread as easily as most creams do; I find using more than I think I’ll need works best. What doesn’t take any getting used to is the gorgeous rose scent, one of the prettiest and most natural-smelling that I’ve experienced. Finally, the antioxidant-rich botanical extracts and ferments may provide some extra protection against cell-damaging free radicals.
Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask ingredients: Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, jojoba esters, isohexadecane, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, dicaprylyl carbonate, camellia oleifera seed oil, pentylene glycol, ethylhexyl palmitate, mirabilis jalapa extract, glyceryl stearate, steareth-21, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dimethicone, oxidized corn oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, cera alba (beeswax), kigelia africana fruit extract, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, rubus fruticosus (blackberry) leaf extract, litchi chinensis seed extract, rosa damascena flower oil, sodium hyaluronate, adenosine, tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol, ceteareth-20, behenyl alcohol, fragrance, ceteareth-12, cetearyl alcohol, sodium citrate, sodium polyacrylate starch, sodium polyacrylate, sorbitan laurate, disodium EDTA, maltodextrin, silica, tetrasodium EDTA, hydroxyethylcellulose, acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester, citric acid, CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), BHT, potassium sorbate, biotin, phenoxyethanol, linalool, citronellol, geraniol
Fresh is one of those brands that I’ve always been aware of but never really thought to explore. And while I haven’t yet found any foundational staples to love among their products, the three I talked about above have become new favorites in my routine. I use the lip drops and the lip balm every day, and the overnight mask at least a few times a week. We all need the basics, but sometimes those extras matter, too.