Fresh’s skin biologist on why it takes so long to make a good skincare product

Behind the brand


By Redzhanna Jazmin

Fresh’s skin biologist on why it takes so long to make a good skincare product

When it comes to skincare, natural isn’t always better—but, when done right, it can be a total game-changer. Nature has always been a wealth of resources for potent, efficacious ingredients throughout countless cultures, and no one knows that better than the team at Fresh Beauty. The perfect balance of sensorial indulgence, heritage techniques and lab-proven results, the brand’s philosophies have birthed some of the most interesting skincare launches of the last decade.

We spoke to the key players at Fresh, co-founder Lev Glazman and the brand’s skin biologist, Dr Anne-Laure Bulteau, to find out more about the brand’s newest launch, its core philosophies, and the process of creating new products for its lineup. Find our full exclusive ahead:

Pictured: Fresh co-founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg in Cambodia

What was the ultimate goal for you and your co-founder, Alina Roytberg when starting up Fresh?

Glazman: “When Alina and I started Fresh in 1991, we were always focused on innovation and looking to the future. By combining potent natural ingredients, ancient rituals, and modern science, we can create beauty products that perform with experiences that transform. We loved the idea of transforming everyday routines into sensorial rituals that are as indulgent as they are effective and have always been very devoted to this goal.”

What inspired the conception of the Tea Elixir Serum? What is the particular draw of tea ingredients for Fresh as a brand and yourself personally?

Glazman: “We always look for untapped potential in nature and are known for travelling to the ends of the earth to find it. This search led us to the island of Mauritius, known as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’, where we discovered a unique tea plant that has adapted for over 130 years to the island’s adverse growing conditions.

“Back in 2007, I immersed myself in the world of tea—researching this plant historically known as an ‘immortal health elixir’. The tea ingredient is very precious to the brand and has always been a popular and effective remedy in many cultures. It is a powerful antioxidant and ingredient with many uses and benefits, which is why I am consistently drawn to it. As science evolves, we can discover what more might lie within the tea leaf that has been untapped and push the boundary of discovery to boost the efficacy of our products.”


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What sets the Tea Elixir Serum apart from Fresh’s other offerings? Further, what skin problems does the new serum target and what are the mechanisms by which it works?

Dr Bulteau: “The Tea Elixir Serum is a scientific breakthrough for Fresh not only because it is a universal serum that was tested to be effective for all skin types and tones, but because it activates your skin’s natural ability to resist what we call life stressors that contribute to signs of ageing.

“These stressors could be anything from lack of sleep, stress, or poor diet, but with Tea Elixir Serum we better support skin from the inside out. This serum is powered by our revolutionary new ingredient, APT Technology™, which helps deliver this serum’s powerful, efficacious results to resist everyday life stressors.”

Could you walk us through the star ingredients of the new serum and how they work to improve the skin?

Dr Bulteau: “Along with the powerful tea that goes into APT Technology™, the Tea Elixir Serum is also enriched with niacinamide to refine the look of pores, 5kDA hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and minimize visible lines, ceramide III to strengthen the skin’s barrier, and ocean kelp to improve skin’s texture. With these powerful ingredients working together, this new serum boosts skin’s visible resilience by 62 per cent*.”

*observed results, clinical study, self-assessment by scoring, 33 subjects, eight weeks, based on an average of smooth, visible lines, look of pores, bounce (plump and elasticity), and glow

What is the bioenergetic system of the skin?

Dr Bulteau: “The same way the body needs food, a skin cell needs fuel to function efficiently. This is the skin’s bioenergetic systems. By increasing skin’s bioenergetic systems, skin can better produce the necessary elements to stay resilient and look smoother with more glow and bounce.”

Pictured: Dr Anne-Laure Bulteau

What is one Fresh-exclusive technology you are most proud to have pioneered?

Glazman: “Being able to capture the Mauritius tea plant’s adaptive phytocompounds to create the APT Technology™ ingredient is definitely a huge achievement and scientific breakthrough for us here at fresh.

Dr Bulteau: “The APT Technology™ that powers our Tea Elixir Serum is a true Fresh discovery and an innovative new skin-activating ingredient. Proven to be more potent than ordinary tea, it increases a key regulator of the skin’s bioenergetic systems by 44 per cent, providing skin cells with the power to boost the synthesis of fatty acids and essential structural proteins elastin, collagen and fibrillin, so the skin remains smoother with more glow and bounce.”

What went into creating and trademarking this exclusive ingredient?

Dr Bulteau: “This exclusive ingredient was created using a cutting-edge extraction technique informed by over 30 years of plant genetics research that breaks down the tea leaves cells’ membranes to release its contents and selectively separates out the potent low molecular weight adaptive phytocompounds to produce the final APT Technology™ ingredient.

“We have been working on the Tea Elixir Serum for over three years, and this product is the newest example of how we combine potent natural ingredients and modern science to create innovative skincare solutions.”


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What is one ingredient that you are hoping to work with in the future?

Glazman: “I don’t think our future ingredients have even been discovered yet! With the Tea Elixir Serum, we are taking our ingredient discovery to the next level, while also staying true to our brand ethos. At Fresh, we believe all the answers lie in nature and are always looking for untapped potential when it comes to natural ingredients. We are known for travelling to the ends of the Earth to find new ingredients and then we push the boundaries of discovery even further through modern science. The research and the exploration of natural ingredients never stops.”

How does a product come about for Fresh, from start to finish?

Glazman: “It all begins with a vision, and then we use science to bring that vision to life. I’ve always been a dreamer at heart and inspired by natural ingredients and how humans and different cultures have used them for centuries. The question we always ask ourselves is: what’s the real science behind it?

“When we use a new ingredient, we have a very strict protocol we follow to validate skin safety and toxicology. Sustainability is also a cornerstone of sourcing our ingredients; we spend a lot of time evaluating the origin of our raw materials and their impact on the planet.

“From there, we kick off the product development journey. For each of the formulas created in our Fresh lab, it’s all about the ingredients used—the sensorial experience, or ‘feeling’ that it gives you—and the benefits to the skin. At Fresh, we always ask ourselves, ‘how do we create a one-of-a-kind experience?’ That is integral to product development.

“Finally, the product goes through trials. We must make sure that our formula not only feels luxurious, but also has measurable, visible benefits to the skin. Additionally, we ensure the product can be shipped all over the world and stay stable. From start to finish, it typically takes us a minimum of three years to create something new. It takes time to develop a truly high-quality skincare product.”

How would you advise customers use the new serum? Do you have any particular tips for application?

Dr Bulteau: “The Tea Elixir Serum can be used daily, morning and night, as part of the Fresh Treatment Routine. After cleansing with the Soy Face Cleanser and treating with our Kombucha Essence, we recommend dispensing about six drops of the Tea Elixir Serum into your hand and pressing it onto the skin and neck to activate. We then suggest following up with your chosen eye care and moisturiser. We recommend the Fresh Black Tea Eye Concentrate and Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturiser.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in creating and growing your brand?

Glazman: “I would refer to the growth of Fresh as a journey, rather than noting anything as challenges. We have always said that a Fresh product is designed to perform and provide an experience that transforms—that is what continues to set our brand apart. The beauty industry is constantly changing and it’s equally important to address all the components of the product, but also how that product can expand how someone takes care of themselves both inside and out.”

Lev, what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your entrepreneurial journey in the beauty industry?

Glazman: “The most valuable lesson I learned is to always be a leader and not a follower. That means constantly continuing to innovate, staying true to your principles, and never compromising on our brand’s mission to deliver safe, effective, and sensorial products.”


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