Photo: David Stingle

Photo: David Stingle

Hi and welcome.

Your cateye looks good.


I Used Only Fresh Brand Products for a Week - Here is What Happened

I Used Only Fresh Brand Products for a Week - Here is What Happened

Photos: Sophie Lindh


Whilst on a long family vacation in Panama, I had a blast at a luxurious resort, observed my family bond beautifully, tended to an asthmatic two-year-old with sudden and extraordinary pneumonia, wiped the face (for the 986,873rd time) of his twin who contracted double pink eye, watched the Panamax tanker boat Willenius Willhelmson carry 3,500+ cars through the original Panama Canal, got the flu, re-affirmed my love for Aromatherapy Associates (my favorite essential oil house, and randomly the hotel's in-room amenities brand), bought a tray-full of Dunkin' coffees for everybody (!!) immediately before having to go through airport security (a decidedly generous and also quite blonde move), ate a lot of steaming sancocho (the official chicken soup of Panama, i.e. "Panamanian penicillin"), saw a scary alligator, giant iguana, playful lizard, free-roaming cows, pinky-nail-sized frogs, neon koi fish, and - almost but not really - some terrifying stingrays. (The beach flag was yellow which I learned means "be aware of currents," as opposed to purple which indicates "stay out of the water due to very scary sea creatures.")

I blew my nose a lot, and applied a lot of sunscreen to a lot of little people.

It was superlatively fun when it wasn't assuredly un-fun, if you know what I mean, and we all laughed a heck of a lot, so it was kind of unparalleled and uber-amazing.

Even at the hospital with the pneumonia-tic asthmatic kid.

It was an adventure and a half. And it was an escape from the glorious and grand normalcy of habitual life in Connecticut.


I felt... well... Fresh.


Before everybody and their brother in our crew got terrifically sick, I had decided to get a little bit of personal research done on the vacation. I planned to use the time away from my routine to force myself to consistently use one single brand of products for a whole entire week, to see what I could learn.

I searched through my bathroom storage, which is admittedly drugstore-like in scope. (As I like to explain, "it's my collection.")

Beauty product "obsessed" people like myself are brand-jumpers not because we are entirely brand-disloyal, but more so simply devoted to scores of brands all at once. I wondered how a full week of single-brand allegiance might change my regimen, my skin, my visage, and the way I think or felt about all of it.

I found a jackpot of Fresh brand products and packed every last tube, jar, bar and sample packet into my travel bag.

I used only Fresh products for the entire vacation for all my hygienic and (non-color) cosmetic needs. Not just skincare folks, but also soap, deodorant, body lotion, etc.

There were only two narrow categories of products for which I did NOT use Fresh (instead opting for the agency of other solutions):

  1. Utilities such as bug spray, sunscreen and toothpaste. Panama has Zika and although I'm not having any more babies, we didn't want any bites, so we used uber-strong stuff. (Incidentally, I would need a commercial vehicle to transport the whole family if we had a 5th nugget.) My lip-specific sun protection product was indeed Fresh, however!
  2. Hair care such as shampoo & conditioner. Fresh does make both the former and latter, but frankly I don't wash my hair much, so it would have felt very disingenuous to study and report on these product categories. (The rest of me is usually super-clean, promise!) The Aromatherapy Associates hotel-stocked shampoo and conditioner were surprisingly aromatherapeutic and pleasingly eucalyptus-y, which was fabulous for my devilish head cold, on the one (yep singular) day that I actually did wash my hair.


Plant-based ingredients have true worth.


Here, below, are the Fresh products I used. They were mostly from Fresh's Soy, Rose, and Black Tea collections, with a smattering of this-n-that. About half were samples and half were paid for by this here ole broad. I rotated based on what looked yummy each AM & PM.

Here are some close-ups of each side of both shelves.

Here is what I learned by using Fresh brand products exclusively for an entire week:

  1. You should wash your face AM & PM. Face wipes are good, and I sadly will probably continue to use them in order to avoid getting water and lather all over my shirt sleeves, sensitive forearms, awesome blowout, and clean sink, however, a good scrub twice per day does wondrous things for the complexion. I feel like it's less about being clean (slash free of substances) and more about removing the entire thin outer layer of skin, through the inevitable exfoliation process involved in a good watery cleaning...
  2. Overnight masks are the best way to brighten skin. Forget anything you use for 2-20 minutes. Use Fresh's overnight masks. They felt... well... Fresh.
  3. (Relatively) expensive body cream feels really, really, really good and makes you totally fancypants.
  4. Scent-layering is fun and sophisticated, but it's very awesome when your whole body (including face and 'pits) smells like one thing, in this particular case Fresh's iconic Sugar from head to toe.
  5. The way you feel about the look of the vanity is a part of how you start your day, and is an overlooked factor in starting your day out right, and is quite possibly crucial. Just looking at all those snow-white products lounging on the counter with that amazing Fresh font just waiting and ready for me was so nurturing - knowing I was taking care of my own self at least a smidgen, despite knowing my priorities were clearly with my sick children and other family members.
  6. Plant-based ingredients have true worth. I just felt a certain something about the Fresh brand botanicals working. I read the ingredients on most of the products and while they didn't seem like purely just-plucked vegetation, there were extracts of everything green abounding, and it felt like they were working overtime.

Sometimes it's just about a feeling... Am I right? If it feels good to you, and harms nobody, do it - it might be indulging in a dop kit full of Fresh, or paying some small kindness forward, or whatever, but do things that feel good.

In the coming months, I'm going to try a full week of solely, uniquely Ole Henriksen brand products (hopefully a group project if anybody wants to join the fiesta), followed by a week of Peter Thomas Roth, and report back my findings.

Stay tuned.



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