• Shelli

Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence

Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence (50mL, $32) is a liquid treatment essence that provides protection from indoor and outdoor pollution as well as digital light, while increasing smoothness, luminosity, and suppleness. It also minimizes the look of pores and fine lines, hydrates, and preps for the next steps in your skin care routine. The star ingredient is kombucha, fermented black tea rich in antioxidants. Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence can be used by those with normal, dry, combination or oil skin.

You probably have heard of an essence before and are wondering what it is. Well, you’re not alone, I had to take a crash course in Korean beauty to learn what an essence is but this article from Elle magazine sums up what a face essence is quite well, “an essence is predominantly used to bolster the benefits of all the other products in your routine”. The article goes on to say that essences have similar benefits to a serum but have a lower molecular weight and are able to penetrate the skin much deeper than your average moisturizer. Additionally, essences contain active ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin, working to further enhance your other skincare products. In short, essences combine the various elements of a skincare routine; they hydrate and re-balance the skin using highly concentrated levels of active ingredients and this extra hydration allows your skin to absorb all the goodness of your next product even more so than usual.

Fresh Facial Treatment Essence contains kombucha, which Fresh explains is “a fermented black tea rich in natural acids and vitamins […] that keeps skin smooth, boosts luminosity, and protects from pollution”. According to Healthline, kombucha also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals – reactive molecules that can damage [skin] cells. And, when kombucha is fermented, it contains acetic acid and polyphenols, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts. According to the Fresh website, kombucha has the added benefit of helping to protect the skin from air pollution:

Air pollution—both indoor and outdoor—contains […] microscopic particles can cause oxidative stress that leads to premature fine lines, dryness, and a dull, fragile complexion. The potent kombucha ingredient protects skin from indoor and outdoor pollutants in two ways: First, it deactivates damaging pollutants to minimize interaction with the skin and prevent oxidative stress. Second, the antioxidant-rich ingredient neutralizes free radicals caused by pollution and environmental aggressors.

But this leads to another question, how can a skincare product be “anti-pollution”? The short answer is it can’t, because according to this article from Huffpost, “anti-pollution” is not a regulated term, which means that “brands have no legal obligation to follow any rules and they can mark a product as they wish when it comes to anti-pollution”. However, the long answer to whether a product can be “anti-pollution” is a bit more complicated. But first we need to clarify that “skincare routines can be an excellent way to protect our skin from pollution, [but] that doesn’t necessarily mean an anti-pollution product is essential”. In fact, many skincare products contain ingredients that can help fight the effects of pollution without being labelled “anti-pollution”, some of these ingredients include vitamins C and E, algae, niacinamide, ceramide 3, green tea, prebiotics, zinc oxide and other mineral barriers. This means that if your current skincare already includes some or most of these ingredients then your skin care is already fighting the effects of pollution, even though those products may not have an “anti-pollution” label.

Trendy marketing and labelling of the term “anti-pollution” aside, the fact that Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence contains antioxidants is a positive because it means that it helps protect the skin from environmental exposure and combat free radicals produced by pollutants.

About the Brand

Fresh was founded by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, Russian immigrants who moved to Boston and opened a store that sold natural products. In fact, their first product was a soap that they hand-wrapped themselves. From their small beginning in Boston, Fresh has evolved into a lifestyle brand that sells skincare, body care, lip care and fragrance products. Fresh products combine potent natural ingredients, ancient rituals and modern science to create beauty products and are formulated without parabens, MIT/MCI, formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors, BHA, phthalates, silicones D4 & D6, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban. And they actually upgrade their list of banned ingredients. Fresh promises that their products are safe, effect and sensorial.


  • Boosts luminosity

  • Smooths skin texture

  • Preps for skin for next steps in skincare routine

  • Refines the look of pores

  • Reduces the look of fine lines

  • Improves skin’s bounce

How to Use

Pour into your hand and gently pat on your face and neck with your fingertips. Use daily, morning and night, after cleansing and before your serum and moisturizer.


Key ingredients

  • Kombucha (Fermented Black Tea): Helps to smooth, increase luminosity, and protect against pollution and free radicals. 

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Works to maintain moisture for supple skin. 

  • Mandarin Peel Extract: Helps promote an even complexion.  

Other ingredients

  • Water, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglycerin-3, Kigelia Africana Fruit Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol, Diglycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Citrate, BHT, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Biotin, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol. 

My Take

I bought Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence after learning about the K-Beauty skincare routine and realizing that I had been missing about 5 steps! I bought the small 50mL bottle because I wasn’t sure I would like using an essence and so I didn’t want to commit to a large bottle. The Fresh Facial Treatment Essence comes in a clear glass bottle with a screw top lid and a no spill spout. The essence is a light brown liquid with visible bits of what I assume is kombucha floating around in the bottle. The facial treatment essence has a subtle tea scent and is clear when it is applied to the skin. I applied the face essence after cleansing and toning but before applying serums or moisturizers. I poured a small amount of the facial essence into my palms and then pat it into my face, I would repeat that process at least once, or until I felt I had gotten all areas of my face. Then, I waited a minute or so before applying the rest of my skincare routine. Most times, I used the Fresh Facial Treatment Essence only during the night, but sometimes, I used it during the day as well.

I really didn’t think I would like this product as much as I did. The first thing I liked was the smell. Fresh Facial Treatment Essence has this very light tea fragrance that I really enjoyed. Another thing I liked is how it made my skin feel, after using it, my skin felt very refreshed, which sounds odd, but there is no other way to describe it – similar to splashing your face with cold water on a hot day. My skin looked brighter after using this face essence and it did not leave a sticky residue on my face. Fresh Facial Treatment Essence moisturized my skin on its own but when I used it with my daytime moisturizer, it made the moisturizer last longer, which is great in Utah’s dry climate. Then, for a week, I used the Fresh Facial Treatment Essence in combination with my SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid and I think the face essence enhanced the efficacy of the Phloretin CF and my newer acne scars (scars that happened after I finished Isotretinion last year) almost completely disappeared during that one week (unfortunately, acne and the scars it causes are a life-long battle).

One critique of Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence is that I really didn’t need it. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice and I love it but a face essence is a superfluous product in your skincare routine because it doesn’t have as concentrated ingredients as a serum and doesn’t having the cleansing properties like toners and it can’t moisturize your skin quite as well as a dedicated moisturizer. Another critique I have is that the Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence is difficult to apply, and I had to watch a couple videos on how to apply before using it. The confusion lies in the fact that since an essence is not a toner, I did not want to use a cotton pad to apply it but because it is more watery than a serum, I could not dab it onto my face. Instead, I had to pour the essence into my palm and then try to get the liquid from my cupped hands to my face without the essence running down my hands and ending up all over the bathroom counter. I still ended up wasting some of the essence by applying it this way, so perhaps changing the spout could help with application.

I would definitely recommend Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence, it smells great, hydrates and helps to fade dark spots. Although a face essence is not a necessary part of even a good skincare routine, for those wo are curious about seeing how a face essence may enhance the effectiveness of your serums and moisturizers, I think Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence is a great face essence to try!

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About Me

Hi! I'm Shelli, a travel enthusiast, avid reader and prolific reviewer of everything from books to skincare.  Read more...


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