Fresh Founder Lev Glazman

Tea time.

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Lev Glazman’s obsession with the beauty industry can be traced back to a single bottle of perfume.

As a young boy growing up in Russia, Glazman was surrounded by adults drenched in nothing but the Soviet-made Red Moscow fragrance. He thought that was how everyone smelled—until one day, when his mother bought a French scent on the black market. It smelled amazing, an olfactory awakening of sorts, but really it was the elation on his mother’s face that sealed his fate. “That is where my seed was planted,” he says over brunch at L’Abattoir. “I felt there was something very transformative about [beauty].”

His passion for the trade has, evidently, mushroomed since then. He founded Fresh, the now-global luxury beauty brand with a cult following, with his wife Alina Roytberg in 1991. It started quite simply, with a line of soaps, and quickly grew into the powerhouse it is today, with cleansers, moisturizers, and, of course, scents; the baby company was bought by LVMH in 2000, a move that gave Glazman’s team full autonomy, paired with state-of-the art resources. In Vancouver for the worldwide unveiling of Fresh’s Black Tea Age-Delay Firming Serum, and in between raves over L’Abattoir’s scones and crepes, Glazman explains the new product’s power. “I call it the jack of all trades,” he says. “The texture is amazing. Your skin just drinks it.”

Made with kombucha, black tea extract, blackberry leaf extract, honeysuckle leaf extract, and lychee seed extract, the serum works to smooth, firm, and hydrate, easily worn under moisturizer and makeup. “I wanted to take serum to another level,” Glazman explains. Set to launch officially at Sephora in January, it is the latest offering in Fresh’s Black Tea line, which was nearly 11 years in the making. Good things take time, after all, and Glazman is not afraid to play the long game. It’s always about the full picture.

It’s also about the message, and Fresh is the first beauty brand to partner with (RED), the AIDS funds and awareness organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver. The result is SUGA(RED), a soon-to-be-released, limited-edition version of Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment, for which 25 per cent of the retail price is donated to the US Fund for the Global Fund.

Next year Fresh turns 25, and the quarter-century celebrations are already in the works. Glazman has come a long way since that morning in St. Petersburg. To bring the story full circle, somewhat miraculously, one day years later Glazman found himself face-to-face with the man who made that scent beloved by his mother. He called her immediately to share the news. Beauty had, once again, brought him home.

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October 19, 2015