Photo: Fresh

Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Bath & Body

Ah, the week before Christmas—and, as it happens this year, the week of Chanukah as well. Maybe you’re one who has all the shopping, sending, decorating, and cooking well under control (Hello? There must be some people like this out there…!), and you’re looking for a well-deserved break. Or maybe you’re not nearly as close to done as you want to be, and beads of stress-sweat are starting to form. I was thrilled to find Fresh, a delicious face-and-body-products boutique (with, in its SoHo location, an in-store spa), which will give both types of holiday preparers what they need.

First off, the stuff here is made from natural ingredients and is of solid quality—no mystery chemicals or worrisome dyes. And it smells incredible. Rushed shoppers can’t go wrong with already-gift-wrapped soaps (triple-milled, long-lasting, and in various great scents—plus the wrapping is elegant; $14 each) or Sugar lip balm (the shop’s best-selling product, which I sampled in the shop and loved; $22.50). But there’s a head-to-toe selection of delicacies: Sugar Blossom hand treatment with flower acids (which, again, I sampled and loved; $38); 100% natural Brown Sugar body scrub (ditto sampled, on my hands, and ditto loved; $65); pomegranate hair conditioner ($26); shaving cream with olive oil extract ($22); the line’s award-winning Cannabis Santal perfume (made, I was told, from the root of the cannabis plant, not the leaves, in case you’re wondering; $75, with candles in the same fragrance for $48); and the astonishing Sugar Lemon eau de parfum (from $24.50; “I want my whole life to smell like this,” I said when I breathed it in). Guys aren’t left in the cold: Beyond the for-men shaving cream and a skin soother/aftershave product, the line’s skincare products (mosturizers, toners, etc.) will suit either gender; and products like sunscreen and toothpaste will find homes in on his bathroom shelf or travel case as well as hers.

Now to those looking for a break—and/or a reward for their organization. The shop’s wonderful-sounding facials and body treatments (from $125) send you home with some of the products that were used in your treatment (mmmmm). And back to those rush-shoppers: What equally stressed recipient on your list wouldn’t welcome a spa-treatment gift certificate? (What equally stressed recipient wouldn’t, in fact, start drooling at the thought?)

“This time I came to write,” I said as I reluctantly headed out the door. “But next time I’ll come to shop.” As should you. Happy holidays, and—with this yummy shop as a great reminder—don’t forget to breathe.   - Pamela Grossman; Dec 20, 2008

57 Spring St
(Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012