Our Story

IN BRIEF

Optimal skin condition depends on the probiotic microbes living on and in it. Without microbes, your skin can’t perform its basic functions and the rate of skin ageing increases sharply.

Esse creates an environment on the skin that favours the growth of beneficial microbes. It uses prebiotics to selectively feed good microbes and includes LIVE probiotic microbes in two of the serums to make functional changes to the skin’s microbiome. Esse does not believe in damaging skin in pursuit of short-term results, it optimises skin health to slow ageing in the long-term.

Since our inception, we have remained true to our core principles: We're certified organic, vegan and cruelty free. We support fair trade and are a carbon neutral company.

THE FOUNDER

Trevor Steyn studied organic chemistry and completed a Masters degree in 1996. His mentor, Prof Siegfried Drewes, inspired a passion for the chemistry of Africa's plants. After discovering the potential of some of these plants in skin care, Trevor formulated and founded Esse. Work on Esse began in 2000 with research into Kigelia africana, the African Sausage tree. After two years of formulating, Esse was born in 2002.

Trevor is passionate about the skin microbiome, sustainable living and preserving Africa's biodiversity. He surfs, plays squash and practices yoga. He lives on a farm in Richmond, South Africa with his wife and children. “I would like to play a part in creating a beautiful, indefinitely sustainable future,” he says “Esse will continue on its path to build more effective and more sustainable products”.

HISTORY

Esse means 'to be' in Latin.

The brand initially established itself in the nascent organic skincare market in South Africa.

In 2009, the company began its move into probiotic skincare. Early findings from the Human Microbiome Project started to shift the conventional view of skin and Esse began to see skin as an ecology of human and microbial cells and the process of incorporating this new view into the formulation of its products began.

The company actively researches the application of new probiotic species and delivery methods to combat ageing and optimise skin health.