The science of rewilding skin

A healthy microbiome is essential to keep skin looking younger for longer. Rewilding is the science of returning skin to its balanced and “wild” state through biotechnology. Esse helps create the environment for your skin’s natural microbes to flourish, restoring its ecology.

Your first line of defence

Your microbiome is an ecosystem of billions of diverse microbes that protect skin from pathogens. Similar to your gut, these bacteria, fungi and viruses have essential roles in protecting you and educating your immune system. They also help skin produce Hyaluronic Acid and other moisturising factors, while maintaining the skin’s pH and helping produce calm, healthy skin that not only looks better but ages slower. Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is essential to look after it.

The big issue

Our modern lifestyles don’t do our microbial partners any favours. Less contact with nature than our ancestors had, results in less microbial diversity. Using industrial beauty products with surfactants and parabens, strips our microbiome. The result is a massive increase in sensitive skin, acne and other skin problems.

Biotechnology is the answer

Esse offers a sustainable solution in scientifically proven organic biotechnology. Our products create an environment on skin that allows natural microbial diversity to return and thrive. Probiotics and prebiotics in organic formulations help restore the balance in a process we call “rewilding” – resulting in younger and healthier looking skin.

Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics are live microbes that can shift the skin’s ecology to favour a diverse ecosystem healthy enough to resist attacks from pathogens. They also slow the skin’s rate of ageing by reducing inflammation. Esse seeds the skin with probiotics and feeds the skin with prebiotic nutrients to ensure a microbial intervention that balances the skin’s ecology​.

Find out more about probiotics & prebiotics below

Bakuchiol: Nature’s Retinol Alternative

Dubbed ‘nature’s retinol’, it’s worth investigating the properties of this acclaimed plant-based ingredient and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine. The Bakuchiol used in skincare is extracted and…

Can You Change Your Microbiome?

An unhealthy skin microbiome results in unhealthy skin and increases the rate of ageing but you can shift your skin microbiome toward a diverse, balanced state. Learn more from Esse’s…

What Does My Microbiome Do For Me?

We know gut microbes aid in digestion and deliver nutrients. They also produce vitamins, maintain blood pressure, and affect your mood. Because we rely on so many partnerships, we can…

How Probiotics Strengthen Skin Barriers

Remedy Sensitivity – Probiotics strengthen barrier function and protect you from pathogens so they automatically guard your immune system from exposure to unnecessary triggers. Apart from acting as a shield of armour,…

Learn About Skin Immunity And Probiotics

YOUR SKIN HAS AN IMMUNE SYSTEM AND IT IS VITAL IN THAT IT PROTECTS YOU FROM PATHOGENS. Keratinocytes, the most common skin cells in the epidermis (the outer most layer…

The Future Of Skincare

In 2003 the Human Genome Project declared that the sequencing of the human genome was complete after 13 years of intense research. It cost $2,7 billion. Now you can have…

Our founder

Trevor Steyn

Scientist, Husband, Innovator, Dad, Sportsman, Yogi

My mentor, Prof Siegfried Drewes, instilled scientific rigour in me at a formative time and it has served the company well. Clients buy results, not ethics. Our job is to offer sustainable products that perform measurably better than conventional lines.

“Esse is moving along the infinitely long road toward perfection.”

To be a sustainable solution

I don’t believe in damaging skin in pursuit of short term results. Or in damaging the planet in the pursuit of profit. I believe in creating an indefinitely sustainable solution in skincare that outperforms the competition in the long term.

To be an innovator in microbiome skincare

Innovation isn’t marketing. Real innovation makes a tangible and substantive difference. That’s the difference I want Esse to make.

To be ethical above all else

My goal has never been to be the biggest skincare company in the world. It takes time, effort and resources to craft more effective products and we will never be as profitable as the multinationals.

To be an instigator of change

It’s not easy to change a hundred years of learned behaviour in the use of industrial beauty products. My goal is to inspire the industry to want to do better.

Skin concerns

Find out more about your skin concern here



Skin ageing

Ethics before profit

Esse does not believe in damaging skin in pursuit of short-term results. We optimise skin health to slow ageing in the long term, with biochemistry that makes beneficial changes to the skin’s microbiome. We keep the pH of all our products at 5, using mild preservatives and rapidly biodegradable foaming agents. We have always remained true to our core principles: We support fair trade and are a certified organic, vegan, cruelty-free and carbon- and plastic-neutral company.


Certified organic

Since inception, Esse has subscribed to Ecocert’s organic standards and percentages. We’ve omitted ingredients deemed unsafe or unsustainable, and this is verified through production facility audits to ensure full traceability of all raw materials. Ecocert regulates our packaging, ensuring that the materials used are safe, recyclable and don’t leach into the product over time.

Find out more at Ecocert


Carbon neutral

Esse is on a mission to reduce carbon emissions year-on-year. We audit our energy consumption annually to maximise efficiency and continually improve. But because we believe we can still do better; carbon credits are purchased to offset the company’s carbon emissions.

Find out more at Credible Carbon


Plastic neutral

Esse has stepped up to help protect the ocean by being plastic neutral. We’ve partnered with Cleanhub to ensure that the plastic equivalent of our usage is collected and recycled. Cleanhub collects plastic waste in the world’s most highly polluted locations, through a global network of local Collection Hubs, before it enters the ocean.


Cruelty free

Esse does not test products on animals. We will not source ingredients from suppliers who do. There are many alternatives to the use of animals in research, and our products are tested on human volunteers. We are accredited members of PeTA’s cruelty-free company programme and Beauty Without Cruelty, who educate the public about the exploitation and abuse of animals.

Find out more at Peta



Esse is accredited by The Vegan Society – the worldwide standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal testing. We will always endeavour to use animal-free ingredients in our formulations and will never support the unethical practice of animal testing on our products or their ingredients. We will only consider using animal ingredients when no plant-based alternatives exist, and when we do, we only use by-products that cause no harm to the animal in processing. And we will always be transparent and open about where they are used and why. Esse is uncompromising about the integrity of our suppliers and products, putting the health of people and planet first.

Find out more at The Vegan Society


Fair trade

Esse is committed to the fair trade of natural products. In short, the indigenous-plants of Africa are sustainably harvested from the wild by communities and  processed into high-end active ingredients. The equitable trade in natural products has raised the standard of living of tens of thousands of people.  Through buying fair trade ingredients, we’re helping enable women to send their kids to school, visit the clinic, invest in local credit schemes or even build a  house. By supporting fair trade, Esse is ensuring plants are wild harvested to maximise the potency of the extracts. But more importantly, we’re helping people create a more sustainable future for their families.