New and natural from esse

Last month I was invited to attend an interesting talk by esse founder and owner, Trevor Steyn.

Trevor Steyn

The brand is different to most of the other ‘natural and organic’ brands in SA in that they actually are. They are certified by Beauty Without Cruelty, Fair Trade by Phyto Trade, and have the only EcoCert certified factory in South Africa. Yep, Trevor is pretty dedicated to creating products that are good for you and the planet.


The talk was about their new Toner Plus. Sounds like a political party, huh? Well, actually it’s a very innovative product that is going to change the way we look at skincare.

Toner Plus

It contains esse’s BIOME+ technology. This formula contains Lactobacillus cells (um, that would be bacteria, but Trevor assures us it’s dead, friendly bacteria). The reasoning behind adding bacteria to a skincare product (yes, I know what you’re thinking, “it had better be a spectacular reason”) is that we have been stripping our skin of all bacteria for years, yet we actually need good bacteria to survive. In fact, if we were to remove all the bacteria from our bodies, we would only live for a few days. The addition of these cells acts like a buffet for your skin’s good bacteria to help it maintain the skin’s natural barrier function. So instead of thinking about it as bacteria, think of the Toner Plus as a prebiotic* for your skin.

*Proboiotics are good microbes and prebiotics are foods or supplements that feed and nourish good microbes

Now it all starts to make sense, no? You’ve heard me talk about protecting the acid mantle so many times, and this is exactly what the Toner Plus is meant to do. Having a healthy barrier means your skin will be more resilient to daily aggressors and less likely to become sensitive or inflamed. It’s important to note here that the reason so many of us suffer with sensitive skin these days is because of the harsh scrubbing and cleansing we put it through.

The Toner Plus comes in a dark brown, glass bottle (as do the rest of the products) with a spray pump. All you’re meant to do is spritz over your face after cleansing. However, I sadly got a dud spray pump, and it ejected the toner with the verocity of a fire hose, so I sprayed it onto a cotton pad before wiping over my face.

Ok, so now you’ve got the deal with the Toner Plus, let me tell you about a few of their other products.

Eye Make up Remover

The Eye Make-Up Remover is a light gel-cream that comes in a pump bottle. This was my least favourite product because it didn’t budge my waterproof mascara. I tested it again with regular mascara, and it worked a treat. But as I wear waterproof mascara most days, I won’t be using this again.

Gel Cleanser

The Gel Cleanser is quite a runny gel that also comes in a pump bottle. I like the texture of this; it lathered really well for a natural product, and left my skin feeling clean and well hydrated.

Deep Moisturiser

The Deep Moisturiser is great. It contains a host of hydrating ingredients that will help to balance your skin – making sure it hydrates dry areas without leaving any greasy patches. This makes it suitable for dry, normal and combination skins. My only complaint is that it comes in a jar, and you all know my view on these. I understand it needs to be because of the thickness of the formula, but I’m still not a fan of sticking my fingers into pots of face cream.

Cocoa Exfoliator


My favourite product is the Cocoa Exfoliator. Besides the obvious, delicious chocolaty scent, this exfoliator is effective without being too harsh. I normally steer away from granular exfoliators, but this one (with a bit of water added) sloughs away dead skin, leaving it soft and silky.

Discover more about the esse journey, as well as your nearest stockist on their site.


  • Chereen

    LOVE that Cocoa Exfoliator SO much… I couldn’t resist tasting a teeny amount
    (it smelt THAT good!), and I was surprised to find that it actually tastes pretty good, too! I’m all for products being so natural that you can actually eat them too! (Don’t worry, I’m not about to start dishing up scrub for supper!) Great write up, Emmy! xxx