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.


Today Esse continues its commitment to its mission: to shift the world’s understanding of skincare – one product, one practitioner, and one customer at a time.

‘I would like to play a part in creating a beautiful, indefinitely sustainable future. Esse will continue on its path to build more effective and more sustainable products.’ – Trevor Steyn

Esse is well known for being a pioneer in probiotic skincare, launching the world’s first live Probiotic Serum in 2015.

Esse has grown internationally, and is now available in over 40 countries worldwide.

The Esse Approach

Optimal skin depends on 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.

Everything we do considers the skin microbiome. Ingredients are chosen and products formulated based on evolutionary first principles. We mimic the conditions for which human skin has evolved. By adding different levels of probiotics to our products, we actively shift the skin microbiome towards an optimal state, ensuring skin health.

History of Esse


After two years of formulation work, Trevor Steyn launches Esse with three refrigerated, preservative-free moisturisers; organic with African actives.


Added cleanser, toner and non-refrigerated moisturisers for a more complete skincare offering.


Professional product range added after testing at a local beauty school owned by Lynelle Harrison.


Complete reformulation of the range following the first findings of the Human Microbiome Project.

Prebiotics, and postbiotics added. 

Rebrand of the professional line.

Products begin to sell in Europe.


Tyndallised probiotics incorporated.

International markets expand rapidly to include countries in the East.


Esse launches the world’s first live probiotic skincare product. The Esse Probiotic Serum, containing 1 billion live probiotic microbes per millilitre.

Sensitive Range launched.

> Discover the Sensitive Range


First concept store launches in South Africa, and a renewed commitment to treating skin through therapists and aestheticians.

Esse begins worldwide genetic sequencing to study skin microbiomes.


Launch of foundation in 10 shades, containing prebiotic and probiotic actives.

Growth worldwide – Esse is available in 27 countries and becomes the third largest professional skincare brand in Sweden.

> Read more about Foundation


Launch of the Clarifying Range using biotechnology to fight the root causes of acne.

> Discover the Clarifying Range