Our History

Esse means ‘to be’ in Latin. Launched in 2002, Esse established itself in the nascent organic skincare market in South Africa. The move into probiotic skincare started in 2009, and since then Esse continues to be at the forefront of microbiome skincare.


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

> Read more about Trevor


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

> Discover the Esse Product Range    


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

> Discover the Esse Professional Product Range


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 markets in the East.


Esse launches the first live probiotic skincare product. A 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.

> Read more about the Esse Concept Store


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


Professional-only launch of the Clarifying Range using biotechnology to fight the root causes of acne.

> Discover the Clarifying Range