Esse Sensitive – calming balance for sensitive skin

Beauty | 21.3.2016 | Katja Kokko


In collaboration with Natural Goods Company

The South African spa line Esse has been available in Finland barely for a year and has caught the interest of both individual consumers as well as professionals. Cosmetologists who have previously worked with synthetic professional cosmetics lines have found Esse to be a wonderful natural cosmetics line to work with.

Esse brings together ethical, ecological, and natural values alongside efficiency and scientific research so it´s no wonder it has been able to convince even the professionals criticising natural cosmetics. Once you have met the creator of the brand Trevor Steyn, you need no more reassurance. He is an amazing living and breathing encyclopedia, specialising in skincare from the aspect of the skins microbial balance. The importance of the subject is undeniable when talking about a healthy gut or antibiotics and especially the fairly scary information on the super bacteria that has been emerging due to growing antibiotics resistance. Trevor is coming to Helsinki in April to lecture at Luonnonkaunis-messut, we´ll get back to this later on, but now on to something very interesting and important regarding sensitive skin care. It´s a longish read, so sit comfortably and enjoy!

Esse recently launched the new Sensitive product line, which has been designed to balance and soothe sensitive, highly reactive skins like young acne skin, irritated couperosa, excema, perioral dermatitis and a number of skin irritations. The product line is a great skin care option for those who have previously used synthetic skin care for sensitive skin. All Esse products are suitable for sensitive skin and the Sensitive line is especially created for highly reactive skin where acute irritation is present. It is also perfect for a “cosmetics detox” when you wish to take a breather from activating ingredients or for young skin care. I´m doing a personal skin detox with the Sensitive line because due to my work I have been testing out so many different brands lately that it feels good to give my skin a little peace and calm right now.


The goal of the Sensitive line is to reduce the skins reactivity within three months. The length of the goal may surprise a few when we are so used to going for instant results. The truth is though, when the skins microbial balance is off it´s barrier function is not performing optimally and the immune system of the skin becomes hyper active. This can manifest as highly reactive skin, in other words as irritations, a rash or through signs of untimely ageing. Skin needs time to rebalance and calm down and the microbial balance cannot be restored overnight. For this reason the amount and variety of cosmetics products is brought to a minimum and the products can´t be too activating. So how does all this come together with the Esse Sensitive line?

The Sensitive products boost the immune defence of skin by containing prebiotics that feed the healthy bacteria of skin and  probiotics that balance the skins bacterial strain, the product´s pH is acidic ranging from 4,5 to 5. Why is this important? Because sebum contains probiotics which are a part of the skins natural moisturising agents and a humectant, a natural acid tying moisture to the skin. Lactic acid is produced by bacteria on the skin and for them to stay alive the skins pH must remain acidic (3,5-5). This should also conclude the thought why an alkaline skin care regimen and salt are poor choices for skin care. I have actually met a client who suffered from severe premature ageing of the skin due to using salt for skin care. Reversing the effects has been a slow crawl towards the better.

The Sensitive products are not entirely unscented but they have no added scent. The scents are from Neroli and Vanilla essential oils containing a fragrance component of 0,03% at the most to minimise allergic reactions.


The product line has a gentle, creamy cleansing milka serum containing live probiotics and two moisturisers. If the skin is very sensitive and irritated and the situation is persistent no toner will be used, instead the serum is dabbed on damp skin. When the skins reactivity begins to ease out Toner Plus can be added to the skin care regimen.

The cleansing milk does not foam but rinses easily off the skin. It´s cleansing agents are exceptionally mild and the number of ingredients is kept to a minimum. The ingredients enhancing shelf life are exceptionally mild and the biodegradability time of the surfactants is 4-5 hours. The cleanser suits all skin types. Alongside Aloe Vera gel the product contains Lactobacillus bacteria´s probiotic lysate, a probiotic extract where the bacteria are not live but still enhance the skins bacterial strain.

The Sensitive serum contains over three billion live Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria to one milliliter. The difference to the Probiotic Plus serum is that the Sensitive Serum contains one strain of probiotics when again the Probiotic Plus Serum contains three strands of probiotics. The reason for this is that the strain chosen for the Sensitive Serum has proven to actively enhance the skins immune system to be better prepared for new stimulants. The serum does not contain water and the probiotic microbes are capsuled but they are still living and able to make house on the skins surface. The probiotics are activated when they come in contact with skins moisture (this is why the serum is applied on damp skin). After activated they improve skins microbial balance and strengthen the barrier function. The probiotic microbes in the serum are viable for two years of manufacture and it does not contain pathogenic microbes. The product should be stored in between 4°C to 35°C degrees.


The two moisturisers in the Sensitive line share the same fundamentals: they are identical in hyaluron acid, probiotic extract and prebiotics. The differences are in the oil composition of the cream base. Hydro Moisturiser is a moisturising cream for combination and normal skin and Nourish Moisturiser is for combination and dry skin. Both moisturisers contain the probiotic lysate of Lactobacillus bacteria which boosts the amount of good microbes on the skin. The prebiotics (inulin α-glucan-oligosacharids) increase the growth of Lactobacillus probiotics all the while starving unhealthy microbes, for example Staphylococcus aureus. This helps reduce irritation of the skin and improve barrier function. Both moisturisers have a a high consistency of low molecular hyaluron acid content which intensifies moisturising and disturbs the cytocine patterns that accelerate a state of irritation. The moisturisers contain Marula oil and Aloe Vera. You can choose one or both of the moisturisers according to your skin type. Nourish Moisturiser protects the surface of the skin, it is great for thin and dry skin as a day cream, and due to it´s nourishing properties is great as a night cream as well. Hydro Moisturiser is a bit lighter and more moisturising and works well as a night cream as well. I use Hydro in the evening and Nourish in the morning.

The Sensitive line is meant to be used for 3 to 6 months and after that you can move on to, if you will, to use other Esse products. For the care line to optimally work all products must be of the same line, so ditch all other cosmetics lines before going with Esse. In the evening the face is cleansed with Sensitive Cleanser cleansing milk, if the skin is not too sensitive or irritated you can spritz on Toner Plus. After this apply a small amount of Sensitive serum (if you are not using the toner apply the serum on damp skin. After about two months try out Toner Plus) and finish with the moisturising Hydro Moisturiser or with the protective Nourish Moisturiser according to your skin type. Alongside of your home skin care regimen it is highly advisable to regularly visit a cosmetologist for a facial lymphatic massage. Lymphatic massage can greatly benefit sensitive, rosacea, excema, POD and prematurely ageing skins. The massage has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and almost always stress is a factor behind skin problems and with massage stress can also be relieved.

So this was a good info package on a skin solution called Esse. Do you feel any questions or thoughts surfacing?


Photos Katja Kokko

Translated by Mariko Pajalahti

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