The skin is your body’s largest organ and so, it’s important to look after it in the best way possible. The skin’s natural microbiome is a finely-tuned ecosystem of microbes and human cells that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. But, the balance of the skin’s natural microbiome can be easily upset by cheap synthetic chemicals in modern skincare regimes. Rather than healing the skin, the increased use of harmful ingredients on the skin can pollute its ecosystem, leading to a rise in sensitivity and inflammatory skin conditions.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom, and it is possible to reset the skin’s natural ecosystem. Natural skincare brand, Esse is helping South Africans take their skincare back to basics with the Esse #30dayrewild challenge. The challenge ran from February to April 2022, and sought to help consumers return skin to its roots, providing it with the natural support it needs to rehabilitate its own microbiome.
“We’re living in an age where dirt has been demonised by an industry that promotes sterile as healthy,” explained Trevor Steyn, founder of Esse. “This encourages increased product use, deep-cleansing routines and the stripping of natural oils. It’s time to end the war on germs. Half of the cells in your body are ‘germs’ and you need them for optimal health.”
Rewilding the skin
According to Esse, microbiome research has shown us that the move to a sterilised, chemical-reliant state has had devastating impacts on the skin. With this in mind, Esse decided that it’s time for a different approach. By seeding the skin with probiotics and feeding its ecology with prebiotic nutrients, Esse guides the microbiome back to a natural, healthy balance — this is the rewilding process.
But, Esse says, the rewilding movement is more than just a focus on skin health, it represents a lifestyle change that values the importance of healthy, natural ecosystems. Being in contact with natural environments is greatly beneficial for both physical and mental health.
For the best results, Esse encouraged participants of the #30dayrewild challenge to consider a few simple changes which offer long-term benefits. Examples included eating whole, organic foods; getting regular exercise; and getting out into nature wherever possible.
The skincare portion of the challenge saw consumers investing in the Esse Rewilding pack for 30 days of natural skincare. Esse’s range of skincare products are natural, vegan, and cruelty-free, making them the ideal products to get your skin back to its natural state.
What’s the Esse Sensitive Skin #30dayrewild Pack?
Esse made joining the rewilding movement easy with the launch of the limited-edition Esse Sensitive Skin #30dayrewild Pack. At a cost of R930 (which equated to a 50% saving), the pack provided the perfect support for a rewilding journey and included an Esse Sensitive Cleanser (50 ml), Sensitive Toner (50 ml), Nourish Moisturiser (30 ml), Protect Oil (12 ml), and Resurrect Serum (12 ml).
The ultra-gentle range of products included in the pack are designed to strengthen barrier function and support a healthy skin microbiome. The products contain pre- and probiotics, are pH balanced and contain no harsh preservatives or synthetic chemical ingredients. While all five products play a valuable role in the rewilding process, Esse says its Protect Oil and Resurrect Serum are game-changers when it comes to the re-wilding process.
Hands-on with the re-wilding products
Esse invited me to join the skincare movement and ‘rewild’ my skin using the Rewild Pack. To be honest, it wasn’t really a ‘challenge’ to take on, as the products in the pack were an absolute pleasure to use. The more I used the products, the more my skin improved and I looked forward to my daily skincare routine.
As much as I loved the gentle cleanser and nourishing moisturiser, it was indeed the Protect Oil and Resurrect Serum that blew my socks off during the 30-day period.
As the name suggests, Esse’s Protect Oil forms a protective layer on the skin, reducing the damage done by external aggressors such as UV rays and free radicals. It also improves blood flow, ensuring the delivery of enough oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, while removing waste products more effectively. Healthier skin cells form a more effective barrier, reducing triggers to the immune system and keeping inflammation under control. Ximenia Oil shields sensitive skin, offering it all-round protection from environmental stressors while also helping to increase skin hydration, firmness, and elasticity, while reducing wrinkle depth.
Besides offering great results, the oil smells beautiful and is super lightweight. It feels like silk on the skin, absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin with a stunning glow every time I use it. I love this oil because it has a calming effect on my skin and works to instantly soothe any psoriasis flare-ups I have. The oil also works well as a primer under my foundation and is one of my favourite products to use every morning. You simply apply 5-10 drops evenly over the face, neck and décolleté, before moisturising. Make sure to pat the oil in gently until it has been absorbed into the skin.
I followed the oil with a drop of the Esse Resurrect Serum every morning and evening. The ultimate anti-ageing treatment for sensitive skin, this beautiful serum hydrates and plumps the skin, while also helping to address signs of ageing without initiating an immune response. As someone who struggles with psoriasis, this is music to my ears. The serum is all about helping to improve barrier function on the skin and teaching the skin to deal with daily stressors.
BIOME+ LEVEL 2 + 3 probiotics and prebiotics to support a balanced skin microbiome, signal to skin cells to improve barrier function and reduce trans-epidermal water loss. The serum has a very high spreadability, so a little goes a long way, and the 12ml bottle of serum lasted throughout the 30-day period and then some.
I followed the serum with the Nourish Moisturiser every morning and evening. I absolutely adore this moisturiser and pairing all three products together was the ultimate soothing treat for my skin. The intensely calming moisturiser combines probiotic extracts and prebiotic nutrients to boost barrier function for sensitive skin. Aloe Vera works to calm and soothe the skin while Shea Butter is healing and deeply nourishing. The product also contains Hyaluronic Acid which works as an anti-inflammatory while also helping to improve hydration and decrease the appearance of fine lines.
My skin has never felt softer after a few weeks of religiously using this moisturiser, and it’s a truly game-changing product for anyone with sensitive or reactive skin!
After a full month of using the Esse Rewilding pack, my skin looked and felt amazing. It really does feel like balance has been restored on my skin. I haven’t struggled with ‘mascne’ as much, if not at all, and the texture of my usually dry skin has improved. The rich formula of the products in the Esse Sensitive range has been particularly wonderful for my reactive skin and my psoriasis flare-ups. My skin feels a lot more hydrated after the 30-day challenge period, and it’s looking plump and healthy.
I usually struggle with irritations on my skin during this time of the year, due to the change of season, but for now, my skin seems to be handling the colder weather a lot better than usual. My skin isn’t as red and reactive as it usually is, and there’s a good chance this is a result of balance being restored by the rewilding process.
Is the Esse Rewilding process for you?
While the Esse Rewilding challenge was developed to benefit all skin types and concerns, it will prove to be particularly useful to those with sensitive skin and reactive skin. The Rewilding pack offered enough product from the Esse Sensitive range to reset the skin’s natural microbiome over a 30-day period, and it was a worthwhile experiment for anyone looking to help their skin cope better with daily environmental aggressors.
If you missed the Rewildig campaign, the great news is, the Rewilding packs are still available from a few online stockists at R930 per kit. But, even when the kits are no longer available, anyone wanting to do a mini-rewilding experiment for their skin can also invest in the Esse Sensitive Skin Trial Pack.
The pack is a starter pack for sensitive skin and offers a selection of 5 miniature sensitive skin products to help your skin reset and start the healing process. It’s a great way to trial the Esse range and see if you’re keen to start using the range.
What’s more, the entire Esse brand gets a big thumbs up for its environmentally friendly practices. The products are ‘no harm’ with accreditation from PETA and Beauty Without Cruelty; certified by the Vegan Society, and they’re plastic- and carbon-neutral. The packaging is also fully recyclable.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.