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The Wellness Questionnaire With Trevor Steyn, Founder of Esse Skincare

Discover how this wellness entrepreneur was inspired to launch a skincare line

Trevor Steyn, a dedicated green chemist, is the founder of Esse Skincare, a company he launched after discovering the skin-enhancing benefits of some African plants. His mentor, professor Siegfried Drewes, instilled in him a passion for studying the chemical compositions of these plants. In 2000, Steyn began working on various products relying on these African ingredients, including Kigelia Africana, the African sausage tree. After two years of research, Esse Skincare was born. In 2009, the company began studying the field of probiotic skincare. Early discoveries from the Human Microbiome Project began to shift the conventional view of skin. Today, Stein is focused on revolutionizing the global skincare industry with microbiome-friendly and probiotic-packed products. He is also a yogi and sportsman. Here, he shares some of the ways he stays healthy and well.

What are your favorite things to do to maintain your personal wellbeing?

I love to surf and do Iyengar yoga. I also play squash and cycle off-road. I found Peter Attia’s Centenarian Decathlon idea quite interesting. It’s useful to have a very long-term goal to train toward. 

Is there a specific fitness activity that you love and why?

Squash gives me the high-intensity cardio that makes me feel buoyant afterward. It’s much easier to push yourself when your mind is fully occupied with the strategy and technique required to perform well. 

What is your favorite healthy beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and do you have any insider tips for preparing it?

I start the day with a smoothie that has two eggs, a banana, maas (which is a Lactococcus fermented milk that is popular in South Africa), peanut butter, and berries. I’m very picky about supplements and take only creatine and omega-3s. 

What person in wellness do you most admire and why?

Daniel Lieberman wrote an excellent book called Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding. He lays out how our genetics cater very well to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and not our current sedentary one. It’s probably the largest mismatch that we face. 

What is the best piece of wellness advice you have ever received and from whom?

A homeopath friend suggested quitting coffee when I was around 30 years old. I haven’t had a cup for more than 20 years now. I don’t think it was good for me. 

What do you think is the most exciting wellness innovation you have recently discovered?

Andrew Huberman suggests exposure to bright light early every morning to set the circadian rhythm and help sleep. There are specific cell types in your eyes that effectively set a timer to allow you to fall asleep 16 hours after they are activated. It’s free, and I enjoy being outdoors in the early morning. 

What is your go-to for de-stressing?

If I’m stressed and procrastinating, I make time for a surf. We’re lucky to have big waves fairly consistently in South Africa. A brush with potential death puts work stress into perspective. 

What aspect of your wellbeing do you struggle with the most, or would most like to improve?

I drink two or three beers almost every night. I know it’s a bad habit that influences my sleep and probably has an inflammatory effect, but I really enjoy unwinding after work. 

About The Author

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.