vegan beauty & the little green box

the little green box

One of the biggest concerns I had when I first went vegan was about the products I use on my face, body and hair. It sounds ridiculous, but in this day and age, most major cosmetic and skincare companies are still using animal ingredients in their products, and then testing said products on animals. For obvious reasons, these are not considered vegan. I am generally not a fussy person when it comes to my appearance or the products I put on my skin. In fact, I’m sure most of my more beauty-conscious pals are laughing at the fact that I am even writing a post on beauty when my beauty routine generally only involves remembering to shower every day. But when Peta from The Little Green Box invited me for a vegan and eco-friendly Esse facial, I leapt at the opportunity. It’s not every day that you get the chance to enjoy a certified vegan and cruelty-free facial. A part of me had resigned myself to the idea that I could never experience beauty treatments again after I went vegan, but it seems that natural, organic products are on the rise and that most of these are, by default, vegan.

On arrival at The Little Green Box, and after meeting Peta, I knew straight away that I was in good hands. A fellow KZN girl, Peta is so lovely and friendly and set me at ease right away. The Little Green Box is a bespoke and eco-friendly skincare clinic, and Peta told me that after she fell pregnant with her daughter, she felt the need to move away from chemically-rich skincare products and seek out more natural and environmentally-friendly options. The Little Green Box was then born out of this idea. Peta’s treatment room is cosy and beautiful and as soon as I laid my body down on her warm bed, I could immediately feel the stress begin to melt away. Peta treated me to a sixty minute Esse Balancing Facial which involved a triple cleanse, exfoliation and steam, a facial massage (and neck and shoulders and feet massage), a two-part mask and a toner, eye and lip cream, serum and Omega Deep Moisturizer. My skin immediately felt tighter (in a good way) and I’m gonna straight out tell you that the scents of the products were just delightful – not overbearing like most commercial and overly-perfumed products, but fragrant enough to make a delicious impact on the pleasure receptors with fresh notes of ylang ylang, spearmint, peppermint and palmrosa.

Esse is the brainchild of chemist, Trevor Steyn, and is made in Richmond, KZN – yep – it’s proudly South African, too! You know we like that! Passionate about sustainability and ethical living, Trevor set out to formulate and manufacture effective, organic skincare products and thereby promote awareness and conservation of Africa’s biodiversity. The skin is its own eco-system, with human skin cells and microbes co-existing and contributing to a ultimate skin health. Did you know that our skin can often have an even greater microbial diversity than our gut! So why would we put synthetic chemicals onto a healthy functioning ecosystem? It’s kinda like spraying DDT onto a grassland – yes you kill some weeds, but you also kill the birds and the insects and other important parts of a functioning and healthy environment.  In that way, yes, the synthetic chemicals which exist in commercial beauty products may achieve achieve short-term goals like minimising pigmentation or wrinkles … but is your skin prepared for the long-term effects? These are the questions that prompted the birth of Esse.  Accredited with The Vegan Society and Beauty without Cruelty, Esse is also a partner of Phytotrade Africa, which means it is committed to the Fair trade of natural products. The plants used to make Esse products are sustainable and its harvesters are all protected and supported in their work – from providing homes to education and medical care for staff and their families. Basically, Esse is ethics in a jar.

So how did my skin feel? Honestly… amazing. I left feeling fresh and relaxed and my skin was taut and glowing. I did wake up the next day with one little pimple on my forehead, but I was pre-menstrual so that’s totally normal for me, and my skin was likely to be detoxing too. I had a photoshoot that weekend for a project I’m working on and I don’t think my skin needed much airbrushing thanks to the Esse facial! Peta gave me some Esse samples to try at home and I absolutely adored them. The scent, the texture, the way my skin felt afterwards was all very convincing and after going back to my regular products, I could certainly feel the lack in my daily skincare process. As my current product runs out, I will be replacing it with Esse product. For me, it really is a no-brainer. Also, I’m going to be booking my next delicious facial with Peta. A cruelty-free and eco-friendly monthly pamper on her treatment bed is just what my face and soul needs! Now if only we could get a branch up in Stellenbosch…

the little green box  the little green box the little green box Check out Peta’s service and price list on and contact her on 074 816 7794 or to book your appointment.

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  1. I just read a great review on the ESSE products in the Wellness managazine and was thinking I need to get my hands on that!!

    I have started using only cruelty-free beauty products since reading an informative blog post by Talya Goldberg (Shades of Gold blogger). I can’t believe why so many beauty houses are still testing on animals… Trevor from Esse says it the best… ‘I make products for humans not animals so why test on animals?’

  2. Ah! The Little Green Box sounds divine – and how pretty and calming is the treatment room? Such a lovely post, and I’m definitely going to look into an Esse facial SOON. x

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