In an industry dominated by big corporations with toxic practices, two women are trying to bring about positive change: Seda Bilginer and Amanda Sichon, the founders of Esas Beauty. This new organic and sustainable farm-to-beauty company creates anti-inflammatory lifestyle products rooted in global traditions and rituals from around the world.
Although they are different in many ways, their similarities have helped bring Sichon and Bilginer closer together. Both women were born in the same hospital in Queens, New York. Both are children of immigrants, raised by their grandparents (Sichon’s family is from the Philippines, while Bilginer is of Turkish origin). Bilginer and Sichon both have degrees in chemistry. And they worked together in the perfume company Givaudan.
The name of Esas Beauty, which Bilginer and Sichon founded in 2020, pays homage to Bilginer’s background. “Esas translates to ‘root’ and ‘real’ in Turkish because we wanted to get back to the root of why we are here and for us is to create products that promote health and help each other” , explains Bilginer.
The company was also created out of Sichon’s need to care for her extremely sensitive skin. Growing up, Sichon battled severe eczema. It was only after adopting an organic skincare and overall health routine that she was able to effectively treat her condition without using more harmful traditional medicines.
That’s why Esas never uses toxic ingredients like carcinogens and allergens that can cause things like eczema. “Toxic culture produces toxic products, and that’s why we’ve created a company that puts sustainability first,” says Sichon. “Sustainability protects people as well as the earth. Everything we do, we want to benefit others and the planet as a whole.
The company is also proud to be an organic beauty brand that owns every step of the process, from sourcing organic, plant-based ingredients to manufacturing and bottling them in a sustainable way.
As the first fragrance company, it was natural for Esas to move from its first product – Kolonya, a luxurious, moisturizing, leave-in hand cleanser available in a range of sophisticated (and safe) scents – to Mokurō scented candles made from non-toxic ingredients and mood-boosting scented mists. During the pandemic, Esas has also developed popular hand sanitizers.
The company’s latest product, Hamam Body Splash, is based on the ancient hammam ritual that dates back to the 14th century and was used in Roman spas and Turkish baths. Hammam is all about cleansing and rejuvenating not only the body, but also the mind and spirit.
“I grew up going to the hammam when I visited my grandparents,” says Bilginer. Bilginer and Sichon traveled to Turkey in July 2019 and took a hammam tour around Istanbul; this was Sichon’s first hammam experience. “She has never experienced anything like this; it was so relaxing, invigorating and cleansing,” says Bilginer. “We both thought how cool it would be to be able to bottle this experience.”
Recognizing that we can’t all go to a public bath daily, and wanting to offer people an easy alternative to harmful, chemical-filled products, Bilginer and Sichon designed and manufactured Hamam Body Splash as a new on-the-go spa, capturing the essence of bathing in natural mineral spring waters. Stored in recyclable glass bottles with stone labels, Hamam Body Splash is an all-in-one formula that cleans and deodorizes with uplifting scents that transport you to exotic destinations.
“Our Hamam fragrances are inspired by our favorite places to travel around the world,” says Bilginer. Here, she shares the travel destinations that inspired them the most.
Paris: “French Lavender has notes of organic French lavender, rose and citrus, like you’re taking a long walk through the cobbled streets of Paris on a cool spring day.”
St. Barts: “Sweet Neroli Blossom is infused with light notes of neroli, crisp, fresh citrus and a hint of rose. It reminds me of jet setting on white Caribbean sands with a salty ocean breeze.”
New York City: “Light Woods is like the Big Apple with notes of electric bergamot, creamy sandalwood and velvety iris.”
St. Moritz, Switzerland: “Cool Sage is reminiscent of the perfect ski day in the Swiss Alps with notes of fresh citrus and crisp sage.”
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