Beauty and Grooming

An Introduction to ESPA Skincare

In little over 25 years, ESPA has emerged as the chosen brand among the world’s leading spas and skincare experts. Stocked in world-leading spas located from the American West Coast to India’s Bay of Bengal via cities including London, Paris and Marrakesh, ESPA’s mission to help people feel their best, have naturally beautiful skin and a renewed sense of inner calm has seen it become one of the most prestigious names in skincare and spa treatment.

As we welcome ESPA to The Hut this season, we introduce the brand, its story and range so that you can find the products that will help you accomplish your skincare goals.

The History of ESPA Skincare

After working as a features writer for Vogue in the 1960s, ESPA Founder Susan Harmsworth moved away to Toronto to live with her husband. While there, she was introduced to a large community of Eastern European therapists and eventually set up a salon with hairdressers, colour technicians, a sauna and steam rooms. At that time, her salon provided much more advanced holistic therapies than anything she had ever experienced in Britain and allowed Harmsworth to pick up a medical understanding of holistic therapies from across Europe.

ESPA was founded in 1992 with a philosophy focusing on holistic wellbeing. Inspired by professional health and skincare practitioners, ESPA combines knowledge of traditional holistic therapies with the scientific power of the purest natural ingredients to develop world-renowned products and treatments.

The reason I created ESPA was I couldn’t find the type of treatments I could see people needed. I moved to Toronto, where I came into contact with the therapy traditions of the city’s Eastern European community. I’d come from a country where salons dealt only in beauty. Here though was a group of therapists who’d all studied medicine first. It was there that my vision – of combining health and beauty, the mind and body, the natural and the scientific – was born.

ESPA Founder


With a network of over 300 spas in 55 countries, ESPA draws from an incredible wealth of expertise to create a worldwide network of beauty, therapy and skincare professionals. ESPA’s expert therapists perform treatments all over the world in some of the best spas and skincare salons alongside skincare specialists such as dermatologists, biochemists and aromatherapists to continue to grow its knowledge and understanding of skin health.

The brand’s expertise enables its specialists to treat everyone as individuals, creating personalised skincare and wellbeing recommendations. Whatever your goal, skin type or concern, you can rest assured that ESPA has developed a treatment for you and your needs.

The health of the skin comes from inner, there’s only so much you can do topically. So I’m very conscious when we’re formulating products that, while you can see immediate results, underlying it are ingredients that are working on the structure and health of the skin for the long-term.

I think the need for what we do is greater than ever. Whether its treatment for mind or body, people want companies – and products – that have integrity, and that understand what really matters to them. That was my vision and that’s what drives ESPA.

ESPA Founder


Developed for use both inside and outside of spas to deliver powerful, professional results, ESPA’s beauty and skincare products are used all around the world to deliver beautiful skin and inner calm.

One of the key reasons behind the success of ESPA’s skincare products is its unique Tri-Active formulations. ESPA’s unique Tri-Active formulations combine plant actives, marine actives and essential oils to create potent, effective and natural skincare products that benefit the skin in the long term as well as delivery immediate results.

Tri-Active Ingredients

  1. Plant Extracts: Plant extracts work on the superficial (epidermal) layers of the skin, offering an immediate effect. Here ingredients such as Gotu Kola and Cucumber work to instantly cool, calm and lift the skin.
  2. Marine Actives: Marine Actives are ingredients from the sea such as Seaweed, Sea Amber and Irish Moss that work on the deeper layers of the skin to hydrate, tone and re-mineralise.
  3. Essential Oils: Aromatherapy essential oils such as lavender are absorbed through the skin, hair follicle or sweat gland into the systems of the body where they’re able to have an effect – calming, balancing or stimulating body and mind within 15 – 20 minutes.

When I create a product, it has to be sensuous in texture and smell. Scent is crucial to mood. We notice when something smells wonderful, but we are often unaware how powerful the effect is psychologically. We don’t need to use fragrance in our spas at all. Instead we use materials that become infused with the oils in the treatments, so each area naturally takes on the character of the treatment.

ESPA Founder

Committed to Natural Beauty

‘Natural’: Everyone will tell you they are. But if they don’t tell you what they mean by it, you really don’t know what’s in your skincare.

So, when ESPA says it uses natural ingredients, it means that the brand use singredients from one of only four sources:

  1. Physically-processed ingredients – like cold-pressing avocado oil or steam distillation to extract rose oil. These time-honoured techniques are designed to release the delicate oils in their purest form.
  2. Laboratory-processed ingredients – where we use water, glycerine etc to extract the ingredient from its natural source.
  3. Naturally derived ingredients – where we take a natural raw ingredient – like coconut or olive oil – and process it to produce something that performs better than its natural form.
  4. Nature identicals – where, in a very few cases, if a natural ingredient is too rare to be used sustainably for example, we replicate it exactly in a lab.

As part of its commitment to natural beauty, ESPA excludes many synthetic ingredients including synthetic colour and fragrances, mineral oil, silicone, alcohol, parabens, PEGs and PEG derivatives, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).

Where to start with ESPA at home

Along with its global expansion, the ESPA skincare range has proliferated over the past decade to offer an extensive product range suitable for cleansing, nourishing, relaxing, brightening and tightening all different skin types. With so many products to choose from, just where should you start when incorporating ESPA into your daily routine?

We offer three simple but effective suggestions that are suitable for all skin types and will help you discover the natural benefits of ESPA.

  • ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser

A 3-in-1 gel cleanser, exfoliator and mask, the Optimal Skin ProCleanser nourishes, smooths and brightens the complexion for visibly radiant skin.

Key Ingredients & Benefits


Moringa Seed Extract: Deeply cleanses and removes makeup.

Jojoba Spheres: Gently exfoliate and melt away the skin.

Pumpkin Enzymes: Remove dull skin cells to reveal a healthy glow.


  • ESPA Optimal Skin ProSerum

An intensely nourishing serum that strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier and helps even the skin tone. The Optimal Skin ProSerum also works to enhance elasticity to help minimise early signs of aging.

Key Ingredients & Benefits


Echium Oil & Sunflower Concentrate: Rich in Omega 3. 6 and 9, this helps to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.

Tumeric: Brightens and evens skin tone.

White Lupin: Firms and enhances elasticity.


  • ESPA Optimal Skin ProDefence

A pioneering daily UV sun protector with SPF 15 that creates an ultra-light skin shield and helps provide protection from environmental damage.