Ingredientology

Everything we produce has a simple aim: to work with your skin’s natural processes to give you immediate, visible results and long term benefits. And leave you feeling and smelling wonderful, of course.

Our Philosophy

Each of our divine formulations blends natural, sustainable, ethically sourced ingredients, supported by the best science.

Natural Vs. Synthetic

‘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 we say we use natural ingredients, we mean we use ingredients 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 or glycerine 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 very few cases, if a natural ingredient is too rare to be used sustainably, we replicate it exactly in a lab.

"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.

 

Against animal testing

We are and have always been against animal testing in all its forms. All of our formulations, ingredients and products are cruelty free.

We comply with all current EU cosmetics directives, including those that prohibited finished cosmetic products from being tested on animals. (Happily for us, we had never tested our products on animals.)

Our product range is suitable for vegetarians, and we take great care to ensure our products and packaging don’t harm the habitat of endangered species.

We use only three animal ingredients, all of them cruelty-free by-products:

  • Beeswax and honey
  • Keratin – wool extract from selected sustainable sheep farms in New Zealand, which is sheared in the spring and which gives skin strength and flexibility
  • Milk derivatives such as sodium lactate – which acts as a moisturiser in soaps and shampoos

We are and have always been against animal testing in all its forms.

 

Excluded ingredients

We think that what you leave out says as much about your business as what you put in.

The following is a list of ingredients we either avoid completely or use the minimum possible.

  1. Synthetic colour and fragrance - Because some have been shown to irritate skin, we use only natural colours and scents. This is particularly important in the realm of scents, where essential oils and flower waters provide the beautiful fragrances our products are noted for.
  2. Mineral oil - We don’t use mineral oil at all as it’s derived from petroleum and so isn’t renewable. Instead we use some of the many natural plant-based alternatives like jojoba.
  3. Silicone - Many cosmetics use silicone to create a film that gives the skin an artificially smooth feel. Unfortunately, this can block the skin’s pores – which is why we use don’t use silicone at all. Instead we use olive and coconut oil extracts to make our products feel as smooth as silk.
  4. Alcohol - We use only plant derived alcohol and then only where essential – since many people worry about alcohol drying their skin.
  5. Parabens - Parabens are preservatives used widely used in cosmetics. Available naturally or synthetically, they prevent fungi, bacteria and mould. However, some studies have suggested a link between parabens and cancer. As a result, we’ve stopped using parabens completely, replacing them with natural preservatives where possible.
  6. PEGs and PEG derivatives - While they have a long, safe history of use in skincare, some still regard them as contentious. Wherever a suitable and effective natural alternative is available, we have replaced PEGs. We only use them in our bath oils and some cleansing products where we feel there is no pure natural ingredient that works as well.
  7. SLS & SLES - Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are both very widely used surfactants – ingredients that help foaming and lathering. Because of reports about some sources being contaminated or causing skin irritation, we use instead mild, plant based surfactants like coco-glucoside, which has a completely different structure to SLS & SLES.

We think that what you leave out says as much about your business as what you put in.

 

Manufacturing

Because we obsess about quality, we control every element of our products - from conception to manufacturing.

We have our own chemists, our own R&D and, above all, our own factory in Somerset - making us the only British skincare company that we're aware of to own and control its own production facilities.

To do anything else would be a compromise.

We obsess about quality, we control every element of our products - from conception to manufacturing.

 

Safety and transparency

Above all, ESPA formulations are created to be as safe as possible and not to irritate skin.

Every ingredient we use has a long, safe history and each formula has been screened and approved by a qualified safety assessor. You can find a full ingredients list next to each product with links to an ingredients glossary explaining what key elements of our products do.

ESPA formulations are created to be as safe as possible and not to irritate skin.

 

Packaging

In everything we do, we hope to make life a little more beautiful. But never at the expense of the environment, which is why we follow the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.

  • Cartons - Our product cartons are completely recyclable and are made from cardboard taken from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) forests.
  • Liners - Where possible, we have removed the liners in our cartons to reduce the waste. We only use them where we have concerns about items getting damaged in the post.
  • Bubble wrap - We have reduced the use of bubble wrap by over 85% in the last two years, replacing it with biodegradable chips.
  • Glass - Despite the extra production and shipping costs, we have stuck with glass packaging because it is so much more easily recycled. We are exploring using recycled glass, but have yet to find a source that is of consistently high quality and clarity.
  • Plastic - We use the minimum plastic possible, and then only in containers that can be recycled to make lower grade plastics. We are also working with a supplier to begin using recycled plastics.

In everything we do, we hope to make life a little more beautiful. But never at the expense of the environment