How Two Former Fragrance Execs Are Using Travel To Inspire A New Organic Beauty Company
Meet the founders of a new farm-to-beauty company creating products rooted in rituals from around the world.
In an industry dominated by large companies 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 helped bring Sichon and Bilginer together. Both women were born in the same hospital in Queens, New York City. Both are the children of immigrants, raised by their grandparents (Sichon’s family comes from the Philippines, while Bilginer is of Turkish descent). Both Bilginer and Sichon have a degree in chemistry. And they worked together at the fragrance 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 go back to the root of why we are here and for us, it’s to create products that promote health and to help one another,” says Bilginer.
The company was also formed from Sichon’s need to heal her acutely sensitive skin. While growing up, Sichon struggled with severe eczema. Only after she adopted an organic skincare and overall health routine was she able to effectively treat her condition without use of traditional, more harmful medications.
This is why Esas never uses any toxic ingredients like carcinogens and allergens that can induce things like eczema. “Toxic culture produces toxic products, and this is why we’ve created a business that prioritizes sustainability,” says Sichon. “Sustainability protects people as well as the earth. Anything we do, we want it to benefit others and the planet as a whole.”
The company also takes pride in being an organic beauty brand that owns each step of the process, from sourcing organic, plant-based ingredients to manufacturing and bottling them in a sustainable manner.
As a fragrance-first company, it was only natural that Esas would expand from its debut product—Kolonya, a luxurious, moisturizing, rinse-free hand cleanser available in an array of sophisticated (and safe) scents—to scented Mokurō Candles made from non-toxic ingredients and mood-boosting Fragrance Mists. During the pandemic, Esas also developed some popular hand sanitizers.
The company’s latest product, Hamam Body Splash, is based on the ancient hamam ritual that dates back to the 14th century and has been used in Roman spas and Turkish bath houses. Hamam involves cleansing and rejuvenating not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
“I grew up going to hamams when I visited my grandparents,” says Bilginer, who brought Sichon to Turkey in July 2019 and did a hamam tour around Istanbul. This was Sichon’s first hamam experience. “She never experienced anything like it; 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 make it to a bath house on a daily basis and wanting to provide people with an easy alternative to harmful, chemical-filled products, Bilginer and Sichon designed and manufactured Hamam Body Splash as a new spa on-the-go, 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 is cleansing and deodorizing with mood boosting scents that transport you to exotic destinations.
“Our Hamam scents are inspired by our favorite places to travel around the world,” says Bilginer. Here, she shares the travel destinations that inspired them most.
Paris: “French Lavender has notes of organic French lavender, rose and citrus, like taking a long walk down the cobblestone streets of Paris on a cool spring day.”
St. Barts: “Sweet Neroli Blossom is infused with light notes of neroli, crisp cool citrus and a hint of rose. It reminds me of jet setting to the white sands of the Caribbean with a salty ocean breeze.”
New York City: “Light Woods is like the Big Apple with notes of electric bergamot, creamy sandalwood and velvety orris.”
St. Moritz, Switzerland: “Cool Sage is reminiscent of the perfect ski day in the Swiss Alps with notes of cool citrus and crisp sage.”
Image: OKSANA PALI PHOTOGRAPHY