Jasmine Tran: Essance

Reveals Her Secret of True Beauty

Growing up in Vietnam, Jasmine Tran watched her mother cook nourishing meals every day from scratch, adding fresh herbs from the garden. Inspired by this experience, Jasmine incorporated her passion for nature and wellness into her work creating organic skincare products. After five years working as a project manager and consultant for various laboratories, Jasmine created Essance (1720 NW Lovejoy St. #120), an aromatherapy skincare line of her own, made from skin-nourishing botanicals.

Each Essance formula contains a cornucopia of nutrient-rich ingredients, including some that soothe the skin and reduce inflammation, such as aloe vera, vitamin E and jojoba oil, and others that heal and restore, such as argan oil, rosehip oil and sea buckthorn oil. All Essance products are completely vegan, biodegradable, and free from fillers, petroleum, and parabens; only reusable and recyclable packaging is used.

Jasmine’s success in creating Essance results not only from her extensive product knowledge, but also from her education, life experiences and business acumen.  She has a paralegal degree, as well as a BA in International Studies from Portland State University. A study-abroad trip to Beijing, China in 2000 deepened Jasmine’s appreciation of diversity, willingness to take risks and ability to keep an open mind. Jasmine is a well-respected businesswoman, with a reputation for her high standards and efficiency.

Jasmine began selling Essance products at Portland Saturday Market, and opened her retail location in July 2011. Her formulas are also available online, and through an ever-expanding network of spas, salons and massage therapists.  Jasmine’s philosophy of nurturing the individual to bring out their inner beauty permeates Essance’s products.

What does “Essance” mean?  

The name Essance evolved from the word “essence”. When I started this company, my team and I sat down to decide on a name.  I wanted to emphasize the fluid elements of Mother Nature that speak of beauty, passion and integrity. The word “essence” talks to aromatherapy, and also carries a lot of meanings related to a person’s inner being. We played around with that word, and came up with Essance, which – hopefully! – sounds elegant, like it has a French twist to it!

So your products can positively affect a person on the inside as well as the outside?  

Yes – I am motivated by the idea that I have a business that helps people find their confidence. I am happy to say that many of my customers come back to tell me that they received the results that they were seeking. When they are telling me this, I am also seeing the confidence behind their expression. You can see they feel increased hope.

When a client has acne scars from their teenage years, for example, that robs them of their confidence. Their emotions have been scarred as well. When they use my Illuminating Cream for a few months, they can see the scar tissue minimizing. Then, their confidence starts to increase. I believe that this can affect other parts of their lives. They might feel confident enough to try something they haven’t tried before, like public speaking. Feeling beautiful can impact every area of your life.

Do you have a piece of beauty advice you love to share?  

Stay happy! Don’t stress about whatever problems are facing you in your life.  Worrying increases cell destruction.  Being happy is contagious.

Additionally, be responsive to when your skin delivers signs like breakouts, rashes, redness, itches, oily, dryness, etc. These signs can help you understand whether your body is out of balance. Habits like irregular sleep, lack of exercise, exposure to toxic environments or consuming processed foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol are all triggers which create imbalances in the body. 

Essance offers products for women and men, correct?  

Yes! Men are as much in need of skincare as women, but somehow it is viewed as feminine to use skin products, especially when they are heavily scented. Our Oak Moss Shaving Cream can help men take excellent care of their skin in a way that is not feminine at all. The cream softens the beard, and then the man can just glide over it with the razor. Afterwards, they can use it to moisturize – it is a 2-in-1 product. Men with ingrown hairs have excellent success with this cream. By the way, women love this product for shaving as well! We keep it simple, so it is a unisex product.

What is your philosophy regarding how people should approach health and beauty at different ages?  

“Make peace with where you are” is the key to maintaining optimal health and vibrant skin. It speaks to every one of all ages.  When you are not happy and comfortable in your own skin, no product can deliver the result you’re seeking.

I don’t believe in a cream that will remove wrinkles. Rather, I’d suggest for everyone to be kinder and gentler with their experience moving forward. Essance products are intended to soothe, rejuvenate, replenish and nourish the skin, for a softer experience.

How do you recommend people care for their bodies during seasonal changes?  

Recognizing the changes in our environment can help individuals make beneficial choices for their bodies. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, feeding our body with the right seasonal foods can translate into healthy skin. Growing up, we always ate nutritionally balanced meals consisting of soup (which helps to create enzymes that break down foods), vegetables and meat or fish. Then, we enjoyed fruit for dessert. Be aware of what is in season now by visiting the local farmer markets, and eat those foods.

Also, Essance has a lighter line for summer, and a line with more oil to combat dryness for the winter months. Because the structure of our skin is produced from both oil and sweat glands, a quality moisturizer is vital to nourish the skin during harsh weather. 

You make a strong case for why people should not use products on their bodies that contain chemical additives and artificial ingredients …  

Organic botanical ingredients provide nutrients and antioxidants for the skin, protecting cells from free radicals and encouraging cell growth.  With chemical products, our skin doesn’t receive that nourishment.  Chemical products just create a film over the skin, like a mask.  At Essance we strive to provide education, not just products.

Essance has recently supported the efforts of several local not-for-profits, correct? 

Yes – in December 2013, Essance was a sponsor at the World AIDS Day Fashion Show, organized by the Multnomah County Health Department and the African Students Association at Portland State University. I helped to create a fashion show showcasing the work of local designers and featuring local models, including a transgender model. Each designer specialized in designs from different countries: Alia Lux of Adah Lux used textiles from Africa for her designs; Sushmita Poddar of Amrapali presented fashion inspired by East Indian garments; Jacky Nguyen of JackyTai focused on Vietnamese design; and, finally, Cindy Ayala from Ayala Originals presented fashions from recycled clothing. We wanted to deliver a dynamic show with the diversity of different cultures to demonstrate that AIDS can affect anyone and everyone.

Essance has also provided sponsorships for the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, YWCA, North County Health Services, Cascade AIDS Project, American Red Cross, and BodyVox.

Essance has a saying, “Raw Beauty is Skin Deep”. What does that mean to you?  

Beauty is skin deep because it responds to good or bad health (mentally, emotionally and physically). To me, beauty is not about makeup or photoshopped models in a magazine. It’s about enhancing the beauty that you already have, and bringing that forward.

Essance products can be packaged together for every special occasion in delightful reusable gift boxes created by ActivSpace neighbor and local mixed-media artist Theresa Weil. 


About The Author: Merlin Varaday

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