By Willa Frierson
As far as beauty routines go, the rhythm of application, time spent in the mirror, the intention and the outcome suits the individual. Even the idea of what qualifies as part of the beauty routine vs what is just life varies from person to person, generation to generation.
Today, for a practice of care, brands that reflect tenderness are what resonate most. Katini Skin, founded by Katini Yamaoka, shares in honoring the sacred of the everyday – that spiritual quality of what makes something routine a ritual. Katini Skin draws on the cultural heritage of their founder, Katini Yamaoka. With roots in Japan, Africa, and Australia, combined with her plant-based upbringing, and neo-humanistic schooling, Katini Skin unites ancient wisdom and natural wonders. Katini Skin products exhibit honest consciousness with regard to both impact and intention, with care at every step in their creation.
GET TO KNOW KATINI YAMAOKA
What was the impetus to start your brand?
Katini Skin was created to empower people to celebrate the natural beauty that lies within.
I had a difficult time finding brands that were kind to our planet and offered powerfully effective skincare solutions which is why I began developing Katini Skin. Katini Skin is a line of four facial oils that draw inspiration from the natural wonders and beauty found across the globe from ancient beauty rituals in Japan to powerful superfruits found in Australia. I have always been passionate about holistic beauty and wellness and wanted to create a brand that encourages people to take care of themselves in a mindful and intentional way.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
Simplicity is key. Eat well. Be kind to your body and use products that are chemical free and are made to enhance your natural beauty.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Ghanaian father and was raised in Australia. I now live in New York and consider it home.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up?
Whilst my mother taught me about health and nutrition as an endless source of energy to live a prosperous life, my grandmother, who I would visit every year in Japan, introduced me to the unique Japanese beauty traditions. This inspired me to learn more about the native secrets, not just in Japan, but also in Australia and Africa and one day create a skincare line that is based on these secrets to share with the world.
“My grandmother taught me that self-care is a way to give ourselves love and tenderness so we can then go out into the world and mirror that with others.”
What are some early beauty influences?
Definitely the incredible women in my family: My mother, aunts and grandmother. There are so many powerful and wild harvested plants in the places I grew up. I am constantly inspired by the thought that everything we need to live our best lives is provided by nature.
What does self-care look like in your life?
I grew up in a small rainforest town in Australia, where I was raised plant based with yoga and meditation being a big part of my upbringing, which naturally made me curious about native plant remedies and traditional beauty rituals. Everyday I wake up, I do my spiritual practice, take care of my body by eating as much fresh and clean fruits and vegetables, and also try to get some sort of movement in. What my grandmother taught me about being kind and tender to our bodies really has stuck with me. I lead a busy life between Katini Skin and my work as a performing artist, and self care is definitely a key part of it all to sustain my busy lifestyle.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
More and more brands are starting to use natural and wild harvested ingredients. I am fully committed to sustainability and also the community, so when I see brands that are being kind to the planet while also representing diversity in their range of products it excites me. We all have different skin textures, tones, and are from different cultural backgrounds, so love seeing when brands are conscious of this.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
We use a lot of unique ingredients from around the globe, especially from the places that I was raised - Australia, Japan and the beautiful continent of Africa. A lot of the flora are wild harvested and are difficult to get a hold of, so it was a big challenge trying to import incredible super fruits like Quandong and Kakadu Plum.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
Working with Black Progress Matters who we have partnered with to bring Katini Skin to the market. They incubated and accelerated Katini Skin, and I couldn’t be more proud to be working with a company whose mission is to celebrate and champion black founders to create more black ownership across America. It was important for me to make sure that as a company our foundations were built on sustainability, transparency and supporting the community, so together with Black Progress Matters we decided to give 20% of our sales to go back into BPM's business incubator to continue their incredible work.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
I want more people to recognize that to get to a more diverse future we have to come together as a human race to champion each other. I would love to see more black owned brands in major retailers because for so long we have been underrepresented. In corporate America change happens from top down, so it’s important for minority brands to see themselves in the commercial space to be reminded that we do belong there, we have the support and the sky's the limit!