Our Story

Nature always had the answer — we just had to find it


Janine Halsted, a beauty industry veteran, was first introduced to the Kigelia fruit as a young child growing up in Zimbabwe. Raised by a cosmetic scientist father, her weekends were spent in and around rural villages learning about native plant species. During these trips, her father observed the locals rubbing the Kigelia fruit on their skin for health and beauty.

When Janine was a teenager, her father developed a cosmetic product using Kigelia. Pitch black with a strong earthy smell, the original cream was less than appealing. However, when Janine’s best friend, Carolyn Berman, was persuaded to use the cream for the first time, it enormously improved the look of her complexion. She was hooked and convinced Janine that they should market the product.

Janine and Carolyn soon began developing a full anti-aging skin care line based on the Kigelia fruit, adding other carefully chosen “superfruits” from Africa. They focused on plants that thrived while exposed to the relentless African equatorial sun and severely dry climate. They believed these plants must have developed extraordinary compounds to acclimatize to ongoing environmental stress. How did they remain hydrated and healthy-looking?

Made in small batches, their products initially sold in local dermatologist offices and independent health stores. Their formulas developed a strong word-of-mouth following. Over time additional products were developed to meet growing demand and formulas were updated to be more refined and eco-friendly—and smell and feel wonderful.

Deciding to expand the line’s distribution after 17 years, Janine and Carolyn sought advice from Gus Lebreton, a Zimbabwean ethno-botanist and founder of PhytoTrade, a southern African natural products trade association. With 20 years of natural resource management and business development experience, and a long-time believer in the efficacy of Kigelia, he joined the company in 2010 and encouraged a complete re-branding of its all-natural skin care collection.
Katavi today

The result of over 27 years of work, Katavi is an all-natural anti-aging skin care collection. The range features wild-harvested, certified African oils and extracts—free of chemicals and toxins—that work to effectively ward off the visible signs of premature aging from our skins’ exposure to environmental elements.

Packaged in environmentally friendly, recyclable, airless pump bottles, Katavi’s products contain no parabens, no artificial colorants, no perfume, and no petroleum-derived ingredients. No testing is done on animals.


A treasure-trove of botanical wealth

Over thousands of years, plants in Africa had to adapt their genetic make up to hostile, changing, and extremely harsh environmental conditions. These conditions ranged from high temperatures with abundant rainfall to low temperatures and no rainfall, extreme and constant ultraviolet radiation, and arid conditions.

To survive, they developed natural photo-protective abilities, unique compounds, potent phyto-chemicals and antioxidants making them adept at preserving nutrients.

Using traditional African folklore to guide research, Katavi’s scientists have uncovered some of nature’s most powerful skin care ingredients from these plants, including our signature ingredient, the cosmetic superfruit, Kigelia Africana.

Numerous scientific studies have confirmed their remarkable properties. When applied topically, these same compounds of phyto-chemicals, antioxidants and nutrients have proven extremely effective at visibly rejuvenating skin.

Katavi has carefully selected a variety of these remarkable extracts. Through trial and error we found the perfect combinations that not only work together with synergy, but actually challenge each other to their highest individual performance to address all factors that contribute to environmentally influenced aging.

Katavi Botanicals is a truly unique, all-natural skin care range. Use it and you will love it—your friends will notice!