You have good jojoba oil, said Amr, but mine is better... a story of our artisan

Chapter 1 | I have great jojoba oil, why look for another one?

A few years ago when I started Katari, I was only selling our famous green clay, Argil. I am personally obssessed with it and literally cannot shut up talking about. My whole life I was never obsessed with anyone or anything (apart from green clay) and then, at some spa show I tried jojoba oil. I bought a big canister of it without really truly understanding what it was. I do not even remember why. And for the first time in my life I had a daily beauty staple I could not live without. No joke. Seriously. I never used makeup until I was 25 and even after, it was all so minimal for me, all beauty routines were just not interesting, until I met jojoba oil or jo-jo-jo or ho-ho-ba, or as we call it HOBA [ho-buh].

Fast-forward years, I found a great artisan team in Tunisia that specialized in cold-pressing of oils and jojoba oil was one of them. So I added Hoba to Katari elemental beauty collection, as a perfect cleanser, moisturizer, primer, and all things skin and hair hypoallergenic oil. I was happy. Our customers were happy. I loved it. My skin loved it. Obsession continued.

Fast-forward another 3 or 4 years... I get a call from World Trade Center in Denver - I took classes there and they are so phenomenal at connecting people and helping you with growing your international business. They had a contact for me. I was sick, coughing, running nose, not feeling well. And they wanted me to meet an oil maker from Egypt. I was not too keen on the idea. I had everything I needed and expanding my small business into more products was the last item on my agenda. But being me, I went. And this is when I met Amr. 

Chapter 2 | Meeting Amr

Amr did not speak much English and was (is) very soft-spoken. And I simply could not speak much - I had a bad cold. He had a friend with him who helped translate and spoke for Amr. They made an introduction. I was still not convinced it made any sense to me to explore more products or even try anything from a different maker. I did ask for samples (of course) and also told Amr that I do not work with anyone I do not know; and I personally go to all places, and fields, and villages to make sure I can tell the story of each product to all my customers. 

I got samples of oils, not just jojoba, but a dozen of different ones. The way I test all products is I open and smell. Then I pour them out and see - the color, the texture on my hand. Then I try. I have never seen anything like this. I lined up the oils by color spectrum and was in awe. They were out of this world beautiful. Just beautiful. How often do you see an oil and call it beautiful? Well... those were some gorgeous oils.

Three months later I was on the plane to Egypt. 

For those who have not traveled to or through Cairo, it is a huge, busy, and very congested city.  And yes, it is safe to travel there, just takes a bit to adjust to crossing streets - intersections are rare and street lights are missing as a concept. :) Staying in a hotel a few blocks from pyramids will not get you a view of the pyramids - air quality is too bad. Traffic is crazy, yet everyone is polite, and smiling, and helpful, and cheerful for every day's blessings. I promised to myself not to get mad when I get back home and someone drives too slow in front of me. It is all a matter of prospective.

I went to see Amr's plant. Yes, of course, I am interested in organization, and cleanliness, and methods of production. But it all pails if people are not happy. I met with people who Amr works with. Most of them have been there for decades. They are HAPPY. They smile. And his manager, who should be the most stressed out of them all, based on what I understand about running a business by now (lol), was all smiles; and you just know, it was not just for today - he has a perma-smile on his face, a geniune perma-smile! That is the best indication of good energy and a business that does good on so many levels. We laughed, talked, ate the most amazing food, and I asked millions of questions. My curiousity was satisfied. I was in love with what I saw.

And of course, since all oils that Amr and his team cold-press are made from vegetable or fruit seeds, they are edible (not that you want to drink your oils, but you this is how you test them). So I did - this is a test batch of Black Seed Oil on the photo below. You have to read our story about Black Seed - it will blow your mind away if you do not know anything about this ancient miracle oil.

Chapter 3 | jojoba is better...

And then we were off to the fields... to the farm, a little bit than an hour away from Cairo - a different planet, where air is fresh, it is serene, and it feels like you are in ancient Egypt or in paradise, or both. What a difference from Cairo and what a treat.

When I talk to my wholesale customers (boutiques, spas, and holistic wellness places) about sourcing of products, I do not talk about going to market and buying products. I talk about lands, irrigation, soils, methods of production, people, and their techniques of growing crops. I talk about certifications or absence of them. I talk about what makes the ingredient they are going to sell to their customers (from plant, to seed, to bottle) a true natural marvel.

So, I Amr showed me one of his farms. I ate so much, I could barely walk, but I did, while eating sugarcane and carrying a stick of it for my newly adopeted donkey, Rasputin. Donkeys love sugarcane! 

I showed Amr my Hoba I was so proud of. He took it in his hands, smelled, rubbed into his hands, looked at it again and told me with supreme confidence - this is good jojoba oil.... but mine is BETTER!

It took me a little longer to truly understand that difference that fertile soils, irrigation, and proper cold-pressing make on the quality of seemingly the same oil. I have to agree disagree with Amr, though. His jojoba oil is not better, it is the BEST.

So, this is how it started - an amazing relationships and an even bigger obsession with jojoba and other oils for me. Some of my customers told me 'I tried jojoba oil and it is not my favorite', change their mind and become as obssessed as I am with this simple and beautiful ancient staple.

Read on to learn more about the benifits and uses of Hoba for you and your entire family - from newborns on.

Chapter 4 | Soils of Egypt - does location matter?

For thousands of years flooding of the Nile created most fertile lands on Earth. Sediments, rich in nutrients literally flooded Egypt from entire African continent. This richness of soils, coupled with irrigation practices that go back thousands of years, and lack of chemical or any additional fertilization (it is simply not needed there) give life to healthiest plants, fruit, vegetables.

Perfect growing conditions, sun, water and abundance of microelements beneficial for plants' growth is what makes seeds used for Katari oils the best on Earth.

Chapter 5 | What is so special about jojoba oil?

Learn about Hoba - benefits & uses

Jojoba oil is good for skin, jojoba oil is good for hair. Jojoba oil is good for acne, because it is hypoallergenic and pH-neutral naturally. It makes a perfect beard oil, great skin conditioner, cleanser, and makeup remover. Jojoba is full of vitamins, like Vitamin E, which is extremely beneficial for smooth and healthy and well nourished skin.


Hoba will replace an entire arsenal of makeup removers, cleansers, moisturizers, and skin / hair conditioning treatments. It is a perfect daily & obsessively simple product for your entire family from newborns on. 

Use a couple of drops to cover face, neck, décolleté, scalp, and hair roots or ends. Hoba works best when applied to slightly wet warm skin. Try using it after massaging Roseau (rose) or Geran (geranium) flower waters into skin. For babies use on dry or red & irritated skin for gentle & soothing skin healing (on warm, wet skin).

Here are some tips on what Hoba is and does:

  • light, non-oily, and fast absorbing hypoallergenic moisturizer
    • hydrates skin and does not clog pores

    • removes makeup and deeply cleanses skin

    • balances out skin oil (sebum) production preventing acne, breakouts, whiteheads, and other skin ailments

    • mimics skin’s natural pH - safe and effective for even the most sensitive skin, including newborns & pregnant women

    • mends dry hair & helps retain moisture in skin

Try Katari Hoba by itself or with our rose water toner (roseau) and my favorite green clay (argil)

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