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Please meet: Savannah's budding beauty mavens



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Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News Khi Washington and Katy Jo Holton with their Khijo Cream.

Please meet beauty mogul hopefuls Khi Washington and Katy Jo Holton.

The Savannah-based 27-year-olds are working to break into the multimillion-dollar hair and skin care industry with Khijo Cream, a handmade, all-natural moisture product they make at home.

“We get waxes and honey from Katy Jo’s bee colony, we use solar heat and mix it up in the kitchen,” Washington said. “Well, actually I don’t do the bee thing — Katy’s the earthy one. I do the fashion part.”

Neither Washington nor Holton ever imagined they’d be manufacturing hair and skin care products. Washington left West Virginia for Savannah to be closer to her retired parents. Holton moved here from Michigan to escape the cold weather. They met while working at a southside bakery and restaurant. Holton, a nature lover, had just bought a beehive from a beekeeper friend and made her own lip balm. Washington, an aspiring stylist, had just started the cosmetology program at Savannah Technical College. She asked Holton to make her a beeswax product to help her lock hair.

“We started out with a rough recipe and tweaked it until we had something that people really liked,” Holton said they researched various fragrances, oils and additives used in their favorite products and were shocked to find they’d been rubbing a cocktail of chemicals into their skin. Khi and Katy Jo decided they would use simple, homegrown natural ingredients.

The all-natural cream they ended up with can be used to moisturize lips, skin and feet. It also doubles as a moisturizing and heat styling cream for all hair types.

When the friends and acquaintances doled out samples and started asking for more, the enterprising friends decided to see if they could turn their hobby into a business. In addition to marketing and selling it online at www.khijo.com, their Khijo Cream is sold at some salons and beauty supply stores in Savannah and in Khi’s hometown in West Virginia.

“I use it for thermal styling because it gives hair shine and helps it lay down,” said Rachel Johnson, a friend of the entrepreneurs and upstart cosmetologist from Virginia. “But it also keeps dreads tight and has a very light feel on the skin. It’s good stuff.”