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Natural skincare products borne of necessity

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    Keiko Hatano shows her products at fishcake in Kakaako.


    A travel-sized kit of personal care products from Keiko Hatano’s KH Studio line.


    Orange hydrating spray from Keiko Hatano’s KH Studio line.

Some women are glued to their mirrors from the time they are 20, obsessing over every spot, fine line and furrow that appears, then dashing off to the nearest medispa or beauty counter for treatment.

Not Keiko Hatano. The fine artist was focused on work and a life of the mind, and she didn’t have time to fret over the natural and inevitable process of aging.

“I took for granted that Japanese skin doesn’t get old too fast, and if I did notice any changes I was kind of in denial,” she said.

Now almost 70, she’s no longer in denial and took action to reverse signs of aging by creating her own small line of KH Studio bath and skincare products.

“Three years ago, I noticed my body was changing. My hair was dry, my skin was dry and I started noticing more wrinkles,” she said.

That drove her to drug stores and beauty counters for hydrating soaps and moisturizing products, but she didn’t like what she was feeling. Always a proponent of natural health and remedies, she said the soaps felt waxy because of additives used to prevent them from melting, and lip balms also felt waxy and tasted of petroleum.

At that time, fishcake gallery in Kakaako was hosting a product-design event to see what artists would come up with in terms of products that people might want and need. That proved to be a springboard for Hatano to turn her attention to her own needs, and the product she came up with was a body powder of kaolin clay, baking soda and arrowroot to soak up the excess perspiration she was experiencing.

Because she doesn’t like plastic packaging, she poured her product into a glass test tube and, without knowing what was to come, simply called her product One.

“It proved to be a magical thing, because even though I never intended to start a business, I started coming up with more products, numbering them all,” she said. “I went up to seven. Maybe unconsciously I knew it was the start of something.”

Two is a moisturizing peppermint oil, shea butter and aloe vera lip balm, and Three is a goat milk indigo soap. But it wasn’t until Five, a tarragon plant serum for skin and hair, came along that people started taking more interest.

“People noticed my skin getting softer, and I started giving it away because I wanted many people to try it to see if it would work with all skin types, and they really like it. They started sending me before and after photos, unsolicited, and told me their skin felt more plump, fresher.”

An orange-scented serum followed, and she recently introduced a garden series of handmade, small-batch soaps using turmeric, matcha and indigo. Her soaps are now running from $9.50 to $16, and serums are $30.

“It’s been interesting,” she said. “It’s like cooking, in a way. I’m always thinking of creating art, but this is something I created out of necessity because I wanted to use it.”

Buy KH Studio products at Paiko, 675 Auahi St.; fishcake at 307 Kamani St.; Apt. 155 at South Shore Market; and Wimini Hawaii, 326 Kuulei Road, Kailua.

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