Meet Katey Denno, celebrity make-up artist and the foremost authority on sustainable and natural make-up and skin care.

As society embraces authenticity as a necessary element of purchasing persuasion, women are beginning to discover that beauty is not only skin deep. Until recently, most women identified with make-up and skincare as an afterthought. The application of a beauty products were a one-dimensional pursuit with a myopic value: to maximize one’s potential topical beauty. While awareness is growing around green beauty and the “power of the plant” most still don’t consider make-up and skincare as the innate connector it can be. Ojai Wild is here to bridge that “whole” connection of integration with topical “plant powered” applications that penetrate beneath the skin’s surface and influence one’s psyche, with each potion we create.

We consider our fragrance and skin care products our botanical gift to an amazing global community of women and men. Our fresh crushed colognes deliver a beautifully crafted fragrance composition, packed with aromatheraputic benefits. And our botanical skin care nourishes the body and soul with its deeply penetrating medicinal “plant power” benefits. These are our bottles of care that become rituals for navigating the waves of life.

Meet Katey Denno, celebrity make-up artist and the foremost authority on sustainable and natural make-up. We have loved her for years. Meeting her years ago was a spark of kindred spirits; she has never ceased to inspire us.

Katey found herself in the make-up industry unexpectedly after a career in social work. For survivors of abuse, who fled violence to seek safety and something familiar, she was a touch stone. She noticed often that the necessary bond to establish trust with them was found in the little things. A small, ordinary everyday lipstick color that they always wore to work or a lotion that smelled of the only home they knew was the common connector that gave them the confidence to trust.

This led to surreptitiously to a career in a new industry where she had the opportunity to literally fall in love with people’s faces and their depths. She was able to paint her way to a special kind of magic by helping them express through the make-up whatever they desired the public to access about their internal landscape. With that special magic, she allows people to be seen for exactly who they are –– where beauty is not just skin-deep.

We are thrilled to share a small piece of her story and give you the opportunity to get to know her through her own voice.

By, Michelle Gerrard for Ojai Wild

M: How can we all advocate for more inclusivity in the beauty industry? 

Katey: By supporting brands (by spending our money on their products) that are publicly being inclusive. By supporting brands that are owned by minorities and sharing about them with others to widen their reach. 

M:Are there certain aromas that bring back memories for you? Will you share one with us?

Katey: Shalimar! My mom wore a very musky, heavy perfume called Shalimar when I was a kid, but only on special occasions. It’s burned into my brain (but I bet if I smelled it now, I’d be grossed out!), as is the smell of hazelnut and chocolate as my mom used both in baking a lot – one of my favorite scent combos to fill a kitchen. 

M: We started a series called, “The Language of Flowers”, talking about some of the florals we use and the mythology behind them. Do you have a flower that you feel a connection with and if so, what do you think its meaning is?

Katey: When I first started coming to Los Angeles, I fell in love with the scents of jasmine and neroli. I know I’d smelled them before, but never just wafting through the air, on a night’s neighborhood walk. I felt like I should be paying a fee as I walked past specific homes with yards in which the bushes and trees grew. I saw the cartoon version of me, floating through the air, following the swirly scents. It was a large part of what drew me to live in LA, those scents. I don’t know that I ever thought there was meaning behind it- other than that reaction of feeling wonderfully intoxicated. They smell absolutely beautiful to me, and I guess I’m always chasing and enjoying marinating in beauty, so… makes sense. 

M: What does the wild mean to you and how is it woven into your own story?

Katey: The wild is the opposite of where I’ve ever lived, but I feel it in me, as a part of me. I’ve lived in the suburbs and in big cities my whole life, but in my mind’s eye, and on my favorite vacations – I’m delighting in experiencing ‘the wild’. Cabins by the sea on a small island in Scotland, middle-of-the forest in a remote part of eastern Canada listening to local birds, reptiles, and bugs making music, and places I’ve only traveled in books – they’re all ‘the wild’ to me, for me, and they’re all calling me. 

M: What is your favorite product from our line? How do you incorporate it into your daily ritual? 

Katey: It changes with seasons and my mood, for sure, but I’m on a big Redwood Leaves cologne kick right now. I’m attracted to the scent, to the color it is in the bottle, and to the beautiful wooden top. I love it on my wrist and my neck and I like it when I hug my boyfriend while wearing it, and it transfers to him, so I can enjoy smelling it, ever so faintly- later in the day. Sometimes I mist the Pink Peppercorn cologne onto my pillow before bed.

M: Words that changed you at some point in your life. Could be a favorite quote, a passage from a book, words from a stranger. Anything 🙂 

Katey: Not everyone has to like you. Everything always works out in the end; if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not over yet.