Merz Tea Time is a new webcast by Merz Apothecary in Chicago IL. Merz is a 145-year-old apothecary and online giant based in Chicago. Keys and Merz have had a 12-year relationship that has grown even stronger in these tough times. Merz Tea Time is a new live online webcast created by Merz to inform in a Joe Rogan style interaction with Merz vendors. One of the first guests in this series was Bob Root, Keys founder, formulator, and head engineer. Rogan style, the conversation bounces all over the gamut from skincare to the origin of Keys and why the company exists. It is a funny, educational, and insightful podcast.
If you are offering podcast, webcasts or ZoomCasts to your customers, please contact us to book time with Bob
Smizing – Smiling with your eyes is the secret to business success moving forward. It is the New Normal
Making sure that your staff knows how to Smize can make the difference between profit and loss or making it or not in these times. Here is how I learned to smize and why you should care.
Human ingenuity always amazes me, and I am seeing great things “here and there” now that our society is trying to move forward. Many things have changed and will never return to normal. The new normal is 2 meters of separation, avoiding crowds and wearing masks. Whether you agree or disagree with how things are being handled, change is inevitable, and growth is optional.
Masks are probably one change that will stick with us and make sense in many ways. In Japan, if you have a cold, you wear a mask. In Bejing, if you are exposed to allergens, you wear a mask. In San Francisco, if you ride a bike through the industrial areas, you wear a mask. Now, if you shop at Costco or the grocery store, you should wear a mask. I get that.
Our friends at Jams World have some cool looking masks. Theirs is the one I am wearing. I have also seen some super fashion statement masks that are very cute, and some are very cool. If we have to wear them, we might as well have some FUN. I am taking life’s changes in stride because it is more comfortable.
I have to admit that I have worn buffs and neck gaters for years. I wear them to protect my neck from the sun, and occasionally I would pull it up over my face as a sort of joke for friends. Not much fun these days, but it is a good option as well. People would ask me what I was wearing and why in a sort of judgemental way. I wrote them off as muggles. What I do and what I wear is my business, and people’s insecurities are theirs. Not mine. Yesterday, I went to pick up lunch from my favorite Southwestern restaurant, and when Monica walked out to my car with our lunch, she was wearing a very cute “bandito” neckerchief hiked up over her mouth and nose. It was damned cute, and I knew that I had made the new order transition because I felt like asking her where she bought it. So, I am back to wearing my neck gaters because they are so much more fun than a surgical mask.
IMS – Get Over It.
I have seen some very terrifying masks, which is what inspired this article. Sometimes, it is not the mask that bothers me; it is the eyes of the wearer.
So the topic of this article is a kind of RBF story or to be more specific, IMS. Irritable Mask Syndrome is genuine and seems to be caused by various things. Some have told me that masks are an invasion of identity or uncomfortable. One said having to wear one is unconstitutional. Some feel self-conscious while others seem to like that they can hide behind one.
I was out walking, which I do a lot. Most of the time, I don’t see anyone, and sometimes, these days, when I do see people, they have their masks on. One day, just recently, I saw someone who was wearing a mask and stressed at having to wear it. Even though her mask covered most of her face, it was a clear case of IMS. I thought, how is that possible. How can her negative appearance scream out so much that I noticed her temperament wearing a big mask? We passed quite away from each other, and there was no attempt at a gesture or acknowledging of me. In some ways, it reminded me of being in New York City three weeks after 9.11. It stunned me a bit that this ‘no-no’ bothered me so much. Usually, I do not let people annoy me, but she did. I was mad at me for having the feelings, not her. About a mile down the road, I saw another masked woman headed toward me. As she passed, her eyes glistened and sparkled. Her eyes were smiling, and with my eyes, I smiled back and waved to acknowledge her. It suddenly dawned on me that the first woman had terror or anger in her eyes, which affected me, and this second woman made me feel good. All with their eyes only.
Oh No, I thought, do I have IMS? So when I got back home, I kept my mask on and looked into the bathroom mirror. Thankfully, I did not have IMS, but I wondered, “Could I practice smiling with my eyes?” What would that look like, and how hard could it be. Damned hard, I found out.
Smizing – The Duchenne Smile
The second woman started it with her smiling eyes, and I mirrored her. That was easy. It was automatic. What I discovered is that it is both an art and talent to be able to initiate smiling eyes. So, I grabbed my iPad and looked up “how to smile with your eyes” and surprise-surprise; there were many articles with most talking about something called a Duchenne smile.
A Duchenne smile involves contraction of both the zygomatic major muscle (which raises the corners of the mouth) and the orbicularis oculi muscle (which raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet around the eyes). The Duchenne smile has been described as “smizing,” as in “smiling with the eyes.”
So, I texted an actress friend of mine and asked her if she knew about the Duchenne smile. She laughed at me and told me she spent almost a year in an acting class trying to learn to smile with her eyes, and it was quite hard to master until she stopped trying. She said it comes from the soul, and when you smile naturally, your eyes squint and raise a bit. Little bags form under the eyes, and there you have it. She said it is the opposite of Instagram’s face because you don’t look perfect. You look happy and excited to be alive as opposed to trying to impress. Her best lesson for me was to be comfortable at smiling at everyone all the time. She said you would get better at it.
So, I tried it in the mirror, and it was true. That little squint made my eyes sparkle, and I was even happier feeling. So, I tried it with my mask, and it worked. I just made up that I did not have a mask, and my eyes do all the work since my face was covered.
So try smiling at your cellphone and do a bunch of selfies before and afters. You will be amazed. Now do the same thing with your mask on and notice how you feel. Then go out and practice on everyone you walk by to see what their reaction is.
So if you are like me, you have to believe that the world would be a better place if everyone smiled at each other. Now we have to wear masks, so we have to work a bit harder at it.
Dr. Google at it again. This Time with Apple as a partner.
After all this, there will be no industries untouched in some way or another. Perhaps the most impacted will be the medical industry. We have talked about Dr. Google for many years now and marvel at how over 95% of us consult Google first before going to the doctor. Contrary to some, people consult Google first because it is fast, efficient, and free. Now Google and Apple are taking another leap and may finally be integrating live doctors into the technology shift. Hopefully, as most doctors I know are, frankly, Luddites, I sincerely hope that everyday problems and illnesses will go online first. Cleary, in the next five years, the primary first contact will be an AI consultant the will screen and pass off patients to a live doctor.
Although this article in Apple News may seem to be C-19 focused, it is a wave of the future and one of the positive benefits for us all that will come out of this common disease.
Google starts showing virtual doctor options in Search and Maps
Some medical facilities are discouraging personal visits in response to C-19
As part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, some medical facilities are currently discouraging visits in person. But pandemic or no pandemic, many ailments won’t merely disappear, and so sometimes we need to get help.
In such a scenario, Google wants to assist. The web giant recently announced it would begin highlighting health facilities that offer consultations over a video connection, enabling you to avoid a potentially busy waiting room, thereby reducing person-to-person contact.
“Over the coming week, we’re beginning to roll out two new features in Search and Maps that make it easier for people to connect to virtual health care options, whether it’s to a doctor’s office down the street, the hospital across town, or a national telehealth platform,” Julie Black, director of product management at Google Health, announced in an online post.
The features have been made possible after Google started allowing health care providers such as hospitals, doctors, and mental health professionals to add information for a virtual care service to their online business profile. It means that if you use Google Search or Maps to look for a local provider, you may see a “get online care” link in the results.
Clicking this link will take you to that provider’s virtual care website where you can find more information and perhaps set up a health care consultation that will take place online.
Black said Google Search will also start showing widely available virtual care platforms, giving people more options when it comes to making virtual visits.
“For example, when people search for ‘immediate care,’ we’ll be able to also present available virtual care options and related information such as the out-of-pocket price charged for a visit (for those without insurance) and an easy way for people to directly connect with the virtual care platform,” the executive said.
The update to Search and Maps is likely to prove popular as Black noted in her post that since the pandemic started, interest in virtual care and telehealth has risen dramatically.
The severity of the pandemic has even prompted a collaboration between Google and Apple, with the two companies planning a new opt-in system using Bluetooth technology on smartphones to track the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as C-19. Data collected through the new system will be shared with local public health authorities to help them make better-informed decisions on how to deal with the outbreak.
Having trouble getting products to sell? Stop buying from distribution! Buying Direct is Just Plain Smart
It is time to get wise. Yes, stop buying through distribution because if you are a small business, they don’t want you anyhow. Maybe the writing is on the wall. Scrapping for inventory against Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes is not a win-win proposition for the small retailer. Pharmacies & Apothecaries learned long ago after Wal-Mart and Groceries got into their business, learning to differentiate and not sell the same things as big-box retailers.
UNFI CEO, Steven Spiner said,(the) “Top 100 customers represent about 75% of UNFI’s total volume.” ( As reported by Winsight Grocery Research – Read Article Here)
Groceries Flow Where Attention Goes! – The fable of the squeaky wheel.
The entire quote was, “Wholesale sales to our top 100 customers were up 4.3%. For customers two through 100, the increase was 2.2%.” Top 100 customers represent about 75% of UNFI’s total volume.” Even more telling.
The solution? Buy direct and get the products you need. Better yet, they are usually different and better products than those carried by distributors. Differentiated products mean that you are differentiated and unique in the eyes of your once loyal customers.
Change The Game
So, tear down your BOGO signs and replace them with signs about products that help your customers have better lives. Buy direct from small manufactures and became the trusted advisors in your community once again.
How can you expect to succeed in business if you are carrying the same products as everyone else? We know, we know, it is easy to buy through distribution. But why would you want to be just another lemonade stand littering a suburban corner? More than likely, being a commodity retailer is not how you started. How did you end up there?
So, for our sake, and the sake of all the cool little manufacturers out there, change the game and buy direct. It feels good, it helps us, and it helps you. So be the hero and break the distribution habit. Your customers will thank you.
Lastly, I always find it a bit disconcerting that the natural markets that I walk into promote the fact that they buy from local farms, ranches, and bakers, but the center of the store is full of distribution products.
Bob Root is a founder of Keys and its Chief Scientist. Bob is a former high tech Fortune 500 CEO and started in the photographic industry at Polaroid. He is the author of four books and is a former member of the Washington Speakers Bureau. This OpED article comes from his perspective, watching the destruction of the photographic industry and the total state change that the computer industry experience in the 90’s. He believes in the traditional grocery model growing up as the grandson of Root’s Grocery founder but admits that mom & pop retailers may not survive and that the industry is heading the wrong way.
The Center for Disease Control, The President and State Health Organizations, are asking us to stay out of the grocery stores for the next two weeks. Why?
The reason we are being asked not to treat grocery shopping as entertainment is that smart people know that we can cap this virus by exposing fewer people to other people. So, where do we typically go when we are being asked to stay at home? Of course, we go grocery shopping. It is allowed, right!
We do not have to elaborate. They are asking us to stay at home for a reason. STAY HOME, and do your part!
When you do shop, shop smart and not often. A least for now, help out by trying to live off of what you have in your stockpile. When you do shop, buy all of what you need quickly and get the hell out of the store. The operative word is to buy all that you need, don’t hoard, and shop wisely.
Grocery shopping is not a family outing. Figure out a way to go it alone. Better yet, have someone shop for you like Instacart.com. Sprouts, Sams, and other grocery chains have Instacart accounts. (www.Instacart.com) It can indeed be as much fun unpacking what an Instacart shopper brought you as buying it in the first place.
It is time for innovation, ingenuity, and sucking it up. The life you save may be your own.
Speed is Life – Time flies fast, but it’s good when you are the pilot. Just control your time well away from hijackers. Save time profitably; Spend time productively!
Helping You Spend Your Time Wisely
Now more than ever, your times is the most valuable commodity that you have. Spending time ordering the old way is a waste of your time.
Our fantastic geeks at Keys have streamlined our online ordering system, which now rivals Amazon and other leading online sites. The difference is that ours is for the wholesale trade only customers.
Here are a few of the many features:
24/7/365 Online Ordering
Orders directly load to fulfillment servers for next day shipping.
Fast loading website with 50 servers located around the US.
Single page “Order Sheet” style fast ordering page.
One-Click “Add All” ordering feature.
Saved Wholesale address book for a quick bill to and ship to information.
Centrally stored credit card information on Wells Fargo site for remembered payment.
Product catalog showing all products by category in Features, Benefits, and Advantages format.
Useful blog articles built into the site.
Automatic discounting for volume purchases.
Automatic promotions when applicable.
Quick “Remember Me” login.
Face recognition & Touch-ID login for Apple devices.
The adaptive format lets you order from a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Trust Earns Trust
Know that Keys natural solutions are designed to solve problems and make your customers feel good. As Trusted Advisors to your community, you can trust Keys to help you and your customer. Keys products are natural functional medicine solutions with a long list of features, benefits, and advantages.
Some Good News – Nitric Oxide Therapy May Help The Suffering
FDA opens up Bellerophon’s (Nitric Oxide) gas therapy for COVID-19
Bob Root, Keys Scientist: I have a core belief for my life when it comes to health. The only person I hold responsible for my health is me. Yes, me. When I am confronted with a malady or this giant COVID dragon in front of us all, I turn to science to learn what I can. Sometimes I don’t understand and sometimes one article leads to another. When the path turns cold, I back up and take another path until I find what I am looking for. It is just who I am. Sometimes I find something so interesting I share it with my friends. Not to proclaim something, but to entice them to study themselves. Like my books, I try to inform and not convince. In these times, there is so much misinformation. I never want to subtract but add something that may fuel a new way, a new path or some new thinking. So is this bit of news:
There is some interesting and I feel, good news on the horizon that I am reading about in the scientific community about prevention, relief, and vaccines.Please remember that scientists’ comments and findings are revised carefully by peers.Yes, it slows the process but is a positive factor in weeding out BS.
First of all, my compliments to the FDA for opening up the emergency expanded access program for SARS-COVID. “NO” is the chemical acronym for Nitric Oxide.It is made in cells in our body but can be supplemented through nitric oxide mass inhalation.More important is that is is a common therapy in “Blue Baby” syndrome and has been used for years to treat the newborn malady.A doctor at UCLA Medical Center says he can watch blue babies with respiratory distress turn pink in front of his eyes.So now, it seems that “NO” may be a tool, not the solution, but a tool, with SARS COVID-19.Below is published verbatim and not my words.
FDA opens up Bellerophon’s gas therapy for COVID-19
Using a regulatory pathway that allows patients with life-threatening conditions to use unapproved therapies, the FDA has granted “emergency expanded access” to Bellerophon Therapeutics’ inhaled nitric oxide delivery system for treating the novel coronavirus.
Also known as compassionate use, the agency’s policy is typically administered on a per-patient basis—at times when clinical trials are infeasible, the benefits are seen to outweigh the risks, and there are no available alternatives.
According to Bellerophon, the FDA’s decision now opens up its INOpulse system for use at high-doses in ventilated COVID-19 patients, immediately.
Inhaled nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, relaxing the lungs’ muscles and blood vessels, and is used in hospitals worldwide. Bellerophon has been researching its use to combat potentially harmful high blood pressure in the lungs among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and sarcoidosis.
The compound has also been tested as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus’ closely related predecessor—the strain behind the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. Previous studies showed that nitric oxide slowed down the replication of that virus and reduced the need for long-term ventilator support.
According to Bellerophon, the genetic similarities between the two coronaviruses “support the potential for [inhaled nitric oxide] to provide meaningful benefit for patients infected with COVID-19” and inhibit the progression of upper respiratory tract symptoms.
“Based on currently available data and its significant role in the immune response, we believe INOpulse has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19,” said CEO Fabian Tenenbaum. “INOpulse technology utilizes targeted pulsatile delivery of inhaled nitric oxide, providing important antiviral potential, as well as improved arterial oxygenation.”
“Importantly, INOpulse is designed to treat patients in the outpatient setting, which may be critical in helping combat the further spread of the virus and significantly alleviate the mounting impact on hospitals and intensive care units,” Tenenbaum added.
Prior to the outbreak, Bellerophon had been building up inventory of its INOpulse device for a planned, large phase 3 trial in pulmonary fibrosis—which the company is currently looking to divert to hospitals in need, Tenenbaum told FierceMedTech in an interview.
Additionally, about a month ago, Bellerophon completed a safety trial in healthy volunteers showing its high-dose paradigm could be tolerated, at levels similar to those used against the earlier SARS outbreak, he said. The FDA is also currently reviewing a research protocol for a new clinical trial against COVID-19 to explore the device’s next steps in development.
The FDA’s access decision comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump pointed to compassionate use as one of the ways the administration is responding to the spread of the virus.
“Disseminating information about promising off-label uses of drugs we already have, investigating their effectiveness, and pursuing other therapeutics will help give American healthcare providers the tools they need to save lives,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in an FDA statement on the agency’s work to facilitate development of investigational treatments such as the malaria drug chloroquine and Gilead’s remdesivir antiviral, which is also available under compassionate use.
“While there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19, there are several FDA-approved treatments that may help ease the symptoms from a supportive care perspective,” the agency said March 19.
The new emergency expanded access pathway allows doctors to request use of the INOpulse for multiple patients at once, without including their names or other personally identifying details, Tenenbaum said.
Inhaled nitric oxide has also been pursued as a COVID-19 therapy by several others, and is currently undergoing clinical trials in China—both as a potential treatment for patients and as a preventive measure for healthcare providers—with studies sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Mallinckrodt, for one, has been exploring its use against the disease in coordination with the FDA, NIH and BARDA, and previously markets the gas as a treatment for neonates suffering from respiratory failure.
Time To Get Wise – Covid Boom or Bust. The grocery business has been around a long time, but there is no need to be arcane.
I have over 35 retailers that I regularly contact to get a feel for what is happening in the market. These are regularly scheduled connections, and I thought that with the Covid virus problem facing us all that I should back off the calls. Truthfully, Keys business has almost doubled in the last month, and I am plenty busy with Keys projects and orders. So I decided not to call and mistakingly forgot to tell my group I was not going to call.
To my surprise, some of them checked-in to make sure I was okay, and they really wanted to chat. So, I quickly got off a note to all that I was okay and busy, but honestly did not want to bother them. I did have a chance to chat with a few, and most are crazy busy finding that their business has almost doubled or tripled. Most have had to alter their grocery business more back to their roots closing off the freshly prepared food and salad bars and spending their days stocking shelves. Many are frustrated and adapting to the use of InstaCart.com and other delivery services.
This is a brief story of one traditionally stable grocer who was at wit’s end. The reason I share is that I can imagine that some simple solutions are staring you in the face that you might not see.
Let’s call my grocer friend Art. He has been in the natural food business for 35 years and inherited his business from his Mom & Dad. Art was very frustrated that his business grew overnight, and he claims he cannot higher qualified people to work in the store, prep packaged food, stock, or cook. He said that his local employment agency and temporary service companies were not of any help. Art pissed me off quite a bit because he was grousing more than doing. Meaning, he was bending my ear instead of thinking. When Art stopped his tirade, I offered him a simple solution that stunned him into silence. Here is what I said.
Art, you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You need people that understand food, customers, and how to be clean. All the restaurants in your community are closed. Their food server, cleaning staff and “back of the house” are all out of work. Call your chamber president and have him or her offer to go to the restaurant owners and offer jobs to their idle people. Simple right?
So, he emailed me this morning to say thanks and let me know that within hours, he had staffed-up with qualified people. Now he said, I need an IT person to figure out this InstaCart thing. My answer, “Don’t make me slap you!” There are furloughed IT people out there as well, and there are freelancers that know this stuff like the back of their hands. Just ask for help and stop being the victim.
So, it is time to get wise and stop the grousing. This will pass and it is your choice of how you will react and respond.
Merz, 145 Years and Going Strong – Honest, Integrity, Innovation
There is no doubt that the natural market industry is in turmoil since Amazon bought Whole Foods. With all this change and dynamics, Merz Apothecary in Chicago has not missed a beat. Why, because they lead with their H.I.P.S. Honesty, Integrity, Persistence, and Sincerity.
Keys Partners with Merz for 12 Years.
Keys is celebrating our 12th anniversary with the world-class apothecary, Merz Apothecary in Chicago, Illinois. 145 years-old and going strong, we have had an excellent symbiotic relationship where their customers and our functional products have been the center of attention. Now with AmazonGo, Amazon’s Whole Foods, and the new suburban Amazon grocery stores emerging, we are excited to strengthen our partnership with Merz further. Put, if you perceive Amazon to be a vast coastal tidal wave, Merz is a world-class surfer.
Wendy Steele, Keys CEO offered, “For Keys and our products, we have always sought great partnerships with retailers who are trusted advisors. Keys is not a brand just offering a natural alternative to conventional products. Our products are a functional part of today’s wholistic wellness and integrated medicine scene. There is something to be said for a company that is 145 years old that is also an industry innovator. We are super-proud to be in their stores and as our partnership.”
To summarize our relationship with Merz, they have learned to differentiate themselves, and Keys products are a part of that differentiation. They mirror our philosophy that Keys products must solve problems and make people feel good.
Merz History is More than Interesting.
In 1875, Chicago pharmacist Peter Merz opened a small drugstore on the city’s North Side. Being of Swiss descent, Merz decided to call the store an “Apothecary” in the European tradition. Even from the beginning, Merz Apothecary set itself apart.
At that time, your neighborhood drugstore was not only a place to fill prescriptions but a source of information and remedies for common ailments. Pharmacists were consulted like family doctors, and they would hand mix formulas for each specific customer. However, Merz Apothecary differed from the typical American drugstore because the clientele were mostly European immigrants. Like European apothecaries, Merz focused heavily on herbal medicines and traditional formulas, which were already popular with its international customers.
Although Merz Apothecary was a humble store, it served as a gathering place for the community. Comfortable leather chairs allowed patrons to sit and chat as they waited for their remedies to be prepared. Merz and his pharmacists spoke many languages, allowing customers to shop and seek advice in their native tongues. The store’s reputation steadily spread, and the business continued to grow over the next 85 years. Heralded by several generations of the Merz family, the store retained its international focus and developed a devoted following among Europeans throughout the Midwest.
In the early 1960s, competition from large chain drugstores began driving independent pharmacies out of business. But Merz Apothecary’s loyal customer base and traditional herbal approach to health allowed it to thrive during this challenging period. Customers continued to seek out the advice of Merz’s experienced pharmacists and request their hand-mixed formulas.
Despite the success of the business, in 1972 Ralph Merz was ready to retire without a successor, and the store was about to close permanently. One month before the scheduled closing, a 26-year-old Indian-born pharmacist named Abdul Qaiyum walked into Merz Apothecary after hearing about it from his German in-laws. He immediately fell in love with the store. With its focus on natural remedies, Merz reminded him of his family’s business and the healing traditions in his homeland. He purchased it a few days later.
Over the next few years, independent pharmacies continued to vanish, yet Merz expanded dramatically, due in part to a booming mail-order business. In 1982, Abdul moved Merz to its current, larger location, only a few miles from the original store. The new store was custom-built to replicate a turn-of-the-century European apothecary, complete with a hand-carved wooden exterior, leaded glass windows, tin ceilings, and solid oak cabinets. The original antique pharmacy jars and herb containers now had a fitting home.
The shift in the location was matched by an essential change in their wellness approach. With the move, Abdul expanded the store’s inventory to include homeopathic medicines, supplements, and natural self-care products. Abdul nurtured a larger vision of health and wellness: to feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally. To meet those needs, he began offering natural personal care products from around the world. Promoting external and internal health, along with physical and emotional well-being, was unheard of at the time. Merz popularity grew enormously among Americans and international customers alike.
Recognizing the opportunity to offer an expanded vision of health and personal care, Abdul and his son, Anthony, founded Smallflower.com in 1998. So many customers had trouble spelling “Apothecary” that the Qaiyums chose the name Smallflower (one of their best-selling herbs) for their website. They also began selling through Amazon in 2004, before most people had even heard of the online retailer!
As one of the first e-commerce sites and one of the first sellers on Amazon, Merz knew early that they had to stand out from the competition. Their goal was, and still is, to blend Old World traditions with new technology, without losing the vision and character that make Merz Apothecary special. Rightfully, they are quite proud of the path they’ve taken so far! When customers shop with them online, they can be confident they’re dealing with a staff that has intimate knowledge of the products and superior customer service skills.
E-commerce is a vital component of Merz business and an area that has experienced rapid growth in the last few years. They created a marketing department and customer service team to ensure that Smallfower continues to thrive. And rather than view Amazon as competition, they have partnered with them online to grow their business. They sell directly to customers and ship items to Amazon to be fulfilled. To keep up with demand, they have a dedicated FBA team and warehouse space.
Merz devoted customer base has grown not only online, but also at their brick-and-mortar stores. In 2003, the Qaiyums decided to open Merz Downtown to serve customers in Chicago’s Loop. Located in the historic Palmer House Hotel, the downtown location is frequented by working professionals, loop locals, and tourists from around the world.
Although the packed shelves are part of our original location’s charm, They reached a point where they were practically bursting at the seams! In 2014, they opened Q Brothers, a boutique space adjacent to their Lincoln Square store. Their new space allowed them to bring in an outstanding selection of men’s shaving and grooming products, expand their fine skincare lines, and offer a comprehensive assortment of natural cosmetics. The expansion also made room to create a fragrance counter with a carefully curated collection of hard-to-find, niche fragrances.
Q Brothers is a beautifully designed boutique space, but unlike some specialty stores, they work hard to maintain a comfortable and friendly atmosphere! We want to make sure the essence of Merz—the care, knowledge, and approachability—is imbued in everything we do.
These days, Merz Apothecary is a Chicago landmark (tour buses from around the Midwest make regular stops here) and a mecca for people who want unique and natural products. They send packages to customers around the world and are often featured in blogs, books, and magazines.
Even as they have increased in size, they have worked hard to continue being a true family-run, neighborhood business. Abdul scouts out fantastic new products to fill the shelves year-round, and assists at the pharmacy counter during the holidays. Anthony stays busy, ensuring all aspects of the business are running smoothly, but can still be spotted helping customers in the store.
All that they do is possible only through the help of an amazing team dedicated to carrying on the traditions Merz started back in 1875. The location and people have changed over the years, but Merz’s goal has remained the same: to support every customer’s well-being through genuinely superior service.
Keys are very proud and excited the Merz and Smallflower sell our entire line of products. We are pleased to call Merz our friends and partners.
Will Natural Pharmacies, Apothecaries, and Natural Markets survive the Amazon invasion. I believe the answer is yes if you are smart and act quickly.
by Bob Root, Keys co-founder and Chief Technologist and Scientist.
You may know me as the formulator and one of the founders of Keys. Less known is that I am an entrepreneur survivor of the photography industry and the personal computer collapses.
Keys is a company that made a conscious decision to only sell our products exclusively through established brick and mortar Natural Pharmacies, Apothecaries, and Natural Markets. We have flourished in what has become a commodity market. Now it is becoming a war zone between the grocery titans that are threatened by the Amazon juggernaut.
We are more than concerned now than ever that our channels are now under attack by Amazon and its new subsidiaries. Referred to as “Death by Jeff,” there are several books about the topic, so it probably is a survival tool to make yourself aware.
There used to be a camera store on every corner and a computer store on every block. Both have all but disappeared for numerous reasons, but primarily because of the onslaught of Amazon into these markets. Amazon is the largest retailer of computers, tech, and cameras. The retailers who thrived in these markets are gone. Why? Where did all the bookstores go? Yesterday, Pier 1 announced they are closing half for their 900 stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the natural markets sector, Lucky’s, Earthfare are gone and Sprouts stock is plummeting. All because of Amazon.
Living through the morphing of these two industries not only saw retail channels collapse, but many brands died in the process. There was a common thread as to why both went out of business. “They tried to compete on price and bought products primarily through distribution for convenience.”
When Walmart became a food supermarket, it started the movement to big box stores concept where they became the one-stop place for food, household items, and prescriptions. Cameras and computers were too technical for commodity stores in the early days. Same as in natural products, differentiation between conventional products with nasty pesticides and chemicals were quite easy ten years ago, and many brands traded only on the fact that they were chemical-free without offering differentiated features, benefits, and advantages to their customers. NGOs like the EWG trade on fear and drove to educate consumers about harmful chemicals in conventional products. The “Dirty Dozen” chemicals are almost gone, driving all stores to more commodity and price-based shopping for natural products. Big box stores are now as natural as they are conventional, making them the preferred markets of choice.
Today, Amazon owns Whole Foods, is sweeping urban markets with Amazon Go convenience stores, and will be announcing an entire new chain of local grocery stores coming in 2020. Their goal is simple to understand. It is “Domination.” Like a scorpion stings anything, it is merely their nature. Competing with them toe-to-toe is death. They plan to target a broad range of customers while also providing a full array of online products deliverable to their stores for pickup. Not only does it look like an unstoppable machine. It is unstoppable.
There literally are bunches of books written about Amazon as a market eating machine, but coming from two markets that were devoured by Amazon gives me a unique perspective that I feel I need to share.
Camera stores, computer stores, and natural product sellers all started the same. They differentiated themselves through unique product offerings and customized services, all cemented by consumer education. Not too long ago, you could march into a camera store with a roll of film or a memory card and get pictures to share with your friends. That is gone.
The emphasis is on differentiated products. Last year we saw a 300% increase in natural markets going out of business. Why? Frankly, it is simple to see from a high altitude, but they probably did not see their death coming. What they did to kill themselves was to buy exclusively from distributors the same products that Amazon, big-box, and grocery stores have and trying to sell at higher prices. They honestly expected loyal customers to pay more for the same products. What they forgot was to differentiate their product offering, making it desirable for people looking for products that work and are not the same things as Kroger or Walmart sells. When Amazon bought Whole Foods, they brought their buying power and AI systems to the grocery market, starting a war a couple of years back. Again, I could probably write a 1000 page book detailing the problem and solution, but here it is in a nutshell.
For pharmacies, apothecaries, and natural markets to survive Amazon, they have to return to their origins and differentiate their product offerings and themselves by:
Join the “Buy Direct” movement and carry only products not sold by distribution (aka commodity)
Carry products that not sold in mainstream grocery stores or Amazon’s grocery stores
Carry products that are functional and on purpose
Regain margins by offering differentiated products
Educate consumers as to why the products you carry are better than the commodity stores
Reinstate the Pharmacy, Apothecary and Natural market as a trusted advisor in the community
Stop trying to compete with big-box stores by driving down manufacturers’ pricing stifling their product innovation.
Hire buyers that know product differentiation in place of beating up salespeople for BOGOs, better pricing, and Free-Fills.
So, if you find yourself asking your vendors to lower their price and be “Cheaper Please Cheaper,” you are driving yourself and them out of business. So get on the high side of things and offer your customers new and different products than those carried by Walmart, Kroger, and any other super-duper markets. It goes beyond supporting the small boutique product manufacturers. Frankly, they do not need your charity; they need your business because distributors won’t carry their products because they are not cheap enough. Become the boutique reseller you once were through differentiated products, education, being their trusted advisor, and refocusing your attention on the customer.
Keys products are functional and integrated medicine natural products that have measurable results. Bob is the Chief Technology Officer and head formulator. Keys was born after he created his products for his wife, Wendy, after her Melanoma diagnosis and subsequent battle with chemicals in her prescription products. Bob is a former High Tech CEO and engineer from Silicon Valley. He began his career at Polaroid before migrating to the personal computer industry in its fledgling days. Bob is the author of “Chemical-Free Skin Health®,” “Keto Plus” and “Defining Moments,” books. He has written hundreds of articles on the natural products market and was a member of the Washington Speakers Bureau. He is a member of the World Future Society who specialized in skip-generation technology and scenario planning.
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My name is Bob Root. I am one of the Keys founders and the chief scientist. A customer contacted Keys Customer Service with three fundamental questions. The questions are mostly about being organic and safety as well as functionality. I have answers, and they might not be what you think.
First, What Does The USDA Say About Organic and Skin Care?
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. Skin care and cosmetics can have a USDA certification if the ingredients they use are the same as food that has been certified organic
● FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic,” as it applies to cosmetics, body care, or personal care products.
● USDA regulates the term “organic” as it applies to agricultural products through its National Organic Program (NOP) regulation, 7 CFR Part 205.
● If a cosmetic, body care product, or personal care product contains or is made up of agricultural ingredients, and can meet the USDA/NOP organic production, handling, processing and labeling standards, it may
be eligible to be certified under the NOP regulations.
● The operations which produce the organic agricultural ingredients, the handlers of these agricultural ingredients, and the manufacturer of the final product must all be certified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent.
“I am delighted with the questions and order of the questions asked because I have waited a long time for the market to mature to understand my answers.” This will be one of the main subjects on my Joe Rogan Podcast.
Questions & Answers!
The Customer asked:“I am thinking of getting Keys MetaClean Healing Soap & Shampoo, it says there is >85% organic content, what is the rest that is not organic in this shampoo?”
Bob Response: “There is a reasonably simple answer here, but has more far-reaching implications because consumers have a perception that the meaning of organic equates to safety. Later for that.
One of the biggest consumer misunderstandings in skincare is that organic is not a synonym for safe. Safety comes in many forms including trusting the people who use the products you buy.
At core levels, an ingredient, like Avocado oil, can be purchased from a producer that has followed and been monitored by the USDA(United States Department of Agriculture). Wild-crafted ingredients like Shea Butter and high-quality beeswax cannot be certified as Organic because they cannot be traced through the process of where a plant comes from or how they are pollinated. It is pretty hard to trace the pollination path of bees through the jungle.
Technically, MetaClean is considered to be organic because it exceeds the 70% rule put forth by the USDA for skin care and cosmetics. Yes, a product can be USDA certified organic and still have 30% non-organic ingredients including water. We choose to list the true organic content as opposed to using a blanket statement that may or may not be true. So MetaClean has 85% organic ingredients and 15% wild-crafted. In this case, it is Shea Butter made by hand in Ghana by a women’s tribe that we have been buying from for nearly 15 years.
As to safety, there seems to be an impression that organic farms are safe, run by Hippies and use state-of-the-art equipment. People often opt to buy at a farmers market versus trust a new age supplier. That may be a bad decision.
To gain a USDA Certificate, it takes modern machinery and techniques to get certified. We love “wild-crafted” ingredients because they are hand-made and usually of the highest quality. Most often, they come from places that do not even know what a pesticide is and their religions or culture do not permit them to use pesticides. So, that farm on the California coast near the diesel truck stop and using 100-year-old rusted machinery lubricated with motor oil is organic and not safe. Most often they have spent more on their Organic Farm sign or Facebook page than they have testing their food for pollutants and pesticides.”
Whole versus Fractionated Ingredients
Customer Asked,“When you list on the right the vitamins/actions, are you indicating that the actual ingredient is providing those vitamins, for example, Avocado Oil gives Retinol vitamin or is Retinol separate from the Avocado Oil?”
Bob Response, “Great question and a good pick for an ingredient to use as an example! We opt to use only whole ingredients because of how pure forms interact. We use the term “Chemical-Free Skin Health” as a marketing term because fractionated and estered whole ingredients used in most skin care products are used to amplify the effects of the base ingredient. The product branded as Retinol is a powerful and violent product using massive levels of a particular type of vitamin A extracted and condensed into something that has immediate effects on the skin. The adage that if it burns and makes something red it must be working. Retinol, the brand, works in minutes and overnight. Is it better? To me, the answer is no because it harms.
Whole retinol in avocado oil has gradual effects improving the skin elasticity and tone over a much more extended period. Use it every day, and you will see a difference in a couple of weeks, and it is life-long if you keep using it. More important, the “Keys Challenge” has always been to see how long it takes before your friends notice a change.
So, quick results are quick but are they harming. That is the biggest question.
To answer directly, we do not separate ingredients into their constituent components; we appreciate what they do for you in their native form.
Product Safety Rankings
Customer Asked,“What is it in here that can be unsafe for some individuals since it is not complete 0 on safe scale.”
Bob Response: “I would never design, produce or sell a product that is knowingly not safe. I am an engineer who developed products for my wife suffering from the chemical after effects of Melanoma caused by prescription sunscreens, creams, and lotions. We make and design products that solve skin problems and make people feel good. Part of feeling good is knowing that I am here to ensure that my products are safe.
So, I suspect you are talking about the ranking on the EWG Skin Deep database. You should probably direct the question to them, and you might start by asking why Aloe Vera has a 3 ranking (if 100% natural).
The database is an excellent tool and has been abused by companies in the past selling just plain water to get a 0 ranking. Also, the database is an accumulation of many databases. The EWG does not have its own broad spectrum testing program. I have long questioned the numeric ranking system versus a pass/fail system or a category ranking similar to the way California ranks restaurants. Where you have a choice of eating at an A establishment or not at a B
Thank you for your questions and taking the time to contact us. I hope I have answered them to your satisfaction. Bob
Keys Natural Skincare & Beauty (Probiome) was born after co-founder Wendy Steele was diagnosed with and beat melanoma. The cancer was gone, but she was still dealing with some nasty side effects on her skin – itchy, irritated patches that were just made worse by sticky sunscreens. Her then-boyfriend (now husband) Bob Root decided to take matters into his own hands and researched the work of everyone from Harvard MDs to aboriginal healers.
The products that Bob developed for Wendy worked great for her, so together they decided to start manufacturing for the public. We sat down with Bob to discuss their products, how the company got started, and his best advice for people looking to switch to natural skincare.
Smallflower: The Keys story starts with Wendy’s bout with Melanoma and her struggles with ineffective treatments for the subsequent skin troubles. As you were first working on products with Wendy, when did you realize that you were on to something bigger than a one-off personal solution?
Bob Root: Wendy’s Melanoma came at a time where our core business was brand marketing consulting for major tech and pharmaceutical companies. I shared prototype products with the pharma people and they encouraged us to develop the first four products. We sold online only, and the big break came in 2007 when Consumer Reports Magazine ranked Solar Rx number one in its category.
At the same time, the Environmental Working Group ranked Keys’ four products number one in each of their respective categories. Now at 43 products, we continue to have the safest ratings on the EWG. This series of events caught the attention of over 500 retailers which increased the brand awareness. Over the years, we’ve continued to work with integrity, avoiding high-volume big-box store lures.
“Probiome is a Keys-registered trademark for products that restore the balance on the skin by creating formulations that promote good bacteria growth on the skin”
S: Can you briefly describe the Probiome line and name, where the idea came from, and where you think probiotic and microbiome-friendly products are going to go over the next few years?
BR: Ten years ago, I became a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Microbiome Project. The project discovered that our skin has 10 times more bacteria than human skin cells. Creating a balance is what Probiome means.
Parabens and Triclosan destroy good and bad bacteria collaterally. This imbalance allows bad bacteria to attack the skin. I firmly believe that greater than 50 percent of diagnosed skin disorders are caused by products containing parabens and triclosan.Probiome is our registered trademark for products that restore the balance on the skin. We do this with formulations that promote good bacteria growth on the skin, similarly to how probiotics restore the flora in the gut. The difference is that gut flora can be promoted by adding breeder bacteria. Skin needs an environment that attracts natural growth of the skin flora.
Natural instead of conventional is a good first step. Natural oils that promote growth is the real answer. Our products are the real deal, because they use the right ingredients of the highest quality and in therapeutic proportions.
S: For someone who is new to natural skincare products, what’s the single best piece of advice you can give them?
BR: Read the label – if you can’t recognize the names of the ingredients, don’t buy it. Find a manufacturer that you trust implicitly.
Also, vote with your wallet. It will change the world faster than donating to Non-Governmental Organizations. Manufacturers follow the money.
S: If there was one currently popular skincare ingredient you could get banned, what would it be and why?
BR: Parabens! FDA recently banned Triclosan. To brag a little bit, my book helped a lot to polarize the FDA.
S: Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about, that you can give us some hints about?
BR: Our Alternative Naturals line has very deep potential. Basically, the initial challenge was to replace petroleum jelly with a jelled avocado oil for the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
It blossomed into a series of products that offer a non-petroleum jelly carrier for solution-oriented products. So we will continue to replace the top ten used solution-oriented products that have petrolatum as its carrier with AvoJel.
Another hot project is bio-based 3D printing of skin cells as a catalyst for age-reversing skin repair. It’s really out there, but it’s where I’m headed. It’s more than anti-aging, it’s un-aging.
S: What’s one Keys product that nobody should be without?
BR: For anti-aging, Solar Rx. We use no chemical sunscreens, only pure uncoated zinc oxide in a natural lotion base. Solar Rx is for those who want to avoid the extreme aging effects of UVA and UVB on a daily basis.
This is a reprint of the Small Flower article. You can Click Here to go to their site.
Triclosan and 18 Other Chemicals Banned In Antibacterial Soaps and Hand Sanitizers
By Bob Root
Keys CTO and Author of Chemical-Free Skin Health®
I must first admit that I have little use for Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), industry consultants and individuals who gain income, notoriety or donations based on creating fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the minds of consumers. I believe that the best path to information is data. A point-of-view or opinion that is not based in facts wastes everyone’s time.
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is a chemical developed by a Swiss group called Ciba. They were acquired by BASF in April 2009. Triclosan is a broad spectrum bactericide that kills all forms of bacteria. This includes the good and the bad. For more background on why our good bacteria being killed off affects our skin’s eco system, please read an article I wrote in February of 2011 titled, “ARE WE KILLING OUR SKIN’S ECOSYSTEM? ”
The FDA Ban of Triclosan!
So, the facts! The US FDA has banned Triclosan and 18 other chemicals being used in soaps and hand sanitizers. They have not stated just their lack of efficacy, they have been banned because of concerns to humans! Banned! Do not take my word for it, read here what the FDA said in the public filing. Evidence shows that not only are they non-affective, they can cause damage to human and animals who have been and continue to be exposed to Triclosan. These include concerns over propagating Staph, hormone disruption, cancer and destruction of the human microbiome.
The good news is that the FDA has stepped in and banned Triclosan’s use. Many leading consumer products companies have already announce removal of the chemicals including Triclosan.
Triclosan – I Told You So in 2010
In my book, Chemical-Free Skin Health®, I dedicated a chapter to Triclosan and other biocides. My original thoughts was to right a few word in a much more all encompassing chapter. As I studied the chemical Triclosan more, it ultimately became an entire chapter because even in 2010, evidence was already huge that Triclosan was detrimental to human life. Below is the chapter from my book for you to read. I ask you to read it because the FDA ruling is just the tip of the iceberg.
Triclosan – EPA, It is Your Turn to Weigh-In
I write this article, not to reinforce what I wrote 6 years ago, it is to make you aware that Triclosan is used in much more than soaps and hand sanitizers. It is in our food, other personal care products, clothing and food preparation products. Again, read the chapter from my book below. As I said, it became a chapter because the threat is broader and it is the EPA’s turn to also ban the use of Triclosan and some parabens being used in food wrap, antibacterial clothing, sporting goods, toys, children’s car seats and many animal products. The same cause and effect the FDA details in their announcement also applies to products that are under the control of the EPA.
Do Better When You Know Better
There is even a bigger message in the Triclosan ban. Become aware so that you do better for yourself and your family by knowing better. The reality is that it has taken some advocates of reform nearly ten years to get the FDA to act. The good news is that they did. The bad news is that their are hundreds of other chemicals in use today that advocates have presented data showing their detrimental effects on humans and animals. Yet their is a very simple solution and it is back to the future.
You have two choices. Burden yourself with self-study to find out what all the chemicals are that could cause potential harm or merely switch to natural products that have simple whole natural ingredients. Whether it is Haagen Daz Five ice cream with only five ingredients, my products and those of others who offer simple man-made chemical-free ingredients, you can simplify your life by embracing trusted brands. Then you will also send a pocketbook message to the big brands that people want to return to the simpler past where everything is natural that we put into and on our bodies. Back to the future? Simply, 60 years ago nearly everything we ate and put in or on our bodies was naturally derived. My hallucination is that in the not too distant future, we will return to natural products that are chemical-free.
Congrats FDA! EPA, your turn! People, it is time to get wise and go natural!
You can also read more by purchasing my book on Amazon It is available in paperback or Kindle. Chemical-Free Skin Health is also available from the Keys Online store by Clicking Here
Excerpt from Chemical-Free Skin Health® by Bob Root
Copyright 2010-2016 by Orion Learning International Inc. M42 Publishing
Just as a note, I have also attached the chapter as a PDF document if you want to send it to your friends. Click the image to download
[bsk-pdf-manager-pdf id=”4″ featuredimage=”yes”]
Chapter 12: My Two Worst Public Enemies! Triclosan and Parabens
Early on I told you about how the skin works. Overly simplifying a particular facet of the skin, the bacteria that exist on it keep our skin in balance. Washing our skin and particularly the face removes the remnants of the bacteria, dirt, pollutants and dead skin. No matter how hard we try to remove the bacteria, it is nearly impossible unless we use germicides or bactericides like parabens and triclosan.
Here is my simple concern. If I can put a paraben in a product to kill off bacteria and germs in the container, what does it do to the good bacteria on my skin? If I wash my hands with a hand sanitizer that contains the broad spectrum bactericide, triclosan, what does it do to my good bacteria?
Search as I might, I have not found any evidence that parabens and triclosan are tuned killers. Meaning that they waste the bad guys and protect the good. Everything that I have read supports the contrary.
I have talked to dermatologists, doctors and scientists asking their concerns about what is going on in personal care and cosmetics that concern them. Over 90% express concern over parabens and triclosan because of the long term health effects. Not from the chemicals, but from the effect it has on killing the probiotics of our skin. All express an even greater concern about these chemicals being used in our food, toothpaste and mouth washes.
You can choose to read this chapter or not. It is somewhat geeky, but necessary to explain my perceptions.
What I believe is that the only thing known to man that kills the good bacteria on our skin are parabens and triclosan. Remove the good bacteria and our balance is disrupted. Disrupt the balance and those bacteria that come at us first are the worst kind and literally attack unprotected skin.
I personally believe that these two chemical types are responsible for many of the skin disorders that doctors see.
Also, it took western medicine a long time to buy into the fact that we need probiotics to help our gut perform. I believe it is also time that we start to explore probiotics for our skin.
Finally, I do believe that the people that have link MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) outbreaks to parabens and triclosan are probably correct. Only time and research will prove them right or wrong. Indications are they are correct and it is probably time to eliminate parabens and triclosan from your life.
So read on if you want!
Triclosan: The Biocide that Creates Super Bugs?
FACT vs FUD is a chapter in this book as well as an article on our blog. In this overly inflammatory news based society of ours, my resistance is to publish anything that is not based in research that is a bit beyond a theory.
One of the inspirations for this book and this article was an experience I had while in a store outside of Dayton Ohio. I was not too far from the headquarters of Proctor & Gamble (Cincinnati) delivering a speech about the Dirty Dozen at an annual event the store promotes. Probably 200 in attendance, I went through the Dirty Dozen chemicals created by the Marin County Cancer Project. At the end, I provided some chemicals of concern, so I went back through my “most feared” list. In the book, I describe that some of the Dirty Dozen are much more damaging than others, but tend to be used in only discrete segments and in only some products. Some ingredients like parabens are much more widely used often in multiple doses during the manufacturing process elevating their concentrations in products to well beyond the called for percentages by the chemical maker. During my speech, I invited questions as we went along and there were plenty.
At the end, I voiced my concern that triclosan was perhaps my greatest fear because it is so powerful a biocide. I had explained earlier that triclosan is the main ingredient in hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps. A biocide, by design, kills gram positive and gram negative bacteria as well as most all bacteria. My concern all along has been two very important concerns:
If it indiscriminately kills all bacteria, then what does it do to the flora-probiotic on our skin?
Will the destruction of all bacteria on the skin create super-bugs that morph and become resistant to both the biocide and antibiotics?
As I always do when speaking to a group, I try to connect with the eyes of people in my audience. It is my way of trying to figure out if I am connecting with them. In my corporate life, I received training on how to read an audience as well. As I call it, ‘Squirming Around’ is a big flag that I have touched a nerve. As a CEO of a publicly traded company, you better believe that I experienced this at every shareholder meeting. So, this day, I was thrust back to my corporate life by a gentleman that had asked no questions, been very polite and had friendly eyes. When I lumped triclosan in with parabens as my major concern, his hand shot skyward as to immediately interrupt me. I obliged by stopping to acknowledge his question.
He asked, “Why would you add the main ingredient in hand sanitizers with that of preservatives used in almost every product made from personal care, to toothpaste, to food?”
First things first, I knew immediately that this person was from the industry because the question was one I would have expected in a meeting inside a research and development process. Not being ever deterred by confrontation, I answered both technically and emotionally. Here is my initial response.
“I am more concerned with Triclosan than a Methyl Paraben for four primary reasons:
Triclosan has been used in hospital and scientific environments for many years because it is the most effect biocide.
The concentration of Triclosan in a function specific product like antibacterial soaps is much higher and therefore of greater concern to me because it does a much more wide reaching job of killing all bacteria on the skin including the good bugs!
The destruction from Triclosan is so powerful and long lived compare to parabens that I have more than a subtle concern that what bacteria arrive back on the scene will be the worst kind like staph, e. Coli etc.
I also worry that these strains of bacteria will grow back with a vengeance and become resistant to both Triclosan and known antibiotics.”
The man stood straight up as if to confront me. I could also tell that I had just scared the hell out of the rest of the audience. Before I could temper my comments with the fact that this was my personal concern and that I had not gathered all the facts, he spoke.
He said, “I am a scientist that works down the road. First, I am a parent and father. I do not care that we have the best health insurance; I worry about what we expose our kids to. We have had an outbreak of Staph in the middle schools in this area and what you are saying is that because we require our kids to wash with antibacterial soap containing Triclosan that we are exposing them to the potential of transmitted staph infections like the ones we are experiencing now?”
My only answer had to be from the heart and not my corporate training to dodge the question. I said, Yes!”
He shook his head and sat down. Honestly, you could have heard a mouse burp in that room! I tried to interject some humor and my time was up. The people filed out of the room as the other speaker got set up. The man approached as did the sponsors from the store.
The sponsor thanked me for the informative talk and quickly said, can you send me something about this. She offered that she was a Cancer survivor and had a more than passing concern.
The man also echoed by adding that he was privileged to be able to read many documents about uses of chemicals. He said that what he always noticed is that most have warnings of irritation when used in high percentages and that antibacterial soap using Triclosan actually exceeded the minimum percentages. I asked if he could provide me with percentage data and he said; “No! I am not allowed to do that!” I got the message. I walked back to my team that was exhibiting at the health fare and told them of the experience. I shared, that I only wish I had a study to hand to everyone that at least echoed my fears.
Over the last two years, I have shared the story with colleagues. This morning in July of 2010, I received an email with a copy of the Opinion from the EU Scientific Directorate! Being a geek, I read all 56 pages and decided to sit down to finish this chapter of the book.
Remember this is an opinion and I would encourage you to read the entire document. There must be additional testing. We do know that bacteria exposed to destructive agents does morph into “super bugs” in many cases. This opinion echoes much of that concern. In one sense, I am pleased that this concern of mine and others has now taken another step up in the process of science.
My opinion! For what it is worth, science generally follows an orderly path. The Mandelbrot theory says that, if that what we see occurs in a large scale, it will occur in a small scale. If we can kill bacteria…good and bad… with a large dose of a chemical, then small doses delivered more frequently and repeatedly will have the same effect. The other scientific principle that comes to mind here is Occam’s Razor which is the principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” or that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. So, to me it makes sense from a logical perspective that using a chemical like Triclosan everyday in large does will have a long term adverse effect on the flora of the skin. Only the test of time and scientific studies will bring the concern to even higher levels.
What I can share is that I personally avoid anything on or in my body designed to kill something like germs, bacteria and microbes. Like all of us, I have had to take antibiotics and we know from the warnings that sustained use can make them ineffective. Following Occam’s Razor, I also believe that is true of these chemicals under various names that are designed to make my life more pure…Purity at the sake of what?
So, my mother may not have been right that eating dirt was all that bad for me ☺
Triclosan: The Biocide that keeps on giving!
Most of the free world including the US requires that Triclosan be listed somewhere on the label if it is used in a product. But how about if it is used in product packaging or molded into materials. Unregulated therefore no requirement for listing. Herein is the fallacy of confusing consequence with sequence.
Have you ever wondered why cheese seems to last longer than it used to? Have you wondered how companies can claim that if you buy their storage products that food will last longer? Have you wondered how a manufacturer could claim that their running socks are antibacterial?
We know that Triclosan is used in sanitizers and toothpaste as well as antibacterial soaps. Did you ever wonder what chemical they use in making utensils, cooking equipment, cutting boards and even sport clothing to make them antibacterial. You guessed it, Triclosan. The white powdery substance can be molded into products to make virtually antibacterial. Many food packages are molded with Triclosan to make them antibacterial to preserve the food longer.
If there was any reason to buy organic and local at the farmers market, this is a darned good one for me.
So, like phthalates, Triclosan is not just in personal care. They found phthalates in children’s toys and car dashboards. Triclosan is in much more than antibacterial soap. So here is a partial list of products that use Triclosan:
Antibacterial soap (really a detergent)
Bedding (People and Pets)
Child Car Seats
Someone asked me if I could link a direct connection to MRSA (Methicillin Resistent Staphylococcus Aureus) and Triclosan. I said, “Honestly, I do not know!” Do I believe that it is connected? Yes! So you can imagine my surprise when I read an article in a medical journal prescribe sits baths for MRSA suffers in a solution of 2% Tricolsan!
Triclosan is used in many common household products that you would not expect.
OK, I am starting to sound like a radical working at an NGO! Environmental issues are big as well.
Parabens…Good Guys or Bad Guys?
As a part of my ongoing series of looking at the Dirty Dozen Chemicals shown to provide elevated Cancer rates in people and animals, in this article, I outline why we do not use parabens leaving the judgmental diagnosis to the NGO’s attacking them. The Dirty Dozen Chemicals are a list of 12 developed originally by the Marin County Cancer Project which at the time, had the highest Cancer Rates in the US. Followed by Search For The Cause and Teens Turning Green the list is now designated the Dirty Thirty.
So, are parabens good guys or bad guys? Both it seems and there is a reason why we do not use them as well.
Below is a scavenged description of parabens from Wikipedia. On the surface and from a chemical perspective they do their job. Many chemists and companies support their use based on a belief of safety. I believe that they are looking at the wrong reasons for safety.
Our society seems to primarily look at safety as, “will what we put on our skin hurt us directly?” I believe that we should be looking at whether it hurts us based on contact and will it cause something else to hurt us because of it.
So first let’s try to understand what parabens are and why some manufacturers use them. Here is that Wikipedia description:
Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.
Their efficacy as preservatives, in combination with their low cost, their long history of safe use and the inefficacy of natural alternatives like grapefruit seed extract (GSE), probably explains why parabens are so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, and some organizations which adhere to the precautionary principle object to their everyday use.
Parabens are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, from which the name is derived. Common parabens include methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and their sodium salts.
Some parabens are found naturally in plant sources. For example, methylparaben is found in blueberries, where it acts as an antimicrobial agent. However, when parabens are eaten, they are metabolized and lose the ester group, making them less strongly estrogen-mimicking.
( Bob Comment) Part of the rub here is a number of studies that link parabens to breast Cancer because of these properties, but let’s not get too off track!
All commercially used parabens are synthetically produced, although some are identical to those found in nature. They are produced by the esterification of para-hydroxybenzoic acid with the appropriate alcohol. para-Hydroxybenzoic acid is in turn produced industrially from a modification of the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction, using potassium phenoxide and carbon dioxide.
Now that you are an expert on parabens, I think it is fair to talk about the pros and cons of them.
Remember that I believe that it is an indirect result of the parabens that is as important to look at as well as the direct result of their actions.
The pros of parabens or grapefruit seed extract are that they kill bacteria and fungus inside products. It is very difficult to sterilize containers and apparatus without using chemicals. The technique we use is super-heated steam on our equipment, but those parabens do a really good job of killing microbes, gram positive and gram negative rods. The con is that they do a good job of killing bacteria on our skin as well.
You might say that is good, but much research shows that what we want to do is inhibit bacteria growth on our skin while permitting flora bacteria to exist as it does in nature. To me, it is sort of like drinking parabens in hope they will kill diseased bacteria in our gut in hopes that they will leave all that good bacteria we want alone. If science could figure that out, it would be major… just has not happened yet.
Frankly, when I developed our first products, I did not know what parabens were. So it was simple…ignorance was bliss. I did know that I needed a preservative and my aboriginal friends suggested rosemary. Turns out it is also a natural high grade antioxidant, but for me, it minimized bacteria growth in our natural products.
When a contract manufacturer approached me to make our products, I politely listened as the salesperson told me why I had to use parabens. My silence forced him to exasperation and he blurted out, “What would you do if the FDA said you have to use parabens?” My answer? I would mark the products refrigerate after opening! He was not amused and yet that is exactly what I would do.
It turns out that we have traced part of Wendy’s reaction to prescription products after her Melanoma to a paraben reaction. Admittedly rare, I personally believe that it is more common than we think.
I will let our friends at the Breast Cancer Fund fight the paraben battle on their own front. I would encourage you to research that more for yourself.
Why We Do Not Use Parabens
Simply, I have done enough research and read enough that parabens in our personal care, household products and mouth care kill all forms of bacteria on our skin and in our gut. Like studies have shown with triclosan and germicides used in household products, my own studies have shown these same agents kill the natural flora on the skin and in the gut. What I believe happens next is that the really bad bacteria including gram positive rods like e. Coli and Staph (MRSA) have an opportunity to come back with a vengeance and attack our systems freely.
For example, it is common in our microbiology lab to take an agar petri dish and smear a natural ingredient on it to see if colony, gram positive or gram negative rods (bacteria) show up in an accelerated 72 hour test. What is not common, but we have done it, are to take a sample of “bugs” and kill them and then watch what grows back first in an open air environment. More than not, we see some harmless colony bacteria show up first, but then some really nasty bacteria take over and on most occasions we see fungus appear to feed on the bacteria. Can’t prove it, but I have to wonder if all this MRSA staph that has shown up in our middle schools is not a direct link to the triclosan in antibacterial soaps and the parabens in all of our products.
Okay, now that I have you flipped out a bit, I did a test of ten products at one of my labs and measured the cumulative amount of parabens in them. What I mean is that I know that the providers of parabens suggest a range or percentage to use. Let’s say it is 0.5% of the total solution. When I tested the products all showed excessive amounts of parabens well beyond the recommended dose. Knowing that chemists strive for economy, I began to wonder why the levels were so high…high enough to kill anything. I could not figure out why until I was giving a speech on the Dirty Dozen near Dayton Ohio and one chemist from P&G asked how many ingredients were typically in natural products. I answered, “probably 10 to 15.” He laughed and said our average is 45. It suddenly dawned on me how the paraben levels could be so high in the products I tested. The answer, the ingredient/chemical suppliers were also using parabens to preserve their raw material. Think it through! The manufacturer puts 0.5% into the product and each of the suppliers of those 40+ chemicals put 0.5% into the raw materials. Simply, we are being overdosed with parabens and every product we use adds to the equation. Ten products times the 1.6% average we tested is a daily dose of 16% on our skin. I think the most recent statistics I heard from the EWG is that the average woman uses 12 products a day containing parabens and men average 6 products. That means that if I am correct with my average that women are getting ~19.2% paraben contact. We have always joked that “chemists add and engineers subtract, but maybe it is not a joke.
Our Simple View
To overly simplify the reason we do not use parabens is that we believe that what comes out of the bottle designed to kill bacteria in the packaging also kills the flora on our skin and our gut facilitating bad super-bug bacteria to grow in its place that also facilitates fungal growth and imbalance.
Right now, this is a tested theory long from scientific fact. What if I am right!
See, I told my mother eating dirt was good!
BTW, The Mayo Clinic states, “Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. It’s known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of HA-MRSA. More recently, another type of MRSA has occurred among otherwise healthy people in the wider community. This form, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.”
I personally believe that people are walking in with the MRSA and when surgery is performed that is when it invades. Maybe hospitals should pretest for MRSA and an incoming inspection….Do you think?
Chapter Quick Notes:
Parabens and Triclosan are bactericides and germicides. That means they kill all bacteria indiscriminately. Good or bad bacteria alike, it they just kill.
Parabens and Triclosan indiscriminately kill the good probiotic bacteria on the skin. My belief is that this permits bad bacteria attacking the undefended skin.
Washing the skin does not remove our probiotic good bacteria from the skin.
Bactericides cause an imbalance on the skin possibly leading to many skin disorders.
Trying to find the safest, most effective sunscreen used to be a real hassle. Sky-high SPFs might give you a false sense of security, and newer aerosol sprays could deliver harmful chemicals directly into your lungs. Luckily, Environmental Working Group (EWG) has taken the guesswork out of finding the best sunscreen, and today released its 2015 Guide to Sunscreens. We’ve listed some of the sunscreens rated best on the market in terms of both safety andeffectiveness below.
EWG’s sunscreen report also ID’d what it’s calling the “Hall of Shame,” sunscreen products that are not only a waste of money, but also are potentially harmful. The organization recommends avoiding these sunscreens because they may contain oxybenzone, a chemical that can create abnormal changes in hormones. Some also contain retinyl palmitate, which could trigger damage and possibly cancer.
Others tout a superhigh SPF, which is basically a rip-off, since EWG says SPF protection tops out at 30 to 50. And still others contain harmful aerosols.
For quite a while, we have professed the connection of skin cancer and UV radiation. The surgeon general’s report yesterday and the passing of the innovative sunscreen act through the US House of Representatives has sparked renewed interest in the story. Our message is still the same and I have been saying it for ten years for Keys and for twenty years after being cured of Melanoma. Protect your skin from the sun and you will slow visible aging and prevent skin cancer
Our Solar Rx is ranked among the safest and most efficacious moisturizers with sunscreen based on the EWG 2014 Sunscreen Report. We always want to remind everyone that Solar Rx is a daily use sunscreen and is not designed for sports or activity as well as going to the beach applications.
We are receiving reports that Solar Rx is selling off the shelves which is a good thing because people are now even more aware of the need. Still, less than 15% of Americans use sun precautions.
Below is a verbatim reprint of the CNN article. Please Google for other articles to inform yourself of how to be sun safe.
Here is the link to Solar Rx on our store. Please also search in Clean Green Cafe for more articles.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has recognized and certified OptiFX® particle. OptiFX particles are used in our KPRO line of super-cosmetics. These particles defract and refract light and also transmit adjacent texture and tone across the skin. Originally designed for ultra high definition digital motion picture cameras (UHDT), OptiFX particles offer a real illusionary effect on the skin that resembles a soft focus filter on the skin surface. One unique features is that the OptiFX particle also transmits tone and texture from one particle to another. This sub-feature hides fine lines without the use of fillers by reducing the shadow effects created by lines and wrinkled in the skin. People with large pores also benefit from the illusionary effects.
This article has nothing to do with Keys or our products. I am a scientist first and when I see something that revolutionizes the world, I have to say something.
Can you imagine the change this will make in the lives of people with disabilities. I have been seeing patents and prototypes of this and other devices almost ten years ago. These devices were born as a means of use by the military to provide lifting capabilities for soldiers. Obviously the exo technologies had huge implications for disabled people. This technology will replace wheelchairs, walkers and other old technology.
Below is a reprint from Popular Science that is worth reading.
First Exoskeleton Gets FDA Approval For U.S. Sales
The ReWalk exoskeleton helps people with spinal-cord injuries sit, stand, and walk.
I am raising a red flag when it comes to our pets and the environment. In my book, Chemical-Free Skin Health® I pointed out that about 50 years ago just about everything we put on our skin or came in contact with was naturally derived. Now nearly 95% is synthetic. There are now tens of thousands of chemicals that are in use that have never been tested for safety. Worse, our pets are exposed in direct contact to hundreds of more chemicals for the shear reason that they typically where no shoes, clothing and dogs tend to lead with their noses. This reality is played out in the article from the Environmental Working Group showing industrial chemical toxins at alarming high rates compare to humans.
In 2007, I was a founding member of Pets for the Environment which was a spin-off of the EWG. It was just coming into vogue when the Melamine was discovered in food additives being made in China. The timing was good, but because of budget cuts and Congressional naivete, the project did not last. Now, we are trying to bring it back into public eye because of the results below and the continued exposure of our pets to toxic chemicals.
iWellness or iHealth – There is a difference. Can Apple change healthcare forever? Yes! Will they?
by Bob Root, Keys Founder and Technologist
The rumors are pretty strong that Apple will introduce Healthkit technology in it next IOS 8 operating system for iPhones and iPad’s..and maybe iWatch this October. It will enable software, apps and hardware creations that will monitor your health. …and hopefully affect your wellness.
As a part of the EWG annual sunscreen report they offer tips about sunscreens. Below is a unedited direct reprint of what they are saying in the 2014 sunscreen report. Keys Solar Rx was rated as excellent for safety and efficacy in this years report in the moisturizer with SPF category. Keys Solar Rx is an everyday sunscreen designed as a moisturizer with sun protection. It is not a go to beach or sports product because our moisturizer is water soluble for maximum hydration. It is cosmetically clear and can be used under makeup or by itself. Click Here to read the EWG report on Solar Rx
The 2014 EWG Sunscreen report was released and Keys Solar Rx was given a Excellent rating and was chosen as a Top Product in the moisturizer with sun protection category. Click Here to jump to the EWG listing for Solar Rx.
The EWG ranking system is based on safety with most of the top brands rating a 2 on a scale of 0 to 10 (o = safest) Keys Solar Rx was given a ranking of 1.
Solar Rx is cosmetically transparent and yet provides a UVA and UVB equivalent to conventional sunscreen rated at SPF 30+. Solar Rx is not a go to beach or sport sunscreen because the lotion is a functional therapy water soluble medium designed to act as a moisturizer for everyday use.
Wendy Steele, Keys CEO, said, “Since the day we introduced Keys Solar Rx, it has received the highest ranking from the EWG and Consumer Reports magazine. Safety and efficacy are the important facets about these two rating systems. We applaud the EWG for their efforts and for the details as well as ease of use of the 2014 report.”
Over the years we have published a number of articles about antibacterial products containing Triclosan and parabens. We encourage you to search Clean Green Cafe to read some of these articles and the entire chapter in Bob Root’s book, Chemical-Free Skin Health. To recap, antibacterial can mean a bactericide like parabens and triclosan, or reducing bacteria levels without killing good bacteria with the bad. The National Institutes of Health Human Microbiome Project points out that we have ten times more bacteria on our skin than skin cells. Most good, these bacteria live symbiotically with our skin to protect us from bad bacteria like Staph and eColi. The contention has been and still remains that killing all bacteria on our skin leads to the formation of “super-bugs.” So using soaps like Keys Galleyon reduce bacterial levels because they contain spearmint, are Castile like soap and have slightly higher alkalinity that is
Update: Soap & Water just as effective in removing bacteria!
I am pleased that the FDA has stepped in to force some requirements on antibacterial products. As you read on, there are some very important points. In the world of antibacterial products, there is no distinguishing between bacteriacides and bacteria reduction. Triclosan is very similar to parabens found in most products. The claim is that they are bacteriacides that kill 99% of all bacteria….good and bad. As I have pointed out in other articles, we have as many as ten times more bacteria on our skin as we do skin cells. Most of these are good bacteria that help prevent invasion by the bad bacteria like Staph and eColi. Bacteriacides like parabens and Triclosan claim to kill bad bacteria, but also kill the good which the FDA now reveals might help form “super-bugs.”
Keys Galleyon is antibacterial in the sense that it falls into the bacteria reduction class of products because of the Lakota spearmint, Castile-like soap and that it is slightly alkaline. I like to refer to this as a skin rejevenation process more than an antibacterial action. The truth is that we have long known that a good wash with soap and water and a brisk warming drying will help to further reduce, but not kill the good bacteria. Galleyon enhances the effect without harming the good bacteria on our skin.
The FDA is now echoing something that we have talked about for years and yesterday’s announcement further brings to light the need for strict controls on chemicals that come in contact with our skin.
So please read the announcement below and read the FDA announcement. More information always gives us more choices that we can make.
FDA to Crack Down on Manufacturer Antibacterial Claims
Keys was a very early company joining the EWG Skin Deep database creation and the subsequent efforts to have the world recognize that many chemicals in our everyday life are the cause of many skin disorder. Our founder, Bob Root, wrote the book, “Chemical-Free Skin Health,” to also emphasize the point helping to have Keys honored by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as a Champion company. Our work with the Environmental Media Association in Hollywood and now Companies for Safer Chemicals is a further expression of our desire and effort to change the way people, companies and the government think about what goes on to our bodies. Bob is our representative on the Companies for Safer Chemicals committee and will help to spearhead our thinking within the group.
One Step to Vibrant Beauty and Natural Skin Health
OptiFX™ Patentable Adaptive Color Technology combined with Natural Chemical-Free Skin Health™
Synopsis: Keys has introduced a new series of Hollywood inspired products named KPRO or Keys Professional line. Keys KPRO products use OptiFX™ Adaptive Color Technology to provide an illusionary appearance creating the hot trendy nude bare skin look in a 1-step chemical-free foundation.
Developed in concert with Hollywood makeup artists and filmmakers, this correction cream fills, hides fine lines and skin imperfections. The technology literally copies and clones skin color, tone and texture transmitting vital characteristics to neighboring skin. Like a virtual projector, 1 micron organic and plant-based structures transmit a smooth and vibrant skin finish.
Keys patentable technology works to reflect, refract and smooth skin tones adapting to light changes and environments automatically. This is a true anti-aging product because rarefied ingredients help condition, moisturize and reverse skin aging as well as providing the cosmetic effects. This is a revolutionary 1-step foundation with optical technology that transforms even lifeless skin to exciting dewy beauty.
Introducing KPRO – Keys Professional Line
September 1, 2013 Santa Monica California: At a meeting today, Keys Care revealed a new technology for natural foundations and HD powders that incorporates OptiFX™ Adaptive Color Technology. This one-step foundation not only creates and illusion of smoother, softer and more even skin tones, it invisibly fills fine lines and creases for a younger more polished look. The six new products are also natural skin therapies reversing aging through their chemical-free formulation and super-hydrating properties. As these stand as amazing new technology features, the most important is probably how much time these products will save in daily regimens.
Bob Root, Keys Founder and Chief Scientist offered, “What if you could compress your morning regimen to get the “Natural Look” in 5 minutes of less? What if it exceeded the performance of Nordstrom Counter makeup brands? What if it is Chemical-Free?”
Keys has developed it’s new KPRO (Keys Professional) line to do just that. Born in earnest in front of the highest definition cameras in the world, KPRO competes with conventional makeup in the Hollywood makeup artist bag and it is all-natural and chemical-free.
The illusion, smoothing and age-reversing is far more than luck. It is patentable technology called OptiFX™ and it was developed at Keys.
Express Lane to Your Day
“I am a makeup artist in Hollywood and because of my profession, people think I have all day to get myself ready to venture out into the world. My day often begins at 4 am on a set that I will be on well past dark. My day is spent creating the natural look on actors in 45 minutes or less. The truth of the matter is that the majority of that time is spent laying down a natural looking foundation. I often use 10 to 15 different color foundations to simulate the natural color contours of the face. So, you can imagine my delight, shock and surprise when my friends at Keys sent me a top-secret product that cut my 45 minute foundation regime to 5 minutes.
I could not resist and woke one morning for a shoot and put this new miracle product on my face. I applied this non-mineral natural tinted correction cream to my face and was amazed to see what looked like a flawless foundation. I added check color, eyes and lips and I was done in less than five minutes. Really!”
The Rumors Are True
Keys is Getting in to Color – A Sneak Peek.
Bob Root, Keys Chief Scientist said, “For the last four years, I have experimented with getting into the business of color. Namely cosmetics. What has stopped me was a set of standards that I wanted to adhere to and my mantra of wanting to not be another me too company entering the cosmetics game because it is this hot market segment.
It was developed in concert with Red Camera Corporation and Arri for use in Ultra High Definition (UHD) film and TV. The technology that I am using has never been used for makeup. It adapts to skin texture and color.”
Expo East Product of the Year Nominee!
Keys OptiFX technology is under consideration as the best new product of the year at Natural Products Expo East trade show and will be featured in the New Product Showcase. We plan a late September launch for the new line that will include:
Tinted Moisturizer with sunscreen
Tinted Correction Cream
Tinted Corrective Eye Cream
HD tinted powder
HD powder (untinted)
All will have the OptiFXadaptive technology. At the moment, we are not revealing the extent of the technology because of patents that we are filing.
There are numerous differences between this tinted foundation and conventional makeup. First, the base lotion is our Luminos Moisturizer which is chemical-free, vegan and gluten-free. The filler and color function were developed to offer silica-free, PEG-free, lead-free, mica-free and earth mineral-free.
OptiFX™ Adaptive Color Technology
OptiFX™ is a combination of crystalline structures that are both plantbased and optical physics technology. OptiFX™ was developed by us to create an extreme illusion on the skin that mirrors and broadcasts skin tones while also smoothing and diffusing the appearance of the skin. This simulates a soft even surface that adapts to every skin tone, color and condition. The particle clusters are ~1 micron in size and are made from jet-dried Blue Agave Aloe blend and a porcelain type material that act like micro-mirrors. These particles have a “0” rating from the EWG which symbolizes the safest of ingredients.
The biggest differences are the effects. Most makeup is based on a technology called additive color. Meaning the color is from the minerals, generally opaque and is the color of the existing elements. This is why most mineral and conventional makeup comes in shades that have to be selected to match skin tone. Our product is using a technology from the photographic world and is called subtractive color technology. The primary reason for using this technology is that the particles absorb and refract the skin tone from around it offering a single product that work for the majority of skin types and colors. Simplified, it absorbs color from around it and projects it out offering a more uniform look, smoother finish and a near perfect match to the persons skin tone.
I See Dead People!
Bob Root added, “Flat mineral makeup as a foundation has been all the rage primarily because it is purported to be “Natural.” There are many problems with the term natural, but my simple problem is that mineral makeups are flat, too uniform and make people look dead to me. A weekend at the Studio City (CA) Farmers Market and you will see the Hollywood elite looking bare faced and dewy. It is so much more attractive than a flat pancake look. The new bare face look, in itself, is a bit overboard in the “too-nude” direction and some young stars and entertainers can get away with it. Most of us cannot. I originally developed our AguaVit as a makeup setter to turn mineral makeup into the dewy look, but in my opinion, it was covering a bad thing in an attempt to correct the bad features of mineral makeup. The KPRO line uses the OptiFX™ technology to create a uniform, color-matched and even tone that also provides a very alive dewy look that let the real you out while also creating an illusion of softer smoother vibrant skin. A little sparkle that is subliminal attracts the eye saying ‘look at me’ without being gaudy or Le Cirquestque!”
What is also a big difference is the illusion OptiFX™ creates because of the particles. It is a well known photographic principle that a spheres and plated particles diffuse, refract and gather light. Simplified, for use in makeup, OptiFX™ based products create an illusion of softness, smoothing and natural color without looking flat, pancake or matte. Overstated, you get the natural look in one product unto which you can add eye, lip and cheek color. Done!
The technology was originally developed to “trick” high definition digital 4-5k cameras to make the skin of actors look more even, vibrant and more natural looking in the unforgiving world of high definition. It has the same effect on the human eye making the people that use it look more dewy, natural and with the illusion of radiant skin. Because it absorb and broadcast color from around each particle, almost everyone can wear it without looking like they have heavy makeup.
The products are currently being tested on television, on two films and in advertising photo shoots for fall fashion
Finally a Foundation for Men
Many cosmetic products are designed only for women. That is how they start and end with little to no consideration for men wanting a more stylish contemporary look. Designing for the camera means that a product has to work on all skin types and for both men and women. Bob Root added, “A woman’s skin cannot look or react differently to the camera than her male counterpart. A product designed for ultra high definition still and film must work equally for everyone and provide a foundation that the makeup artist can build on. Flat makeup must somehow be made vibrant which is way too much work and looks fake. The OptiFX™ technology affords a smooth workable foundation for the makeup artist. For the rest of us, especially men, the technology offers a one-pass quick daily moisturizer that makes the skin look vibrant and alive.”
OptiFX™ is a revolution for men, because it does not add flat pancake color or a dry look like mineral makeups. It recognizes the adjacent skin tone, texture and color and transmits it in a glowing smoothing effect that makes men look alive, attractive and natural. The robust look is one that shows the strength of men while offering a personal and sensitive look at the same time. Our male beta testers have all said that friends and especially women noticed a change, but could not explain why. Bob added, “It is virtually invisible to the conscious eye and the technology does interact with the unconscious eye the same way it does with UHD camera sensors. For men, the key words are vibrancy, sincerity and confidence.”
A famous male actor was noted as saying, “I am a well known Green advocate and yet my face is my life. Yes, I want natural, but not at the expense of how I look on camera or in front of the press. I have been a Keys Eye Butter fan for years now and have wanted more. I have used Eye Butter all over my face to get the look that I want and need. Masculine and alive! My makeup artist put Keys KPRO Correction Cream on me before an appearance and I was blown away. I said, this must be a man’s product and my makeup artist smilingly agreed…she always does.”
OptiFX™ Adaptive Color Technology will be exclusively in the new KPRO, Keys Professional, line being introduced at the Natural Products Expo East trade show in Baltimore Maryland on September 26, 2013.
There is an old adage from our years in high tech. Because products change so quickly, we often joked that “a product will be available in 6 months, but literature is available in volume today!” In our case, KPRO products are slated to be available by mid to late September and virtual literature is available now by clicking the icon. Kidding aside, the literature does a good job of showing visually what we will be offering.
Few canned products inflame as much passion and confusion as insect repellents. On the pro-chemical side are those who claim that plant-based sprays and other alternatives simply don’t work at all, and so leave users exposed to pathogen-hosting insects carrying anything from West Nile to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. But proponents of chemical-free repellents cite the possible toxicity of Deet to the human brain, and claim their all-natural alternatives work plenty well. (We’ll add that we’ve had a pair of sunglasses get lightly melted by errant Deet spray, which left us questioning whether we ought to be applying it to our skin on a regular basis.)
The truth, as often is the case, falls somewhere in the middle. So according to Dr. Mustapha Debboun, editor of ‘Prevention of Bug Bites, Stings and Disease,’ both types of products have their place. “The way to think about it is that chemicals are better for longer hours in the deep woods,” Debboun says, “while all-natural ingredients are fine for the backyard, beach, and other places where you won’t be out for extended periods.” So think Deet or picaridin for that jungle trek to Southeast Asia you’ve been planning, but something all-natural for day hikes and picnics closer to home.
Still, in a surprising twist (and what will be a humbling disappointment for chemical warfare proponents), it turns out that pound-for-pound, all natural options are actually the better performer. “Natural insect repellents generally repel a larger and wider range of crawling and flying insects [than chemicals] because of the diverse grouping of ingredients they contain,” says Bob Root, author of ‘Chemical Free Skin Health.’ Dr. Debboun concurs: “Lemon eucalyptus is just as good an ingredient as chemicals like Deet and picaridin.” Continue reading Keys RediCare – Featured in Men’s Journal Magazine
Our friends at the Environmental Working Group have put together a new video about the ingredients on the labels of personal care products.
Ever looked at the labels on your shampoos, moisturizers and cosmetics? Do you really know what chemicals you’re putting on your body?
Most Americans use about 10 personal care products a day. And they think that the government is making sure these products are safe – but the scary truth is, it’s not. That’s why Environmental Working Group scientists have put together easy-to-use tips on how to read labels on personal care products. Check out the new video featuring EWG’s Senior Analyst Nneka Leiba on what to watch out for before you buy.
May is Melanoma month and it is not a celebration.
Around the world, there is a celebration at the beginning of May. For me as a Melanoma survivor, it is a month where I give thanks for surviving. It is the first day of May that I begin my summer long campaign to share my concerns, my knowledge and my experiences with people. My goal is to save lives.
I am not cancer free, but I am free from cancer. My advocacy has taken me to many places and I have met many survivors and unfortunately too many people that have lost loved ones, friends, spouces and parents. What makes me sad is that they have also lost children.
The stories are wide and varied. Here is just one subject that I hear all to often every May.
A frantic Mom and a concerned Dad asking me for advice for their 16 and 17 year olds respectively. Both the concerned parents were asking essentially the same thing: “How do I convince my teen daughter that she could wear anything and her skin will still look incredibly beautiful?” Well, as it turned out, this was not just about teen fashion. This was about preparation for the prom! It turned out that the biggest issue was caused by the color of the dress and their teen’s steadfast belief that they could not possibly look beautiful in a white dress without tanned skin! To prepare for their prom, both of these teens were insisting on sunless tanning. I realized there must be thousands of parents going through this same drama, trying to win over the peer pressure their teens felt to spend the weeks before prom on tanning beds.
I received these requests for advice, because I am a melanoma skin cancer survivor and a skin health advocate. I briefly pondered the fact that I do not have a teen son or daughter…and I quickly found myself saying, but if I did I would share with them what I have learned in my life so far. Continue reading Time To Get Wise – Dear 16 Year Old Me!
ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2011) — In a new study, biologists report that melanocyte skin cells detect ultraviolet light using a photosensitive receptor previously thought to exist only in the eye. This eye-like ability of skin to sense light triggers the production of melanin within hours, more quickly than previously thought, in an apparent rush to protect against damage to DNA.
For most people, tanning seems a simple proposition. A naturally light-skinned person lies in the sun for hours and ends up as bronzed as a Jersey Shore star. To scientists, the reaction of skin to ultraviolet light is more mysterious. A new study demonstrates that skin detects UVA radiation using a light-sensitive receptor previously found only in the eye and that this starts melanin production within a couple of hours. Until now, scientists only knew that melanin production occurred days after UVB radiation had already begun damaging DNA.
“As soon as you step out into the sun, your skin knows that it is exposed to UV radiation,” said senior author Elena Oancea, assistant professor of biology in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown University. “This is a very fast process, faster than anything that was known before.”
Scientists believe that melanin protects the DNA in skin cells against damage from UVB rays by absorbing the incoming radiation. It isn’t perfect, which is why people must use sun block. But the new study in the journal Current Biology shows that the body mounts its defense much sooner, well before it becomes apparent in the form of a tan.
Market Shift: Keys Care Receives “Champion” Status – Fulfills Safe Products Pledge
Consumer demand for safer products drives fastest-growing market segment
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced today that Keys has achieved the highest recognition earning “Champion” status by meeting the goals of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, the Campaign’s voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned by health agencies outside the U.S. and to fully disclose product ingredients – a pioneering practice in the cosmetics industry.
“Congratulations to Keys for being a ‘Champion’ and for demonstrating that it’s possible to make personal care products that far exceed current safety standards in the United States. A growing number of consumers are seeking personal care products that do not contain hazardous chemicals, and our report shows that making safer products is not only possible, but is also part of a successful business model,” said Mia Davis, organizing director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and coordinator of the new Safe Cosmetics Business Network. Continue reading Safe Cosmetics Bestows Champion Status On Keys Care
I must admit that I have been CNN Free for nearly tens years. Really! I find myself working at looking at the world through positive lenses. I have found that watching things out of my control affects my overall health. This is not an “ignorance is bliss” approach to living as much as it is a focus on what I can effect, affect and control.
For some time now, I have been afflicted with the belief that much of our health is not about doctors, prescription or even prevention. As I have studied, for my own life, I have found that health and specifically skin health, are directly relates to changing behaviors and realizing that it is not just about what we put into or on our body, it is how we do it and exercising the critical systems of the body. Simply, just eating right and going to the gym are minor things and pale in comparison to focusing on our physical, mental and endocrine body balance.
My research may or may not be leading to a new book, but one thing for sure is that I believe that much of our skin health has been too focused on the negative aspects of just a few chemicals when how we live our skin health is far more important.
I have been working on a skin health regime that involves changing lifestyle and is almost devoid of talking about products in favor of changing behaviors. Mehmet Oz (aka Dr. Oz) inspired me to look at a holistic approach to skin health. Indeed I have began to write this “book” and will publish excerpts here as they become more real to me. My hope is to take a part of a well deserved holiday and, at least, write a definitive blog article that one could call a book draft outline.
As I have studied, I realized that we have all be overly influenced by blog articles, public lobbying by NGO’s (non governmental organizations) like FOE, NPA, EWG et al. Life should be about balance and I struggled to find a single source that I can reference that would offer a positive approach to skin conditions, skin disorders and skin health. I was chatting with a fellow researcher involved at the Human Microbiome Project. (https://commonfund.nih.gov/hmp/) and asked her if she knew of a resource. She laughed at me and said, “how about next door.” I have to admit that I had one of those V8 moments as I slapped my forehead. What she meant by next door is the National Libraryof Medicine sponsored by our tax paying support of the National Institutes of Health. The group is called MedlinePlus and is an online resource that is amazing.
I obviously believe in the Skin Deep database, the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, The Breast Cancer Fund and all the positive work that goes on. Said, these people take an approach of “don’t use this or that,” “these things will hurt you” and “don’t do this” without offering many reasons or solutions. MedlinePlus makes all of the information from all these “Bad News” agencies pale in comparison. The best analogy I have is that if information was water, all of the NGO resources add up to a thimble of water into an Olympic pool that is MedlinePlus.
So, here are just a few articles that focus just on the skin, nails and hair on the MedlinePlus database. My hope is that they will offer you positive solutions to help your skin and feed your positive spirit at the same time.
Update! Our friends at The Babble Out (www.thebabbleout.com) approached our customer service to look at an eczema article they wrote. It is quite good and worth reading. Here is the link to Everything About Eczema.
Note: When our customer service leader forwarded the article from Zoey at Babble Out to me, it caused me to read the article for value here, but it also reminded me that innovation is constant and articles like mine or from Babble Out are not dynamic unless we stay on top to make these article real-time. Next to impossible, we will try to be more diligent in staying current with new technologies.
Coming from the computer industry where you either innovate or die, our world has begun to adopt the rapid innovations cycle. Anything where people are helping people is both responsibility and serving.
For example, there is amazing work being done in Canada in Vernon at a spa where they expose eczema suffers to decreasing temperatures where the skin is blast-chilled. Results have been remarkable and worth Googling “Eczema Cryotherapy.”
Below is the link to the ‘Cosmetics’ link above to give you an idea of what you will find. What you will quickly notice is that there is a simple description and links to numerous articles on various subjects in detail. All said, don’t get too caught up in this because it all may lead to a new form of insanity disorder. 😉
Also called: Makeup
Cosmetics are products you apply to your body to clean it, make it more attractive or change the way it looks. They include
Products such as dandruff shampoo, fluoride toothpaste and antiperspirant deodorant are both cosmetics and drugs. A good way to tell if you’re buying a cosmetic that is also a drug is to see if the first ingredient listed is an “active ingredient.” The active ingredient is the chemical that makes the product effective, and the manufacturer must have proof that it’s safe for its intended use. To find out all the ingredients in a cosmetic you use, check the container. Manufacturers are required to list them. Labels such as “natural” and “hypoallergenic” have no official meaning. Companies can use them to mean whatever they want.
It is summer and it is sunscreen season. Below is an article I recently wrote about the new welcomed changes from the FDA that will force manufacturers to reveal what is in their sunscreens. Please read it and the links to the FDA. This change has go a long way to help save lives through UVA and UVB dangers awareness. Also, since this new regulation, I thought it would be good to reprint the blog article herein. I encourage you to study to protect you and your family.
My grandfather used to say to me, “make up your mind. Don’t let someone make up your mind for you!” It is more important than ever that you listen to facts based on studies and not opinion.
It has been about three years of communication with the FDA before the new sunscreen regulations came out June 11, 2011. The FDA requested input from many companies and organizations. Keys and other presented facts, opinion and wishes. For some the time and the angle of the new direction have been touted as too little and too late. I for one am happy with the changes. Continue reading New FDA Sunscreen Regulations
It is a constant quest to understand and then explain the effects of UVA and UVB on our skin and our lives. Our involvement with the Skin Cancer Foundation, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Scripps and various universities expose me to all sorts of information. I am always searching for the simplest and best explanations to help people understand UV radiation. Clearly I feel that I stand on the shoulders of many scientists and advocates. Below is by far the best I have seen as a simple elegant guide. It comes from the Skin Cancer Foundation and has an equally simple title.
Chemical-Free Skin Health is the book written by Bob Root that is a compilation of all his experiences being on the road with Keys customers. The book answers the most commonly asked questions as well as proposing some radical ideas about skin health. Bob features information about the Human Microbiome Project and the National Institutes of health that is a spin-off of the human genome project.
Of all the points Bob makes in the book, the one that drives his continued passion is his deep concern that the chemical bactericides used as preservative in most skin care and household products are destroying the natural ecosystem on our skin. Parabens and Triclosan used as preservatives and antibacterial agents is an undiscriminating killer of the probiotics on our skin. This subject is so important to Bob that he has made it the focal point of his book tour which begins in March. Continue reading Bob Root Begins Book Tour! Asks! Are We Killing Our Skin’s Ecosystem?
In tech, we had a phrase that we used to differentiate really big projects. BHAG stands for a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. When I helped to start Keys, we had some big hairy goals. Universal Wellness was perhaps the biggest.
Remember, I am from high tech engineering, a practicing quantum physicist and a dreamer. Ergo a futurist who believes anything is possible. The adage that anything new is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration simply means to me that usually one person or a few have the spark of an idea and then it takes many more people working hard over a period of time until the rest of us get it. In all endeavors, we all are both leaders and followers at some point in time. The concept of Universal Wellness is not new, but it certainly is becoming a BHAG with many leaders and many followers of Natural and Functional Medicine.
Bob Root in his new book Chemical-Free Skin Health outlined many of his concerns over the widespread use of Triclosan in foods, products and skin care. The article below was dated today in the Natural Products Manufacturers newsletter.
From Natural Foods Merchandiser
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to ban the antibacterial chemical triclosan in consumer products, in response to a petition submitted by 82 environmental and public health groups led by Beyond Pesticidesand Food & Water Watch. Continue reading Triclosan Ban Could Be On The Way
In an effort to bring relevant information to you, we occasionally find interesting reports. This one tags onto the EWG Fragrance Report and includes concerns we have had for a long time regarding unlisted chemicals in fragrance found in household products.
New book, “Chemical-Free Skin Health” premiered at the California Women’s Conference.
Keys creates ECO Island.
Keys product chosen by Maria Shriver for second year in a row for speakers’ gift bag.
Long Beach California, October 25, 2010, California Women’s Conference. “Chemical-Free Skin Health” is a new book written by Keys founder and Chief Technology Officer, Bob Root. The book is the first written by a natural products industry formulator to help users make better buying choices for safer cosmetics and safer personal care products. Bob Root offered, “I wrote my book because I realized that many people want safer cosmetics and safer personal care products, but they did not know how to go about making buying decisions. I created ‘Chemical-Free Skin Health’ to give people a sort of users guide to help make better choices. I ask my readers to Stop, Challenge and Choose! I want them to stop buying products that can harm them, challenge conventional thinking and choose the right solutions for them in a quest for better skin health by using natural products.”
Bob announced the beginning of a book focused on skin health over two years ago at the Natural Products Expo West. His book will be published in early October and Bob will officially launch the book at the 2010 California Women’s Conference. Maria Shriver chose Keys Luminos for last years Women’s Conference for the speakers gift bag. This year, she chose Keys Solar Rx for the speakers gift bag.
The book, titled “Chemical-Free Skin Health” with a subtitle of “Stop • Challenge • Choose” will be published by Orion’s M42 publishing company and will be sold on the show floor by Vroman’s bookstore. Bob will be at the show signing the books.
Keys will be exhibiting in the newly created section called the “ECO Island” which features green sustainable products. For those attending, Bob and Wendy will be in the Keys booth along with Kathleen Beaton, Hollywood makeup artist and writer of the Foreword for Bob’s book. Kerry Malouf, motion picture makeup artist and beauty editor for Malibu Magazine will also be in the Keys booth in the ECO Island. Continue reading On The Press! New Book by Keys Founder – Bob Root
Comments of the personal care industry, by Bob Root, Keys CTO
“The world is a changen,” is an old southern phrase. It generally means that new things continue to appear at a little to fast a pace. The concept of safe cosmetics does not fit into that phrase. I believe we are actually returning to the basics and our roots from not a too distant a past.
Our first lotion was a refined version of one my grandmother created. She taught me to make a very fine lotion that she used to simmer on the pilot light (Google ‘pilot light’ if you are under 40) on the stove. She had long since passed-on by the time I started Keys, but I remembered the formula and process. Very emollient, Tortuga rivals the department store brands at a fraction of the price. Why, because it is all natural whole ingredients and not 50+ chemicals designed to mimic a real natural lotion. Continue reading The Story of Cosmetics • Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Chemical Warfare Chapter 12: Biocides: Indiscriminate killers that create super bugs?
For almost two years, I have been working on a book draft titled, “Chemical Warfare.” It is a book focused on simplifying information about personal care and household products uses and concerns for public safety. As I studied, I realized how much hearsay there was in the industry. Taking a scientific approach, I turned to the research community for insights and facts…as best as they are. Part of my dedication was and is to release information that is important in real-time. Books, after all, are merely a snapshot in time and pale in comparison to real-time information gateways like our blog.
It is that time of year again when the various sunscreen reports come out.
The Environmental Working Group 2010 Sunscreen Report is out a couple of months early.
Once again, Keys Solar Rx receives great marks in the Moisturizer with SPF category.
I offer the title above with a great deal of respect for this years EWG 2010 Sunscreen Report. I use the colloquial title because for the first time I feel there is a report that we can all read and understand. Good on ya EWG for making something that we can read and learn as well as drill down for the details.
This year there are some interesting changes in the report that might not be very apparent, so I will try to hit some highlights to simplify it for you. Most notable is that the ranking system is gone and it is a very clear, concise easy to read educational document. Continue reading EWG 2010 Sunscreen Report – Sunscreen For Dummies
As a part of my ongoing series of looking at the Dirty Dozen Chemicals shown to provide elevated cancer rates in people and animals, in this article, I outline why we do not use parabens leaving the judgmental diagnosis to the NGO’s attacking them. The Dirty Dozen Chemicals are a list of 12 developed originally by the Marin County Cancer Project which at the time, had the highest Cancer Rates in the US. Followed by Search For The Cause and Teens Turning Green the list is now designated the Dirty Thirty.
So, are parabens good guys or bad guys? Both it seems and there is a why we do not use them as well.
Below is a scavenged description of parabens from Wikipedia. On the surface and from a chemical perspective they do their job. Many chemists and companies support their use based on a belief of safety. I believe that they are looking at the wrong reasons for safety.
Our society seems to primarily look at safety as, “will what we put on our skin hurt us directly?” I believe that we should be looking at whether it hurts us based on contact and will it cause something else to hurt us because of it. Continue reading Parabens Good Or Bad Guys
Ingredients, Skin Deep Report and Everything Else…
Musing from an interview with Bob Root, Keys Care CTO
I recently took up Storm Chasing as a hobby… Just kidding although I feel like one of those guys chasing Tornado’s in the Midwest when it comes to the natural products industry.
I was recently on a conference call with various members of the Natural Products Manufacturers Association enraged about a change that the EWG had made in the rating of Vegetable Emulsifying Wax from a 1 to a 4. The tone was angry because as Compact Signers, we were not given a why, who, what or a heads-up at all to the change. As of the time of the call, no one knew why the ranking was changed, who provoked it or the reason for the change. Normally, I would not address this here on our blog, but there has been so much uproar at the consumer level that our customer service, sales and marketing teams asked for some clarity. The title of this article maybe should have been Williams Shakespeare’s, “Much Ado About Nothing!”
The EWG just released a report on Fragrances. Below is a part of the report and links to read the entire report.
What is important to understand is that these same secret ingredients are used in personal care and household products. That familiar brand fragrance of Tide, Dreft and dryer sheets come from fragrance developed in the same process as the cologne’s and perfumes listed in the EWG Report.
This report is not startling to us, but it will be to you. It is clear and concise as well as very easy to understand. Simply if it has a long lasting smell, it is a good chance that your products have some of these secret ingredients that are talked about in the report.
A new iPhone application promises to inform the consumer of which products should be avoided using a database of INCI names and the ingredients allotted safety profile.
Cosmetifique can be used with both the iPhone and iPod Touch and claims to have a searchable database of over 5,000 ingredients, in INCI format. Results for ingredients searches come back highlighted as either red, orange or green, to denote whether the ingredient is good, acceptable or should be avoided. According to application designer Alfredo Delli Bovi, this can inform the consumer whether the cosmetics they have bought or are planning on purchasing are dangerous to their health or the environment. Cosmetifique also allows favourite products to be saved with the name, brand and colour, which can then be shared with friends via email, facebook or twitter. Delli Bovi explained that the ingredients suggested as good are natural and green ingredients. “We talked to make-up gurus and 90 percent of them preferred natural ingredients, so we don’t suggest chemical ones like dimethicone,” he said. A local scientific agency provided much of the information for the application as did webservices, explained Delli Bovi. The application is now available to purchase from Apple’s App Store at a price of $1.99. The company website is http://www.cosmetifique.com/ BTW, the cosmetics industry is up in arms over this app 😉
In keeping with our commitment to keep you informed about studies dealing with the Dirty Thirty chemicals, here is a synopsis and link to a recent article regarding phthalates in personal care products. Please note that we have tracked the use of phthalates in room fresheners, scented candles, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, cologne/perfumes and a high percentage of personal care products. The consumer simple rule that we suggest is that if a product has a strong fragrance that lasts for a long time, it is most likely synthetic and contains a form of phthalate. When in doubt inquire to a product manufacture for assurance that their products do not contain phthalates.Keys Engineering
Personal care ingredient linked to ADHD
A new study has linked phthalates, a substance used in some shampoos, lotions, air fresheners and children’s toys, with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although research on the health effects of phthalates (pronounced “thalates”) has been somewhat inconsistent, the latest study, published in Biological Psychiatry, adds to troubling findings about the chemical.
“These data represent the first documented association between phthalate exposure and ADHD symptoms in school-aged children,” Yun-Chul Hong, MD, PhD, senior author of the study, said in a statement. He and his colleagues came to their conclusions after measuring urine phthalate concentrations and evaluating ADHD symptoms in 261 Korean children, age 8 to 11 years. They found that the higher the concentration of phthalate metabolites in the urine, the worse the ADHD symptoms.
Some studies to date on phthalates have linked the chemical to hormone disruptions, birth defects, asthma and reproductive problems. Other studies have found no significant association between phthalate exposure and health risks.
So what happens when over 20,000 women convene at a special conference in Long Beach CA hosted by The People’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger and California First Lady Maria Shriver? Well, we are about to find out! Keys is excited to participate in the CA Women’s Conference events on Monday October 26 and Tuesday October 27. During the event, Keys is exhibiting with one of its LA based retail partners Lavender Natural Beauty. If you are in Long Beach, please visit with us on site at the conference in Booth 846.
I am struck by the great potential for thousands of women who I believe will be inspired by what they hear, see and feel in the next 2 days. Perhaps the greatest gift is listening to others passionately share about the defining moments in their lives. Recognizing defining moments, on the job, with their health and at times of great loss and great celebration is a monumental step to helping women to find their voices. During the next several days, I look forward to hearing from thousands of women, individually, as they share their own defining moments and speak out about what is most important to them to fully live their lives.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), protects consumers from fraud or deceptive business practices, voted 4 to 0 to update its rules governing endorsements, and the new guidelines require bloggers and celebrities to clearly disclose any “material connection” to and including payments for an endorsement or free product.
This is the first time since 1980 that the FTC has updated its rules on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. In addition to covering bloggers, the new FTC rules state that celebrity endorsers can be held liable for false statements about a product, and all endorsements must include results consumers can “generally expect.” Previously, an advertiser could cover their claims by the disclaimer “results not typical.” Continue reading Blogging…Not So Innocent
How Does Luminos Work…A new generation of makeup by design.
By Bob Root, Keys Technologist
Authors note: Everywhere I go, women and men come up to me say, “Show me that Luminos thing you do?” What they are talking about is a little illusion I do with Luminos that is more than an illusion. I turn my hands, palms down, show them the back of my hands and then rub Luminos on the back of just one hand. Two seconds and I show them the back of both hands again, side-by-side. The Luminos hand is clear, smooth and any redness is gone. I move from one lighting area to another to show them that the illusion remains in any light. Then I explain how a TV show inspired its creation. Invariably, the first question is, “How did you do that.” I answer…Magic!
Painting Faces: Luminos Background – How it began!
Keys was thrust into the Hollywood scene with our Eye Butter. Invited to present Eye Butter to 300 Hollywood makeup artists I was exposed to a lot of industry jargon. What struck me the most was that the makeup artists referred to themselves as “face painters.”
As Eye Butter grew in popularity, I realized that we had something different. Eye Butter was different than anything else because it softened, illuminated and brightened the eyes. Makeup artists liked it because they kept telling me that it’s like a clear foundation that hides defects without covering the skin…Eye Butter grabs the makeup and holds it lighter and longer.
At Keys, we have a core philosophy to not use any chemicals in our products that remotely have health concerns, known allergens or irritants. Like many, we started our business based on a need and we try to minimize negative marketing. If we were to list all the no’s, it would fill an entire web page. We chose to use the term chemical-free although it outrages the chemists of the world. All of our ingredients are on the labels and listed with the EWG Skin Deep Report.
So the purpose of writing about the Dirty Thirty is to give you an education of what chemicals are typically used in skincare, what they are intended to do and why you do not want to have them in your products.
Our own list of no no chemicals and natural ingredients tops 1100. Yes, some are natural and they are on our no-use list because they are too aggressive, too toxic or too useless because of efficacy or quality. This article is about the Real Dirty Thirty chemicals that top the bad-boys list.
One of the premier conferences every year for and about women is the California Women’s Conference hosted by Maria Shriver and the Governor of California. This year, Keys was honored to be invited as one of the sponsors of the conference being asked to have our Luminos be included in the speakers’ gift bags. Many conferences permit vendors to buy their way into participation. For this conference it is an invitation only honor that delighted us to receive.
There will be 118 speakers from the entire globe that includes Sir Richard Branson, Kelly Preston, Maria Shriver and numerous noteworthy speakers. Click Here for a complete list of speakers.
The conference covers a wide array of topics and is a concentrated two day event. Keys will also be partnering with some of our retailers in Southern California and will be exhibiting our full line of products.
Key Luminos continues to gain momentum as one of the hottest products in the Hollywood TV, Motion Picture and for Television Commercials. The illusionary effects and glowing skin resulting from Luminos has caused quite a stir from the like of “LA Candy” and is well known by director of photography and makeup artists in the industry. No surprise it will be a significant part of this year’s gift bag to every speaker. Continue reading Keys Chosen By California Women’s Conference
One day when I was young, I was reading an issue of Popular Science Magazine with a story about a bold project to put man into space. I was so excited. Like many young people, I fantasized about flying in space. I became an avid follower of early rocket pioneers and awaited the day when the first manned rocket would launch.
A few months before the first test launch was to fire, my mother, in sheer terror, headed for church to join other devoted to pray for the salvation of mankind. When I asked her what it was about, she exclaimed that “the world will come to an end when that damned rocket punctures the sky.” …”We have to prepare by praying for our salvation.” This was a defining moment for me because I did not believe her fears or the need to pray for my salvation. I found this belief so curious and it probably set my life’s course in technology. I wondered how people could make stuff up and spin into a mass fear of destruction. Continue reading Nano Zinc Oxide… Hundreds of Studies Show It’s Safe! Really!
Whitepaper by Wendy Steele, Keys Founder (updated from 2007)
Your skin is the first thing that people notice about you—at every age! We often take it for granted. The fact is we rely on our skin health to protect us every day of our lives, as the body’s first defense from the damaging effects of the environment.
What you choose to do to your skin has everything to do with the skin results that you will get. Everyday, people use soaps, scrubs, gels, toners, lotions, creams, skin lighteners, brighteners, faders—and the list goes on! Most of these products contain chemicals that can sensitize, irritate and even weaken the skin.
The absolute worst culprit for lifetime damage and irritation of the skin is the relentless everyday effects of solar radiation. How much time you’ve spent on the beach blanket or at the pool in your lifetime does make a difference in how your skin looks today. In the case of melanoma skin cancer, if not detected early it can kill you.
It still astounds me when I hear someone say; “I’m just working on getting a base tan” as if it is good for you! How did an entire generation flock toward the beach with the belief that the sun was good for you and act as if tanning was healthy, attractive and desirable?
Circa 1960’s- 70’sTanning culture rides the wave
Picture a sun-drenched California beach with young muscle builders, beach babes and surfer dudes. Back then, the “Ho Daddy’s” were actually the want to be surfers that hung out on the beach, in hopes of cruising with the beach babes. The genuine surfers didn’t care about all of the beach hubbub; after all they really just wanted to catch the perfect wave and hang ten. Continue reading Solar Flare! What you don’t know can kill you!
I spend 300 days a year on the road, out and about with our customers, retailers and at industry events. I receive numerous questions every day. The majority are inspiring and educational for me.
Almost daily, though, I receive questions that relate to opinions expressed by some people or companies that are not based in fact, and literally scare people. They strike fear in people and I wonder what motivates these fearmongers to use negative marketing to further themselves or to try to elevate themselves in other peoples’ eyes.
We see both companies and journalists using fear tactics to try and sell themselves, products and publications. We call this the FUD factor. FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and this combination is the antithesis of facts. I see ads, blogs and opinions that border on criminal irresponsibility, because their content will often scare people so badly that they stop using their prescription products, thus threatening their lives. Continue reading FACTS Versus FUD
Once again Keys Solar Rx tops the best and safest sunblock on the Environmental Working Group 2009 Sunscreen Report. Now two years in a row, Solar Rx tops the Moisturizing Category for the safest and most effective sunscreen protection. Wendy Steele, Keys CEO said, “I am thrilled for Keys to be #1 again. I am even more thrilled for the people this report will touch because the EWG has refined this years report to be a significant tool in the prevention of skin cancer in children and adults. By seperating Beach and Sports for everyday sun protection, creating the Mosturizer with Sunscreen category is profound and a huge leap for the advocates of sun protection and sun avoidance. As an Inner Circle member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, I am so proud of this years EWG Sunscreen Report and want to extend my appreciation for the dillegence of the EWG Team! The members of the EWG team that created this report can leave for their 4th of July holiday knowing that they will have saved countless lives. Good On Ya EWG!”
Bob Root, Keys Founder and Technologist was interviewed by Beth Greer, author of “The Super Natural Home” on her radio show, The Super Natural Mom, yesterday. The broadcast was live and can be heard by click the link below or the download link. (large file, so we do not recommend downloading). There were a number of subjects discussed including the meaning of the word “Natural” and “Organic” in the safe cosmetics market as well as misuse in the traditional over-the-counter skincare market. Also discussed are some of the chemicals commonly used by skin care companies and the potential health hazards.