Posted on

RediCare – A Featured Star of the Keys Line

RediCare – Born Out of Hurricane Katrina

Wendy Steel, Keys CEO & Founder

RediCare began just after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, Louisianna. We had an excellent therapeutic lotion named MetaCare that contains Ayurvedic Neem and Karanja oil. What happened next was the creation of a new product called RediCare.

We were at a pet trade show outside of Washington, DC. We had a booth there, and early on the first day, a uniformed ranger named Rod came by our booth with his dog, Tye. He had Tye lay down, and his belly was nothing but rashes, open sores, and inflamed. I asked what happened and he told me that he and Tye were in New Orleans on a search & rescue mission along with a bunch of other dogs and handlers. He asked if we had anything. I grabbed a MetaCare lotion, and Rod smeared it all over Tye’s belly. You could see the relief instantly, and it made me tear up. Luckily, I noticed that Rod’s hands were equally inflamed, and I encouraged him to spread it on his hands. They left, and I was busy with a lot of people interested in Natural products for their dogs, so I did not think much of the incident.  

About an hour later, Rod showed back up with Tye and flipped him over on the booth carpet. Believe it or not, Tye’s belly was almost healed, and Rod’s hands were much improved. He wanted to buy the lotion, and I told him that because it was a tradeshow, we were not allowed to sell. I asked for his card and called back to the factory to have a bottle of MetaCare sent. My good deed.

What happened afterward was terrific. Remember, at this time, we did not have a pet line and not marketing to dogs. We decided to do the tradeshow because we were toying with the idea and thought it would be an excellent place to get consumer and dealer feedback. Throughout the afternoon, handlers and their dogs started to show up. It was one very young and pretty blonde gal that brought her golden by asking if we had some spray that would work for her long-haired dog that would do the same thing as we had done for Tye. You guessed it, RediCare was born as a sprayable version of MetaCare at that very instant.

The geeky part is that numerous coincidences came together almost to make the product development instantaneous.

  • The week before, a salesperson showed me a trigger sprayer saying it would spray oil.
  • I had an original formula for MetCare that was too liquid. It had the same amount of Neem and Karanja as MetaCare, but came out runny.
  • Mike at our label company called to ask if he could double up one of the labels so they could gang a full run of labels. No, I said, I have a new product to add to the run
  • I had initially thought of putting MetaCare into a 4-ounce bottle with a lotion pump. So, the label I had in development fit the new RedCare bottle and all I had to do is change the name of the product
  • We had a bunch of dealers from the show that wanted to get going with us but wanted a unique “Go-To” everything product. Yep, RediCare

So, RediCare came together almost overnight, and the first dozen bottle got shipped to the blonde ranger for her and the other long-haired dogs.

That story spread quickly, but not as soon as RediCare became a super-multipurpose product. It is a sprayable moisturizer and lotion. It repels 200+ insects. Works for horses. People with diabetes use it because it sprays on for sensitive skin. The list goes on. It was so much of an outpouring that we created this fun advertisement here that showed all the uses.  

To this day, RediCare remains in our Top 10 products and has as many pet users as people. Its sister product, OmniCare was what we thought would replace RediCare in the dog market, but dealers stick with the tried and true RediCare.

The last bit of anecdotal thought is that our team referred to RediCare as Windex. Why do you say? There was a famous movie called “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” There was an older man in the film that used Windex on everything from scrapes, cut, polish tables, clean mirrors, etc. You get the analogy.

RediCare is our most versatile product and one of the most beloved. Hang a big star on RediCare

Posted on

Jams World Making N95 Masks and They’re Cool.

Jams World
Click To Go To Jams World Site

Jams World N95 Mask with Attitude – Mahalo

I only collect one thing. They are Jams World Vintage Hawaiian shirts. Can you imagine my surprise when I got an email saying they were making and selling a mask to ward off viruses?

Before you jump to confusions, these masks are the real deal and look very cool. Let me explain!

Tight Weave and Carbon Fiber

Much of the principle of a good mask to ward off viruses is a tight weave. Jams World uses a rayon that is the tightest weave because they want to have the bright colors set and hold. On top of that, they have developed and inside the filter that includes a tight weave and a carbon layer.

Here is from Jams World (Link)


  • Washable/Reusable Face Mask
  • Includes Two Insert Filters – PM2.5 N95 Made of 5-Layer Activated Carbon Filter, Non-Woven + Melt-Blown Cotton + Activated Carbon.
  • S – 2 1/2 inches x W 7 1/4 inches, Center Length is 3 3/4 inches (Children up to 12yrs)
  • M – 3 inches x W 8 inches, Center Length is 4 1/2 inches (Women’s)
  • L – 3 1/2 inches x W 9 inches, Center Length is 5 inches (Men’s)
  • 100% Spun Crushed Jams World® Rayon
  • Made in Hawaii

Jams World Filter Construction

Filter Specifications

Set of Two Disposable Insert Filters for Jams World Face Mask – PM2.5 N95 Made of 5-Layer Activated Carbon Filter, Non-Woven + Melt-Blown Cotton + Activated Carbon.

The Jams World Mask is $15.99 with Two Filters.  Extra Filters are available.

N95 Protection, But Not 100% Says Science

Jams World is quick to point out like all other mask makers are that no one is 100% sure that masks help.  Most are pretty sure and therefore cannot make 100% claims of prevention.  I put it in the “can’t hurt & probably helps category.”

Posted on

Frequently Asked Question In the C-19 Storm


It would be irrational if I did not say these are odd times. We are all in a turbulent storm.  A world dilemma has brought us lots of questions. Touchwood, our factory is still running, and we have been swamped. One of the busy areas is questions we are getting on our info email, customer service, and social media sites.

We started to notice a pattern, and we know that if we get a question on a topic, there are 100 who have the same issue but did not ask. So, we have created a composite FAQ section below that seems relevant to our times.

I must add that many of the answers may seem to be self-promoting. We don’t want to look tone-deaf, and at the same time, most of the question usual start off with “Which of your products can I use for-” We do try to offer some open suggestion, but we want to make sure that we are upfront in a time when there is lots of self-promotion.

Okay, some of these are very general and some very specific. Please try to keep that in mind as we answer the questions.


Keys Customer Service

Here we go:

Question: I have been using hand sanitizers for a few weeks, and my hands are a wreck. What do I use?

Answer: Our Tortuga lotion is the most emollient lotion we make. It is chock full of avocado oil and Shea butter. The alcohol is drying, as is washing hands with detergent. Tortuga solves it right away and has not glycols to irritate further.

Question: I have been washing my hands with dishwashing soap, and they look and feel terrible. Anything I can use that will work.  

Answer: Our Galleyon antibacterial soap is designed to reduce bio-mass as antibacterial soap. It is Castile and has avocado and spearmint oil that leaves a monolithic coating of oil on the skin. So, it cleans and lubricates. Our Island Rx, Windsurfer, and MetaClean are equally as good. Galleyon contains spearmint oil, which does affect some types of bacteria and viruses.

Question: My hands are dry with cracking between the fingers. What can I use?

Answer: Guessing that you are washing with a soap that contains sulfates. These have been shown to create eczema and psoriasis type symptoms. Washing with Galleyon may help. If they are really cracked, our MetaCare ayurvedic lotion will help reverse the problems. MetaCare has Neem and Karanja oil. Google the benefits of these two oils.

Question: I have been locked up for three weeks and my diabetic skin has really flared up on my back. Do you have a lotion that will help?

Answer: We have a sprayable lotion called RediCare. It has Neem and Karanja oil and is sprayable. So, it does not have to be rubbed in. For years, diabetic skin suffers have used RediCare. My guess is that because you are3 in one place that seasonal allergies may be bothering you more. It seems like, on top of everything, allergies are more intense this season.

Question: I have heard that alkaline soaps are better for washing than neutral soaps. Are your soaps alkaline? What is their pH?

Answer: Yes, but we are not sure what you heard is true. Covid-19 is a lipid covered hydrophobic virus. The act of breaking down lipids is the main goal. Washing with detergent or our Castile-based soaps works equally as well with no real proof that higher pH helps. To answer your question specifically, our soaps range from alkalinity of 9.2pH to about 10.0pH.

Question: Your soaps talk about being micelle-based. Micelles seem to have a similar structure to some viruses. Do they help?

Answer: Wow, a really astute question! We don’t know, and yet, our scientists are asking the same thing because of the hydrophobic nature of micelles. I suggest you follow Dr. Rhonda Patrick in San Diego. She is involved with Salk Institue there.

Question: What do you recommend as far as a going ot regimen for your products? Do you do the same thing coming home.

Answer: The first obvious answer is to stay at home. I understand the question, and we have a unique reply.

Going out:  

  1. Wash your hands with detergent or Galleyon soap
  2. Wear a mask and gloves
  3. Spray sanitizer as needed on gloves and hands
  4. Avoid people

Coming Home:

  1. Strip and wash your clothes
  2. Spray hands with alcohol-based sanitizer
  3. Wash with Galleyon
  4. Use Tortuga lotion to moisturize

Question: Do I have to wash longer with Galleyon soap than if I use a conventional antibacterial soap.

Answer: Not really. Although most people do not wash long enough, most professionals recommend 20 seconds wash time. We recommend surgeons wash time regimen, which is fingertips to elbows for 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes. Some surgeons wash for 10 minutes before gowning up. Please wash at least one minute to make ‘me’ feel better.

Question: I love the scent of Island Rx Micelle Facial Cleanser. Can I use it to wash my hands?

Answer: It is not recommended because Island Rx Cleanser is diluted for the face. Use Island Rx liquid soap instead. It has the same scent, but stronger.

Question: What is the difference between your moisturizers/lotions? Not sure which one to buy.


  • Luminos is a light facial moisturizer that adds luminescence to the skin and is great under makeup moisturizer.
  • Tortuga is our most emollient lotion and is for very dry skin. It can be used on spot areas on the face and all over the body. Perfect hand lotion because it absorbs fast and is not sticky
  • MetaCare is Tortuga with Neen and Karanja oil added. It is an ayurvedic therapy lotion for skin disorders. Google the benefits of Neem and Karanja for the skin.
  • AvoJel is an avocado oil-based jelly that seals the skin like petroleum jelly but without the petroleum side effect. It is for the most extremely dry skin or where chafing may occur.
  • Urban Shield is like AvoJel, but with ingredients designed to solve skin disorders on dehydrated skin and as a protectant trapping environmental issues. It is truly a shield against allergens and some pathogens.

Question: My doctor recommended that I cover my skin in a thin light lotion because I have severe itching, and I live in the desert southwest. What can I do?

Answer: Often, we find that the itching is a direct result of glycols in lotions and soaps. This is especially true of body washes that are designed as a moisturizer. So, there are a couple of tricks.  

  1. Mix a base oil like avocado or olive oil in with a Castile soap like our Island Rx or Dr. Bronner’s. These soaps will take about 1% to 3% without separating. When you wash, the oils cling to the skin, and only the soap washed away. You will notice the silky feel quickly and get hooked on the feel.
  2. Our MetaClean soap has about 6% oil level made up of avocado, Neem, and Karanja oils. It has the same effect as the DIY above, but with a medicinal bent.

Question: My doctor gave me a prescription for my dry cracked hands. It seems to have made them worse. What can I use?

Answer: This is a huge problem because most prescriptions contain huge amounts of glycols and parabens. Both are known to cause extreme skin conditions. I honestly do not understand it. I cannot legally tell you to stop, but I will not also tell you that we have anything that will overcome the effects of a paraben bacteriacide or glycols. It is up to you. If it was me, I would wash with our Island Rx or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile and use lotion like Tortuga. You should feel and see the difference in a few minutes.

Also, please search for the cause. There may be something you are using on your hands that have glycols and parabens in them, which have been shown to cause the symptoms you describe.

Okay, these are just a few of the many questions we are receiving. We will amend them as we hear more unique problems.

Posted on

Speed Is Life! – Join The Keys Wholesale Family

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Merz Apothecary, A Valued Keys Partner for 12 Years

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.

Abdul & Anthony

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.

The Transformation

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.

The Internet

Recognizing the opportunity to offer an expanded vision of health and personal care, Abdul and his son, Anthony, founded 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.

The Expansion

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.

The Present

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.

Wendy Steele, Keys CEO

Posted on Leave a comment

Micelle Cleansers – Not New and Beware Petroleum Versions

Micelle Cleansing

Everywhere you read, people are introducing micellar water, micellar cleansers, and micellar tonics. Funny, when we launched our Island Rx Micellar cleanser 16 years ago, not many listened or cared. What did happen, though, is that it became one of our top selling products because of our vegan micellar structure. The reason for that is that micelle in the soap makes it clean deeper and leaves the skin not harmed like chemical-based detergent facial cleansers.

Micelle is Not a Chemical

Over the years, the general first question we get about Island Rx, MetaClean, and Windsurfer is, “Are Micelle a chemical?” No, it is an ionic structure created by the soap making process that both loves and hate water at the same time. We use this principle of science to allow the micelle to like water on one side of the ionic bond, and it loves oil on the other side of the ion. Micelle is why we can deliver ayurvedic oils or moisturizing oil via the soap. This functionality is a huge deal, while the micelle also offers the ability to remove grime from the skin without stripping oils. All said scientists in school take a long time to understand how and what a micelle does. What is right for you, is that we know it.

Continue reading Micelle Cleansers – Not New and Beware Petroleum Versions

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Keys? Our Retailer’s View

Become A Keys Reseller from a Resellers Point-of-View

by Wendy Steele, Keys CEO

Wendy Steele, Keys CEO

Often the question we get from prospective resellers is, “Why should I become a Keys Reseller?” We decided that it might be best to check in with some of our current Apothecaries, Pharmacies, Coops, and Natural Markets. So, we reached out in a survey format, and here is what came back. Many resellers responded with Merz Apothecary, Santa Monica Homeopathic, People RX in Austin, Mothers Market, Erewhon, W3ll People, Dorothy Lane Market & Healthfood Unlimited offers:

  • Natural products that work.  “Every product was designed around a skin condition or problem.” They do what they say they do.”
  • Whole natural ingredients. “Ingredients are never estered or processed. Each component has a historical functional use and matches synergies with other elements.”
  • Custom Extracts.  “I love the fact that they make their own extracts. They are custom designed by Keys and made in their factory labs.”
  • Ancient remedies using modern technology.  “They have reached back into aboriginal and ayurvedic medicine to find remedies. They then use new technology to make them easier and safer.”
  • Not sold through distribution.  “I love that Keys has a direct connection with us. Distributors are good for commodity items, but when people need answers about why a product works, I can text my Rep, and someone in technology from Keys gets back to me with answers.”
  • Not in Big Box Stores.  “Keys focuses on the local retailers that are trusted in their communities. They do not sell to Kroger, Walmart or other chains that are merely pushing products through their checkout lanes.”
  • Feature, Benefit, and Advantage based products. “Every product does something where end users can see, hear, and feel the differences. It is not the fragrance of the week club, and Keys provides the technical expertise where customers want to buy and try.”
  • Functional Products.  “Every Keys product does something where customers can expect noticeable results.”
  • Natural Integrated Epinegenic Results.  “I work in our Coop, and I am an eastern medicine practitioner. I understand the need for products to interact with the lifestyle of people.”
  • Skincare, Ayurvedic Therapies, Anti-Aging, and Integrated Petcare.  “We carry the full line of Keys products and appreciate that they have responded with products that fit our customers like a glove. Keys understands that beauty and anti-aging is different from someone with a rash or eczema. Their dog care products are equally functional with both topicals and supplements that fit the heartbeat of the market needs.”
  • Good margin per square inch. “My Keys rep said to me that Keys product had more cash profit return to my bottom line than other HABA products. So I measured the footprint on my shelves and looked at the hard cash profit per item. I was amazed that it was almost 2X any other product on my shelves.”
  • Returning buyers.  “We order Keys products like clockwork because when people try Keys, they come back again and again. We took the time to promote Keys functions and features to customers, and when they bought, they come back to buy more and try more of the Keys products. The products sell themselves”
  • Industry leaders.  “There is a lot of noise in the natural products industry — some fake and some very biased. Keys has been around for over 15 years and part of many movements like the EWG Skin Deep and SafeCosmetics. Unlike many, they tell their truths and back it up with data. No opinions, and only the facts are refreshing.”
  • Thought leaders – Chemical-Free Skin Health®.  “I am a pharmacist and owner of an apothecary. The Keys founders actually visited us to do training. I challenged, Bob, as the author of Chemical-Free Skin Health. We went at it on various subjects for a couple of hours. He learned something about my business, and I learned that he knows what he is talking about.”
  • Bob Root Conducting a Seminar at Dorothy Lane Market

    Authors & Industry Speakers- Advocates.   “Bob & Wendy, Keys Founders, have been in my stores many times delivering speeches and messages to my customers. It is always on point, current and, more appreciated, is that the talks are never sales pitches. They care about helping my customers.”

  • No Minimums.  I buy a lot of Keys products, but a handful of line items. We probably carry 15% of their product line. Often, a customer of mine that buys a Keys product or two will ask me if I can order a specific Keys product that I do not carry regularly. Keys will let me order one of something, and it does not have to be combined with my regular order making the customer wait. I can text in my request for one of something, and it arrives in a few days at the regular wholesale price.”
  • No Big Sales Pitch.  I get tired of salespeople coming in with the deal of the week loading me up with products that everyone else sells. I do not want to compete with Walmart in the first place. Keys reps talk about features, benefits, and why my customers will appreciate a product. Very refreshing to speak to a rep that knows what their product does.”
  • Demo’s and Marketing. (Suspended because of C-19) “I allow demos in my stores because customers love to try products, and I think demos are the best way to do that. Keys demos are by knowledgable people. They arrive on time and stay until they are finished. This alone is refreshing to see someone that is alive.”
  • Keys Expo West Booth

    Sample Sachets.  “I love that Keys provides small sample sachets of most of their products free to me to hand out. Our state and liability insurance have pretty much-killed testers on our shelves, and frankly, they are difficult to manage. Keys provide us 5ml foil packs with live samples of their products. Hand them to a customer, and they come back.”

  • Positive Attitude.  “I just like these people. They support me, listen to me, act when I need help, and truly understand me. That alone makes them fun to deal with and professional.”
  • Online Ordering.  “Keys has both online and assisted ordering.  You can but through the website when approved or email/fax in your orders 24/7.”


At Keys, we let our customers and our products speak for themselves. Thanks to all that participated. We could not say it better ourselves. 😀

Posted on

Keys Epigenetic Skincare – Musing about Functional Skin Health

We make epigenetic systemic changes to our physiology every day — Consciously and mostly Unconsciously.

Bob Root – Keys Founder & Scientist

There are many things that we can do in our lives to change our genetic processes. We have found that one of the significant enigmas as humans is inflammation. It is measurable, but at the same time, very distant and diverse. Inflammation is external chemical factors or internal changes like stress. Stress itself is unusual because anything the afflicts itself on our bodies is stress in a form.

We have found that many chemicals used in skincare are often looked at as benign when viewed by itself and in micro quantities. However, when combined in an aggregate way or with other chemicals, the conglomerate creates physical stress on the body.

Take methylparaben. Parabens are used at ~0.05% concentration in most skincare claiming its use as a preservative. It is a biocide chemical. It is a very bad-ass chemical that kills good and bad bacteria indiscriminately. True, but imagine the statistic that the average woman uses 38 different products a day on her skin, and each contains 0.05% methylparaben. That is a cumulative 19% level of methylarabben and is considered extremely toxic at those levels. At 0.05%, it is a bad-ass. At 19%, it is toxic. Now combine the same methylparaben with a Phthalate fragrance, and you have a hormone disrupter that could be interacting with your body’s insulin levels. None of this is proven, but it is speculated by the contrarian scientists and medical thinkers. How much in our life is refuted by the establishment only to be (pro)found to be true? If you live in a big city, more than likely, your benzene levels are out of tolerance. If you are a smoker, the benzene levels are borderline caustic. We will not change the establishment, but we can change ourselves.

Recognize the principles of epigenetics, where our behavior and lifestyle change our genetic processes. A simple example of this is in a recent book I wrote called “Keto Plus,” where I changed my lifestyle to go to the Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and going Sugar-Free. I became a “Fat Burner” and lost a lot of body fat percentage. What it did was to alter my genetic food profile from the outside-In. My food intake ratios went from carbs to fats like avocado, butter and olive oil.  The actural ratios are 70% fat, 10% carbs and 20% protein with no sugar.  Epigenetics is all about outside influences and this is merely one simple example.

I am in the skin business, and I have known for years that if you get Chemical-Free and use alternative whole natural ingredients, you can physically change the architecture of your skin in a form reversing or at least slowing the aging process. Really.

There are some fantastic guru’s that are on the front lines. Gary Taubes, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, and Dr. Jason Fung are ones you should pay attention to for the facts about epigenetic. I am pretty informed, but I do not have the “Cred” that they do.

The message is still pure. You are responsible and in charge of your health & wellness. Take charge of your life and well-being.

Posted on

Hormone Disrupters and Insulin Resistance

Do Hormone Disrupters Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

Bob Root – Keys Founder & Scientist

I am in the skincare business, but also a wellness advocate.  I am a firm believer that much of our skin and body aging is affected by chemicals in our lives.  From time to time I find things out that go beyond our business, but are worth noting as someone who cares about society.

Since writing my book, “Keto Plus,” I have not stopped investigating anomalies that I marked down as I researched my book. There are a couple of people I stay close to in their work. One particular person is Gary Taubes, whose books buck conventional thinking about health, wellness and nutrition.   

Now enter my book titled, Chemical-Free Skin Health. It was in the back of my mind as I wrote Keto Plus because a lot of research kept touching on hormone disrupters and the effects on obesity and weight gain. I dedicated a lot of space in CFSH to hormone disrupters as the concept was the basis of the original “Dirty Dozen” chemicals in skincare products as positioned by “Search for the Cause.” As a side note, this organization was initially funded by George Lucas in the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal of the organization was to find out why there were elevated cancer rates in the area. They conclude that it had something to do with the “Dirty Dozen” chemicals.

Forward to now, and the Dirty Dozen have grown to the Dirty 100. Among these chemicals are parabens used as preservatives, phthalates used as fragrance enhancement, and fire retardants. All purported to disrupt hormones. Cancer is the big one, but phthalates in young men’s fragrances are theoretically the cause for lack of sexual development at puberty and beyond. To my surprise, when I found out that BP-A might be a hormone disrupter to insulin, it got my real attention.

If you contact Dr. Google and search for hormone disrupters, you will find a few days worth of intense reading. It will be no surprise to me that many writings by Gary will popup.  There is so much to read and by some huge scientists that the conventional thinking is now questionable.

Insulin is a Hormone

I live a relatively clean life food-wise and in my external environment. I am mostly in dark sky communities, but I realize that I am a potential victim of my settings. Travel and encounters are probably not great, but when I do blood tests for environmental toxins, I test pretty well in heavy metals. Realizing there are no real tests for hormone disrupters started to make me wonder, “Was my elevated glucose blood levels potentially caused by a hormone disrupter stored in my body fat?”

Now consider that type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. There is a lot of debate and speculation about what insulin resistance means. The nature of research is to drill deep into a subject. Unfortunately, in medicine, analysis usually starts as an opinion, and the research itself is to prove that opinion. In short, if your hypothesis is that most cars are red and you only look for red cars, your analysis would prove that out categorically, albeit flawed. Researchers are often incorrect about their first principle assumption when it is opinion-based. It is tough for me to research where the issue is immediately confronted with contrarian opinions. How can you study when you cannot arrive at a fundamental principle that is worth investigating? For me, the premiss that type 2 diabetes is caused by too much sugar in an individual’s diet seems plausible on the surface. What if nutritional and environmental hormone disrupters created insulin resistance.

In another article, I pointed out that almost all skincare products use parabens at about 0.5% as a bactericide preservative. Parabens kill all bacteria, good and bad. Now multiply that by an average 38 products, an average woman uses a day on her skin, and you realize a 19% concentration of parabens on the skin. What goes on the skin goes into the body.

I am not saying parabens cause insulin resistance, but what if some other hormone disrupter did?

Dr. Google

Out of curiosity, I Google’d, “Can hormone disrupters cause insulin resistance?” I was pretty shocked at what came up, and my old friends at the National Institutes of Health dominated the topic. So, I logged into my “PubMed” account and followed my nose. Here is what they said:

From NIH Pub Med

The etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus involves the induction of insulin resistance along with the disruption of pancreatic β-cell function and the loss of β-cell mass. In addition to a genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors seem to have an important role. Epidemiological studies indicate that the increased presence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the environment may also play an important part in the incidence of metabolic diseases. Widespread EDCs, such as dioxins, pesticides, and bisphenol A, cause insulin resistance and alter β-cell function in animal models. These EDCs are present in human blood and can accumulate in and be released from adipocytes. After binding to cellular receptors and other targets, EDCs either imitate or block hormonal responses. Many of them act as estrogens in insulin-sensitive tissues and in β cells, generating a pregnancy-like metabolic state characterized by insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Adult exposure in mice produces insulin resistance and other metabolic alterations; in addition, during pregnancy, EDCs alter glucose metabolism in female mice, as well as glucose homeostasis and endocrine pancreatic function in offspring. Although more experimental work is necessary, evidence already exists to consider exposure to EDCs as a risk factor in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus and other diseases related to insulin resistance.

Key Points

  • The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has increased dramatically worldwide, making the disease one of the fastest-growing public health problems
  • The etiology of T2DM is based on the induction of insulin resistance together with functional disruption of insulin-producing β cells; genetic predisposition and environmental factors play key roles
  • Some widespread endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), at concentrations found in human plasma, induce insulin resistance and alter pancreatic β-cell function in cellular and adult animal models
  • Epidemiological data indicate that exposure to EDCs is linked to an increased risk of diabetes mellitus in adults
  • Data obtained from pregnant mice and offspring indicate that short exposure to the EDC bisphenol A during pregnancy disrupts glucose homeostasis in female mice and their adult male offspring
  • Sufficient scientific evidence is available to consider the exposure to persistent organic pollutants, including bisphenol A, a risk factor for T2DM and other metabolic disorders

 Holy Shit!

When I read this, my first reaction was “Holy Shit.” Maybe Gary Taubes and others are already on this, but I am now not sure. “Were the toxins locked in the fat tissue and released during Keto? Is that why my glucose levels are down?”

Film at 11

I don’t know for sure, but I am sure this is going to be the basis of my research as I drill into the subject. If I hit some box canyons, I will let you know. I do encourage you to research the topic for yourself. Not whether hormone disrupters cause insulin resistance, but could other disrupters cause other hormones, you may be deficient in, from being functional.

So for me, my first principle basis for researching is, “Hormone disrupters cause type 2 diabetes.” I hope that Taubes and others with far more cred jump in on the hypothesis.


Posted on Leave a comment

Is Resistance Futile! How To Survive Amazon?

“Death by Jeff?” aka Amazon.  Who is next?

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.

Bob Root – Keys Founder & 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:

  1. Join the “Buy Direct” movement and carry only products not sold by distribution (aka commodity)
  2. Carry products that not sold in mainstream grocery stores or Amazon’s grocery stores
  3. Carry products that are functional and on purpose
  4. Regain margins by offering differentiated products  
  5. Educate consumers as to why the products you carry are better than the commodity stores
  6. Reinstate the Pharmacy, Apothecary and Natural market as a trusted advisor in the community
  7. Stop trying to compete with big-box stores by driving down manufacturers’ pricing stifling their product innovation.
  8. 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.

Posted on Leave a comment

About Keys

Melanoma Was The Keys Beginnings

Bob Root – Keys Founder & Scientist

I have never told my story. Most of everything we have written is about Wendy’s fight with Cancer and stupidity in the skincare market intermixed with how I created our products. So, since it is 15 years in business this year, I just felt like writing down my perspective of who we are.

In 1994, I met the woman of my dreams. In 1997, I nearly lost her to Melanoma cancer. Dr. Hugh Greenway at Scripps in LaJolla, CA saved her life. The prescriptions so severely hurt her that the experience became the basis for the invention of our products. The experience changed my life and my purpose. Read our book, “Defining Moments” and will get a tiny glimpse….tiny… of our lives together.

Keys was born was out of strife and conflict. It was a confusing time where any action was better than no action. Everything on the market was full of junk and even the “natural” brands had parabens and sulfates. It was 2004 when the first four products debuted at the Natural Products Expo and the years since have been full of change, innovation, and staying true to our purpose. It shocked the industry when our newly minted sunscreen, Solar Rx, was featured as the most effective by Consumer Reports Magazine, and the EWG ranked it the safest out there.

Click To See On Amazon

Another Defining Moment for us is when Maria Shriver as the first lady of California invited us to exhibit at her California Women’s Conference.  Not only did she give us this great opportunity, she asked us to place products in the speaker’s gift bags.  She also helped me to launch my book, “Chemical-Free Skin Health®” next to Dr. Oz.  It was amazing with over 30,000 women mixed with 126 celebrity speakers including Jane Fonda, Oprah, and Caroline Kennedy.  She refers to our products as, “So Pure.”

What has not changed is our dedication to the basic principles that I defined to design and build our authentic niche products. While big brands flex to the market trends to be more natural, they tended to be of a marketing effort than a reformulation. At Keys then and now, our principles and dedication to functional products have not wavered. It is simple yet hard.

Continue reading About Keys

Posted on

Keto Plus – A New Book by Keys Founder, Bob Root

Keto Plus Book – Turbocharging the Keto Diet

Click Cover to buy on Kindle Amazon
Bob Root – Keys Founder & Scientist

I decided to create my own version of Keto by combining the Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting and giving up sugar.  When I told friends, they said I should write about it.  So, I took a few days off over the New Years break to write Keto Plus.  It is a short book of more the why and how I did it versus justification.  If you are looking for a way to drop pounds quickly, this $3.99 Kindle read might just help you understand the process.  The references to the guru’s I found are worth the price alone.  😉

Here is the “Why” in a nutshell.

I needed to lose weight fast. I had to drop my blood glucose faster. My clothes were telling me I had to lose inches, and a fat percentage test at the docs confirmed it was time for a change. Travel was getting the best of me, but I was not that out of my ideal weight.  What was wrong was my body fat percentage and blood glucose levels.

Keto diet alone was not going to be fast enough for me. So I reached back into my history and combined Keto with intermittent fasting. I then did the unthinkable, unimaginable change to go sugar-free. The result was 25 pounds down, body fat down from 22% to <6%, and my clothes hung on me. The ultimate was that I felt worlds better. This book is about how I did it in 90 days.

Keto Plus, came about when a blood test showed I had an elevated glucose level. As an autodidact, I drilled into the solution. As a scientist, I found some real doctors that were not only controversial, but they bucked the conventional wisdom with some shocking facts and revelations. This book’s foundation comes from hundreds of hours researching effects, studies, and points of view of contrarian experts.

“I discovered my holy grail of the fountain of youth! It is what I call Keto Plus because it combines the Keto diet, Intermittent Fasting, and going sugar-free. I became a “fat burner.”

What I really did was to reprogram the way I fuel my body and life. Think of it like looking at cars in a used car lot and the salesperson asks, “what kind of fuel do you want your new car to burn. Do you want gasoline, diesel, or electric?” I realize that I wanted to stop burning carbs (gasoline), avoid too much protein (diesel), and consume only electricity (fat) in my body. So, I set out to change my carb dominant diet to fat, creating a new ratio of fat first, protein a distant second, and almost no carbohydrates. 

So what is Keto Plus? There is an underlying assumption for this book. It is “Being Fat Is Not Healthy and Sugar Kills.” To lose fat, you must first stop eating sugar, eat fat to lose weight, and lower your body fat percentage. My secret is a strict Keto diet, an 8-hour food eating window, and eliminating all sugar from my diet, including fruit.

It is truly a lifestyle, but first, a philosophical change. “First Principles Thinking” about this epidemic of obesity and sugar born diseases alter conventional thinking. The research and realities I encountered became Keto Plus.

Sugar in human diets has not been around for long. It saw its beginnings in the late 1800s, but became dominant in the early 1900s during the “cereal wars.” Yes, just a few men took down a nation.

Here is the Keto Plus punchline.

The moral of this story is that to attain all the results of this book, “You Must Stop Eating Sugar!”

  • Our bodies live on three sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 
  • Fasting was the way of life for our ancestors. 
  • Raw sugar in all of humanities diets did not exist 200 years ago.

Change your approach!

  •     Keto teaches how to burn fat.
  •     Intermittent fasting helps the body burn fat.
  •     Cutting out sugar does not allow the body to regress to a state of dependence.
  •     Minimizing carbs helps Keto to make you a fat burner. 

There is a simple ratio of food intake on Keto: 

  • 70% Fat
  • 20% Protein
  • 10% Carbohydrates

Following this rule, I went from 22% body fat to 5.9%, eating mostly good fat.

Keto Plus – The Challenge

Are you capable of living outside the establishments thinking? 

    • Do you want to lose inches everywhere on your body?

    • Ditch diabetes

    • Lose body fat!

    • Release and use all your fat-soluble vitamins

    • Reset your life

    • Change your attitude about everything

    Keto Plus – Lifestyle change and not a diet.