by Bob Root
Clean, Caring, Concerned and Diligent!
Everyone want to know these days what is in your products, what is not in your products and how does the making of your products effect the environment. I thought it might be lighter to use the title Green Piece with an ‘i’ because that is what the PR people call the eco statement that a company offers. Often these are full of $5 dollar words and platitudes. So, I have attempted to inform here without using too many words or big words that have no meaning. I am sure I have missed something, so make sure you use the comment box to ask me your questions.
Keys is not just another natural products manufacturer. We design skin care solutions that solve problems. If there was a FDA category for Natural Medicines, you would find Keys there. What you will notice about our products is that we present them as natural solutions to problems with features, benefits and advantages offered. We are not a company that focused on scents, nor do we add any ingredients to scent our products. Although many people comment on the way our products smell, it usually begins with adjectives like clean, fresh, earthy et al.
It was about seven years ago that Keys burst on the scene of the Natural Products Industry when we exhibited at the Natural Products Expo trade show. It was synergistic that about the same time that many well known “natural products” manufacturers were exclaiming that they were going to remove the Dirty Dozen chemicals from their products over the next few years that we showed up with none of them. When the show opened, many were shocked to see that we created stable functional products that had none of the Dirty Dozen. In fact, we never had them in our products.
Keys cause and mission was to create products for people with sensitive skin, post cancer recovery and for people with chemical based skin disorders. We simply could not use the Dirty Dozen as well as hundreds of other chemicals and fragrances that were commonly used. Our mission at the show was to not out-do others in what seemed to be more of a PR race. We were there to provide niche market products which we labeled as Chemical-Free Skin Health® We presented ourselves, not just as a natural product, but skin health products that competed with pharmaceutical products for efficacy and that are natural…chemical-free!
What does natural mean? To us, it is the use of whole ingredients that are naturally processed from plants, herbs and botanicals. This means no synthetic man-made chemicals. It also means that we can trace every ingredient and every constituent ingredient back to their origin. For example, we use whole natural virgin avocado oil, we know the grower, we know their process and we know what was used in the grove where the fruit was harvested. We know this for all of our ingredients.
What we do not use is as important as what we use. Even though we say whole natural ingredients, sometimes it is important to point out what we do not use to assure people of the integrity of our products. To begin, there are no Dirty 30, Dirty 100 or Dirty 10,000 chemicals in our products. No man-made chemicals. That means no sulfates, parabens and all the other no’s that you see on labels and advertising. This pushes down to the ingredients that make up some of our combined ingredients. Our ingredients are whole which means that they have not been modified or obtained from genetically modify plants.
Our products are gluten-free, vegan, not soy based and use no corn. All ingredients are on our labels. All!
We use and develop functional ingredients to improve skin health. This is a relatively new science developed from some old world methods where we use whole fruits, herbs, botanicals, spices and plant ingredients placed into a “worting” fermenting like process and then extracted using a steam process to architect ingredients that serve a specific purpose. We give these ingredients names like Ariane and Miras to help distinguish what they do for the skin. Almost all future development at Keys is in this direction. You can read more about it in the Keys Science article.
So as a bit of background, we developed all of our products using ancient remedies upgraded with modern technology and pharmaceutical ingredients in therapeutic proportions. Although many of the products have their roots in centuries old recipes, we have refined our processes using sometimes exotic methods to make our finished products. For example, many companies us aerated homogenizers to get a fine smooth finish to their product. Air means oxygen and that means faster spoiling of the final product. So, we use infrasonic sound waves emitted by specially designed propeller tips on powered mixers. Does the same job with no air added into the products. The list of innovation in how we process our products is long and each are designed to improve the results you get from our products.
When we began to make Keys products, we realized that we had to replace chemical germacides like parabens with natural ingredients that slow bacteria growth to a minimum. The simple solution would have been to require that our products should be refrigerated. That was neither practical or reasonable. The solution for Keys was a combination of natural ingredients and food-like preparation process controls.
Bacteria in the form of Gram Positive rods exist on our skin, in our food and all around us. It is normal and in many cases, beneficial. Like probiotic supplements that we take to increase the flora in our gut, the probiotics on the skin are equally as important. As manufacturers, we could opt to kill them using parabens, but the potential danger of these chemicals and the effects they have on some people precludes us from using them. Worse, killing the bad using parabens also kills the good that creates imbalances on the skin making it susceptible to disease. Natural preservatives like rosemary extract really help, but cleanliness is the best first step in maintaining the skins natural probiotics. So cleanliness is perhaps the most important thing a manufacturer can do to make a trustworthy product.
Cleanliness to us in the manufacturing process is quite rigorous and necessary to create products that have reasonable best used by dates. The real secret to long shelf life natural products is a combination of a clean manufacturing environment, ingredients with low water content and a packaging environment with little to no air. To start the process, all raw materials sent to Keys are inspected for microbiology levels far below industry standards. The we clean our vessels using super-heated steam to sterilize them in a similar fashion that a surgeon uses an autoclave to sterilize their instruments. Our compounders (aka chefs) wear lintless disposable clothing and special hair protection to ensure a clean work area. Our factory is a cleanroom like environment that is cleaned using cGMP and ISO 9000 standards.
Finally, our containers, labels and inks are recyclable. Everything! We precycle by not using any external packaging and our packing materials are state of the art paper based components. This even goes down to the fact that we use paper tape to seal the boxes. Each of our product packages are carefully selected for maximum performance extending shelf life and for the lowest environmental impact. We use no packaging that has a tendency to be easily infected from the outside environment. This includes the airless containers seen in the video below.
I recently watched a Science Channel TV show showing how one of the name brand “Natural” manufacturers make their products. I was shocked to see people without hair nets, masks, lint-free clothing and dumping ingredients into open vats from open cardboard boxes used in shipment. My first thought was amazement and then I thought that I had better explain to our customers “How It’s Made” at Keys so that no one thinks we make ours that way.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth 10,000 pictures. The video below describes how we make our Solar Rx from batching to labeling. Everything you see is in a cleanroom style environment and portrays how we make all of our products. Clean, caring, concerned and diligent. The care and concern is obvious. That is why we say that our most secret ingredient at Keys is our positive intension in every product.