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.
● 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.
Keys Customer Asked About Organic?
“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