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Review :: Keys Simple, Affordable, Natural + Organic Skin Care

Typically I wait at least a month of using a skin care product to write about it but not in this case. I've been using Keys skin care products exclusively for the past two weeks and I just can't keep it to myself any longer.

{The Story}

The story of Keys is a heartwarming one. Silicon Valley CEO unexpectedly falls in love with a VP at Coca-Cola at a retreat and it changes their life forever. They leave behind their jet-setting careers for a simpler life on his (Bob Roots) boat in sunny San Diego. They are devastated when they discover she (Wendy Steele) has melanoma skin cancer. Wendy undergoes countless cancer treatments and according to her, the treatments themselves were not as bad as the recovery and aftermath she suffered through. It became the norm for her to wear huge rimmed hats, dress head-to-toe in protective SPF clothing and slather prescription lotions all over her body each day. Her skin became increasingly sensitive, dry, itchy and covered in sores and was diagnosed with eczema, psoriasis, acne and more. They moved out of the sun and away from San Diego and Bob's mission was to help Wendy relieve her constant pain and discomfort.

As a longtime user of a well-known organic castile soap brand, Bob encouraged Wendy to use his pure and simple soap. It was much too dry for her skin, so he put his love of cooking to work and began concocting sample batches of soap for Wendy in their kitchen. He searched the world, including small villages in far off continents to discover ancient remedies and natural healing sources. He had ingredients shipped in from all over, mixed batch after batch, and each time would place it in the shower in a bottle with "Try This" written on it. She tried 100 different formulas until she found "the one". This was Keys first product and its now called Island Rx Healing Shampoo & Soap. After leaving an unmarked bottle in their shower for their many houseguests to try, they were asked repeatedly where this soap could be purchased and instead of telling them that Bob made it, they would just give a bottle of their homemade soap. After numerous requests and consistently good feedback, they knew they were on to something and decided to launch Keys, the brand.

"We believe that over 50% of all skin disorders in people and pets are misdiagnosed and are actually caused by chemicals in everyday products and the environment!" ~Wendy Steele, Keys CEO

{The Review}

The ingredients are so simple, its shocking really. It makes me truly wonder (again) why other "natural" and/or "organic" brands feel they must defend their inclusion of synthetic and/or toxic ingredients. This line proves they're not necessary and that we shouldn't buy into the lie that they are. The ingredient lists are short and in plain English which will be refreshing to those tired of having to translate and decipher ingredient lists. The contents are 85% organic on average and after throwing many questions Bob's way last week, he provided very thorough replies including this one:

"We test all of our ingredients in incoming inspection using a spectral chromatograph. This will detect any pesticides or foreign ingredient snuck in by suppliers (i.e. parabens). Many organic certified farms use old equipment to harvest and produce. I have found motor oil residue and metal shaving in organic ingredient. No pesticides, but still they have junk in them." ~Bob Root, Keys Inventor/Owner

Keys touts that their products are "chemical free" although they are specifically referring to those of the man-made variety. These are referred to as "natural medicines" due to their use of effective ancient remedies and modern technology (pharmaceutical grade natural ingredients at therapeutic proportions).

The reasons I believe this line will resonate with many of you is due to their price, purity, performance and multi-purpose products (yes, that's a lot of "p's"!).

Island Rx Shampoo & Soap :: There was a time not terribly long ago when I couldn't deal with a facial cleanser unless it foamed. Bubbles = clean (or so I used to think). I test out a lot of facial cleansers nowadays and of course now I know that foaming action doesn't always mean its best for skin. Especially now when my skin feels dry, I have avoided most foaming cleansers because they tend to dry my skin out - but not this. I'm getting the best of both worlds, foaming and hydrating. This is a true value product considering how long this will last you. 3-4 DROPS is all I use to clean my entire face and neck (yes drops, not squirts!). I have the 1 ounce travel size, have been using it for 2 weeks day and night and there is hardly any evidence that I've used it. This will most definitely last me more than a month (no joke!). I would call the aroma spicy, herbal and mild. The base of this is a 300 year old castile soap recipe combined with essential oils, avocado oil and the contents are 85% organic.

*Note: I'm using the Island Rx Therapeutic Castile Shampoo & Soap - Original Classic, not the Foaming Facial Cleanser as shown in the picture above (although I plan to try it soon). According to Keys, the difference between the Foaming Cleanser and the Original Formula is the foaming pump-top dispenser and inclusion of 2% water (to thin the product down to allow it to foam properly with the dispenser) while the Original Formula is concentrated (contains no water). Apparently the Foaming version was created due to numerous requests from customers who were using way too much of the concentrated version and the pump top is more convenient for some. They are $3 difference in price, so it really is just your preference.

Luminos Facial Moisturizer :: At first, I was not sure what "created for high definition television" meant when reading the description, but I think I do now. Not only does this feel amazing on skin, but provides a soft sheen which I'd describe as a subtle glow. This provides a great amount of hydration and I use it during the day, sometimes mixed with foundation. To eliminate that caked-on, dried out look that mineral makeup can give, Keys recommends mixing a dry mineral foundation with this, which I haven't tried - since I don't have any at the moment, but its a great budget-saving tip! I use a very small amount of this - less than the size of a pea and add just a couple drops or water so that I can spread it on very easily. LOVE. IT.

NOTE: I'm normally a girl who needs (or think she needs) toner but I haven't been using any with this regiment, so right there you'll save some dough!

Eye Butter :: There's a very good reason why Hollywood makeup artists love this product. I've tried eye creams that reach up into the $60-$100+ range and was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about because instead of seeing results, I was seeing price points jacked up because the word "eye" was in the name of the product and feeling very thin and watered down product that didn't change a thing. None of them matched the results or feeling of Keys Eye Butter which will set you back a mere twenty bucks. Thick and creamy, this leaves the thin skin around my eyes feeling and looking totally hydrated. This is a great base for eye makeup during the day and I love using it at night before bed. The aroma is exotic and midly spicy, but it doesn't irritate or sting like some eye creams I've tried. Its also very concentrated and very little goes along way. I'm using the trial size and again, I'm not even half way through it. You can grab the generous sample size for just $2.95 here which at this rate looks like it will last a month.

Tortuga Hydrating Lotion :: This is a must-have, multi-use product for those of you with dry skin. I would never have guessed that I could use one product for my hands, face and lips. After washing with Island Rx, I use this on my face at night along with the eye butter and I wake up with very happy, highly moisturized skin.

With Spring and Summer approaching, you may also be interested to know that Keys Solar Rx is a face and body lotion with SPF 30+ and Skin Deep has given it a "0" rating (0 to 10 where 0 is best).

I highly recommend this line and if you're just not sure, check out their totally affordable trial and travel sizes (all of which will set you back just $2.95 and you can be sure these will be in my bags on my next trip)! I have a strong feeling you're going to want the full sizes soon thereafter (like I am). And be sure to come back and tell me what you think. And if you've already tried them, how did they work for you?

P.S. I have normal/combo skin that is dry due to the weather at the moment so I don't know how these will perform on oily skin types though they are supposed to work well for various skin types. If you're unsure try the samples first.

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