Finding health and beauty products that fit our ethical standards can be tricky for vegans. Luckily for us, Natalie Bauss of Keeki Pure and Simple wants consumers to know that you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics or health for beautiful skin, lips, and nails. Keeki offers a variety of products for face, skin, nails, and lips that are cruelty-free and earth-friendly. They are also locally produced, being based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They never test on animals and are Leaping Bunny and PETA certified as well.
I recently sat down with owner Natalie Bauss, and asked how she got started.
Natalie is a mother of two who lives on an organic farm in West Michigan. She told me that her daughter Kiana (nicknamed Keeki), like many young ladies, was constantly painting her nails, and this left Bauss concerned about the chemicals that she was being exposed to. You probably know the overwhelmingly noxious smell of nail polish and remover. That can’t be good for you.
Knowing what she put into her children’s body in terms of food, she discovered that what they put ON their bodies was just as important. “Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs up to sixty percent of what we put on it.” Bauss explains. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and her daughter’s namesake company was born. “I started out creating recipes in my kitchen from things we’d grown on the farm, just experimenting,” she says. Her daughter Keeki now develops, tests and critiques all products before they hit the shelves.
Here are some of my favorite Keeki products:
1. Nail Polish:
I was impressed by how quickly the polish dried, but the most amazing part was when she told me to smell the nail polish. The normal chemical fume smell of nail polish was non-existent! They come in many colors, named after delicious treats.
Note: Be sure to use their nail polish remover, because it took quite a bit of elbow grease to get it off with the traditional remover I had at home.
2. Day Rejuvenating SPF 15 Lotion & Night Rejuvenating Serum:
I absolutely love this dynamic skincare duo. They are made with high quality, non-GMO ingredients like walnut oil, pomegranate oil, and aloe vera, and green tea.
I used this for a month and wanted to share my before and after photos with you. My skin feels softer and smoother than before, but I see a noticeable difference in the acne scars on my cheek. The first photo was taken April 23rd, 2015 and the second on June 17th, 2015. I do have eye makeup on in the second photo but no concealer, etc.
Their sunscreen (available in 15, 20, and 45 SPF) is vegan and I really liked how easily it went on. I have tried other natural sunscreens in the past that went on thick and seemed impossible rub in all the way, leaving me looking “ghostly.” Keeki’s sunscreen smells great (reminiscent of Banana Boat), was absorbed quickly and works well. I wore their SPF 30 to Cedar Point recently, and left the park completely unscathed by the sun that was beating down that day.
Natalie is heavily involved in research and development and has many more products in the works, so this is definitely a company with an admirable mission to keep an eye on.
Do note that not all of Keeki’s products are vegan as they use beeswax, particularly their lip products (although Natalie is experimenting with alternatives). Be sure to check the ingredients for each product if beeswax is something you avoid.
Always, always, always make sure to do your research and don’t take anyone’s word for cruelty-free and vegan status. Not even mine, as formulas can change anytime. Do your homework!
- Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free App lets you peruse their cruelty free shopping guide on your mobile device. Also available for Android. You can also do it the old fashioned way on their website.
- There is an excellent app from the wonderful people at The Beagle Freedom Project who work to rescue animals from laboratories and exposing the animal research industry called Cruelty Cutter. The app enables you to scan health and beauty items before you buy and immediately find out if they are tested on animals. I especially like this app because of their Bite Back feature. When a product shows up as not cruelty free, with one click you can use your voice on behalf of the animals to blast the company on whatever social media you have enabled in the app.
- Check your cosmetics and skin care products in the Environmental Working Group’s database at www.ewg.org/skindeep for potentially harmful ingredients.