Working with a dedicated team of doctors, pharmacists, and care specialists, Keeps is an online men’s health brand that provides access to affordable, scientifically-validated, FDA-approved medications that can help stop your hair loss before it’s too late—without ever leaving your couch. And all of this without jargon, hoops to jump through, or gimmicky marketing.
Simply answer questions about yourself on their website and upload a few pictures, and a licensed physician will provide a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan within 24 hours.
From there, you’ll receive a daily treatment supply once every three months—and since Keeps built their own supply chain and sells direct to customers, you pay half the price for these medications as at your local pharmacy. If you need assistance at any point, the company emphasizes that their friendly, trained care specialists are just a phone call or email away.
The same hair loss medications at half the price? No waiting rooms or pharmacy checkout lines? Delivery to your door? There certainly seems to be a lot to like about Keeps, but be sure to read this brief article in advance so you can make the most informed decision possible.
The Basics of Genetic Hair Loss
As we discuss in How to Choose a Hair Loss Product, Even if You Don’t Know What to Do, hair loss can be the result of many different causes (or, combinations thereof), including vitamin deficiencies and other poor nutritional habits, excess stress, grooming and hygiene habits, and certain medications, to name just a few.
However, the most common cause—experienced by about 50 million U.S. men—is something called androgenetic alopecia; more commonly known as male and female pattern baldness.
In those with this genetic condition, a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) “attaches” to hair follicles and begins to shrink them, so that their natural lifecycle becomes increasingly shorter. Eventually, the follicle ceases producing hair altogether.”
While there’s currently no cure for pattern baldness, two of the most common clinically substantiated treatments include Finasteride and Minoxidil, both of which Keeps offers. Before we take a closer look at how these might help, though, let’s investigate their examination process.
How Does Keeps Work?
Overall, the Keeps process works over three steps:
Step 1: The Questionnaire
You’ll start off by entering basic details like your name, date of birth, gender, and email address. From there, you’ll dive into more detailed topics like:
Hair loss – When did you first notice it? Where on your head are you experiencing it? Have you noticed stray hairs in any of the following places (shower, pillow, brush, in food, etc.)? Any symptoms of itching or burning scalp, sudden and recent increase in hair loss, dandruff or greasiness, changes to skin color? Have you taken Minoxidil, Propecia, or anything else to address your hair loss in the past?
Lifestyle – Indicate your choices (do you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, smoke cigarettes, eat a restrictive diet, work out with extreme intensity?). Have you experienced any of the following over the past three months (death of a loved one, major surgery or illness, loss of a home or job)?
Photos – Here, you’ll take photos of the top of your head, your hairline, and your crown, and then upload them to the site. (If necessary, you can skip this step and come back to it later.)
Part of the examination process involves uploading images of the top of your head, hairline, and crown. You can use your computer’s camera, or you can utilize previously taken images. Credit: Keeps.com
Medical History – Any other family members (parents, siblings, etc.) experiencing hair loss? Have you been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction? Have you already seen a healthcare professional for your hair loss? Taking any current medications or supplements? Health conditions? Allergic to any medications? Anything else you would like the doctor to know?
Despite the number of questions presented here, we completed the process in less than 10 minutes, after which we entered our personal information, including address and phone number.
Step 2: The Review
Within 24 hours of submitting your information, one of Keeps’ contracted physicians, who’s licensed in your state, will review your case and complete your consultation, at which point you’ll receive an email notification.
The doctor will also use your answers to create a recommended treatment plan, involving one or more of the following products:
Note: If you already have a prescription, you can skip this step and purchase treatments directly through Keeps.
Step 3: The Plan & Products
After receiving your email and logging back into your account, you’ll be able to see what your doctor recommends and then place your order accordingly. This will arrive within two to three days, with auto-refills shipped every three months.
Finasteride (brand name Propecia/Proscar, among others), 1 mg – An FDA approved prescription medication often used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate, as well as androgenetic alopecia.
Without going into unnecessary detail, it’s a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, which works by potentially blocking the effects of DHT. As mentioned on the Keeps website, it often only reduces, but doesn't always stop, hair loss, and it can be effective on all parts of the scalp, including the hairline, crown, and vertex.
Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine), 5% Solution – Comparatively, Minoxidil (whether through Keeps or another company) is an FDA approved over-the-counter topical treatment that’s been clinically shown to help grow thicker, longer hair, and actually increase hair count.
However, it’s generally only effective for the crown and vertex areas of the scalp (in other words, it’s not ideal if you’re experiencing a receding hairline), and it can take three to four months of daily use to experience any benefits.
Could Hair Loss Treatments Like These Cause Side Effects?
The Keeps website emphasizes that both Finasteride and Minoxidil, are generally considered safe, although all drugs come with some risk of side effects.
For example, RxList indicates that common Finasteride side effects (no specifics provided) include impotence, loss of interest in sex, trouble having an orgasm, abnormal ejaculation, dizziness, weakness, and skin rash. However, Keeps points out that only 3.8 percent of users experienced some form of these side effects during clinical trials, and they often resolved themselves over time.
In some instances (again, no specifics), WebMD reports that Minoxidil can cause temporary burning, stinging, or redness at the application site. Keeps tells us that some users might also experience some initial hair shedding at the onset of treatment.
When absorbed through the skin, in rare instances, WebMD reports the ingredient has also been linked to side effects like fast/irregular heartbeat, hand/foot swelling, weight gain, chest pain, and difficulty breathing when lying down.
Where Is Keeps Available And How Much Does It Cost?
According to the company’s website, Keeps is currently available in more than 25 states across the country (covering about 80 percent of the population). For men who already have a prescription, they can ship treatments to all 50 states.
To access more information about the states in which Keeps is currently available, be sure to visit their website.
With these details in mind, when ordering through Keeps, you’ll pay:
- Finasteride (prescription required): $25/mo
- Minoxidil (OTC): $10/mo
- Doctor Consultation: First visit is free, $30 per visit thereafter (patients typically only need one visit per year)
Again, you can skip the consultation part if you already have a prescription for Finasteride from your doctor. Minoxidil is available in all 50 states without a prescription.
Per the company’s FAQ, all orders for prescription medications are fulfilled by Eagle Pharmacy, located at 350 Eagles Landing Dr, Lakeland, Florida, 33810.
All orders come with a flat $3 shipping fee. Minoxidil and Finasteride currently aren’t eligible for payment using FSA/HAS, so you need to contact your benefits provider directly if you have questions regarding insurance coverage for these medications.
If you have other questions about Keeps specifically, or would like to cancel your subscription at any time, customer support can be reached at (833) 745-3377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do We Know About Keeps as a Company?
Keeps was launched in January 2018 and is based out of New York, NY.
It was co-founded by Steve Gutentag and Demetri Karagas, who met during their first week of college at NYU Stern School of Business. Ten years later, after Demetri pointed out Steve’s thinning hair, they partnered with Dr. Jerry Shapiro and Dr. Antonella Tosti to create "a convenient, effective, and affordable solution for men's hair loss."
Previously, Steve and Demetri were co-founders of Get Maid and program managers at Google.
Keeps vs. Hims
We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating here: Becker’s Health Review reports that the telemedicine industry (“the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology”) is set to attract seven million patients this year alone.
And based on the number of companies entering the market who are taking advantage of this explosion in telecommunications technology, this growth doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The industry is in its infancy, however, so there’s currently only one other company competing directly for (most of) the same customers as Keeps, who also offers reduced pricing, automatic monthly shipments, and remote diagnosis from a state licensed physician:
How to choose? As with just about any other consumer purchase, the right option for you is going to almost solely come down to your needs and personal preferences.
For example, if price is your primary concern, Keeps’ medications are meaningfully less expensive than Hims, although the latter also sells supplements, a DHT blocking shampoo, and Sildenafil (Viagra) for ED. So, if you’d like to purchase these products as well, the convenience offered by Hims’ one-stop-shopping might make up for their higher prices.
We had the opportunity to exchange emails with a Keeps representative, who emphasized that the company “feels many of these supplementary products are unnecessary and unproven.” As a result, they pointed out several key differentiators compared to Hims, including:
- Keeps is creating the first simple, modern solution, so men will have the opportunity to take action before it's too late. After all, they pointed out, “hair loss is not inevitable, and if you start while you still have hair, it's actually optional.”
- For decades, they tell us, companies have benefited from misinformation and men's insecurities to sell products that don't work or aren't needed. Instead, Keeps promises to only sell products proven to work, while making sure you get just the one or two you need.
Either way, it’s important to point out that in the case of Keeps and Hims, their telemedicine services aren’t intended to replace the care offered by your primary physician.
Our Final Thoughts About Keeps
Continuing this emphasis on personalization, in our How to Choose a Hair Loss Product article referenced at the beginning, we point out that the ‘right’ treatment is largely going to depending on your diagnosis. And this is something only your doctor can assist with.
After all, even if you choose to go with Keeps or the competition, they emphasize that you’ll still need the care of a primary physician. While there, you can discuss the potential pros and cons of telemedicine in general, and Keeps specifically.
With this said, GoodRx reported that the average cash retail price for a 30-day supply of Finasteride and Minoxidil was $78.93 and $29.78, respectively, at the time of our research. As such, while we didn’t test the service ourselves, if saving money and obtaining these medications more conveniently are your primary concerns, Keeps really does seem to deliver.