Natural Botanical Skincare, Haircare & Makeup Products
with LevensESSENTIE Gold® organic herbal extract
Over 100 Years of History
It All Began in Holland Over a Century Ago
LevensESSENTIE Gold® (Dutch for "Essence of Life") is something my grandmother developed for her salon in Holland; an extract from organic herbs for extraordinary, homemade skin and hair-care formulations.
This formula is still used and over the years has been modified by our pharmaceutical way of powerful extraction; it is still called LevensESSENTIE Gold® and used in all our products to this day.
My father and mother had beauty salons in Holland where I was taught the basics of cosmetology. Later, I went to Paris to watch Grande Haute Coiffeur Maitre Alexandre doing the hair of the high society of Paris; then I returned to Holland where my parents ran successful salons.
Clients Loved My Non-Emulsified Shampoos
My big breakthrough was my creation of a non-emulsified shampoo. When tested on eager customers in my salon at "Night Shampoo Parties", they loved it! I took the advice of a cosmetic chemist who urged me to add chemical emulsifiers so "the product would look better."
But my clients protested immediately that the "improved" formula did not produce the same fine results. I reverted to the original formula and never again gave in to change for the sake of aesthetics.
This was my first lesson in listening to the wishes of consumers; not to what chemists were telling me.
I became involved in a battle with the Dutch government in 1984.
They wanted to close our factory because I refused to test my products on animals. Two of my aunts who were nuns helped me, by testing the products on themselves. They managed to enlist fellow convent residents to support the worthy cause. Nevertheless, the Government delivered me an ultimatum: test on animals or close the factory.
As a result, I moved our factory to the United States and, during the happy years that followed, introduced many new products which repeatedly demonstrated that my humane, natural methods do work.
The entire story is in my book "A Natural Legacy".
Crossing the Atlantic to America
I was reading the newspaper, when an image caught my eye. It was a large group of people dressed up in bunny suits holding protest signs along New York’s famous Fifth Avenue in front of the headquarters of one of the biggest cosmetic companies in the U.S.A. My gut instinct told me that my life was about to change for the better. I jumped on a flight to New York and went to an FDA office to present my case for producing cruelty-free cosmetics, which was accepted on the spot, after they reviewed my formulas. We became the very first company in North America to educate the consumer on the importance of avoiding cosmetics tested on animals, and sales were successful almost right away.
Innovating: Natural Color Lipsticks
Studies released in the 1990s in Japan and the USA revealed serious health concerns regarding the use of chemical FD&C colors. Reacting to these findings, I made a bold move and removed all chemical colors from our cosmetics.
My position as an industry innovator was once more highlighted in June 2001 when a major article in Doctors' Prescription for Healthy Living enthused about Paul Penders natural color lipsticks. Subsequently, many cosmetic companies followed my lead.
The Safe Shopper's Bible Recommends Paul Penders
In 2001, the company received the highest possible rating by researchers David Steinman M.D and Samuel Epstein M.D in their book, The Safe Shopper's Bible, with the foreword by famous consumer advocate, Ralph Nader. This again catapulted Paul Penders into the limelight.
Major Success with AHA's In Paris
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) were the rising stars of cosmetics in 1993.
When I premiered my Citrus Fruit Exfoliant in Paris, this all natural AHA product became a major success.
The Hollywood bug bites!
California is an amazing place and, perhaps because of the sunshine, I thought television was what was needed to take Paul Penders into the big league. With my daughter, Katja, in a Los Angeles movie agency, we started looking for actresses to become the face, and spokesperson, of our 30 minute infomercial. We talked with Hollywood producers and flew, many times, down to Los Angeles. At the last audition before our flight back to San Francisco we met with Meredith MacRay and I knew, in a flash, I wanted her to be my spokeswoman. Meredith was a well-established actress, and a very kind person, who I could only describe as the American version of Catherine Deneuve.
The entire story is in my book "A Natural Legacy".
Relocating To a Virgin Rainforest
My frequent travels around the globe in search of pure ingredients led me, in 2003, to the rainforests of Langkawi Island in the Andaman Sea.
It's a two-hour boat trip from mainland Malaysia. The island, accorded Geopark status in 2007, is truly a paradise, with abundant herbs, plants and flowers. This pristine setting with its luxuriant plant life inspired me to relocate our R&D facilities to Langkawi Geopark. This is the place where Paul Penders formulations are created.
African Travels and Mujonso
A plant, which in Malaysia is called Bismillah, is known in Africa as Mujonso and used by generations of African families for medicinal purposes. I went to Africa to study it, and talked to locals who used the herb as a medicine by adding it to their meals. These Africans know that thanks to these leaves, no one in their families got sick, had diabetes or was obese. That led to my decision to promote this herb as much as I could. I also planted it in our resort, The Ocean Residence in Langkawi, where now over 10,000 Mujonso plants grow organically, for the health and benefit of anyone who wants to get it, and all for free.
The entire story is in my book "A Natural Legacy".
AVA (American Vegetarian Association) is the worldwide recognized standard of vegetarian and vegan assurance.
This professional organization provided us with worldwide vegan certification in 2013, followed by renewals in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. We are extremely proud to have received the great honor of certification, achieved by only a tiny number of cosmetics companies.
American Vegetarian AssociationTM
Men's products Arrived
After an earlier failure, I decided now the time was right to introduce Paul Penders Botanical Certified Vegan Men's Care products made with organic herbs, fine plant oils and various natural fragrances. Enriched with vitamins and anti-oxidants, these are designed to soothe and protect men's skin; even the most sensitive skin.
Sailing expedition to South America
I read an article about the San Blas islands in Central America, and how women were able to keep their skin soft and supple despite the scorching heat and very strong salty winds. They used seaweed native to the area, and I decided to go there to examine this seaweed myself. You can see the entire story in my book and the video in this website.
EWG (Environmental Working Group) in Washington DC rates products based on ingredients to determine ANY health concerns. They require cosmetic companies to submit full disclosure, to be sure these products are free of contaminants and that manufacturing meets all the EWG's rigorous criteria before a company is certified and allowed to use the EWG VERIFIED(TM) mark. Paul Penders Co is the only company so far in Asia that got world-wide certification for ALL our products!
Future in Southeast Asia
Dato Rosman Ab Hamid is a very well-known public figure in Malaysia and Indonesia. He specializes in delivering Public Speaking seminars; he once filled a stadium with 50,000 people who came to learn from him. He is a very kind man with a brilliant mind, and, despite his fame, we instantly became very close. He is a very talented and astute business man, who in a short time got many of his followers interested in the Paul Penders brand. He loves the principle of what we stand for and philosophically we are very similar. The Dato brings to our company his great business expertise. Thanks to his efforts, a first store has opened in Kota Bharu and two further stores will follow in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru soon. The Dato and his team are committed to making Paul Penders products the first choice in organically grown, botanical cosmetics in Malaysia. We are proud to work with the Dato and his wonderful, talented team.
Taking to the Hills
I have a long-held belief that our environment affects everything in our lives, and, by extension, that products born in a beautiful and pure environment will contain the essence of those virtues. For this reason, I have started a new outpost of Paul Penders in the pure and beautiful Himalayas.
To further enhance the power of our skin, hair and body care ranges, we will be using the most amazing, pure crystal-clear water flowing from the Himalayan Mountains. Our unique herbal extractions including, of course, our 22 organic herbs for LevensESSENTIE Gold®, will also use this invigorating water.
Very soon, we are going to add new and exciting botanical makeup products, including liquid lipsticks, eye shadows, blushers, powders and more! All of them will contain our famous 22 organic herbal extract as a base mixed with a combination of natural iron oxides and other non-toxic pigments.
Family and Faith in our Beliefs
Paul Penders is a family affair. Its roots are my grandparents, but its future rests with my children. I trust them to carry forward our traditional family values, and remain true to our core beliefs.
The Future is still all about responsible, ethical botanical cosmetics.
For over 50 years, Paul Penders has striven to create the best organic plant-based products available. One outcome I'm particularly proud of is that my fight against my own Dutch government helped influence the entire cosmetic industry for the better. I am convinced that those who work passionately for what they believe in will make a difference. Now that the company is located at two of the most beautiful and pure places on earth, we shall continue to be, not the largest, nor the richest, but the Best we can be!