Your Beautiful Hair, Part 3: Your hair reflects the stress in your life

Your hair is a sensitive subject.

I’ve been working with hair almost all my life – from early days in my family’s hair salon in the Netherlands to training in Paris to creating shampoos and other haircare formulas for our company for forty years. One thing I’ve learned over the years: Your hair reflects how much stress you have in your life.

Of course, the more you know about hair, the more you realize that the condition of your hair tells a lot. Split ends, snarls, lack luster, or just plain dull hair? It’s very possible the damage is not from outside; there may be something internally gone wrong.

Sudden changes in hair color or condition? An indicator that it may be time to head for the doctor. Extreme stress? An illness or an accident can be the cause for your hair to change color or texture or even fall out in clumps.

Stress can cause major changes in your hair’s condition.

When you experience stress, your body needs its resources to cope. All kinds of processes go on throughout your system to try to bring you back to a more normal state. Even if you try to hide tiredness and stress with makeup on your face, no amount of cosmetics will be able to disguise your need to ‘de-stress’ – because your hair will give you away!

When under stress, be sure to ‘feed’ your hair with nutrient-rich shampoos and conditioners to help it return to the healthiest possible state.

Intensive Hair Repair Therapy
For dry, damaged, permed or color-treated hair.
(4.5 oz – 120 g).
An intensive treatment to revitalize and restore your hair to its natural beauty, specially targeting and repairing split ends. Contains essential fatty acids together with plant extracts and essential oils to restore balance and life to dry, damaged, permed or color-treated hair, leaving it glowing, manageable and beautifully healthy. Use daily on extremely dry hair or as a weekly treatment for normal hair. Contains LevensESSENTIE Gold ®.

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People We Admire – China’s First Lady, Peng Liyuan

‘China’s First Ladyseems to be one of the world’s most interesting women – someone to admire.

A friend of mine posted some quotes on FB from the beautiful and famous singer/actress Peng Liyuan in her newest role as presidential wife. She recently accompanied her husband of some 30 years, the new president of China, Xi Jinping, on a state visit to Moscow – and ‘instantly’ became an international celebrity and fashion icon.

Beautiful wives of leaders who bring glamor, grace, and both inner and outer beauty to the table can have immense influence on their country’s image. The world press has jumped at the chance to celebrate “China’s new face.” Comparing her favorably to the UK’s Kate Middleton, the U.S.’s Michelle Obama, and France’s Carla Bruni, Forbes Magazine named Peng Liyuan this month to their list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”

Peng Liyuan offers interesting advice for women. Here are some of my favorites:

Besides her obvious beauty, intelligence and talent, another reason to admire her is that she has been a strong advocate for public health. She became China’s “Minister of Health Ambassador” for HIV/AIDS Prevention in January 2006 and the “National Ambassador for TB Control and Prevention” in March 2007. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) named her “WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.”

China’s newest president, Xi Jinping, took office in March 2013. China-watchers say he and the new premier, Li Keqiang, represent a new generation of leaders who bring a breath of fresh air with a “more personalised, flexible and self-confident” diplomatic style. He and his wife will go in June to Latin America and the Caribbean, and then they plan to attend a summit in California and meet with the U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife.

Won’t it be great to see the First Ladies from China and the U.S. meet for the first time?


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Ethical Consumerism – Our Promise to You, Part 2

Are you ‘going green?’

Ethical consumerism, also called ethical consumption, ethical purchasing, moral purchasing, ethical sourcing, ethical shopping or green consumerism is a type of consumer activism based on the concept of dollar voting – vote for a product with your dollars and ‘morally boycott’ any products that are not ethically produced.

In the almost 40 years since founding the Paul Penders company, I’ve seen and learned a lot. I’ve traveled to many places. I’ve seen people and animals living – and dying – under the cruelest conditions. It’s become important to me to look for and practice kindness and compassion.

I know people who rescue animals from the streets, who fight in the courts against cruelty of all kinds, who help feed starving people out of the pure generosity of their hearts. These people and their beliefs have become my role models. Many of them have stopped eating meat because they cannot bear to think of the pain they have caused an innocent animal.

The meat industry may be the worst…

At this very moment, millions of chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep and cows are crowded into tiny cages, fed on antibiotics and ground up bones — tortured, tormented and terrified. Why? So that we can have a burger for 99 cents at the corner restaurant? Rainforests and habitats are destroyed to make room for factory farms; thousands of chemicals are poured into the soil and groundwater in keeping these operations running. When I let myself think about the conditions these poor creatures have to endure and the terrible impact on the environment, I find myself turning my back and walking out of the supermarket or fast food chain. I wish I could do more…

Have you heard that global warming is because of too many cow farts? It is estimated that about 50% of the methane gas poisoning our air comes from cows raised for the mass-market meat and dairy industries. If everyone stopped eating beef and drinking milk, our air would immediately get better!

Or have you heard about the many ways that our water supply has been polluted by industry? Acid rain falls even in the remotest parts of Canada. Walk along any beach in the world and you’ll see garbage washed up on the shore. Huge islands of shredded plastics float on the oceans. Rivers run black with sewage and industrial waste.

So this is the world in the 21st Century, the year 2013. It will get better or worse depending on what is fashionable.

Right now, I’m happy to say it seems that vegetarianism and avoidance of animal products has become fashionable! Big Corporations recognize this ‘fashion’ as an important market trend. They attempt to adapt by offering salads at McD’s and KFC, “all natural, all herbal” shampoos and skin lotions, and “eco-friendly” cosmetics.

By adding “Organic” to the label, they can even raise the prices for products. Some companies even sell the same product two ways – as a regular mass-market item under one label and as an expensive luxury item under an “All-Natural” or “Organic” brand!

I like this fashion actually. The people I really admire like many of my closest friends and role models — and the customers who buy Paul Penders products — practice what is now called “ethical consumerism.” They have thought about their choices and what is healthiest for themselves, their families, their communities, and the planet. And shop accordingly…

An ‘ethical consumer’ selects products based on their knowledge, conscience, and morality first, not on which item has the most attractive packaging or the best advertising!

“Ethical consumerism” is a matter of choice.

So – if a fisherman offers me a fish just netted from the sea or one of our village neighbors presents me with a freshly killed “kampong” chicken, I will probably not turn it down and will enjoy the meal. For my own health and conscience, however, I have reduced eating meat and increased eating fresh (and delicious!) fruit and vegetables. When I shop now, I think about where things come from and whether or not my hard-earned money should go to support an unethical company.

For the Paul Penders company and all the products we make, I intend to continue to assess all our ingredients and formulas to ensure that there are no animal products used at any stage in the process.

For almost 40 years, we have kept this promise to our customers:
Paul Penders products are 100% free from animal products
and suitable for use by vegetarians and vegans.

Image courtesy of stockimages /


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The Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden – Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla flower

Common Names: (/’kæm?mi?l/ kam-?-meel or /’kæm?ma?l/ kam-?-myl), camomile (British spelling), from Greek for “earth apple,” daisy, “the friendly flower”
The most commonly used species for cosmetics and skin care:

    Matricaria chamomilla (also known as Matricaria recutita)– German or wild chamomile
    Chamaemelum nobile (Anthemis nobilis) — Roman, English or garden chamomile

What’s the world’s friendliest flower? Many people will say it’s the daisy. There’s something so cheerful about the yellow center with the white petals radiating out around it, like a child’s drawing of the sun. Lovers check their relationships, pulling off a petal at a time while saying, “He/She loves me, he/she loves me not…”

But there’s more to this sunny flower than meets the eye; certain varieties have powerful herbal properties with significant health benefits. Essences from the chamomile daisy are known for calming, moisturizing, and skin soothing properties and may even improve healing and tissue regeneration.

The dried petals of members of the Asteraceae family (which includes daisies, sunflowers, and ragweed) have long been used in herbal medicines as well as modern skin care and cosmetics. Extracts from the petals are made into herbal teas and essential oils.

The wild or “German” chamomile is an annual herb, which flourishes throughout Northern Europe and grows to 2-3 feet tall. The Roman, English or “garden variety” chamomile is a very short ground cover that only grows 4-12 inches high and appears mainly in English and North American gardens. Both varieties prefer light, sandy, acidic soil with good drainage.

Children all over the world first learn about the soothing powers of chamomile from Beatrix Potter’s famous story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Naughty Peter tries to steal vegetables from the farmer’s garden and barely escapes with his life. His mother, Mrs. Rabbit, puts her undisciplined son to bed with a dose of chamomile tea to help him sleep, saying “One table-spoonful to be taken at bedtime.” Like warm milk, chamomile is an age-old remedy to soothe and calm.

Many folk remedies have a proven scientific basis. Chamomile is considered to be to Europeans what ‘ginseng’ is to Asians; it is one of the most important plants used in herbal medicines and there is a growing awareness of its potency among Western doctors as well.

One of the herbs of choice of Asclepiades, a Greek physician who lived around 90 B.C., the word ‘Chamomile’ comes from the Greek words for ‘ground’ and ‘apple’ and is often translated as “Earth-apple.” It is believed the name comes from the scent of the flowers, which resembles the smell of fresh apples. When made into an essential oil, it has a spicy, relaxing scent and has proven healing and antiseptic properties.

Medical use and pharmacology – Alpha-bisobolol

Medicinally, chamomile is soothing for upset stomachs and irritable bowels, and is a gentle sleep aid. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects. Topical applications of chamomile in a cream or lotion promote wound healing and reduce scarring.

Scientists report anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, and mild sedative effects, which they believe mostly come from a component of the chamomile flower that chemists call “alpha-bisabolol.”

Alpha-bisabolol has also been shown to reduce fever and shorten the healing time of skin burns. Alpha-bisabolol is an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin. Alpha-bisabolol is the primary ingredient in the popular Paul Penders Cellular Renewal Serum.

Alpha Bisabolol Cell Renewal Serum

Its major ingredient is clinically proven to reduce scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. With antioxidants, enzymes, collagen and elastin that act as “cell communicating agents,” this serum is a natural power-house product that increases cell regeneration due to degradation and cell damage due to overstretching.
Ingredients and to learn more…                          

Cosmetic uses of chamomile

Chamomile is frequently added to skin cosmetics to serve as a moisturizer or emollient and for its anti-inflammatory effects, making skin firmer, smoother, and better hydrated. Chamomile Extract is also used as a natural skin-whitening agent. It helps by slowing down the transportation of melanin to the skin’s surface, as well as inhibiting UV-induced formation of skin pigment. The appearance of scars and stretch marks can be improved by applying chamomile-based skin products.

In hair products, chamomile is also often used to “bring out the blonde,” enhancing highlights and the color of blonde hair.

A few warnings

Because chamomile can cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage, the U.S.National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume chamomile teas.

Allergic reactions are also possible, especially if you’re sensitive to ragweed. However, the potential is rated as “extremely rare contact allergy.” How rare? A survey by The Honest Herbal reports that between the years 1887 and 1982, only 50 allergies resulting from “chamomiles” were reported in the literature.

“Though the chamomile, the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows,
[like] youth the more it is waster, the sooner it wears.”
— Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act II, Scene 4

Because of its wonderful healing properties for the skin, chamomile is an integral part of Paul Penders’ unique patented herbal formula called LevensESSENTIE Gold®. Paul Penders also uses chamomile as a key ingredient for a number of skin, hair and body care products.

Watch this blog for more from the Paul Penders Organic Herbal Garden. Paul Penders products are formulated from organically grown herbs and flowering plants. Special cold blending and other scientific processes help retain the natural benefits of these gifts from Mother Nature.


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Ethical Consumerism – Our Promise to You, Part 1

Are you Vegetarian, Vegan or just Earth-friendly?

Paul Penders products from our earliest beginnings have always been made from herbs, flower essences, fruit and other plant products. We promise that they are suitable for use by those who practice vegetarianism and even those vegans who completely avoid animal products of any kind.

I admit it. I’ve been known to eat a hamburger and love the taste of seafood when fresh from the sea. But more and more, I’ve come to think about changing my habits and becoming completely vegetarian. Revealing information seems to come to light every day about how destructive the ‘Big Business’ and mass-market approaches are to the world environment. Scientists and medical professionals chronicle the terrible effects of eating processed foods. It’s become quite difficult to avoid the harmful chemicals polluting our food, air, water, and the personal products we use every day.

With so many people sick and dying from the ‘modern Western lifestyle,’ it really does seem to be time to look carefully at our habits and beliefs – and at the products we use. How many of the things we put in or on our bodies – from lipsticks to laundry soaps – can hurt us?

I love animals.

I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dog and I think of myself as a “Dog Person” but I am fond of animals of all kinds. About 40 years ago, I took my shampoo formula to the Dutch authorities for testing. I had this naïve idea that they would wash some rabbits with my shampoo and if their fur was clean and shiny, then my shampoo would be approved. When I saw them force-feed the shampoo to the helpless animals and put it in their eyes, I was so sickened that I vomited there in the laboratory. That day changed my life. I vowed never to allow my products to be tested on animals.

Over time, it became our policy for the Paul Penders company to avoid the use of animal products of any kind in our natural beauty lines.

That includes petroleum formed from fossils (like petroleum jelly), lanolin (from sheep’s wool), and many other ingredients that most other companies use regularly. It takes a lot of effort, time, and money, but it’s a point of pride for me to be able to honestly say:

Paul Penders products are only made from natural plant or mineral materials.


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