The Paul Penders Organic Herb Garden – Coconut

A Tropical Treasure – the Coconut
Scientific name: Cocos nucifera

Coconut water, coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut milk used in curries, jellies, jams, or grated — every part of this tropical treasure – the coconut — has its use. Some may be surprising: the fibrous shell is a perfect pot for an orchid, rice wrapped in coconut leaves serves for storage and cooking, and throughout India and Southeast Asia, coconut palm leaves are stripped to make brooms and fuel for fires.

For cosmetics, moisturizers, skincare and many other beauty products, a natural emollient derived from coconut is used as a dispersing agent and carrier for active ingredients. Coconut oil contains Caprylic / Capric Triglycerides which forms a very light silky oil that does not feel at all greasy on the skin. Triglycerides, also known as “fatty acids,” are a major component of human skin oils, and coconut derivatives make an excellent substitute, replacement, or restorative for the skin.

Interestingly, the coconut is not a nut at all but a fruit – a “drupe” – defined as a fruit with a fleshy exterior surrounding a central pit (cherries, peaches, and plums are also examples of drupes). The coconut’s hard husk shell makes it differ from other fruit because animals do not normally eat it. While other fruits have spread across the planet by walking or flying animals, coconuts have floated on ocean currents to even the tiniest Pacific islands.

The coconut palm tree (cocos nucifera) has very specific needs which is why it is mostly found along the seashores in tropical climates. It cannot tolerate cold, but on the other hand, it is very salt resistant. It requires high humidity which is why it is most often found close to the sea. And it needs lots of sunshine so it flourishes best close to the Equator. Two varieties are found – tall and dwarf. The tall ones can grow as high as 30m (98 feet) and produce (in very fertile soil) as many as 75 coconuts.

Coconut water makes you look younger because it contains cytokines, a plant hormone shown to slow the aging process in plants. In technical terms, the water is liquid endosperm there to feed the seed as it matures. Nearly fat-free and 95% water, “Iron Man” and other sports enthusiasts swear by it as a post-workout ‘pickmeup’ as it also contains a variety of key minerals including potassium and sugars.

Although the benefits aren’t yet proven in humans, women throughout Asia have used coconut water on the face and skin for centuries to cleanse and refresh. Often people say Asian women appear younger than one expects them to be – a great side benefit of coconut use!

During WWII, when there was not enough blood available to help wounded soldiers, transfusions were done using just fresh coconut water – a treatment that apparently worked miraculously well.

Clearly, the use of coconut has benefits for more beautiful and healthier skin — whatever the still unexplained scientific reasons. Most of the Paul Penders line of natural skincare and body care products contain coconut water or oil.


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Circle of Love

People used to think the world was flat — sailing off into the sunset, people thought Christopher Columbus would fall off the edge of the world (where would he land)? Nowadays, we know differently, so when I sail, I am not nervous on the sea about where or when I’d fall (only fearing large waves) because I know one just keeps sailing around our round globe.

A few weeks ago, I was in Spain and visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It struck me immediately as one of the most fascinating buildings I have ever seen. I got very excited walking to it from a distance as the unusual shapes revealed themselves as I took each step towards this magnificent building, a remarkable design of intense beauty. Built from titanium, limestone, and glass, it’s all about the curves and the idea of ‘roundness.’

The yin-yang symbol tells it all: round is beautiful!

A circle is without end. And that roundness — to me — is love. If you keep looking at the yin-yang symbol, you’ll see it. The gentle roundness of a mother’s belly as she awaits the birth of her child, the protective curve of a loving husband’s arm around his wife, the simple round shape of the rings they exchange on the day they marry – the circle of love.

Circles symbolize and link the feelings of motherly love with our round planet, and Mother Nature with my own mother. There is nothing more beautiful. To me, a straight line cannot represent love, although lines are often necessary to hold things steady and direct us forward with strength, but then, round things can also be strong – they are also gentle, comforting, protective, and kind.

I remember about 6 years ago, I asked our package designer to look at creating round shapes. Could our product packages have a rounded form inspired by a mother? And more than that — of a mother expecting a baby? What more beautiful design could there be?

To me, the result of the packaging design feels warm, safe and comfortable – inspiring and uplifting!

It always reminds me of universal love.


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Your Beautiful Hair: The Life Cycle of Your Hair

Did you know that your hair goes through 3 stages of life?

I often think about the things we inherit and the things we pass on to our children. Like so many things, your hair – its color, texture, and how it grows – is a product of your DNA. Of course, there are things you can do and great products you can use to make it the best it can be!

Understanding the basic biology of hair can help. Here’s one interesting fact – your hair goes through a life cycle with three genetically determined phases:

  • Anagen phase
  • This is why we need regular haircuts. The ‘anagen phase’ is the period of active growth when hair grows about 1 centimeter every 28 days. This goes on with each hair growing for 2 to 7 years depending on your individual DNA. About 90% of your hair follicles (the cells that hair grows out of and connects it to your body) are in this stage.

  • Catagen phase
  • Run your fingers through your hair and you’ll feel that a few of them feel a bit loose and ready to come out. Hair specialists call these your “club hairs.”

    At the end of the growing cycle (2-7 years), your DNA kicks in and tells the hair follicle to cut off the blood supply and stop producing cells. Over a transition period of 2 to 3 weeks, the healthy hair stops growing and changes into a “club hair.” About 1-2% of hair is normally in this phase of change.

  • Telogen phase
  • How much do you brush your hair? Did your mother ever tell you to give it 100 strokes a night? It’s a good idea to brush, especially if you have long hair, because the brush will help to spread the natural oils down the length of the hair to the tips.

    You may notice as many as 100 hairs collect on your brush. That’s because each day, your scalp sheds the hairs which have reached their third and final phase, a resting phase called the ‘telogen.’ Over a period that can be as long as 9 months, the “club hair” cells which have been deprived of blood will form a hard, horny shell around the hair (scientists call these hairs ‘keratinized.’)

    So each day, 50 – 100 ‘club hairs’ are shed from the scalp. Meantime, other hairs are passing through the three phases.

    About 10 – 14% of your hair is usually ‘resting’ in the third ‘telogen’ phase, waiting to fall out after time or to be pulled, brushed or washed away.

But don’t worry, unless you are under a lot of stress. Like most cells in your body, new hair will grow in to replace the old!

Photo Credit: © Subbotina |


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Everything old is new again!

Our company has been around nearly 40 years; how do we keep things fresh and interesting?

All companies have ‘life cycles,’ ups-and-downs, just like real life. To keep a company alive over the long haul, you have to be constantly creative.

“Brainstorming” is one of our favorite things to do. The other day we had a really fun session with staffers as we all looked at the product line and thought about new names. Why ‘rethink’ the names of our products? We want our customers to really understand what’s so special about Paul Penders line of natural and organic herbal beauty products.

So that was our fundamental question:

Do the names we use really communicate what the product is?

And our discussions revolved around this idea:

How can we communicate (in the shortest possible way) the benefits to the customer?

And there was a really important matter as well. We learned that the FDA had a few questions about some of our product names! A simple matter of a word or two that could – according to them — potentially be misinterpreted as a claim for medical properties.

“Brainstorming” session in the conference room, Penang, Malaysia

Here’s an example. One of our customers’ all-time favorites is “ICT” which for many years we have called “Intensive Clarifying Therapy.” However, the wording might be a problem with the new laws: “clarifying” implies a change when the product is applied — to the FDA that could be considered a medical issue. “Therapy” is used all the time by spa owners, massage therapists, and alternative healers. But according to the FDA, it also could be misinterpreted as something medical. Honestly speaking, we do not agree but it is a new law and all cosmetic companies need to be careful of the language they use.

So we all gave it a good hard think. Our customers know “ICT” – and we don’t want them to forget us! As we discussed the special super cleansing qualities of ICT, we came up with a great new name!

In the coming year, you’ll be seeing some new names in our brand but be assured that the formulas are the same!

In the photos below, you’ll see some of the new packaging and name ideas that came up in the brainstorming process.


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Paul Penders now Globally Certified Vegan by American AVA!

Great news just in from the United States….we got it!

We have just received word that the prestigious American Vegetarian Association (AVA) has approved the full line of Paul Penders natural herbal beauty care products for certification!

From now on, we are legally allowed to display the AVA CERTIFIED logo which clearly shows our products are VEGAN and contain no animal by-products.

With their strict criteria, the AVA has become the recognized standard and the ‘go to’ resource for vegetarians and vegans looking to be sure that products meet the highest standards for plant-based, animal-free products.

It’s a really big thing for us – we can now claim to be one of the very few cosmetics and beauty product companies certified for use by vegans!

Thanks to our very hard working staff who put in many hours to complete the application process. Rigorous assessment was conducted by the AVA staff and board members, comprised of scientists, doctors, dieticians and other ingredients experts.

Of course, we had some finger-biting moments while we awaited their decision. I can’t tell you how pleased we all were to receive the following letter:

    “The American Vegetarian Association is pleased to announce that all PAUL PENDERS products are approved for AVA Certification for its superior BEAUTY CARE PRODUCTS as they meet compliance of AVA Global Certification requirements. The AVA Review Committee has completed the evaluation in accordance with the accepted definitions and standards as set forth by the American Vegetarian Association.”

“The American Vegetarian Association (AVA) was created to promote the interests of individuals and organizations involved in the preservation, propagation, and distribution of vegetarian ideas and products. The AVA is trusted to maintain the absolute integrity of its certification program, and to unfailingly assure the general public of its members’ highest ethical standards.”

We are extremely proud to have finally gotten this certification from AVA as our products have been fully vegetarian since the very beginning some 40 years ago in The Netherlands.

Our products have also always been cruelty-free.

We have never ever done or allowed animal tests. We also have never used animal ingredients or animal by-products or any slaughterhouse ingredients.

We strongly believe in the values promoted by the AVA and the vegetarian and vegan communities for a global end to cruelty to all living things.

Congratulations have been flowing in from our friends and customers around the world and this one below was the icing on the cake!

“The entire AVA staff wishes you our heartiest congratulations!”

Image courtesy of nirots /


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