How “Organic” is it?

Organic water? Really?

We were quite amazed recently at the flurry of posts that have gone viral about “Organic Water.” Sure, desperate manufacturers and marketers look for any new angle they can find to make their product stand out. But too many play fast-and-loose with the term “organic.” It has really become an almost meaningless word.

“Pesticide-free” – great. “No chemical additives” – perfect. But “Organic Water”? At least in the USA, certified organic products and ingredients must meet “strict production and labeling requirements” including inspection by a Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifying agent. Actually, the USDA specifically does not allow water to be labeled as “organic.” So any bottler trying to sell “organic water” in the US could be breaking the law.

On a more serious note, we recently received this note from one of our Asian distributors:

Due to the “Organic” shown on the packages, therefore we need to seek the Approval from our Authority whether it can be used.

Our whole line of Paul Penders natural herbal beauty products has recently been certified by several institutions…. One of them is the prestigious American Vegetarian Association (AVA). The AVA certification is something we have fought for. Only a few companies get that respect and are approved.

The AVA certification should be sufficient evidence to Food and Drug Administrations in countries around the world that Paul Penders products meet the highest standards.

The AVA certification is not only American, it is a GLOBAL approval by a US organization of distinction and integrity.

I believe the task of every FDA in the world is the safety and protection of the consumer. Whether or not a Rosemary Herb is cultivated organically or naturally isn’t really an issue. Why? Because in the end, it is still the same ingredient and is protected by international INCI names and other major understandings.

The organic status brings nothing to the table as far as the ingredient is concerned.

Yes, we will continue to use the words “organic” and “certified organic” on our labels because we carefully research our ingredient sources and find out from our suppliers about how the plant materials are cultivated and processed. Most importantly, we will continue to use only the purest, chemical additive-free, highest quality ingredients in the formulations of our products.

Oh, and just to confirm, there is really no such thing as “organic water”!

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Let’s Save the Bees!

When you think about the beautiful things in Nature, what comes to mind?

Trees? Flowers? Fresh fruit hanging from the vine, luscious vegetables emerging from rich soil? Can you imagine a world without plants? It’s a pretty scary idea that the plants of the world might disappear. But how will they continue to grow if there are no bees?

It’s estimated that the “Apis mellifera,” the Western honeybee, is responsible for pollinating “1 in every 3 of the mouthfuls that you eat.” It seems bees are currently in real danger — and the culprit is clearly identified as the chemical pesticides used in big agribusinesses.

There has been a massive ‘die-off’ of over 40% of bee colonies throughout the U.S. The loss of the bees
is already impacting farmers and the prices of fresh foods in the U.S. and Europe. There are going to be real consequences to us all if something is not done – fast!

Why is this happening? Well, scientists have isolated the major killers – pesticides and insecticides.

    A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the same pesticide on more than a third of its crops – nearly 143 million acres!

The U.S. lags behind Europe in spite of many efforts by concerned groups to bring the situation to the FDA and other authorities. Groups like “Beyond Pesticides,” have worked hard to advocate for bee protection. Now “The Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013” is under consideration by Congress.

What can be done? We need governments around the world to control and restrict the big corporations that operate the giant farms in order to save the bees and other wildlife. But we each can do our part.

Here’s some tips I’ve learned recently:

  • Stop using chemicals on your lawn or garden!
  • Vinegar is an effective and non-toxic weed killer
  • Cultivate ‘bee-friendly’ plants – they especially like blue, purple and yellow flowers
  • Don’t use plastic or heavy layers of wood mulch in the garden because bees and worms need to burrow
  • Speak out and take action within your community to advocate for common sense solutions to pest controls.

It seems to me just plain common sense to stop adding more pesticides and insecticides to our environment. Who wants more of these man-made chemical pollutants in their homes and bodies?

Let’s save the bees – for the plants and the planet…

* Note: Just as we were about to publish this blog, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally took steps in the right direction to ban the use of the pesticides killing the bees!

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /
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Your Beautiful Skin: Why Go Natural?

Over many years of working in the beauty world, I have learned that beautiful skin really has not always much to do with science or secret formulas.

Healthy skin is easier to obtain than you might think. No matter what your skin type is, beautiful skin is easy to acquire and to maintain — simply by natural living and using simple but effective natural cosmetics.

Cosmetics with “certified organic ingredients” (which is what we use, by the way) do not necessarily make your skin more beautiful than using pure natural ingredients. “Organic” ingredients in that sense do not provide more benefits at all. I speak from over 45 years studying the beauty business in various countries.

My most important discovery was 40 years ago. That experience of what creates beautiful skin has never been topped. It was when I did tests on a convent of nuns for several months, I came to the conclusion by the end that good cosmetics and natural lifestyles are the perfect combination for radiant skin!

Going natural” does not mean never wearing makeup or never using lotions or creams. To be your most beautiful, you do need to take the time to give your body, skin, and hair some TLC (that’s “tender loving care”).

Science and medicine are now telling us that many people lack essential vitamins and minerals and that too much sun exposure can damage cells. We all need to consider our lifestyle and our body’s needs.

That’s why recently I got so excited about a leafy tropical plant which has been used in traditional societies for skincare, pain relief, weight loss and all-around health. Science has shown that it is extremely beneficial. You will hear more in future about this amazing plant as we have planted 1500 of these fast-growing Gynura procumbens in the organic herb garden at our Ocean Residence property.

But why must science always explain what we can already see?

What scientific explanation do we need when we see people with beautiful, radiant skin? Ask the women in rural villages what they do they use? Answer: flowers, fruit, coconut water or the fresh mineral waters from local streams for cleansing, and fruit, coconut, or other natural oils for moisturizing the skin.

In this day and age of man-made chemical additives in so much of our food and personal care products, ‘going back to Nature’ just makes logical sense. Does anyone really want phthalates, parabens, poisons like mercury and lead, or petroleum-based products adding to the chemical stew we already live in?

It’s really quite simple – let’s accept the gifts of Mother Nature.

Exquisitely beautiful flowers yield fragrant essential oils. Fruits and berries packed with anti-oxidants and enzymes cleanse, clarify, protect, and improve skin and hair health. Minerals found in rocks and clay can exfoliate, moisturize, stimulate and benefit both health and beauty as they are absorbed.

Of course, I would never dream of offering natural beauty products that have not been fully vetted by scientists to ensure the formulas are truly beneficial. We love science! But we love Nature even more!

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Hope For The Next Generation?

Malala: “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen
can change the world.”

Business people can be so hard-hearted when it comes to analyzing future customers — thinking about their age, economic status, and education-level, but sometimes forgetting about the real people and the difficulties they face. Like millions around the world, my heart melted watching the televised speech by teenager Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan gave at the United Nations in New York City. She gives me such hope for the future generation!

What a way to celebrate her 16th birthday! In fluent English, she called on the governments of the world to give all children free, compulsory education. And she spoke out for women and girls saying, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon gave some startling statistics. Did you realize that 50% of the global population is under the age of 25? I didn’t. And that 57 million children do not go to school?

There was something so beautiful about her as Malala sat at the high table so calmly, wrapped in a pink scarf that belonged to her idol, Benazir Bhutto. Targeted for assassination at the age of 14, she was shot by Taliban extremists while riding a school bus – because she spoke out for the rights of girls to get an education.

By speaking out for girls education, she has become their equal – Time Magazine has called her one of the top 100 world’s most influential people. Yes, this teenage girl is very special – a true survivor and a fresh voice for world peace and global education. Malala has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest candidate ever.

It gives me real hope for the next generation.

But Malala is just one of the millions of young people who see the value of a good education and the need for an end to violence. These children are now connecting and sharing their views through the internet across the planet.

These are our future customers.

It seems to me that it just makes sense that we businesspeople do our best to help the next generation to become better educated, more globally aware, and better citizens of our planet. And I know there’s so many more children out there like Malala. It seems there’s hope for us all!

“By targeting Malala, extremists showed what they feared the most:
a girl with a book.”

Photo Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times


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Monthly News August 2013

We keep you informed with what's new in the world of natural beauty, our own R&D discoveries, interesting people and causes we care about – and lots more…

August 2013                  Please click on the links to read the full story!

Hooray! We are very happy and proud! This month, we received the official certification from the prestigious American Vegetarian Association (AVA) for our whole line of products. Paul Penders is one of the few cosmetic companies in the world to be CERTIFIED VEGAN !
“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.”

Paul Penders is now Globally Certified Vegan by the AVA! The AVA is the recognized world standard of vegetarian assurance. Their board follows strict guidelines to ensure products meet the highest vegetarian and vegan standards.

Paul Penders goes for international vegan assurance. For nearly 40 years, our products have been formulated from only the highest quality plant or mineral ingredients. We never use animal products – cruelty to animals is simply unacceptable!

‘Everything Old is New Again!’ It’s a challenge to keep our company fresh, alive, and close to the cutting edge, so we often brainstorm. This month we looked at new names and packages for some old favorites.

What’s the first thing people notice about you? Is it Your Beautiful Hair (Part 1)? How do you get beautiful hair? CEO Paul Penders has seen almost every kind of ‘problem hair’ since his earliest days sweeping up in his family’s salon

Did you know that your hair is a product of your DNA? Anagen, catagen, telogen — we’ll help you understand more about the biology behind Your Beautiful Hair (Part 2): The Life Cycle of Your Hair.

Out of Africa comes an age-old beauty secret – the sausage-like fruit of the Miraculous Kigelia Africana Tree. French scientists have confirmed what African women already knew – kigelia is one of nature’s miracles for skin tightening and breast firming.

Always on the lookout for spa therapies for health and beauty, Paul came across Healthful Korean-style Spa Treatments. It can look pretty strange and feel stranger, but this acupuncture for the hand really works wonders!

Exciting News! We Start Our Own Organic Herbal Farm! Our first crop of neary 1,500 Gynura procumbens (Longevity Spinach) grows fast in the sweet soil and sunshine at The Ocean Residence Langkawi. Guests at the estate are invited to taste this beneficial tropical herb in teas and fresh salads – and soon, beauty products as well!

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