Organic Certification – We don’t need it!

Is organic certification proof that a cosmetic company is “good” or “no good”?

So many companies jump on the bandwagon of organic certification nowadays. Paul Penders, a pioneer in natural cruelty free cosmetics and a socially responsible company provides the highest quality natural herbal cosmetics using natural and organic ingredients – and has done so for over 45 years. Anyone can make a judgement by looking at our website as to what we are and what we represent.

One point to make our case here could be considered: we have never wanted to become a “Big Business” over all these years. Yes, we have received several offers to sell our company (including from Revlon and few other large corporations). They offered large sums of money. So why didn’t we do it?

Just think about your local bakery. Or the person who lives in your community and serves as the health care provider for your family. Think about ‘what if…?’ What if they were bought out by a conglomerate or a chain? Would your community really be better off if there was just one more of the same 5,000 bakeries or of the hundreds of clinics offering the same old things?

Isn’t something lost when Big Business steps in? What about the personal touch? What about variety or specialized care tailored to the specific needs and interests of local consumers?

What would become of our company if we stopped searching for our ingredients ourselves in Europe and other places in the world? Has anyone ever seen Mr. Pearlman, the CEO of Revlon, go out into the wilderness looking for pegaga? He probably perceives “Paul Penders” as just another BRAND – an object that needs to make money, period.

Mr. Pearlman and other CEO’s of the large companies need certification to prove they are “good”.

Sure, the Mr. Pearlmans of the world need Ecocert. And Ecocert needs them. Signing up all these big companies has made Ecocert very rich.

So what does it mean when Mr. Pearlman demands that Ecocert must certify our products? Yes, if we pay money and a commission, we could put the logo of Ecocert on our products. And that would make our products better, right?

Well…. Here is the other side of the story…We do not need “organic certification.”

Certainly not from Ecocert and these other so-called organic certification bodies. We believe that consumers do not need to pay more just because of an approval by an outside business organization.

Consider that many trusted quality brands produce wonderful natural organic cosmetics without certification as well.

We do have two certifications that we are very proud of. These are what I call EMOTIONAL CERTIFICATIONS.


Recently, we were globally certified by the AVA (American Vegetarian Association) for use by both vegetarians and vegans — something only a very few companies get. For certification, AVA looks behind the products and considers the ethical values of a company. They are less interested in the new kids on the market, but look to the ones having established a long-time consistent commitment — to the environment, to charity, and of course, to the use of natural ingredients that are not derived from animal sources in the first place.

We also are certified halal by the government of Malaysia; the strictest halal certification one can get. No animal ingredients nor slaughterhouse products are used in our products – guaranteed!

The last thing I always like to say is that “certified organic ingredients” do not make better products; they do not work better. And often the ingredients that are certified as being organic are not really natural but are made from inorganic chemicals mixed up in a lab!

There is no chemist in the world who is able to verify or quantify what is a ‘natural organic’ or ‘non-natural organic’ chemical.

So please use your own judgment on the products you buy. Do your own research and look to the long-time history of a company. Ask questions of them and see how they answer you.

This is why for Paul Penders natural herbal cosmetics you will not see any so-called “certified organic” logos, simply because we are already producing wonderful cosmetics made from natural and organic materials.

And we started making them long before Ecocert even existed — and Mr. Pearlman showed up with his fat checkbook.


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She Taught Me by Heart I Was Right!

More and more I feel annoyed with EWG (Environmental Working Group) who sponsors and lobbying for the new “Safe Cosmetics Act 2011”. I have problems with their amazing way of making assessments of the dangers in our products as put in their “SkinDeep” data base. They do safety assessments of many cosmetic products and their ingredients including natural cosmetics as Paul Penders that contain herbs, plants, natural oils, etc.
I agree with them when ingredients are called “certified organic” that they are not always natural. Many chemicals and synthetics are certified by Ecocert as organic. EWC thinks that “certified ingredients” are not always superior. I agree because for several cosmetic ingredients the benefits from naturally grown ingredients are preferred and even more stable. Well, that is according to many scientist and top cosmetic chemists who prefer at times natural ingredients above organic ingredients.
This story is about the ignorance at times of EWG.

This came again to mind when I visited the Buddhist Temple just besides our new place in Penang (also called the holy island) where Paul Penders Co has its R&D based and beautifully located besides the ocean and foothills of a huge rainforest mountains.

I had a freak accident about a year ago and through a friend of mine we visited the temple where a monk of age 93 provides natural health treatments for free, even vegetarian meals as well. This beautiful woman lives a truly peaceful life and does lots of meditation. Meeting her brings right away a spontaneous feel of love and happiness. She was going to treat me with hot oil consisting of tar from pine trees and several herbs; all grown in the woods around the temple.

The treatment is quite simple … for 6 times oil will be heated till a temperature as hot as one can cope to put your hands and feet into the oil mass until the mass cools down, then the mass will be heat up again and this “mantra” repeats itself for 6 times!
The natural tar and herbs pulls out toxins from the body. It is really a vigorous treatment because during the process the body starts to sweat. When 6 treatments are finished you are totally wet and feel totally cleansed as well.
I am going to get this treatment for few times while it is said also to be good for several other health problems including detoxification of kidneys and stomach, as well when someone has fever and also good for diabetics. This detoxification process and cleansing of the body is caused by the healing power of natural tar.
Here is the essence of my story

When at age 25 I start to make my first shampoos with the help of my customers in my salons in The Netherlands, I also used pine tar. I used it to cleanse the scalp from dandruff, to detoxify and extract impurities in the skin. It always worked beautifully and my customers loved it.
Then these stories did arrive that natural tar can cause cancer. Like many of these ghost stories and scare techniques used by some fanatic environmentalists including now EWG these days as well. Whether few natural ingredients have been used for centuries by many cultures and in many places of the world with great results is simply being ignored often because certain benefits could not been explained by scientists of today. Therefore it is suddenly no good anymore – ergo – we could get very sick of it!
So already many years ago I was forced to change my shampoo formula because of these scare techniques. I needed to tell my customers using “Paul Penders Peppermint Shampoo” for many years and with excellent results for dandruff and oily hair that –according to new research- were suddenly risk!
Honestly speaking, I never had found something that good to replace the natural pine tar for dandruff and now we use natural pegaga herbs found also on Langkawi with excellent results as well. Still I miss my old Peppermint Shampoo formula!!!

I felt amazed when I saw the monk heating my medicine!
A natural complex of pine tar and herbs? She told me how many people have come to her receiving outstanding health results. But I am sure when the scientists of EWG would come by to rate this natural paradise in Penang island, they would try to stop the use of these natural healing treatment. They would declare that people could get cancer or other terrible diseases simply because they can’t explain how nature does its amazing work.
In fact, few Paul Penders products have been rated unsafe by EWG because using few natural herbs (for almost 40 years) already described by my grandmother some 100 years ago and supported by my friends Dr. Eeftink and Dr. Steyn (who were famous natural health doctors in The Netherlands). Now EWG makes assessments that these products can cause diseases and that is pure nonsense proving my case of them being ignorant.

Being in the Temple today with this beautiful, very kindhearted, loving and spirited Monk made me actually feel proud. She gave me that unshakable belief and confidence that I always have been right about my first shampoo with natural pine tar developed so many years back.Should I start producing it again? Maybe. And whatever EWG will say about my Peppermint Shampoo I don’t care anymore. I will no longer feel confused thanks to this wonderful woman who taught me a piece of true wisdom.

Asian markets are getting hungry for real stuff

Words like halal, ayurvedic, biodynamic are actually statements in Asia. Even the word “natural” has special meaning here because of a different cultural background. The lifestyle of people in countries in Asia seems more connected to nature than the commercialized lifestyles of most people in the west. The word “natural” is not being raped of its true meaning like in the U.S. and Europe.

Asia is certainly turning green! But not much interested in confusing regulations of few certifying organic bodies in the U.S. and Europe. In Asia people seem to think conservative but I rather use the word “pure” in stead. People seem to understand the ego, greed and competitive business few certifying bodies have become in. In Asia they look at things in mature ways and as far as I have seen rather develop their own unified certified standards for cosmetics.

Meeting at Indocert

Interesting enough I was several weeks ago a guest at Indocert (the Indian certifying body accredited by DAkks, Ecocert, USDA, etc.) I felt inspired with that visit and surprised too because of the professional, clean and kind ways Indocert goes about its business of certifications.

Compare to what happened at the last Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California? Wasn’t this a disgrace? Of course it was. U.S. and European certifying bodies can learn a bit from the approach here in Asia.

Here some results of a recent research about how Asians think about “their” own standards regarding natural organic products and its certification process:

Here is what I think.

Whatever happens in the future in Asia, true winners are consumers looking to get true information with a cosmetic purchase. No hoopla stories of some certifying bodies. And I can say you this. With all what I saw and heard at my visit at Indocert, I believe that Asian countries may come up with the right dose of honesty.

Of course I look forward to your comments, not really like that lady from New York who recently scolded me about natural soybean oil, using words I can’t use here for thousands of people reading this blog.

I start to love Asia more and more. Talk about culture, kindness, understanding and respect… well, the certified organic game is on in Asia as well. And I am watching.