Running for Pink Ribbon in Amsterdam

By Dieuwertje Penders

No less than 55.000 people joined Holland’s largest running event: de Dam tot Damloop I was one of them. With a special purpose: raising money and awareness for breast cancer.

The ‘Dam tot Damloop’ takes place each September; this was the 29 edition. Holland’s largest running event and one of the largest in the world, it follows a 16-kilometer (10-mile) long trail from the dam in Amsterdam to the center of the suburban town of Zaandam.

The route takes you through Amsterdam’s city center, and leads on through typical Dutch villages, passing rural farms and dykes along the way.

Among the runners every year are world famous top athletes. Encouraged by 200,000 spectators and dozens of live music performances, the race organizers guarantee a unique atmosphere.

Me and Anneke ran the “Dam to Dam Course”
to raise awareness about breast cancer.

I chose to run for the charity, Pink Ribbon. Pink Ribbon has a great purpose: to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women, being the Number One cause of death for women aged 35 to 55. Each year 15.000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Holland of which 3,200 people do not survive. Pink Ribbon funds scientific research and provides financial support for breast cancer treatment research. Our team is proud to have raised 4000 euro for this charity.

Fantastic to receive support from as far as Malaysia!

Paul Penders Company kindly contributed to this achievement when Paul found out about our challenge. Thanks to his kind support, our initiative turned into such a success.

A big thank you from our team and Pink Ribbon!


Subscribe to the Paul Penders Newsletter

Share this post, download zipfile with the html code

The Magic of LevensESSENTIE Gold®

It’s an old family recipe. It’s a 100-year old formula updated for the 21st Century. It’s a mixture of herbs and other botanicals from both Europe and the Far East. It can be considered to have ayurvedic, homeopathic, TCM, and other alternative healing benefits yet it also has a firm basis in current science. It cleanses, it soothes, it calms, and it may even help heal. What is it?

The solution to the riddle is LevensESSENTIE Gold®, the ‘secret formula’ behind all Paul Penders products. How it’s all blended and in what proportions remains a family secret but the natural herbal ingredients are listed on every package.

Way back in the early 1900’s, Paul Penders’ grandmother opened a beauty salon in Holland. Like many women at that time, Paul’s grandmother was versed in the properties of plants for health and beauty. Using all natural ingredients found in the forests and fields of Holland, she extracted oils and essences from plants to make formulas for skin and hair care. Her salon attracted a loyal following for what she called “LevensESSENTIE,” Dutch for “Essence of Life.”

Her son continued to grow the business with a successful shop where his children learned the family trade.  Now her grandchildren and great-grandchildren carry on the family heritage to this day, creating new products but always retaining the basic all-natural herbal formula. Over time, her family has added a few more ingredients to the LevensESSENTIE Gold®, mix as their travels took them around the world.

As a young man with an entrepreneurial spirit, Paul Penders was determined to learn the trade and follow his vision for natural body care products. He was able to study the special properties of plants with Dutch herbal master and apothecary Herma Eeftink and also came under the influence of the famous natural healer and homeopath Dr. Ab Steyn. They encouraged Paul to incorporate his family’s herbal extract into the new hair and skin care products he was designing.

Skip forward over thirty years of Paul Penders International history (read Paul’s story on the website).

About ten years ago, Paul Penders moved the headquarters of the company from the U.S. to Malaysia. The Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands harbor some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests and also forward-thinking citizens. Organically grown, freshly picked, scientifically extracted beneficial tropical plants like “Pegaga” now enhance this century-old formula to make a very special proprietary recipe called “LevensESSENTIE Gold®

In upcoming blogs, we will tell you more about the unique properties of each of the 22 ingredients in LevensESSENTIE Gold®. Some will be familiar to you; others may have surprising benefits. Here’s the ingredients list for this special formula:

angelica, arnica, calendula, chamomile, elderflower, ginger, ginseng root, honeysuckle, hops, horsetail, juniper, lavender, lemon balm, nettle, pegaga, peppermint, rosemary, sage, St John’s wort, turmeric, witch hazel and yarrow

For short descriptions of these botanicals and others used in Paul Penders products, you can visit the ingredients list on the Paul Penders website.

Photos courtesy of Penders family

By Teviot Fairservis.


Subscribe to the Paul Penders Newsletter

Share this post, download zipfile with the html code

The Nuns’ Story

If it hadn’t been for a group of nuns, the Paul Penders company might not be here today. Paul Penders shares a wonderful story in his autobiography. Can you imagine being a man in a nunnery?

A little backstory first. Like many governments in Europe in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Paul’s home country of the Netherlands (Holland) instituted testing of cosmetics – on animals. When Paul brought in his shampoo formula for testing, he witnessed the horrific practice on a day that changed his life. He ran out of the laboratory determined to find a better way.

As it happened, he had two aunts who were nuns.

“Feeling rather down after the debacle at the animal testing labs, I received a call from my aunt soon after. A family member had spoken to her about my issues with the Dutch FDA and she called to offer support.

My Aunt Bertha or “Sister Bertha” as she was known within the order was a real character. She was an accomplished artist and sculptor in her own right and believed in standing up for the underdog. She spent plenty of time in Amsterdam befriending prostitutes as she felt that their spiritual needs shouldn’t be neglected because of their profession.

My aunt was a nun who lived with her sister (my other aunt and another nun!) in the convent in Baarle-Nassau; she had spoken to her colleagues about me and convinced the rest of the sisters that they needed to help the lab animals by testing my products on themselves!

I was so touched that my aunt had galvanized her convent to my cause and I hoped that my so-called ‘nun testing’ would be approved by the Dutch FDA.

Paul Penders traveled every week from Amsterdam to Barle-Nassau,
the border town between the Netherlands (NL) and Belgium (B),
to ‘people test’ his shampoo formulas on nuns.

For the next eight months I visited the Convent every week to participate in a solemn ritual. On my first visit to the Convent I was rather startled by the sight of the large group of nuns silently waiting for me. I thought that they looked like a bunch of penguins huddled in the corner.
I felt very privileged to be allowed into their cloistered world.

I was probably the only man who had ever seen their hair and was allowed to touch and wash their hair. I am very pleased to say that in the eight months of testing, no casualties were recorded and the nuns were very happy with the results!”

Paul’s decision not to test his skincare on animals created a major controversy in Holland, the country of his birth. Despite this long-term, successful experiment, the products were never officially approved — largely due to pressure exerted by powerful enemies from within both the Dutch bureaucracy and large cosmetic companies. The Dutch FDA delivered Paul an ultimatum: test your products on animals or close down the factory. His morals left him with only one choice: the search was now on for a more enlightened host nation. To his great joy, Paul found that the American FDA was open to his idea of non-animal tested cosmetics — so the company moved to America.

Over time, animal testing of cosmetics became a mainstream issue, eventually influencing every major company. The Paul Penders company became world renowned for its courageous stance. Ironically, it was Holland that became the first country to comprehensively ban animal testing of cosmetics.

And it is thanks to Paul’s aunts and the nuns of Barle-Nassau that you can be certain that Paul Penders shampoos and organic herbal cosmetic formulas, featuring the special herbal concoction LevensEssentie created by his grandmother, are among the very best in the world.

Read the fascinating story of Paul’s life and career as an e-book, Pushing the Boundaries: The Paul Penders Story.

By Paul Penders with Teviot Fairservis.


Subscribe to the Paul Penders Newsletter

Share this post, download zipfile with the html code

Few Unique Benefits Making Botanical Cosmetics More Effective.

LevensESSENTIE Gold ® is the beauty secret to every Paul Penders product. It’s a concentrated extract of 22 certified organic herbs, of which was the start was pioneered by Paul’s grandmother some 100 years ago in Holland.
The today’s version of this unique, concentrated, organic herbal extract is made from a mixture of eastern and western herbs from USA, China, Europe and Malaysia. LevensESSENTIE Gold ® has been proven to provide a healthy complexion.
Its extraordinary anti-aging ingredients, such as vitamins A, B, C & E, enzymes and phyto-tocotrienols counteract the early signs of aging and sustain a healthy skin.
Pegaga is a characteristic rainforest herb with anti-bacterial and healing properties.

Pegaga is native to Langkawi Geopark and an essential part of the LevensESSENTIE Gold ® herbal extract that is used in all Paul Penders products. Pegaga is known as ‘miracle hero’ of the rainforest because it helps to heal the body in many wondrous ways.
It is a traditional medicine used to alleviate fatigue and depression, but also known as a ‘beauty herb’ because it clarifies skin for greater radiance and glorious fresh looks.
Pegaga has been used since ancient times, especially in the ayurvedic medical system of India and in Chinese traditional medicine. Pegaga is even recommended by the World Health Organization as one of most important medical plant species to be conserved and cultivated.
Coconut water

Coconut water has been used for medicinal and cosmetic properties in Southeast Asia for thousands of years because it is rich in lipids, lauric acid and glucids as well as vitamins, nutrients and minerals. For generations, Asian women have used fresh coconut water to cleanse the face, and coconut fruit in moisturizers that keep the face and body young. Coconut water regenerates, revitalizes, moisturizes and softens the skin. All Paul Penders products (excluding lipsticks and powder products) include coconut water.
Loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, enzymes are catalysts for cell renewal. By capturing free-radicals and thus preventing damage caused by pollution, bacteria and sun, enzymes are capable of effecting changes such as wrinkle reduction and a healthier glow. Together with liposomes, the enzymes in Paul Penders skincare products can open blocked skin pores to prevent whiteheads and blackheads; hydrolyze oils for smoother skin finish and remove dead skin cells.
Enzymes create finer skin texture and reduce pore size when used over time. Papaya (papain) and pineapple (bromelain) enzymes are strongly beneficial to beautiful and a fresher looking skin.
Paul Penders cosmetics stop the decline of natural ceramide levels of our skin by using a liposome-based delivery system. A decline in the skin’s natural ceramide levels, over time, results in the familiar signs of aging, however skincare products with added ceramides increase the skin’s total moisture content.
Utilizing a liposome-based delivery system, ceramides and other anti-aging ingredients can readily target skin locations most in need of protection.
No Heat during Processing
The effectiveness of our skincare products, containing many fragile bio-active ingredients, would be minimized, or even destroyed, with the typical hot manufacturing process. Paul Penders uses a cold blending technology where products made in small batches are not heated above 35°C.

Paul Penders herbal skincare containing LevensESSENTIE Gold ® herbal extract with added ceramides, liposomes and coconut water, as well as various vitamins offer effective and powerful results. The “cold-blended” manufacturing system ensures that all bio-active ingredients remain at full strength making our products most effective as possible.


Discovering an Incredible Country (Part 1)

Bastiaan and I visited Harcourts; a great, progressive pharmaceutical company in Sri Lanka. We wanted to observe the market potential over there for Paul Penders natural herbal cosmetics. In 2 earlier blog stories I wrote about the visits of Mr. Ahamed Rheyas, CEO of Harcourts made to Langkawi. Actually, he loves the beauty of this great UNESCO Geopark tropical rainforest island here in Malaysia!
I never visited Sri Lanka but several other countries in this intriguing part of the world. For no good reasons I expected Sri Lanka somewhat to be like India, Vietnam, Thailand or Myanmar. But soon I found out that Sri Lanka stands totally on its own in many aspects. The best way to describe this wonderful island is as a mix of all of these countries but with its own authentic flavor!

And that comes too because of Sri Lanka’s interesting historical influences from Malaysia and even strong influences from as far as from… Holland! Of course like most countries in Southeast Asia, also here is the strong colonial past of the British felt throughout and almost in all aspects of the society.
The war in Sri Lanka ended few years ago after 25 horrible years that brought much misery, destruction and pain to the people of this country. The war brought their economy to a standstill. But since the war is over, just a few years the result of peace shows progress and development in many areas. Sri Lanka regains quickly economical strength.
Luckily enough, not all of the beauty of Sri Lanka is destroyed by the war. The people are still very warm. We have seen more smiles and natural friendliness than in any other country I have visited lately.

Colombo (the capital of Sri Lanka) shows off immediately a new future spurred by fresh ideas and political and religious freedom. Sri Lanka is ready to embark on a great future that will surprise many who never knew about this country before.
I was mostly touched by the feel of harmony between the several ethnic groups and different religions. I did not notice any pressure between Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and other religions. Sri Langka’s citizens are entitled to express their opinions, and according to what I have seen in few Asian countries, that is quite unique by itself.

Part 2 of our trip to Sri Lanka and visit to Harcourts will follow shortly