Australian Hair & Makeup Artist Promotes Natural, Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

One of the very proud moments in my life with the incredible Jane Goodall during the launch of her film at IMAX…. A brief background on myself… Hi : -) I am Nicole Groch. I have been a professional freelance hair & makeup artist based in Melbourne, Australia for over 19 years. I have been working in the fashion, advertising and music industry both in Australia and overseas. Quite some year’s back now, I took it upon myself to rethink my attitude towards the makeup & hair products I used in my kit.
I had been a vegetarian for many years for ethical reasons, and only used ‘cruelty free’ products in my work, but I was also very interested in all the natural and organic products that were becoming more readily available.

I did research into the common ingredients used in the majority of cosmetic brands and was astounded at how many toxic ingredients they contained and how they can adversely affect our health. I then converted my kit, so I now use on my clients only the safest, cruelty free and natural products that I can source. This is how I came to love the Paul Penders range as they stood for everything I believed in, vegan, natural and safe. Over the years I got to know Paul and he is an incredible inspirational person.
Because I didn’t believe it was ethical to use or promote any products that were tested on animals I was constantly turning down work for companies that either used such products, or had real fur in their ranges, including their TV commercials, fashion parades, fashion shows and product editorials. Particularly I wanted to do something positive with my makeup skills to help animals!
So I got in contact with the Australian (they accredit cruelty free companies) and offered to start “The Cruelty Free Makeup Tips”. I arranged a huge celebrity launch for the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” poster campaign I had put together and did all hair and makeup for it as well.

I was able to use my connections to get celebrity support for the front covers of our magazines and for campaigns. After a few years I was asked to become a Director of Choose Cruelty Free and as their PR Director I found Paul Penders products. Our Preferred Product List lead me to do PR work for other natural and cruelty free companies.
Now I am the mother of two beautiful children. And along with doing my hair and makeup work, and PR for CCF, I embarked on a journey that I am very passionate about! I have become the writer, editor, photographer, marketing and PR person for a website my husband Jonathan (an IT professional) and I together designed, called:

The aim of Living Safe is to give individuals easy tools and accurate knowledge to help them create a safe and healthy environment for their children, pets and …ultimately themselves! Since we have launched the site several months ago we have been getting fantastic positive feedback, especially from parents thanking us for creating this much needed site. It has made them more aware and informed about these very important issues. We hope our site will help to create a better world for the all of us. We also have a directory of “Safe & Non-Toxic” companies and of course, Paul’s products are on it as well as they fit the Living Safe ethos perfectly!
Paul Penders is now available in Australia. For more information please visit:
Author: Nicole Groch

Paul Penders Malaysia NIC International Opening Day Part 2

In the first part we discussed the special event on 18 and 19 September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capitol with an exciting contest followed by professional “before and after” photo shootings free for each participant.
We are very are proud to mention here that there are already 4 Paul Penders Natural Organic Beauty Centers in Kuala Lumpur! And… many more will follow in the next few years.
For the second day of this successful event, the Paul Penders HQ team from Langkawi UNESCO Geopark island was invited to the newest Paul Penders Beauty Center. We felt very touched by all the efforts that NIC Int’l made in promoting the Paul Penders products.
Paul Penders newest Natural Organic Beauty Center is the largest of the other Beauty Centers and employs 5 licensed beauticians to provide a full range of facial and body treatments exclusively with Paul Penders products. They also provide free consultations on beauty and health issues and promote a holistic approach to natural beauty.


    One of the 5 facial treatment rooms

    On the second day of this event, especially for consumers wanting to know more about the Paul Penders Company could listen to a speech by Paul about our products, how we start the company and our successes in America.


    Then NIC Int’l, Paul Penders exclusive representative for Malaysia, organized a lucky draw session for all supporting Paul Penders products.

    These images show a very happy crew that day! Actually record sales were made in only 4 hours time. Of course, that made all of us very happy.
    In the next 12 months, NIC International plans to open several more Paul Penders Natural Organic Beauty Centers in Kuala Lumpur followed by strong expansion throughout the whole of Malaysia.

Paul Penders Malaysia NIC International Opening Day Part 1

On the weekend of 18 & 19 September Paul Penders Malaysia’s active distributor NIC Int’l had organized an Open Day at 2 places in Kuala Lumpur, the beautiful capitol of Malaysia.
During these thrilling events full of activities, Paul was invited to speak about how he started the company back in The Netherlands.
How he did start making the LevensESSENTIE Gold ® natural extract from 22 certified organic herbs. How he fought against the Dutch government when he refused to test our products on animals that ended up in the Paul Penders Co needed to flee Holland because the Dutch FDA government officials came out to close the factory.
You can read the entire story at it ……………


On the opening day, consumers were able to discuss further on the products with Paul Penders himself.

Paul and Phoebe (VP of Nic Corporation) discuss matters with a very satisfied customer using Paul Penders natural cosmetics for more than a year.
During the 2-day events, Pei Ling, Paul Pender professional makeup artist who is well-known for her creative work in Malaysia, performed on-stage a lively demonstration on Paul Penders natural organic makeup and explained the special, simple makeup techniques making it possible to achieve unparalleled results with organic makeup colors!


A great special was offered for Paul Penders product purchases of over USD100 where consumers were entitled for a FREE makeover session & a professional photo shooting section!


It is obvious that the first day was a great success! Makeup and photographs were taken all day long and in the next issue we will show you the “before and after shots”.
Unbelievable results and very, very happy customers.

Then before closing of the day, Paul had an interview with the China Press Newspaper that ended the first day of this wonderful event. We are very thankful for the enthusiasm and for future plans enfolded by our distributor in Malaysia for the Paul Penders products in Malaysia!

A Chance Meeting

By Paul Penders

Paul PendersWhen Katja was getting her makeup done during the Paul Penders photo shoot last week at Penang’s beautiful Tropical Spice Garden, I got talking with the makeup artist. Keith did an excellent job with our makeup products and I wanted to know more about him. We had a very interesting conversation which led to another very, long and interesting conversation which I’ll try to condense!

Keith Khoo and Katja Penders
Keith Khoo and Katja Penders

First of all, Keith wasn’t your typical makeup artist and I hope that this does not come across as derogatory or offensive – I have nothing but RESPECT for make-up artists….trust me, I used to be a hair stylist! What I mean to say is that in addition to being a top-notch makeup artist, Keith also had some pretty impressive cosmetic credentials. He told me that in fact he had two degrees from the State University of Kansas, US – one in chemistry and another in biology. He completed these in five years time and then went on to hold a number of R&D positions within the cosmetics industry, including some time at Estee Lauder’s R&D facilities in the US.

We started a discussion about the cosmetic industry in general and why he didn’t become a plastic surgeon which was his dream in the first place. Then duty called and Keith had to dash off to touch-up Katja’s makeup and hair (it gets very hot during a photo shoot in the afternoon!). I felt that there was so much more we needed to discuss that I asked him to come out to Langkawi so we could continue the conversation.

‘When?’ Keith asked.

Wrong question Keith…

‘Tomorrow!’ I said and with that he changed his agenda for the next day to spend a full day at Paul Penders HQ at Langkawi UNESCO Geopark!

100% certified organic cosmetic products – what’s the point?

Keith and I had a great lunch at The Westin here on the island and we spoke for two hours about both our passions, natural cosmetics! Keith’s perspective was as a scientist-formulator and mine was as a dreamer-formulator, yet both of us had the same platform of interest. I also then learned that he formulates products for several dermatologists. The conversation became more interesting each hour and I started to feel that maybe one day would not be enough!

Yvonne, Keith and Dr. Gatot
Yvonne, Keith and Dr. Gatot

After lunch we went to Paul Penders R&D and we had a long conversation with Dr. Gatot and Yvonne Nobel – his assistant (Gatot and Yvonne never fail to impress me with their knowledge and their quest to find new local ingredients to incorporate into PP products). We discussed various technical matters and as the afternoon flew by, I became more and more intrigued by the kindness of my new friend and his simple approach to his work. I could instinctively tell from my 40-years of experience in the natural cosmetics business that Keith really knew his stuff. Dr. Gatot and Keith sometimes ventured into chemical areas that I (not being a chemist myself) could not follow, however I would like share some observations I made.

Keith has considerable experience as a ‘pure science person’, having worked at one of the best cosmetics labs in the world in the US, and now he produces his own line of nature-based skincare products for dermatologists. I just had to ask him, ‘Keith in your opinion do you think that skincare products made from only organic ingredients will produce the best results?’ He looked at me for few seconds then told me that such in his opinion this would be impossible!

Penang Tropical Spice Garden
Penang Tropical Spice Garden

This was the point where we became even better friends because I share the same opinion. I think it is great when we can all eat organic food, but for the skin, why do we need all-natural ingredients to suddenly be certified as organic as well? Has non-organic skincare been bad for us? Are the “certified organic” skincare products which were only created in the last few years the most effective products? Of course not! As Keith pointed out, women want good natural products, and if possible with certified ingredients, but in the first place they are interested in the best skincare products that produce results. ‘As a scientist I know that combining the best of 2 worlds – all-natural ingredients and certified organic ingredients – produces the results that women want,’ Keith elaborated.

I should point out that it is impossible for manufacturers to claim that they use 100% certified organic ingredients; technically speaking this is impossible. This is another myth perpetuated by the industry in order to confuse the consumers and enrich manufacturers. I am personally very against this certification because I do not believe that it offers consumers any tangible benefits.

DoubtsIt is interesting to know that certified organic materials are not always natural, in fact there are synthetic materials used for skincare which are certified as organic yet are NOT natural. Funny isn’t it? I believe that most certified organic stuff is marketing and hype and has nothing to do with producing the best skincare products. I could have hugged Keith for his thoughts because he too stands for what the Paul Penders Company preaches, common-sense and creating the very best natural products for our customers.

Common-sense is sadly lacking in our modern world and people are becoming greedier and greedier. Just over a week ago the Vegan Society in the UK threatened to sue me because I didn’t want a percentage of my sales revenue to be passed to them (I wanted to contribute to another cause instead). It made me very sad…

Still, having been in the business for over 40 years I’m determined to continue what my parents and grandparents have taught me about natural skincare and also the wisdom and knowledge passed on to me by my two mentors, Dr. Herma Eefting and Dr. Ab Steyn. To have Keith, a well-trained and experienced professional who has worked in one of the world’s largest skincare labs telling me he shared my opinion on natural cosmetics made me feel vindicated and very happy.

Paul Penders Head Quarters
Paul Penders Head Quarters

At Paul Penders we make our cosmetic products with natural products and some certified organic ingredients which we chose for FUNCTIONALITY and RESULTS rather than some empty claims and marketing spin. The 100% organic certified label is not a guarantee of quality or effectiveness. This organic certification stands for everything the Paul Penders Company is against – over-commercialization and misinformation! As a small company that prides itself on our ‘soul’ we will not be pressured into conforming to a meaningless label…definitely not at the expense of our loyal customers.

So I say, ‘Thank you Mr. Keith Khoo, we had a wonderful time and we look forward to seeing you at PP HQ in Langkawi UNESCO Geopark again!’

Paul Penders

(The story was told by Paul Penders to Roz Chua)