Assessing Product Safety

When used as intended, cosmetic products made from natural ingredients are safer, healthier, and more beneficial to the body than the chemical ‘soups’ sold on the mass market. Of course, at any step in the process of transforming ingredients made from flowers and leaves into beauty products, there’s the potential that a batch might become contaminated or incorrectly mixed. That’s where the Paul Penders Safety Assessor steps in! He says:

    Everybody wants to sell, sell, sell. But it’s my job to say ‘hang on a minute, this is what we need to look at.’”

Professional toxicologist James Midgley is engaged by our company to provide an “outside eye” on all the ingredients, formulas, and the manufacturing process to help ensure that we deliver the safest and highest quality products.

It can be a difficult, expensive, and time-consuming effort to receive government approvals for beauty products. New studies by scientists and reports by doctors come out almost every day in the cosmetics field about harmful contaminants and ingredients that have caused sensitivities or even illness – and then laws are changed.

    The criteria we use is GMP, in accordance with current EC directions.”

GMP, says James, stands for Good Manufacturing Practice. “It’s a legal term used by the European Commission community to determine safety for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.” As the Safety Assessor, he looks at the MSDS – the “manufacturer’s safety data sheet” which lists the limits on what can be used in a product.

You might expect that a Safety Assessor would have a certain serious way of living his life. Yet James Midgley’s unique personality makes it a real pleasure to know him. He is a great outgoing and spontaneous person, living life to its fullest.

James worked in pharmaceuticals as a quality manager for Boots Pharmaceuticals and Reckitt Benckiser factories, the makers of household local brands that you may know.

    As a Safety Assessor, do you have any advice for users of beauty products?”

USE AS INTENDED!” We know he’s right! When used as intended, thanks to our extensive Quality Assurance process, we can reassure our customers that all of the Paul Penders line of beauty products for hair and skin are completely safe for human use!


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A range of short blog stories will follow in the next several weeks about beautiful long old-fashioned train journeys across Europe. The goal? To find the world’s very best natural and organic cosmetic ingredients.

For Paul Penders products, the ingredients must be simply the ultimate in quality. I go out myself regularly to search for them wherever in the world I may happen to be, and… by train! China, Southeast Asia, India, North America, Eastern Europe, or as 5 months ago and again this month, Southern Europe.

My last travel experience was in Italy. I was searching for the best olive oil and actually found it! Sitting in the fast train from Paris to Rome! In our cabin, the right person appeared; he was sitting right across from me in a comfortable chair. We started talking (what else one can do on a train in Italy!) and I discovered he owned a small organic vineyard. Then he mentioned he had a small organic production olive oil farm – family-owned in Sicily! We visited him a few days later. It turned out to be the best olive oil we could ever find and…. we made great new friends as well.

As I write this blog in May 2013, I am still traveling, now in Marseille, France – importantly to me, it’s the largest natural soap capital in the world.

Our search for the newest and best ingredients has brought us to France and Spain on this journey. The objective this time is to find the very best essential oils.

We found some very intriguing places in Southern France; near Avignon, there is in a small town, a “Musee de la Lavande.” Visiting the museum was a real pleasure and a learning experience as well. They gave us insider information about the highest quality organic lavender and lavender essential oil, as well as the growing and production processes.

We journeyed on to Spain in search of sea plankton at the Atlantic coast, as described by a friend from the US but I couldn’t find the source. However, there I also looked at rock mountains that yield mica the color of gold. This mica is an ingredient we can use in our natural color cosmetics. How much more organic can that be?

While in France, I talked to upscale hair salons in Paris and Aix-en-Provence about washing hair naturally.

We are developing a totally new and exciting natural shampoo; the best I have ever made in 40 years in the natural beauty industry. It has two separate layers and the bottle must be shaken before use to mix the ingredients. It is simply the best for moisturizing hair. An unusual feature, at the bottom of the container, you will see a little mineral mud that comes from a jungle waterfall in Malaysia. We got wonderful reviews of the new shampoo from a selected test panel from several different countries. Dr. Gatot is our experienced senior cosmetic chemist who is working hard on the many little details involved in making the final formulation.

Many stories emerged on this trip. In between the 6 weeks of traveling, I also visited some of my family and friends as well. And there is a real story in itself about the train! To me a Eurrail pass beats flying, hands down. In one of the next blog issues, I will tell you more about this amazing rail pass and how to take advantage of it – it’s luxury 1st class traveling and very cheap actually!

All these interesting experiences have had the same ultimate goal – finding better quality cosmetic products, more natural ingredients, and ultimately the best skin care, hair care, body care and mineral beauty products possible.

We never have wanted to be the largest company but we are trying to be the best!

Lastly, I am asking you to rate us — how are we doing?

  • Do you read most of our blogs or only seldom?
  • Do you like the topics or not?
  • Would you like to have other topics covered?

We always love hearing from you.

Thanks for your trust in our 100% vegetarian natural herbal cosmetics made with organic ingredients and proudly carrying the official Halal certificate for each and every one of our products.


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Paul’s European Journey – Part 2: Train Talk

Part 1: Grasse, France – The Perfume Capital of the World
Part 2: Train Talk
Part 3: Catania, Sicily – Homegrown Organic Olive Oil and Wine

A beautiful way to meet new friends –
riding the European trains on a Eurailpass

It started on the train — a long journey from the city of Nice in France to Rome, Italy.

On European trains, people sharing a cabin immediately start up a conversation. You can meet the most fascinating people this way and get into the most interesting discussions. Our train seat-mates began to speak passionately with lots of vivid gestures. Their topic apparently was politics. I do not speak Italian but I could hear and recognize a few names and it just seemed natural to join the conversation.

In just 10 minutes, it had become a heated but friendly conversation between people who had never seen each other before and most probably never will see each other again.

We spoke a motley combination of Italian, English, French, Dutch (me), even a bit of Malay as I introduced my wife and explained we had come from Malaysia and were traveling through Europe on a ‘working vacation.’

We all had a good time exchanging views and developed great respect for one another. It was with real regret that we waved our companions off at their various stations.

This was a working vacation — crisscrossing Europe by train with a fantastic Eurail pass deal on these fast trains that in fact are better than flying. Why fly? Flying has such problems including going to busy airports and waiting and waiting… It is so much easier to relax on a train. In the end, it usually takes the same amount of time. If you fly, you will then need to take transport from the airport to your destination. If you arrive by train, it will take you to a station right in the middle of the city where you want to be!

Hours later, the only one left in our cabin was a man who said he was from Catania on the island of Sicily. Like us, he would need to spend the night on this very comfortable train which soon would be loaded on to an amazing “train ferry” to cross the channel from the Italian mainland to Sicily.

A train ferry — we had never seen this before. Maybe we should show this picture to Amtrak in the U.S. — how a train driving at 240KM per hour simply stops and is rolled onto a ferry to make the crossing of the Straits of Messina to Sicily, then on the other side, the train rushes off the ferry on its way to its destination. Woah Italy!

I asked our Sicilian companion what he did for a living.

“Well,” he said – in very good English – “I own a small plantation of 600 olive oil trees and also a small vineyard. Everything is grown without using pesticides. We produce a very limited amount of quality olive oil and wine.”

I couldn’t believe my ears! I have been committed to using only organically grown ingredients for our Paul Penders products for almost 40 years – and had hoped to learn more on this trip about sources for organic olive oil and wines. He also was interested to hear my story about natural organic cosmetics and the history of our small company.

That last hour on the train was spent talking with Mr. Sawillaci Gaetano. We shared our mutual passions and philosophies of life. Like me, he loves to travel and has been many times to San Francisco – my spiritual home.

We really bonded as we talked about the ways both of us earn a living — not by becoming bigger but by nurturing smallness as a business concept and deepening that concept out as much as we can.

He was not in it for the money. Because his plantation has only 600 trees, he can produce no more than few thousand bottles of the purest olive oil and of fine wine – very small productions indeed but made with great passion. Most of the crop is used for family and friends.

Mr. Gaetano keeps life simple and rich with a beautiful philosophy and a respect for tradition. That philosophy extends to hospitality – before we parted, he invited me to visit his property in Catania.

I’ll tell you more about my visit to his organic farm and some of my other wonderful experiences in Europe in upcoming blogs.

By Paul Penders

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The flora of Paul Penders – Today: Witch-Hazel

This is the twenty-second and last part of our series where we take a look at all the 22 ingredients in Paul Penders’ patent pending LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract which is a part of all Paul Penders products.

Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) is a soothing herb and a great astringent (contacts body tissue and canals). It is also used for toning and healing

Witch-Hazel is a shrub that can grow up to 3-8 meters (10-25 ft.) tall. The oval leaves are 4-16 cm (1.5-6 inch) long and 3-11 cm (1-4 inch) broad.

Its fruit, flowers, and next year’s leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously, which is a rarity among trees. Blossoming takes place in the fall of the year. The flowers are 1-2 cm (0.5-1 inch) long, either pale to dark yellow, orange, or red.

Out of five species, three grow in North America, one in Japan, and one in China. The species used in LevensESSENTIE Gold® is one of the North American species, Virginiana; also sometimes called winterbloom.

It is a very popular ornamental plant, grown for the clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers which begin to expand in the autumn, and continues throughout the winter.
Witch-Hazel is not used in cooking due to its very sour and bitter taste.

The bark and leaves are astringent (see above). This extract (also referred to as witch hazel) is used medicinally. Extracts from the plant’s bark and leaves are used in aftershave lotions and lotions for treating bruises and insect bites. Witch-hazel helps to shrink and contract blood vessels back to normal size, and have a skin-toning effect as well as being a strong anti-oxidant.

Native Americans produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub and condensing the steam to produce a distillate. They used the distillate to treat sore muscles, cuts, insect bites, and other inflammations and tumors. Early Puritan settlers in New England adopted this remedy from the natives, and its use became widely established in the United States

Furthermore, witch hazel is very useful in fighting acne. It is often used as a natural remedy for psoriasis, eczema, ingrown nails, to prevent sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, and as a treatment for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It can be found in numerous over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations.

Witch hazel is also traditionally known as a good first reaction against shaving cuts and abrasions, and it is also recommended by The Doctors Book of Home Remedies as effective for helping soothe sunburn.

Natural organic grown Witch-Hazel has won its place in Paul Penders LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract because of its great soothing powers and its strong natural astringent abilities which makes it a natural choice for natural skincare.

This was the final part in the series describing the 22 ingredients in Paul Penders LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract.

We really hope you have enjoyed this botanical travel through The Garden of Paul Penders, meeting these 22 wonders of nature.

You are, of course, always welcome to contact us in case you have further questions. Write to

Related posts:
Patent Application on LevensESSENTIE Gold®
LevensESSENTIE Gold® Herbal Extract – All 22 Herbs in Details

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The flora of Paul Penders – Today: Turmeric

This is the twenty-first part of our series where we take a look at all the 22 ingredients in Paul Penders’ patent pending LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract which is a part of all Paul Penders products.

Turmeric root (Curcuma Longa Root) is an excellent natural antibiotic herb with fungicide properties. It is used traditionally for bruises and wounds and it stimulates circulation. This is another rainforest herb that has become a part of LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract.

Turmeric rhizome: Being a part of the ginger family, turmeric is native to tropical South Asia, and needs a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes (roots), and are re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season.

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South East Asia and plays a large role as a cooking ingredient. It has become the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian, Thai and Malay dishes.

The rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and to impart color to other ingredients. It has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a smell similar to mustard.

In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as ‘Indian Saffron’, since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.

In non-South Asian recipes, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.

Turmeric in folk medicine: In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has many medicinal properties and many in South Asia use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which helps with stomach problems; as an anti-inflammatory agent, and in northwest Pakistan turmeric is applied to a piece of burnt cloth, and placed over a wound to cleanse and stimulate recovery. Indians use turmeric in a wide variety of skin creams due to its Ayurvedic properties.

Turmeric in medicine: Turmeric is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and other clinical disorders.

Turmeric in cosmetics: Is most commonly used in sunscreens and in some skin products as an antibacterial agent. The government of Thailand is funding a project to extract and isolate a compound called THC from turmeric. THC’s are colorless compounds that might have antioxidant and skin-lightening properties and might be used to treat skin inflammations, making these compounds useful in cosmetics formulations.

Natural organic turmeric root is one of the newest members of LevensESSENTIE Gold® herbal extract, simply because this outstanding rainforest herb is an excellent natural antibiotic plant with fungicide and skin glowing properties.

Related posts:
Patent Application on LevensESSENTIE Gold®
LevensESSENTIE Gold® Herbal Extract – All 22 Herbs in Details

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