Are We Washing Away the Benefits?

Like almost all the important things in life, getting your health and beauty in order takes time. It’s easy to fall into a routine and then forget to assess if a given product is truly beneficial over the long-run.
However complacency can be dangerous, especially when you are dealing with chemical products to be applied to your body. The latest scientific discoveries could reverse our previous knowledge (remember Marie Curie died of anemia before anyone knew radiation exposure could be dangerous). It’s just good sense to take some time to examine the potential benefits, hazards, and cost-effectiveness of the products we use each day.
As a ‘newbie’ to Paul Penders International line of natural cosmetics, I’m just starting to learn what each product contains and how it can be used as part of a daily beauty regime.
In the shower this morning, I quickly lathered up with the last of my old cheap shampoo from the convenience store. I’m looking forward to trying out the Paul Penders shampoo but my Puritan ancestry still whispers, “Waste not, want not…”
As I watched the suds swirl down the drain, I wondered, “Does anyone know how long a shampoo or conditioner should sit on our hair? What about how long a cleanser or moisturizer should sit on the skin?  How long should we wait before rinsing off in order to reap the benefits?”
The ever-present economic question comes up, “How much money am I wasting if I wash off the product just seconds after applying it?”
Paul Penders International research scientists deal with these questions about Time, Money, and the Benefits of natural cosmetics every day. Here are just a few of my questions to be explored in future blogs:

  • How long should products ‘sit’ on the hair or skin before rinsing?
  • Is there a cumulative effect from repeated use over time?
  • Do the ingredients interact in some way with the rinse water?
  • How much of the benefits are lost if you wash off immediately?
  • What is the optimal beauty regime for use of the Paul Pender products?

The Paul Penders Blog welcomes your questions which we’ll try to answer.
Email us any time at

By Teviot Fairservis.



The Langkawi Island Beachside Café Conversation about Natural Shampoo

It turns out that old adage is true: “oil and water do not mix” – they form an emulsion! I am sitting in a beachside café, drinking coffee on a gorgeous sunny afternoon with founder Paul Penders. He is explaining to me that as the pace of life has increased dramatically the world over and competitors began to put out “lather, rinse, and go” shampoo brands, people stopped buying “non-emulsified” products to their detriment.
I look at him a bit bewildered. What does he mean? What’s wrong with a quick wash-and-go? And what does this fascinating word, emulsification, mean precisely? As soon as I can get home to my computer, I google “emulsifiers.”

    “In what I call ‘non-emulsified shampoos,’ “ Paul says, “you shake them to use, and then the oil immediately starts separating. Then the oil begins to cling to the hair. If you use emulsifiers, the natural oils are stripped away.”

I start to understand. Like that popular tropical drink – a Tequila Sunrise – liquids of different weights tend to form layers which you have to stir or shake to get them to mix. Stir them up and walk away; in a while, they will separate into layers again. Sort of like what happens to my coffee when the milk is curdled.
Make a vinaigrette — pour water or vinegar and some kind of oil into a bottle — and shake. What happens? Scientists say that shaking breaks up two ‘immiscible’ (non-mixing) liquids into droplets that “statistically distribute” themselves throughout the bottle.

    Oil and water do not mix without using an emulsifier

Add an ‘emulsifier’ and the mixed liquid will stay together as an ‘emulsion.’ But if you do not add an emulsifier, then the liquids will start to move apart again – the heavier ones towards the bottom, the lighter ones floating on top.
So what does the emulsifier really do?
It gravitates to the border where the oil and water or air and water meet and reduces the surface tension so they can’t separate, thereby stabilizing the whole solution so it stays mixed. We hear a lot about ‘emulsified’ foods, creams, lotions, and shampoos. Is this just a fancy term or does it means something for your health and beauty?
Paul tells me that way back in 1984 Paul Penders International began when he started using a non-emulsified shampoo formulation invented by his grandmother. His hair salon customers loved it for years – until “Hurry!” became the watchword of modern life.
In order to give shampoos a long shelf life, commercial manufacturers add emulsifiers – usually detergents or ‘emulsifying waxes.’  These break up oil into droplets indiscriminately – both the oils in the shampoo and the natural oils in your hair. Every time you use an emulsified shampoo, your hair gets stripped of the natural oils that your body produces to protect it.
Emulsifiers also form chemical bonds to oils and water, preventing them from attaching to other things – like your hair. They dilute the oils and other nutrients in the shampoo which might be good for your hair – and the result is most of the ‘good things’ are just washed away in the rinse water. Seems like such a waste of money!
On the other hand — taking Paul’s point — if only people were willing to take an extra minute to shake up a non-emulsified shampoo (like Paul’s grandmother’s formula), then natural oils would be retained. The added herbals and oils in the shampoo would cling to the hair, making it healthier and giving it greater body and sheen. Shake! Lather-rinse-and-go!

    That was then.
    See what is now …
    and what will be next!!


Paul Penders International’s Research & Development team works overtime – the company is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the products. Some years ago, Paul Penders scientists found a gentle emulsifier that doesn’t strip the hair to add to the acclaimed Paul Penders shampoo – keeping up with the times.
Paul Penders R&D is currently at work on a new shampoo based on the old formulation. What’s new is research into the chemistry and uses of indigenous tropical plants as well as studies of the traditional health and beauty practices of the native peoples of Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more about this exciting research and how tropical flowers, herbs, and fruits, and other plants will be used to enhance Paul Penders shampoos and other beauty products in the line. Stay tuned to this blog!
By Teviot Fairservis.



Meeting Intriguing People

Simple living and simply being honest – living by a few simple principles so that we can live our lives to their fullest.  How ‘simple is simple,’ one can ask? I think that the beauty of life lies in simplicity — the simple joys of friendship, love, commitment, and most of all, respect. In regards to this, I like meeting new and exciting people — ones who can change the course of our own life for the better. Again, by ‘simple simpleness.’
Last year, my most impressive meeting with someone new was encountering Mr. Gary Goldschneider in person. He is not only an accomplished American classical pianist, but also one of world’s best astrologers — and lives in Amsterdam.
I bought several of his books in San Francisco some 25 years ago. They are available in bookstores worldwide. Since he was giving a piano recital in Amsterdam and I wanted to know more about him, I decided to take the plane from Asia all the way to Europe in order to see him perform rather than just listening to his CDs.
As it happened; I had a wonderful opportunity to meet him. Actually after the concert he came up to me and asked me a few questions. He looked me straight in the eyes and suddenly something like a light went on – like an instant connection – or whatever we want to call it. Mr. Goldschneider and I became friends. He invited me for dinner at his Amsterdam home. And I am proud to announce here he has been invited to perform by the Penang Art Community, in Malaysia.
Last week I met with Doctor Rahman, a professional healer of alternative and local Malay medicine who has studied in Australia and other countries. He lives in Ipoh which is in Malaysia in the State of Perak – a truly mountainous area where you can find indigenous peoples still living according to the old beliefs of centuries ago. They live amidst trees, plants and waterfalls which they believe have healing properties.
I have invited him to come to Langkawi to show him what we do and share some plans I have for new products using herbs and waters coming from the Perak mountains and communities. I had that same feeling of connection when meeting him and right away I knew that this is a contact forever.
Actually he reminded me of my dear friend Dr. Ab Steyn in Holland who was a famous natural healer who people from all over Europe used to consult. I am sure that in a way Ab brought me to Dr. Rahman. I know by heart that something good will come from it.

Then last month I met Teviot Fairservis, a most interesting American woman living on Langkawi UNESCO Geopark Island, the same as me.  Only a few Americans happen to live in Langkawi and they seem to be perfectly delighted with this wonderful and unique environment. As I am myself American (but Dutch born), I was eager to meet Teviot after I discovered that she writes for www.langkawi-gazette.comI was stunned by a great article about our magical island.
We had coffee in her apartment near the beach, together with her 2 cats. It was very pleasant and I connected very well with her. She is truly intelligent, a great organizer and has a professional background in non-profit administration.  She has a great sense of humor!  I wondered even more about what an American woman alone would be seeking by living in this beautiful paradise located on the other side of the world. I got my answer and much more than I bargained for.
To keep it short…..
Teviot agreed to be one of our writers.

She will handle the Paul Penders blog and will start doing research on local herbs and natural cosmetics related with what we do and represent on this beautiful Langkawi island. Actually her first article will appear on the Paul Penders blog very soon about one of my first products which I developed some 40 years ago — the “non-emulsified shampoo”–  which we are considering bringing back in its same simple form as it was decades ago!
Meeting wonderful people is exciting and actually very simple and truly can enrich our lives. To me it is the perfect example of ongoing learning and a way to gain more happiness. While trying to lessen my own ego each day, I wonder often at the beauty of life, love, and the cultivation of respect – the simple things.

A Company’s Soul

Paul PendersBy Paul Penders

New certified organic statements are being created by several cosmetic companies these days – and in an overwhelming manner.

It is becoming more and more important for many cosmetic companies to communicate to the consumers what the company stands for when it comes to being “certified organic”. You could call it to create a profile, or to create a certain image of the company in the mind of the consumers.

Talking about Paul Penders Company, I believe that our daily Blog and our monthly Newsletter is doing a great job when it comes to defining what Paul Penders Company stands for in this important organic matter.

We truly believe in natural organic cosmetics that are holistically produced with certified organic ingredients. Ingredients that are certified even by USDA approved certifying bodies.

But – and now I am referring to the current discussion in the press – why do these products suddenly need to be approved by a third party? Are our products not already known for being of the highest quality and standard when it comes to natural ingredients? And this for 40 years!

Forget-me-not - here as a flower
Forget-me-not - here as a flower

With the Paul Penders products, we wish to reach out. To touch the heart of consumers with products made with the greatest care and the deepest respect.

To inform the consumers about us and about our products, we try to keep focus at all levels of the company in terms of how we present ourselves and our products to the consumer.

We believe a company can have a soul. We can discuss whether a heart would be better for a company than a soul, but when all comes to all, it is the consumers trust and faith in the company and its products that counts.

We wish to thank you for your trust in us.

Paul Penders

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Health and Beauty from the Rainforest

A few weeks ago, Paul Penders came back from a business trip to Singapore. Big was our surprise, when he immediately started talking very enthusiastically about… the Malaysian rainforest!

Last time we checked on the map, Singapore and Malaysia were two separate countries! They still are, by the way… And rainforest in Singapore?

Well, yes, there is actually a primary rainforest in Singapore. It is the size of 2,000 hectares, and Singapore is the only large city (besides Rio de Janeiro in Brazil), that still boast primary rainforest (read more here). But that was not where Paul had been. So why all this talk about rainforest?

As in most cases, there is a natural explanation, and so was the case here.

Health and Beauty from the Rainforest

It turned out, that Paul had visited a book store on his way to Singapore, and had picked up a copy of Professor Gerard Bodeker’s brand new book “Health and Beauty from the Rainforest”.

“We have to mention this great book on the blog!” Paul exclaimed. “Many of our ingredients come from the rainforest and we have our head office here on Langkawi, the Geopark where some of the most pristine rainforest in the world is.”

Now, after having read the book, I agree completely. This book has to – and really deserves – be mentioned on the blog.

What better way to start, that having the author himself presenting the book and telling about it?

Either watch the video, or read the extract of what Professor Gerard Bodeker said during the presentation of the book at Expo West 2009 in Los Angeles on the 29th of April. The extract of the speech is below the video.

Professor Gerard Bodeker (Oxford University, UK & Columbia University, USA) first told that he has been connected to Malaysia for 10 years. His first visit to Malaysia was due to an invitation from the then health minister, who asked him to help advice on policy development for the herbal sector.

“Malaysia’s herbal traditions and health cultures are something unique in this world.”

About the uniqueness: “That is what we are trying to do now; to share this with the world (through this book).”

“The globalization of Asian natural health care is a zooming force.”

“There is nothing alternative about natural medicine.”

“The only thing that is alternative about so called alternative medicines is that health systems have kept it out of the mainstream, while the public are using it on a very widespread global basis.”

“Malaysia is a microcosm of Asia: East Asia, South Asia coming together with South-East Asia, in a confluence of traditions.”

This (the book) is a story of the cultural convergence in Asian traditions in a rainforest environment.”

“The Malaysian rainforest is arguably the oldest in the word with diversity of more than 20,000 known species.”

“The principle of Malay medicines: It’s not just medicines. (It’s also about) health and beauty traditions. It’s a way of life. It’s about wellness, radiance, energy, and balance.”

“Food as medicine (with a healing effect) is a whole aspect of Malayan diet.”

“Many skin care formulations have been recorded in this book.”

Pegaga is used (by men) to create energy, sexual vitality, alertness and so on.”

Professor Gerard Bodeker finishes his speech by telling the story of how Malay Rajas – in ancient times – when visiting the Emperor of China, instead of gold or silver, brought herbs (like pegaga) as presents. The herbs were considered as valuable as these golden metals.

Book prize - 1

Interested in knowing more about “Health and Beauty in the Rainforest”? Come back to the blog later this week – there is much more to come.

And do not forget our competition where you can win your own copy of “Health and Beauty in the Rainforest”. A hugely illustrated book, by the way.