THE “SAFE COSMETICS ACT” – Is it the death of Creativity?

This is the second in a 2-part blog about the on-going threats to small cosmetic businesses.


It’s a clear strategy: Big Brother makes it look like they are doing good but really aren’t they just trying to eliminate the competition? They are powerful – look at the “Safe Cosmetics Act” which the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and their “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” which now has a bill that they wrote in front of the US Congress. On paper, it looks good – but examine it carefully and you’ll see it that “nothing in this bill requires products nor their ingredients to be safe…”

If it goes through, just like the new regulations for the cosmetics industry in the European Union, it will cripple small businesses.

The ‘Safe Cosmetics Act’ is just another hurdle for small businesses.

Says Paul Penders,

Please believe me. I have been in this business for 40 years. Many in the industry agree with me; all these regulations do not make the products better. They are not in the interests of the consumer. However, they are clearly in the interests of the designers of these regulations: the lawyers, lobbyists, politicians and finally, governments who can cash in on a huge amount of money in various document fees.

All in all, it is a huge headache for small companies and the consumer is going to have to pay more for the same products because of new regulations… because someone needs to pay…“

You get it, right? It is you the customer who will pay for these unnecessary and unfair costs…

Paul says,

To me, as a creative cosmetic maker for over 40 years, someone who loves to think up new ingredients and new products, I tell you that [if this bill ever passes], this is the end of creative thinking. New products will come only from large corporations (animal tested ingredients or not).

So….If Uncle Sam takes over the thinking process, we should just follow along. No longer will you be able to expect many new inventions from small companies. In times past, these creative ideas were even copied by large corporations – this has happened a few times with Paul Penders products.”

Small cosmetics companies are trying to come together to fight for our survival. We are not alone. Here’s what the Safe Cosmetics Action Network had to say:

“It seems more like they are trying to silence the small manufacturers of nontoxic products, many of whom started their businesses in their kitchens by requiring every personal care manufacturing facility to register with the FDA. They are also requiring every ingredient list for every product on the market. This will make it prohibitive for small companies and start-ups. Also, there is nothing in this bill that requires products nor their ingredients to be safe…”

Who does the “Safe Cosmetics Act” bill and its amendments favor? What about the new regulations for cosmetics being enforced by the European Union? Big business. Their strategy? To cripple small innovative businesses around the world with regulations and laws that make it impossible for the little guys to survive.

Who suffers? Small businesses that will be forced to close because they cannot afford to meet the exorbitant costs of tests and fees and lengthy paperwork. And who else? You — the customers — who seek out specialized natural and organic products that big businesses will not make because they are too costly and difficult to manufacture.

We need the small creative thinkers willing and able to pioneer new and better products.

By Teviot Fairservis with Paul Penders


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This is the first in a 2-part blog about the on-going threats to small cosmetic businesses.

Big corporations now want to dictate to consumers – is this right??

When unfair laws and regulations favor big business over the small, creative ones, who is the ultimate loser? You – the customer. We’re speaking from both hearts and minds when we say,

Don’t trust the so-called “Safe Cosmetics Act.” Look at what’s behind the mask!

Product safety should be the first concern of any manufacturer of cosmetics and Paul Penders spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure our formulas are not only safe but good for you. Like other small, creative businesses we are constantly under threat from big corporations that want to put us out of business. Now they’ve got a clever strategy to eliminate their competition by using their political clout to influence US legislators to pass unfair and unnecessary laws.

Back in the news again, a bill is now before US Congress called the “Safe Cosmetics Act.” First proposed in 2010, it was authored by a group calling themselves the “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,” in reality, this is a subsidiary of the political lobby EWG (the Environmental Working Group). When small businesses objected to the bill, it was tabled and then redrafted.

Here’s what’s going on in Congress today. This time the bill includes an amendment giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the right to recall products that they find unsafe. It also includes a proposal written by the “Personal Care Products Council” which is another trade group (again think “lobbyist” trying to influence politicians) claiming to represent the whole cosmetics industry. Who are their members? The Estee Lauder Companies, L’Oreal USA, and Procter & Gamble among other big corporations. They propose that all products be required to be tested and to meet certain standards which they have established (the “Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012,” H.R. 4395

In other words, they want the FDA to make it a law to follow the ingredient safety decisions made by the Council’s own Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel. Who will their decisions favor? Big business, naturally. The FDA’s reaction? It seems they were as outraged as we were by the evident arrogance of this group. Testifying at the hearing on the bill was Michael Landa, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at FDA who said, “Such a move would be “unprecedented” and possibly unconstitutional.” The FDA got it right this time!

In the same sentence, the proposers of the new bill acknowledge that the cosmetics industry is “currently one of the safest product categories regulated by the FDA.” Our reaction? The products are safe. It’s the “Safe Cosmetics Act” and groups like the EWA that jeopardize our safety and our freedoms. As the old proverb says,

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”


By Teviot Fairservis with Paul Penders


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IndoChine Natural Plays It Beautifully Fair

A while ago we were very honored to welcome special visitors to Paul Penders Headquarters: Dr.  Mike Thair and Miss Le Thanh Thuy, both directors of “Indochine Natural” located on beautiful Penang Island, another of these wonderful tropical rainforest islands of Malaysia. 

Their company is founded strictly on fair trade principles and also on using the very best natural botanical ingredients. Their search for true essential oils is legendary as I learned when I followed their Facebook posts. This great company communicates very openly with their customers. They are truly passionate about producing the highest quality natural cosmetics while helping low-income people and disabled people to achieve a sustainable livelihood.

Fair Trade” is a social movement that helps marginalized producers in developing countries sell their product to an international market without getting exploited by ruthless middlemen. Fair Trade proponents help these producers and workers to achieve greater control over the marketing and pricing of their products, thus leading to stable and self-sufficient businesses.

Dr. Thair is a professionally trained chemist (and much more!) with a very interesting life story. He has taught in universities in various countries and has been an adviser to the World Bank in many countries, especially those in Southeast Asia. In my conversations with him, I feel he has a great love for people. Certainly he is one of my favorite people and I love to share a cup of coffee with him from time to time.

One of our favorite subjects during coffee conversations is the unfair regulations for cosmetics 

These days the large cosmetic corporations seem to own legislators and that situation has put several small companies out of business. How? Ask Dr. Thair, he is a true specialist in regulation matters and successfully completed all the new paperwork required for selling his Indochine products within the European Union.

I can tell you that even for him it was a headache. He agrees that many small companies will never complete these requirements because of various outrageous stipulations involved in the process; one of them is the capital needed to get it all done!

May I disclose that Paul Penders Company has already invested over USD $100,000 in this process? Why so much? Because some of our products contain no less than 50 different ingredients per product, we need to show something like 50 “small books” for each of product. So multiply 50 products times 50 ingredients and we have to produce some 2500 small books! On top of that, some hundreds of tests have had to be performed by independent labs.

So who is crazy here? Is it right for the regulators to force us to do all these unnecessary things when pure natural cosmetics are made with time-tested formulations and have been sold for years in some 15 different countries? This is an investment that many small companies cannot afford. Some do not earn even half of the amount needed to meet the regulations. Therefore many small companies will go out of business and startups may never get off the ground. A perfect system, very well-designed isn’t it?

Designed to benefit large corporations and eliminate their competition!

While writing this story, I heard from Mike that the so-called “Safe Cosmetics Act” is once again being considered by the US Congress!

Dr. Thair knows all about this. That’s why I always look forward to our “coffee talks.”

Ms. Le Thanh Thuy and Dr. Mike Thair, directors of Indochine
Mike and Le’s Indochine company is located just minutes from “The Spice Garden” on Penang Island in Malaysia where we had such a wonderful product shoot with Katja not long time ago.

Dr. Mike Thair can be reached at


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America Back in the BUSINESS of Animal Tests?

From the great people of “Personal Care – Truth or Scare” in California I received message that “The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics” (CCIC) who runs “The Leaping Bunny Program” has the same concerns about the newly proposed “Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011” as they had before with the “Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010” that was rightfully rejected in Colorado and by U.S. Congress.

The new proposed Safe Cosmetics Act 2011 will overhaul the way cosmetic products are regulated in the United States. While the purpose of this legislation is good to ensure that cosmetic products are safe, it will have disastrous consequences for laboratory animals. Innocent creatures used to undergo cruel test for cosmetic products and their ingredients.
Although this newly proposed Act endorses the development of non-animal testing methods, there is little doubt that animal testing will be required by this bill! It will result in a substantial increase of animal tests!
Here is my vision on this bad news.
CCIC hopes that changing the cosmetic regulations can be done without animal tests. They believe that harmonize U.S. law with the European Union would be the best and I totally agree! In Europe they make safe cosmetics but also prohibit the use of animal tests for cosmetics! So in America we are going to re-invent the wheel. Why not totally disregard what scientists already know in Europe for many years? Or are the cosmetic products made by L’Oreal and Chanel regarded as unsafe in America?
Most of this incredible stuff right now just starts here.
To me, for the last 10 years, few things seem to go little but awkward in my own country. Maybe Americans have become little bit isolated compared to modern developments in the rest of the world? For example, here in the US we have the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that consists of no cosmetic chemists and they seem to act totally confused.

What disturbs me most is that our company in the past helping to establish a law in The Netherlands to prohibit animal tests for cosmetics already 25 years ago! The Netherlands was actually the first country in the world to make it ILLEGAL to do animal tests for cosmetics and its ingredients…. and now after all this time, the US wants to start doing it all over again?!
How many of us Americans feel lost in a society run by legislators and lobbyiests?
Also lawyers who make money in any way they can? Does neglecting all they learned in Europe bring us to more safe cosmetics and closer to nature? The EWG makes it sound like using a simple herb used for centuries with great results, now suddenly can cause death, or risk getting terrible diseases like cancer and more?

Consumers are made scared by scare-tactics of EWG
New “arm-chair scientists” coming along making things bad that later need to be fix that didn’t need to be fixed in the first place. Here is the business part that comes in. Because for centuries people in Europe use simple herbs for improvement of their health and cosmetic purposes. Now EWG and their “scientists” claim we are at risk from these same herbs. Of course, these scientists do not understand the miracles of how nature works… therefore it is suddenly no good anymore. How arrogant can we be?
But maybe there is more to it?
Maybe it is just pure business. Because who pays for all this nonsense? With all we do we are missing the boat. I think we are little bit lost as a Nation.
Most people in the world believe animal tests for cosmetics is terrible.
Useless and some find it even a crime. In Europe they stopped doing it a decade ago. In name of innocent animals, please stop the stupidity; the ignorance! Please let’s start to educate ourselves. When one buy a cosmetic product look for the track record of a company. Also be aware that “the new kid on the block” is not always the best but some tell great stories.
Please be not confused like many of us. Do not support EWG. They are simply not qualified to make their strange assumptions.


The Naked Truth of Natural & Organic Cosmetics

The Daily Mail in UK reveals the ugly truth about organic and natural beauty products claiming to be chemical-free. Alice Hart-Davis, a beauty publicist, wrote about the ugly truth about beauty and one thing is for sure; in the beauty world “natural” is the new black.
Alice wrote: I’ve lost count of the times a press officer handed me a product with the words: “97% natural”. I usually scan through the ingredients listed on the back…. Glyceryl Stearate, Emulsifying Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate as top ingredients after water. Are those all natural and organic? Usually the publicist looks nonplussed, often replying: “they’re all naturally derived.”

Technically, these ingredients are “natural” even if they don’t sound natural, simply because they haven’t been made in a laboratory – another neat demonstration of how convoluted the whole issue of “natural” versus “chemical” has become.
The term “natural” is very wide, making it hard to know precisely what it means.
It’s an important and political hot potato too, as shown when US law-makers introduced a Safe Cosmetics Act which will enable the US Food and Drug Administration to investigate whether ingredients in personal care products might have harmful effects.

Today’s beauty consumers want “natural products” and are increasingly against any ingredients with names they perceive to be chemicals, particularly those that they judge to be toxic. When they think of natural skincare ingredients lists they should contain items they understand… extracts of flowers and herbs, clays, minerals, oils and waxes.
But the fact that a long list of chemically adapted ingredients is still classed as natural in many products is pretty confusing.
That view so exasperates the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) that it has offered £1 million to anyone who can show it a chemical-free product. So far, the RSC’s money remains safe, but that’s not going to change the prevailing mood.
When you push people to say what exactly they mean by wanting “chemical-free” skincare they become a bit more specific. What they want to avoid are harsh or toxic chemicals that might be bad for their skin.
One thing people don’t want on ingredients lists is sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulphate (SLS or SLES), the foaming agent in everything from shampoo to toothpaste. It’s a known irritant, though it tends not to be a problem because it’s used in wash-off products. Another one is parabens, a family of preservatives in cosmetics with great success for the past 50 years but which has become the bogeyman of the cosmetics industry. Yet the evidence against them is not conclusive.
We at Paul Penders believe that there should be far more honesty and openness at certifying organic bodies giving their OK to many “certified organic cosmetics” that contain downright chemicals, or other ingredients that are even questionable to be called natural.

Paul Penders Co stays away from being certified organic by 3rd parties. No false marketing claims are being made ever. No “feel-good” slogans that are not backedup by the naked truth and long time experience we have. We have our own R&D staff who work with pride and true honor and…. a 100% commitment to using natural and organic, ethically produced highest standard ingredients … for over 40 years.
Trust us because nobody can take this away !