Hillary Peterson sees obstacles as opportunities.
After all, if she had never been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and melanoma as a 32-year-old mother of two (a worst-case scenario), she might never have become aware of the toxins in her personal products. And she might never have been inspired to leave her job at Levi’s and create True Botanicals, her clinically-tested line of natural skincare which has won ELLE’s “Genius Award” and Allure’s “Best of Beauty" designation, to name a few commendations.
Here, the Northern California-based CEO talks staying present and letting go of the best-laid plans:
Live The Process: How did your life change when you discovered you were sick?
Hillary Peterson: Prior to my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I never imagined that something like that could happen to me at such a young age. I was only 32 when I was I was diagnosed and had two babies at home. In order to better support my overall wellness, I took a closer look at my lifestyle—which, in true California style, was already very health-focused.
I made changes to my diet (added more vegetables) and exercise habits (upped the consistency), and I began a dedicated mindfulness practice. But it never even crossed my mind to tweak my beauty routine. Then, one day, I was listening to a report on the radio that highlighted how toxic chemicals were found in the cord blood of newborn babies; they had been absorbed through the pregnant mothers’ skin. I was horrified. This led to me really examine my personal care products, and I discovered an alarming number of toxic ingredients in my everyday routine. And I know now that those ingredients were not only unsafe, they were unnecessary for achieving results.
LTP: What, in your opinion, most sets True Botanicals apart?
HP: True Botanicals launched in 2015. The point of difference then is still the point of difference today: we deliver formulas that are proven to work and are proven to be safe because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. To ensure this, we conduct third-party clinical trials, and we are the first skincare line to be fully certified non-toxic for people and the planet by Made Safe. Beyond that, we benefit from a passionate community—our products are backed by an abundance of testimonials from celebrities, beauty experts and (most importantly) a growing customer base. And we tap into that customer base to develop new formulas: our Moisture Lock Overnight Mask was created after receiving countless requests for a hydrating treatment.
LTP: Is there one product that you personally use most?
HP: If I had to choose a favorite, I’d say our Clear Pure Radiance Oil. After using it for two weeks, it completely diminished the stubborn bumps I had on my forehead, and total strangers started coming up and telling me how radiant my skin looked. It’s truly unique from other blemish treatments in that it improves your skin by simply restoring its health—which makes so much sense, yet no other product really approaches breakout-prone skin that way (most just dry you out).
LTP: Are there any products or rituals that keep you feeling balanced and healthy?
HP: It can be hard to carve out time for meditation, so I try to weave meditative moments into the day. I absolutely love taking the ferry to and from work; the Bay is so beautiful, and I typically get to see either a sunrise or a sunset.
Earlier this week, I worked late and watched the “Snow Moon” rise. It was so beautiful and so grounding. I am also a huge fan of taking an essential oil-powered bath before bed. (I’ve been using our Stress Relief aromatherapy blend.) It is so relaxing and is the kind of pause that helps me unwind and sleep a lot better.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
HP: A beautiful commute on the ferry to a job that I love. Meals with my family and friends (including an evening cocktail on my front porch!). Time in nature with my family. A hot day at the beach. Swimming in the warm ocean. Dancing with friends. All of these things help me immerse myself in the moment, which, in my experience, is definitely the place to be.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
HP: When I think of “living the process,” two things come to mind: the first is remaining in the present moment versus skipping ahead or looking back. It is so much more enjoyable and productive. The other thing that comes to mind is one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Campbell: “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Whenever I am feeling unhappy or uncomfortable, I am always able to identify resistance as part of the problem. And I have found that most challenges are indeed opportunities. To me, living the process is about embracing what comes my way and working with it rather than against it.