5 Rules for Life: True Botanicals Founder Hillary Peterson

At the age of 32, just after giving birth to twins, True Botanicals founder Hillary Peterson was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The moment was a wake-up call for her and from there, she looked to better support her health—in every way possible. “It was then that I discovered an unexpected truth – my beauty products were full of toxins! I could not believe that there weren’t stricter regulations protecting our health,” says Hillary.

She searched for skincare products that gave her the results that she wanted, without risking exposure to toxins but was unsuccessful. So she set out to challenge the skincare status quo. Guided by leading anti-aging scientists, green chemists, and pioneers in sustainability, she founded True Botanicals, one of my favorite beauty brands. Here, she shares, in her words, her 5 Rules for Life.  

  1. Be kind.

When my daughters were growing up, I put a bumper sticker in their shower that said: “Kindness is Everything” and  I believe that now more than ever. I believe that one of the most powerful things that I can do every day is to extend kindness to myself, to others and to the planet.  It means a lot to me that we are building a company that is so thoroughly dedicated to sustainability because our planet needs all of us to think that way for our survival. 

2. Put one foot in front of the other.

Life is full of joy and equally full of tough times. My cancer diagnosis was one of the most shocking experiences of my life and yet it led to my discovery that the majority of personal care products are made with toxins. And then to my founding of True Botanicals. When I am going through a tough time, I focus on putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that eventually, I will find myself in a different place. 

3. Keep nature close.

Whether it is watching the geese fly south on our farm in Vermont or paddling next to migrating humpback whales, the beauty of nature can be such an amazing reminder of a collective force that is so full of love and power. I am currently reading about how trees communicate in the most incredible book by Suzanne Simard and I will never look at trees the same. Taking time to experience my natural surroundings, wherever I am, is so nourishing and healing. 

4. Put your own mask on first.

As someone who is instinctively nurturing, I have had to learn to keep my tank full so that I have enough of me to go around. For me, self-care involves a hot bath with our Nature Bathing Forest Bath Soak, my evening skincare routine with all of the transportive, luxurious scents, taking a long walk, reading a good book in our window seat or making a pot of soup from scratch. Each is a moment for grounding and replenishing my energy. And when it comes to sleep, I am very mindful to get 8 hours. I function so much better when I do!

5. Seek common ground.

My husband and I recently spent a few weeks driving cross country, and we both were taken by how kind people were along the way. There is no doubt that we interacted with people who have very different political beliefs from ours and yet our conversations were warm, easy and focused on the commonalities of our daily lives. One of my favorite experiences was getting towed out of a very muddy camping spot (long story!) by a farm owner and his Dad. We talked about farming, a home that they hoped to build on that spot and enjoying the last warm days of fall. We laughed and we were tremendously grateful for their assistance. The farm was not organic so I would guess that my interest in regenerative farming and combating global warming wouldn’t particularly interest them and yet, we had made such a nice connection that maybe we could have had an expansive conversation about farming?  As I drove away, I thought about what we could accomplish as a country if more of our conversations started from that positive place. Our trip was a great reminder that there is more that connects than divides us and I am committed to seeking common ground whenever possible.

Thanks, Hillary! Stay tuned for more 5 Rules installments.

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