True Botanicals and The Truth Behind Aging (GIVEAWAY!)

Our insecurities have fueled a multibillion-dollar business. At this point, aging with grace may be just as much about knowledge as it is about using serums.

[Editor’s Note: We originally published this Q&A last Monday, August 8th, but because it was so well-received, we’re republishing it with a giveaway! Enter your details at the end of this post for a chance to win a True Botanicals face oil!]


In an effort to better understand aging, general preventative and curative measures, as well as the products we use to alleviate our many ailments, I turned to Hillary Peterson, Founder of True Botanicals, to help me dispel some beauty industry myths.

A melanoma and thyroid cancer survivor, Hillary created True Botanicals to fill a safety measure often ignored by the beauty industry. Her products—natural, effective, and environmentally friendly—are challenging the toxin-filled equivalents of many leading brands.

If it takes 26 seconds for your bloodstream to absorb 60% of what you put on your skin, aren’t you wondering what you’re really slathering onto it?

If so, keep reading for my Q&A!

Why are the telltale signs of aging marked by wrinkles and fine lines? What does this have to do with the life cycle of our cells?

The loss of both function and structural stability in our skin is unavoidable as age. The epidermis, or the outer most layer of our skin, thins, and our cell turnover rates slow dramatically. Together, they contribute to wrinkle formation and sagging. Understanding the causes of this process and addressing them at the source, however, can make a big difference.

If budget is a consideration, my philosophy is always to buy fewer, great products.

Less is more and quality is everything.

I am not a big fan of the 10-step method because I personally prefer an effective and luxurious routine that is also relatively simple. True Botanicals’ philosophy is to deliver high-impact ingredients straight into your skin so they, in turn, can address the source of your aging cells. Through our research, we have found that you simply don’t need 10 steps to do that.

I’ve always been curious about these next two question: Is there a right age to “start” taking care of the skin? Does it become a losing game when people don’t take preventative measures?

The right age to start taking care of your skin is from birth! The key, through your early years at least, is to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure. For most people, their first wrinkles start appearing in their twenties. They then start a comprehensive skin routine as a result. When they do, we recommend a minimal routine of three simple steps:

  1. CLEANSE with a gentle cleanser that removes the daily accumulation of dirt and grime without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
  2. MOISTURIZE with an antioxidant-rich, nutritive face oil.
  3. PROTECT your face every day, rain or shine, with a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen.

Oh, and just a little bit more about face oils: As it turns out, that the skin care ingredient we’ve all feared most, is incredibly good for our skin. Oils, also known as lipids or essential fatty acids, occur naturally in our skin. In fact, they’re responsible for giving our skin that “healthy glow.”

Lipids create a protective barrier that holds moisture in while keeping elements like the sun and wind out. When we age, our bodies produce fewer lipids, dehydrate the skin, and make us more prone to wrinkles. When oils are applied directly to the skin, without the interference of waxes found in lotions and creams, they are immediately absorbed into the top layers of the epidermis where they work to improve barrier function.

By replenishing the oils you’ve lost through the natural aging process, you enable your skin to do what it does naturally–retain moisture and repel assaults from sun and wind.

While it may seem counter intuitive to apply oil to even blemish-prone skin, it turns out that oils are far more effective than scrubs, harsh soaps, and other treatments in strengthening your skin’s barrier function, eliminating infections, calming irritations, and reducing inflammations. Because lipids dissolve lipids, the topical application of a carefully curated mix of oils can actually break up your skin congestion at its source.

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Why is it important to care about natural products when there are easy and cheaper alternatives?

Ahhhh!  There are so many issues with easy, cheaper alternatives that is hard to decide where to begin. First, unfortunately, cheaper ingredients tend to be the ones that are most toxic. Second, while we do use some high-quality, safe synthetics that are actually quite expensive, the best ingredients still come from nature.

There is a perception that ingredients created in a lab are more potent than carefully researched and curated ingredients from nature but that is not true. When we think of our bodies and what we eat, it is clear that whole ingredients from nature are the most nourishing. The same is true for our skin and the products we apply to it.

Oh no! What then, would you say, are some chemical ingredients to steer very clear from?

The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics Red List highlights chemicals that we should all look to eliminate from our personal care routines. It is a lot of work for to learn what to avoid and to check labels but it is well worth it.

We, at True Botanicals, recently took an important step to seek MADE SAFE™ certifications for all of our products. This decision reinforces our overall mission to deliver results without toxins and to push the beauty industry to do the same. Amidst a sea of misinformation, MADE SAFE is offering the most comprehensive product safety evaluation available today. We are proud to be making products that meet or exceed these rigorous standards.

How, then, would you define beauty?

Beauty comes from many sources, both from outside and from deep within. Beauty is authenticity and presence. It is the ability to see, connect, recognize, and appreciate all that is around us.

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Last one. Why the campaign for safe cosmetics and why True Botanicals?

We are setting higher expectations for what you, as a customer, can expect from a product. We are teaching people to look beyond marketing hype and to focus, instead, on ingredient labels backed by solid clinical trials. After all, those tried-and-true products ultimately have the greatest impact on your skin.

It is so rewarding to hear positive feedback on our customers–many of whom say they’ve never used a product quite like ours that has made such a big impact on their skin. Our collection of super luxurious, super concentrated, bio-active formulations delivers unparalleled results without compromising health. By eliminating the costs of the traditional distribution model and selling direct to our customers, we are able to exceed the industry norms and put a far higher quantity of high quality ingredients into our products.


Do you have any beauty questions that need answering? Myths that require some investigating? Ask away in the comments below!


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Fatass Does a Juice Cleanse

[title subtitle=”…but Barely”]I Survived[/title]

Wednesdays are reserved for adventures.

Hey, LoDown fam! My name is Chris. I’m the guy who takes all of the photos you see on a daily basis. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Why the eff is the photographer writing a story?” That’s a good question. Let me explain…

While discussing possible adventures to take on in the world of food and fashion, juice cleanses came up. The team immediately shifted their focus to me, a self-proclaimed fatass. They figured it’d be funny to give the “foodie with a booty” a three-day juice cleanse. Let’s fast forward to when my story begins.

August 24, 2015 (The Day Before the Cleanse)— The LoDown crew hits up Juice Press in the East Village where I get my three day’s worth of juices (and a lifetime’s worth of anxiety). While the whole team exchanged giggles and I eyed them with death glares, the Juice Press staff neatly lined up 18 juices, colors ranging anywhere from green to yellow to red. I received a pamphlet and felt reassured by its second bullet point. “Rest,” it read, “For best results, take a break from exercise.” I remembered thinking there was hope. Famous last thoughts.

Day 1

9:19 a.m. Just woke up. Took what I expected to be my last solid shit. Ridiculously anxious at the thought of no food for the next three days, which is a nightmare I have definitely had before.

10:07 a.m. First drink down the hatch called “Love at First Sight”. If that’s what love at first sight is like, I have no problems with being single. Feeling much better about this cleanse, but still super fucking hungry and lowkey bitter that I couldn’t put a greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich into my body.

10:37 a.m. Got to work. On the way, my bag fell off my bike and I was more worried about the juices than my $3,000 MacBook. The juices are changing me. I also passed approximately 213 restaurants, and each was a kick to the babymaker.

11:13 a.m. I already want food and coffee. I feel tired and sluggish, but that might be because I don’t have my life together… the jury’s still out on that one.


12:41 p.m. Just finished my second drink. It had a thicker consistency. I don’t feel like fainting as much. To be honest, I can’t stop thinking about smelling pad Thai and French fries.

2:04 p.m. I’m watching my coworkers eat our catered lunch…excuse me while I stab myself in the leg with a thumbtack. If you know me, there is nothing I show more enthusiasm for than free food. I am weak.

3:06 p.m. Just finished drink number three and my mouth now tastes like a mix of my front lawn and a middle-aged man’s vegetable garden. I’m feeling good every time I drink a juice because my stomach feels fuller. This is probably what it’s like to be a model at Fashion Week—to crave food but to not be allowed to eat it.

5:08 p.m. Trying to get through “Doctor Earth”. It is ROUGH. There’s more ginger in it than a redhead convention. My hunger hasn’t been bad, but I miss eating actual food and the idea of eating.

5:14 p.m. I just opened a bag of chips in the office to smell them. Actually, it worked very well. I’m now getting weird looks from people in the office.

7:37 p.m. I made the mistake of going into Whole Foods with my friend. Had a very public meltdown. The Lord is testing me. If you’re doing a juice cleanse, stay home with no food and just sleep for three days.

9:49 p.m. I finished juice number five, and it was VERY gingery. I’m a bigger fan of Nickleback than I am of this drink. Also, I just want some fried chicken and Chipotle. I’m now staring at a bag of chips from across the room in my bed. Heavily debating whether or not to sneak one, but I have too much pride (and a really aggressive conscious).

11:47 p.m. Finished my last drink called “Glo” and enjoyed it very much. I would definitely enjoy a Dominos pizza way more but oh well. Time to go to sleep or pass out from the lack of usual calories. We’ll see which happens first…

Day 2

11:12 a.m. Woke up after sleeping in because I’m worth it. I actually feel…great? I know, I’m surprised too. I don’t feel hungry or anything, but I have to unleash the Pacific Ocean from my bladder.

12:34 p.m. I just finished the first juice of the day. Really delicious, but I’m already hungry and my apartment smells like pizza. So, there’s that.

1:37 p.m. Finished juice number two called the “Fountain of Youth”, and I feel like Jennifer Anniston. It may be my favorite drink of the cleanse.

4:17 p.m. I finished “Doctor Earth” and it was worse than I remembered. I thought I was going strong today, but as the day progressed, I desperately want food…and to not be an adult anymore but that’s life, Chris.

6:47 p.m. I went to Duane Reade to get a jug of water because that’s the only other f%*&ing thing I can put into my body besides these damn juices. I’m getting frustrated with not being able to eat, as you can tell. New York gets boring real quick when you take solid food out of the equation.

7:14 p.m. – Finished a red drink called “Lucky Seven”, and I hated it as much as I hate school.

9:04 p.m. Just sharted my pants.

9:09 p.m. False alarm.

Day 3

11:41 a.m.  I just woke up and am feeling great mostly because I’m thinking about all of the food I will be knee deep in tomorrow.

12:14 p.m. Finished juice number one. I have so much motivation to make it through to the end of today.

3:29 p.m. I forget how many juices I’ve finished at this point, but I can assure you that they all tasted very green and very NOT like a cheeseburger with a side of fries.

5:47 p.m. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…or is that just a neon sign advertising 99¢ pizza? Either way, I’m very into it.

7:01 p.m. Jamming to Justin Bieber’s new song “What Do You Mean” which was exactly what I told the Juice Press staff when they said I couldn’t eat for three days.

9:58 p.m. I JUST FINISHED MY LAST JUICE! I would do a celebratory dance but that would require more energy that I have so let’s just use our imaginations.


What to expect when doing a juice cleanse: So, unless you’ve slipped into a coma at the beginning of this adventure and woke up here, at the end of the story, the point to take away is that you can’t have food unless you count a few almonds. It is possible to do but it also takes a lot of will power. The first day was the hardest for me. After that, I began to feel more and more like an asshat because the cleanse was all I talked about. Then, I got mad at my friends for eating food. Sorry, friends.

Stock up on adult diapers. You will live in the bathroom. I’m trying my best to avoid being graphic for our sensitive reader with social graces. But anyway, let’s just say that as a guy, I didn’t have to sit down quite as much during the cleanse. When I did though, it was a runny doozy.


All in all, it really wasn’t as bad as I was expected, but then again, I was expecting to look and feel malnourished and be well on my way to my deathbed. Would I do it again? Probably not. I love solid food far more than the average human should. However, I did feel very healthy and I did notice my skin clear up. Was it a coincidence I didn’t have a single zit either or those three days? That’s not important. Anyway, duty calls, a.k.a. a very large plate of Pad Thai!