Question: What do you get when you combine a former chemistry teacher with a passion for safe and responsible skin-care products, with a marketing guru and two-time cancer survivor committed to living a healthy lifestyle?
Answer: A company committed to making non-toxic products safe enough for all skin types-and a story that shows we can have beautiful skin without paying for it with our health.
“I had a melanoma ten years ago,” says Hillary Peterson, CEO of Marie Veronique Organics. “I also had thyroid cancer fifteen years ago. With those two occurrences in mind, I was really thinking about how I could live my healthiest life. My focus on that took on a new meaning for me.”
Having already adopted healthy-eating habits and meditation, Hillary was taking steps to make her body more resistant to cancer growth. “Before, I might have had an Oreo cookie every now and then,” she says, “but now there is no way I would eat a partially hydrogenated anything.”
Hillary started buying more local, fair-trade, and organic foods, but it was only later that she started thinking about her personal-care products. “I never imagined the lotion I’d used for years was primarily made with petroleum products, or that my sunscreens were made with harmful chemicals that have been linked with cancer. I never understood that what you put on your skin goes into your body and into your bloodstream. It was a big shift in my learning.”
Hillary describes herself as a “frustrated consumer,” as she was finding it really difficult to purchase truly safe products. “Doing whatever you can to have an optimally functioning immune system makes a lot of sense. Everyone says these products don’t do anything, but no one has tested for the cumulative load. If you use lotions with petroleum products for 30 years, in addition to eating partially hydrogenated oils, how much can the body take?”
Finally, she connected with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database and found that Marie Veronique Organics seemed to be one of the safer brands. “She was in my area, so I called her up.” Marie, having started her company with homemade formulations in her own kitchen, was already making products free of petroleum-based products, nanoparticles, and other toxic ingredients. She and Hillary hit it off immediately. “We had an amazing conversation,” Hillary says. “I talked to her about my experience and my frustration, and she told me about her philosophy-if something isn’t safe, she doesn’t use it-and that’s very rare to find these days.”
Within a short time, Hillary was working with Marie to help grow the company. “We wanted to provide only what would be safe and effective for customers,” Hillary says. “We hung a sign that my daughter made in the office. It says, ‘Is it safe for children?’ In other words, anything we make needs to be safe for even very vulnerable populations.”
Marie’s other passion of aging gracefully meant she was creating products that actually worked. “There’s this perception that in order to get results you need chemicals,” Hillary says, “but we provide another option for people.”
According to Marie, it’s all about increasing your defenses, protecting from the sun, and repairing cellular damage-in other words, giving the body what it needs to naturally produce healthy, young-looking skin. “When you have a product loaded with powerful and fresh antioxidants,” Marie says, “it can make a huge difference. And if you have enough hyaluronic acid in your skin, it gives it that plump look and can counteract aging. When you nourish your face-like when you nourish your body-it really does respond.”
In the end, Marie says, while chemicals often contribute to skin breakdown, natural products support the health of skin, resulting in a more younger-looking appearance. “It’s like the difference between chemicals in your food and natural food. Natural stuff works better-it gives your body the wherewithal to heal itself. The body does wonders as long as it’s got enough to work with.”
Hillary-now in remission for 10 years-is thrilled to be investing her time and energies into a company that cancer fighters and survivors can feel good about. “It means a lot for me as a cancer survivor to go to work everyday and grow a business that helps people live the healthiest possible lifestyle.”
If you’d like to try Marie Veronique Organics, please visit their web site.