Which Essential Oils Company is Best? Young Living and doTERRA – Part 4

Wondering Which Essential Oils Company is Best? What about the "Therapeutic Grade" claims the MLM/direct sales oils companies make? Come find out all you ever wanted to know about oils companies and more!

Here we are again – moving toward finding the Best Essential Oils Company.

To clarify, what I’m after here is the Best Essential Oils Company for the money.

So you can work on natural healing without breaking the bank–and I think I’ve found a good one.

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Just being realistic:

I’m one person looking into a bunch of companies–with some help.  So I’m leaving the door open to the possibility that I might be wrong.

I’ve had to admit I was wrong about things before.
–  My thinking that Lilla Rose Flexi Clips were a waste of money (see my “changed my mind Lilla Rose review” here).
– or saying my Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid was a great idea.

We need to be willing to admit we were wrong.

Was I wrong about Young Living?  Remember my enthusiastic posts about their Thieves and Peppermint and Wintergreen?

Let’s find out.

Today I’m going to share what happened as I looked into the “heavy hitters” in the Essential Oils Industry–

(Oh, and if you are jumping in in the middle of all of this, here is a link to Part 3.)

Wondering Which Essential Oils Company is Best? What about the "Therapeutic Grade" claims the MLM/direct sales oils companies make? Come find out all you ever wanted to know about oils companies and more!

Young Living and doTERRA.

If you’ve been looking into essential oils at all, chances are you have come across YL and DT.

You’ve had folks tell you “Young Living is the best!” or “doTERRA is the most pure”.

Or something like that.

I touched on some of these issues in Best Essential Oils Post – Part 1.  But here’s more.

First up–Young Living

Young Living Review

1.  Reputation and Ethics –  There are some pretty not-so-savory things on the internet about D. Gary Young.  Of course, the internet can be full of truths and lies.  But I still think these things are worth paying attention to.  Dr. Stephen Barrett has written a load of unsavory things about D. Gary Young.  In fact, this information is a lot of what gave me pause when I initially was looking into signing up with YL.  I mean, the Thieves Oil worked great for me, but I really didn’t like what I was reading.

Now, I do have my concerns about Mr. Barrett–mainly that he’s basically an “anti-alternative therapy” hound.  And I like alternative therapies.  Most of them, at least.

I personally am very concerned about abuses in the alternative medical field.  But I’m also concerned about abuses in Western medicine.

My family and I have been harmed by the practices of traditional Western medicine (overuse of anti-biotics, over-use of prescriptions meds, doctors misdiagnosing acid reflux, etc.).  In some cases, we’ve been healed despite what mainstream doctors told us to do.

I know there are abuses on both sides.  But Quackwatch appears to be just targeting everything alternative:  Chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese medicine….You name it.  If it’s alternative, it’s Barrett’s target.

I could go on and on about his site, but suffice it to say that I am not sure of all of Barrett’s accusations against Gary Young. (UPDATE – All comments by Mr. Barrett against Gary Young appear to have been removed so I can’t cite them any longer.)

However, his writings about Young Living and Gary Young leave something to ponder.  Moreso in light of what else I found…

2. OSHA Violations – I found this interesting entry referring to Young Living OSHA violations.  I didn’t find any by the other oils companies, although I didn’t look all of the essential oils companies up, of course.  That would take a long long time and I couldn’t find them all for sure.

Now, Young Living is the oldest oils company, so they’ve had more time for there to be violations, and all of the violations appear to be of the same incident.

Of course, OSHA violations don’t mean that a company is bad.  If they cleaned up their procedures correctly, then possibly their new procedures are better than ever.

3.  Non-Indigenous PlantsMany A good number (updated 4/2015) of Young Living’s farms are located in the U.S.  I think that’s fine for a company being more “in control” of their product, but not great if you follow conventional wisdom that plants grow best (and have the best therapeutic qualities) when they are grown in their indigenous locations (where they are supposed to grow naturally).

If you read through the comments of Best Essential Oils Parts 2 & 3, you’ll see that Young Living reps tout the fact that YL farms are in the U.S. as being an advantage–that it gives Young Living control over the whole process.  Maybe, but other companies like doTERRA and most of the other companies I’ve looked into have their oils sourced from wherever the plants grow naturally for higher quality.

4.  What’s That Smell?

You know I like testing things before recommending them to you, like in my:

Best Cinnamon Sugar and
Best Eye Makeup Remover posts.

Then you won’t be surprised to know that we did this with essential oils as well.

I purchased YL, doTERRA, Mountain Rose Herbs, Aura Cacia, and 2 other companies’ oils and did a little “Smell Challenge” with my not-so-specially-trained Smell Testing Panel (a.k.a. my family).


We had a blind smell test of 3-5 brands of the same oil.

In each instance, Young Living was singled out as having a chemical overtone.

Does that mean there were chemicals added?

Not necessarily, but we still didn’t care for it.


doTERRA Review

I also bought a large kit of doTERRA’s oils to try them out against YL.  I asked doTERRA reps and corporate employees tons of questions, and I even used their oils exclusively for awhile.

I really like their educational resources and their oils smell great.

But their great smell is part of what concerns me.

One thing I really don’t care for is that a lot of doTERRA reps (and corporate employees as well) say something like, “You’ll know it works by its smell.”

This from doTERRA’s website: “A 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oil should have a balanced, broad fragrance profile and should smell crystal clean.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what “crystal clean” means.

Before I go into more–I mentioned distillation techniques in one of my previous posts.  Basically, the going wisdom about essential oils is that you put the plant parts and water in a distiller and under low pressure and low temperature, you distill the essential oils out of the plant.

They travel down a tube and into a vat–along with the steam.  The oil collects on top of the water and is removed and–voila–you have essential oils.

The most coveted, and most expensive (and thought to be the most therapeutic) oil is that which is collected during the first part of the distillation period.  The resulting oil is called “first distilled.”
This “first distillation” only applies to a few oils – ylang ylang and peppermint, according to what I have learned.


doTERRA’s peppermint smells good enough to eat–as in “candy cane” good.

But that might be a problem in my book.  Here’s why.

Most peppermint essential oils smell like the peppermint you find growing out in nature. Kind of herby and not really like a candy cane.

Candy-cane-smelling peppermint is apparently from the second distillation or a complete distill (distilling for a long time).  The oils are either distilled for a longer time, or redistilled and some oils are taken out to give the oil a clean pepperminty candy smell. (Source).

The other alternative is that something else is done to the peppermint oil to reduce the herby smell.

This is exactly what doTERRA’s peppermint oils smell like.  So yummy, in fact, that if you have kiddos in the house, you’d best keep it out of arm’s reach.

Here is the response I got from doTERRA stating that their peppermint oil is, in fact, a “complete distill”:

You can let her know that our Peppermint uses complete
distillation.  There is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and complete and we use complete.  (Source:  my email.)

So if in fact, the first distillation of peppermint oil is the most valuable, then their peppermint oil isn’t top quality.


doTERRA prides itself on selling the top of the line quality.  Their ylang ylang, however, is also a complete distillation.  Some may say that this is a matter of taste, but in the essential oils industry, the first distill is more valued and therefore, a higher priced oil.  To their credit, doTERRA does call their ylang ylang a complete distill on their website.

Ylang Ylang first distill (which is referred to as “extra”) is typically considered to be the quality of oil that is most sought after / of highest therapeutic quality–not the complete distillation.


Thanks to Kitchen Stewardship, I realized that doTERRA doesn’t disclose all of the oils in this bug repellant blend.  I will say that we have used this to treat after bite itching (and my son likes it), but I think that not including ingredients on a label is not preferable. (UPDATE – doTERRA now discloses the ingredients of their Terra Shield blend. I’m glad they are doing that.)

What I think is troubling here is that doTERRA makes a lot of claims about their oils being the best–top quality.  And their prices sure reflect that.  I don’t think I would purchase complete, 2nd or 3rd distillation oil for more than other companies are selling 1st distill for–would you?

Of course, there are other things to think about–purity, etc.  So we’ll keep the conversation going and touch on other companies as well.

I hope this all makes sense.  If not—ask away.

Thanks for your patience!  This has been a long road, but I promise, we are nearing the end.

The Rest of the Best Essential Oils Series:

– Which Essential Oils Company is Best? – Part 1
 – What a Good Essential Oils Company Should Have – Part 2
– Which Essential Oils Company is Best – Troubles with the Oils Industry – Part 3
– Are Multi-Level Marketing Oils Worth It? – Part 5
– Distillation, Bias, Vomit and Personal Attacks – Part 6
Announcing “the Best” Essential Oils Company – Part 7 

**Finally, you can get my Report on Essential Oils, 10 Things You NEED to Know BEFORE You Buy for FREE by visiting here and signing up for my newsletter.**

UPDATE: 2/7/16:

What About Other Direct Sales Oils Companies?

I get asked all the time what I think about other direct sales essential oils companies.  And there are more and more of them coming out all the time….. including companies with other products at the forefront that are adding EOs to their product lines.

I looked at all of the Direct Sales Essential Oils companies (Ameo, Be Young…..) and didn’t want to go with any of them for numerous reasons.

Well, I still feel the same way, but I have found a company that meets my high standards — and they happen have a nice essential oils offering.

So, if you REALLY want to make money and have essential oils as a part of that, I highly recommend you check out this company.

It’s Neal’s Yard Organics.

I’d heard of them before, and frankly, had “poo pooed” them in the comments – not because of their ethics, but because I felt they didn’t have a large enough of a selection. Well, I ended up going with them for their personal care and am loving the aromatherapy side of their business.  I even got to talk to Susan Curtis, the author of this amazing book on Essential Oils just after I signed up.

Regardless of whether you are interested in having a home business, however, this book is a must buy addition to your library.

NYR Neal's Yard Essential Oils Book by Susan Curtis

And boy, does she know her stuff.

The book is not brand specific and is really the best book on essential oils that I have found (particularly for the beginner), so I highly recommend it for everyone.  It’s gorgeous and newly updated with new content and better organization.

And I am getting ready to dive into their oils.

They source their own oils so they know everything that goes into them.

This is not the company that I ended up going with as they don’t have enough oils for those of us who want to use oils a lot, but they have a lovely selection and other products that are just amazing.

I’d love for you to join me with this fabulous company that is owned by Peter Kindersley, the former part owner of those lovely DK books.

Anyhow, we’re not done yet………

Keep reading to find out where I ended up as far as choosing as essential oils goes…….

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The information here is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a medical professional before changing your diet, exercise program, or before trying any natural remedies.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. So which essential oils company is the best?

  2. I understand your concern, but I have to say there is a reason.
    The process d?TERRA uses is to ensure the oils are safe and pure.
    One big reason d?TERRA beats other companies in my book is the Healing Hands Foundation. d?TERRA goes to third world countries and helps improve their circumstances and economy. That to me is the best part of d?TERRA.

  3. I am a Young Living oily mom. I very much enjoyed reading this because I’ve also wondered the differences myself! I just wanted to state in reference to your comments about young living and their farms and issues about indigenous plants. Young living not only has farms in the United States but also in Canada, France, Ecuador, Croatia and Oman. This is all information on their website for public viewing.

    • Thanks. I am aware of their other farms but was just stating that it seems they have a good amount not grown in indigenous areas. Do you think that is incorrect?

  4. Heather Bueltemann says:

    This writer is supporting another oil neither YL or Doterra. It is a Fact that YL is the purest seed to seek proven procedure, and has a third party check and balance. I had a hellacious time getting my children to sleep. Started using YL lavender it is not like the synthetic I was using. There’s your sign! My children are knocked out in minutes! Also I use it in my body butter, so healing! You have to consider the source. YL is the leader DT is a copycat.

  5. Just make sure to use a carrier oil to dilute. I found a solid form that is really convenient to use at http://www.carrierstick.com

  6. My sister introduced me to YL some time ago with a small vile of something that had this amazing fragrance. Can’t remember the name on the vile but I thought it was amazing.
    Today I sent her an email and in her reply email back to me she had a link to a YL website. The link wasn’t working so I decided to see what YL was all about. This is when I came across your amazing web site.

    Your site was very informative in the different stages of distilling and everything else, I learned so much in a very short time about essential oils.
    My question to you is which essential oils company have you decided to use?

  7. “3. Non-Indigenous Plants – Many A good number (updated 4/2015) of Young Living’s farms are located in the U.S. I think that’s fine for a company being more “in control” of their product, but not great if you follow conventional wisdom that plants grow best (and have the best therapeutic qualities) when they are grown in their indigenous locations (where they are supposed to grow naturally).
    If you read through the comments of Best Essential Oils Parts 2 & 3, you’ll see that Young Living reps tout the fact that YL farms are in the U.S. as being an advantage–that it gives Young Living control over the whole process. Maybe, but other companies like doTERRA and most of the other companies I’ve looked into have their oils sourced from wherever the plants grow naturally for higher quality.”

    Just giving you a “heads up”, Young Living has farms all over the world where plants would be indigenous. There are farms in Equador, Croatia, France as well as many other places in the world.


    Thank you for this informative post!

    God Bless,
    Independent Young Living Distributor

  8. Christine Potthast says:


    I would not debate whether Mr. Barrett’s critic on Mr. Young is biased when there is enough other material against Mr. Young out there.

  9. Young Living have good products, but they are pricey. Also, they don’t pay the commission they promise. I would not recommend them to any – anymore. They have ripped me off for over $1000.00. So…they are history.


  10. Elizabeth says:

    If you would like more assurance on whether or not the oils you are using are 100% essential oils, you can always have them tested by Dr. Pappas from Essential Oil University. He tests oils from all companies. I know not too long ago, YL accused DT of having a synthetic in their peppermint oil. After testing YL peppermint, it turned out that their oil actually had the synthetic. This is why DT does their CPTG. They want people to know that they are getting what it says on the bottle. They go through painstaking effort to make sure the farmers they work with meet their standards. In fact, their roman chamomile and Melissa have been out of stock for quite some time because there were issues with crop yield and they won’t, by any means, put a synthetic in their oils. This is why I use them 99% of the time. I trust them.

    • Hi there. I just had a reader comment that Pappas is testing for doTERRA. If that is the case, why would they have a synthetic in their oil? I did read that, however. The same kind of thing happened with the company(ies) that I recommend. They are rejecting a lot of oils and have things out of stock b/c they are finding contaminations. Thanks for commenting.

      • Maybe I was misunderstood? Dr. Pappas tests oils from ALL companies, including doTERRA. Anyone can bring an oil to him and have him test it for a fee. The synthetic was found in a YL oil, not doTERRA. But, what happened is that YL was accusing doTERRA of having a synthetic in the same oil, but when someone had him test that oil from YL, it was actually them (YL) that had the synthetic. Dr. Pappas posted this on his Essential Oil University page on Facebook a few months ago.

        • I don’t know. I read that there were synthetics in doTERRA’s peppermint. Ethyl vanillin was found there. I remember what you are talking about as well.

  11. Thanks. Great blog on the basics of the essential oils and their companies…I have a friend that sells the doTerra. It’s a bit $$ high for my taste. I think now I will look into some of the other companies, armed now with my new found knowledge. ?

    • Thanks!

      • I have been trying to digest all that’s been said previously. I had been doing internet research on first YL, then doTerra for last yr or so. Had pretty much settled on one or the other. Didn’t seem like anyone in my area was YL so someone introduced me to doT. It’s so hard to ascertain which to go with when both appear so similar in product, integrity, etc. Cost is, of course, an issue but then so is our health!

  12. Any company that is found by and from former executives of another company, and steals every single recipe, every single name in their distributorship database, and every single source of their suppliers is a company based on lies, cheating and theft. This is called ‘intellectual property theft” in the US, and theft of “company assets”.
    doTerra founded itself on someone else’s hard work, decades of learning, study, having a medical facility for 13 years, and curing many and numerous ‘incurable” diseases in his patients. I am disgusted with doTerra, and the creeps who stole so much from Dr. Gary Young, his wife and all that they’ve built for us all over the years. He is a doctor, on a mission, cured himself from his own parapalega, and brought Mary into being fertile again after long past time in her life. 2 beautiful boys exist now. The proof is always in the pudding. doTerra had to hire some bogus doctor to “be on their staff’ to represent their oils, a doctor who previously never had anything to do with oils.

    Don’t be fooled. A company founded on lies, always will lie. They will not suddenly ‘turn honest’ after having profited so much from their lying and thieving.

    If you’re planning to get involved with them, just be prepared for the day when they suddenly go under, and all you’ve invested in growing a downline with the wrong company will be lost.

    And whomever mentioned ‘charity’ as the reason they chose doTerra are ignorant of the fact that the D. Gary Young Foundation has been active for many years, serving the communities where they source oils worldwide, and beyond.
    Schools in Ecquador
    A new University of Agriculture in South America
    Homes for orphans in Africa
    Gary is also very passionate about helping the homeless in Tibet and paid for having 2 brick building machines from Africa shipped there, so homes could be built.

    Find me another company with values that match those.
    Certainly not doTerra.

  13. Karen Meek says:

    I just wanted to point out that often the best education one can have is “Life”
    Rudeness to me shows lack of character regardless of credentials.
    I am a hard working person and I am looking for the best quality of oils for myself, my family, and my aspirations of starting a new home-based business. I shall keep reading to find out your opinion on the best essential oils.
    Thank you,

    • Hi Karen. I appreciate your sharing and it’s nice to have you here. As for a home business, you might find the end of the series to be interesting. I’d love to hear what you think :).

      – adrienne

  14. You are just a downer with nothing good to say about anything. I tend not to trust anybody that just puts down as many companies as you have. I say, choose what is best for you and go about your life not putting the rest down. What a waste of energy.

    • Hi Angie,

      I am sorry that you feel this way. But you are incorrect. I have a lot of good things to say. I love the company that I recommended at the end of the series, and just at the bottom of the post you commented on I was praising NYR Organics and their EO book. I think a lot of people don’t care for doTERRA and Young Living. You think that it’s a waste of time to tell people concerns that I have with companies? I disagree. Do you think it’s a waste of time what consumer advocacy groups do? And if I find things that are a problem with say, the government intervention with health care or with vaccines, or other arenas of our lives, or how the FDA comes down on companies without due cause do you think I shouldn’t say anything about it and just “do what is best for me?” How about how the gardisil vaccine has killed many women? Should I just decide not to have my kids get the vaccine and be silent? What do you think about that? Let me know. Thanks in advance.

  15. This is so funny that you wrote this. I was a Body Shop at Home consultant for a few years before they killed that end of the company. I have been looking for something to join for years that I believed in and could honestly sell to people from home. I was one of the first consultants to sign up with NYO but didn’t stay with it because I didn’t really understand it, the selection seemed limited and honestly at that point my life was just going in a different direction where I didn’t have time for a home business, The reason I think this is funny because i was in on the ground floor and let it go.. .ok not really funny … sad really lol I agree with you that they don’t have enough choices for essential oils though and really am looking for something along that lines. Any chance you have done any research on Jordan Essentials?

    • Hi Cheri.

      Interesting. Yes, I wish I had signed w/ NYO years ago. Would have been a very good thing but I was very very disappointed with Direct Sales at that point in my life. I’m really impressed with them in all arenas right now.

      You should join me :).

      I just took a quick look at Jordan. The ingredients in their personal care lines are not what I am looking for. Here is the Bergamot Shower Gel:

      Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Fragrance, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Chloride, Glyceryl Stearate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Capryhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Citric Acid, PEG-150 Pentraerythrityl Tetrastearate.

      Fragrance: http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/dangers-of-fragrances/

      PEF isn’t good. Laureths aren’t good either.

      Besides, Jordan seems to have only 5 single EOs whereas NYR has expanded – they have 16 singles and a number of attractive blends. They still don’t have that many reps. I say go for it. I did :). In case you are interested, they have a great deal through 2/15 to join for only $75 https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/wholenewmom/area/become-a-consultant/ Doing the right thing doesn’t always have to be the ground floor, you know? I can’t say what the money will be like, but I can’t let money be the deciding factor.

    • Oops – I spelled your name wrong. Sorry about that. I didn’t get to sleep ’til late and my mind is still all fuzzy. Sorry :).

  16. This is a super interesting hunt you went on that I wish I had time do do myself so props to you!! However a supplementary concise post that simple stated the huge over arching findings and clearly stated your favorite and reasons in an organized way would have been awesome! All of this info is interesting! But its very difficult to A understand your points and B find out a bite size of helpful information! Just a suggestion! (there may be one that Im just not noticing)

    • Hi Fira.
      Thanks for commenting. And for your kind words. Are you saying that about this post or about the series?

      I will say – it evolved on its own. I really didn’t mean for it to be this kind of series so that’s part of the issue…..let me know :)! I can try to make it better and more is coming.

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