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.

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).

THE CHALLENGE:

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 of course, but we still didn’t care for it.

doTERRA Review

Besides buying the Young Living Starter Kit, 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.

One thing I really like about doTERRA is their educational resources — and also, 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.

1.  PEPPERMINT

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

But that might be a problem.  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, according to several sources, possibly from a redistill.   The oils are either redistilled or some components are taken out to give the oil a clean pepperminty candy smell. (Source).

The other alternative is that someone did something else 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 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 might not be top quality.

Update 8/16:

If there is truly no such thing as more than one distillation of peppermint, as many say, then why is doTERRA stating that there is a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and complete distillation of peppermint?  Possibly it was an error.

Please note, this whole topic is very confusing and I am digging into it more and am going to be adding more information to this series about it and/or addressing it again in another post.  You can read some information in later posts about why one chemist thinks that doTERRA’s peppermint mint smell this way.

2.  YLANG YLANG 

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 of ylang ylang 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.

3.  TERRASHIELD

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?

UPDATE 4/16: I will be updating this distillation information.

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.

4.  FRANKINCENSE

This isn’t necessarily a negative, but thought I should point it out since Frankincense is such a popular essential oil these days.

Most companies sell either just one variety of Frankincense Oil, or several varieties, but doTERRA’s Frankincense is, at least as of the date I am writing this addition to this post (Aug 2016), a blend of different varieties (source):

– carterii (typically the least expensive)
– serrata
– frereana

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 Neal’s Yard Organics.

I’d heard of them before, and frankly, had “poo pooed” them – but only because I felt they didn’t have a large enough of a selection of oils. Well, I recently ended up going with them for their personal care (including award-winning skincare) 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, Essential Oils, by Susan Curtis is a must buy in my book.

NYR Neal's Yard Essential Oils Book by Susan Curtis

Essential Oils, by Susan Curtis is not brand specific and is really one of the best books on essential oils that I have found. It’s organized well for the beginner, but with plenty of fabulous information for the more advanced user.  It’s gorgeous and newly updated with new content and better organization.  Plus DK Books designed it.  If you know anything about DK Books, you know how lovely, in addition to informative, this book is.

This is not the company that I ended up going with for oils, as they don’t have enough oils for those of us who want to use oils a lot, but they do have a nice aromatherapy option in addition award winning skincare.

I’d love for you to join me with this fabulous company. No website fees and no huge minimums. Just $100 in a rolling 12 months.

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.

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

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  1. Do terra have Neroli oil?

  2. Any idea or thoughts on Eden’s Garden Essential Oils or Florihana Oils from France???? I have used the EG and they seem very good and so reasonable. They have free shipping on their website and nothing to join. That is a bonus. There carrier oils are wonderful.

  3. KingShit says:

    You obviously have a dog in this fight so your opinion is useless.

    • Hi there. Looks like your email address is fake, but I will address this regardless.

      I disagree with you. I left a company that was telling me I could make $8000 a month promoting their product, and went w/ a company that didn’t even have an affiliate program when I decided to go with them. I did it b/c I thought they had a great product. Almost every blogger out there makes money with affiliate links, but the honest ones will only promote what they really use and believe in — and don’t go just w/ the big money makers. I would be making more money had I stuck w/ where I was, but I just couldn’t do it.

      I hope that helps.

  4. Hello, thank you very much for your efforts in doing and sharing all of this great research! But would you kindly share what organic oils brands would you recommend after all this research?
    Best,
    Kinda

    • Hello there. Did you get to the end of the series? Many of the oils at the company that I recommend are organic. I hope that helps!

      • Kinda Morshed says:

        Oh I actually missed that last part, because its written after the links to the rest of your series, sorry!
        okay let me ask you something if you don’t mind. Because am sort of looking at brands myself, and they way I approached it is that I looked at the brands approved by Soil Association, and the ones that mainly appealed to me are Naissance, NHR organics, and I also liked the one you suggested after looking at their website.
        Now what is stopping from making my mind is the difference in the pricing of the same kinds of oil within the same brand such as NHR Organics, or the difference in the pricing between all three brands that are mentioned above.
        Whats your take on that? and how are you positive that Neal’s Yard are organic and pure?

        • Hi Kinda.

          No problem. I think pricing is a result of many things…product purchased, overhead (advertising, staff, ability to buy in bulk, etc.) and profit margin. So I really can’t say. Of course if lesser quality products are purchased then the retail price could be cheaper as well.

          As for RMO and NYR, I am confident due to this. RMO, from what I know, has the most rigorous testing and quality verification on the market. NYR has been in business for over 35 years and has an impeccable reputation and has never been accused of any kind of use of substandard oils. If you look at their company you can see quality control all the way around.

          Of course, there could be mistakes. I think RMO has so much in place that that isn’t going to happen. I mainly use RMO oils. NYR is my current go to for skincare. I’m always trying new things, though :).

          I hope that helps. Feel free to ask more if you like.

          These resources should be of help:
          http://wholenewmom.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-essential-oils-before-you-buy/
          http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/toxic-overload-health-concerns/essential-oils-testing-is-it-reliable/

  5. Hi, it is a great article. I was about to purchay doterra, but then I felt like doing a research first. Thank you for all the information. Do you know anything about NHR? I am not sure which one to trust now. I have come across with their website, they have soil association certificate. I live in the UK.

  6. Andrew Schultz says:

    All I want to say is what is organic? They say that and charge a lot more. Think about this, let’s say organic beef for example they eat the grass that has had the bees on it that came from the farm that just came from the farm that just sprayed the fields, what happens? Or the water that flows from the same place. So that being said how can it be organic? Just saying. Also less work to raise so why the higher prices?

    • Organic of course has different definitions depending on what you are talking about as far as what industry, and the standards therein. For example, in skincare, water cannot be considered to be organic. The oils company that I recommend prioritizes purity over organic and then doesn’t go w/ organic if the price is exorbitant. I don’t think that organic means less work…typically it means more since you can’t lean on toxic pesticides. Hope that helps.

  7. Now I am more confused. I really dont like MLM any way but would like a good oil. But If DoTerra is saying they are the best and using complete distillation instead of first. It seems as if they are lying?

    • Hi Lisa.

      I think the distillation issue is very confusing for sure. doTERRA’s claims to be the best are claims that many are making. I hope to write more about the distillation issue in the future, but it really only applies to ylang ylang and possibly peppermint. Mainly you want to make sure you are using pure oils. I will say that the company that I went with has the best quality controls in the industry as far as I can tell. I will be sharing more about what they have done soon. Feel free to ask more questions should you have any.

      Also, I don’t like a lot of MLMs, but some I think are fine if they are honest and have a superior product. I work with some and am very pleased with them. Some of them have identical or even less expensive prices than competitors.

      • Thank you. I also like the company you chose as well. I havent bought from them yet but plan to. Thank you for clarifying that its only the two oils, I feel better now. I agree if they are honest but I am an old school thinker about business and not fond of MLM, but I will probably buy from DT and YL. 😉

        Thank you

        • You are so welcome. I hope you like RMO should you choose to try their oils. Happy to help if you have any other questions…..more to come regarding oils in general….I’ve been doing a lot of studying.

      • This is an interesting article regarding the distillation process (myth #8):
        http://www.weedemandreap.com/essential-oil-myths-dr-pappas/
        Not sure how reputable he is… didn’t do much research but thought it was interesting.

        • Hi Amy. Sorry for the delay in replying – I’ve been swamped. Yes, I did read that and he was talking about my site. He’s the same Pappas who was commenting on my blog. I am doing more reading about this and am finding more out. I hope to update you all when I am done. Thanks for reading!

  8. Hi Adrienne,

    I am really confused as to what pure essential oil company to use when I start up my small based business from home making body products and sleep sprays etc . I’m not wanting to go broke before I start out lol. I live in Australia and I prefer an Australian company however I was looking at doTERRA and Young Living. Needing advice ASAP as wanting to purchase.

    Thank you

    Kindest regards,
    Casey

    • Hello there. I am not aware of a good Australian source. The company that I recommend will ship to Australia for free if you order $199 or more. If I can help more feel free to ask. I hope to visit your country some day. My aunt lives there. 🙂

    • Casey; If you would like more information on doTERRA you can get sold of me at my email,,, would live to hear from you!!! Nikki

  9. MLM is a tool. Like any other tool, it takes use is dependent on who is using it. I used to be skeptical too until I researched some of the history and stats on the opportunities. The dsa, or direct selling association is a helpful resource. I’m with yl myself and find most everyone I encounter in the company has been passionate about serving customers and teaching health benefits. It’s good you are being informed! Thanks!

    • Yes, exactly. And I am finding out that there are some Direct Sales companies that aren’t MLM. I was introduced to that concept this past week so have to go back and re read it to see what I think about the information. In nay case, I think the company and products are key — and sometimes I haven’t been able to find what I want in a non Direct Sales company. Take care and hope to see you around again.

  10. http://holisticessentials.ca/the-day-young-living-broke-my-heart/

    Just started researching oils, found this. I don’t know if it’s true?

    • I saw that information as well. Is there a reason you think that it isn’t? I believe there is a follow up post as well. I do know that there are Facebook groups discussing this issue.

  11. I’ve actually tried both of these brands and was not impressed for the price. Seeking some oils that would not break the bank, I found a brand called Home Like Grandma’s on Ebay. The quality of these is amazing! You really can tell how pure they are just by smelling them. I make a “gout” blend for my boyfriend’s painful knee and ankle joints with their Rosemary, Lemongrass & Cedarwood and it helps him so much. I remember the Young Living Rosemary oil smelling like chemicals – so much that I didn’t want to use it. Love these other oils I found, and they are much less expensive

    • Hi Katy – I have a whole cupboard full of oils from the Ebay Seller, “Home Like Grandma’s.” They have been effective for our family when used for various reasons, and of course the price can’t be beat. I signed up for YLO’s a couple of months ago and spent $160.00 right out of the gate to get a collection of starter kit oils. In just a couple of weeks, I’m almost out & even with my “discount” the prices are painfully high. They do smell wonderful, but are much stronger smelling than Home Like Grandma’s, which may be of concern? I admit, I do like using the Jade Lemon, Grapefruit, Thieves, and Peppermint Vitality oils YL sells internally. I wish Home Like Grandma’s would give a bit more info. about “her” oils though I will continue to use them externally since they appear to be effective enough.

  12. Youngliving does own farm and collaborate with farms outside the US to ensure that their oils come from plants that are grown in their native habitats. Young living owns 9 farms 6 of which are in the US and 3 outside the US in Peru, Tiwian and Israel. They also work closely with farms across the worlds to ensure quality oils. Doterra owns none of their farms. Young living also offers their seed to seal promise which ensure quality throughout the process. Finally, young living’s oils are tested at both internal labs and third party labs to ensure the highest quality. Just thought I would update your info about young living farms and tell you a little about why I chose young living over Doterra. I loved Doterra until I did my research and I’m happy to answer any questions you or anyone has about young living or oils in general. Thanks and have an awesome day!!

  13. Why don’t you get a first hand look at their facilities to be able to give proof positive accounts of what they use in their bottles. Any reputable company will allow site tours. If they claim proprietary processes/mixtures/ingredients nonsense immediately remove them from your list and be very weary of their products (they are probably just bottling up chinese liquids and claiming them their own, as so many companies do… )
    Any kind of ‘home testing’ is non-scientific and rather useless (smell test? come on. that is so subjective.)
    Simply imagine you are in a court of law. Would anything you have posted here hold up?

    • Hello Greg. The plan is that I will be going to their facilities. I have no problem asking to tour any company that I recommend, but I am sure you understand that this could be quite cost prohibitive given the amount of companies that I work with. I am working on seeing another company’s (skincare, not oils) US headquarters this November. So I understand your concerns, but as a blogger would it be totally realistic?

      You can get GC/MS tests for any batch of oils that you purchase.

      I’m not in a court of law. I’m just a mom trying to find the best bang for my buck and products that I feel confident using and sharing with my readers. Hope that helps.

  14. Hi,

    After reading through this I’m still not clear on which Company you selected for EO’s? I’m sure I missed something. Can you direct me to where you reveal this info? Thank you!

  15. wow Adrienne this is great information thank you soo much for the time you put into this

  16. Wow amazing g research thank you very much, I have joined the doTerra group and so far very pleased. I wish I could access this sort of information for Australia. I am sure there could be some other very good oils at a lower prices here. I learnt a lot reading this information and in all fairness to doTerra I have not been to their information sessions which they keep encouraging me to attend. So thank you! I feel a lot more informed about these wonderful oils.

  17. Adrienne – Great info. Gives me a lot to think about and digest. Thanks for your hard work here. I’ve signed up a few months ago with YLO. The oils I’ve used so far for various things seem to work fine. I especially like the vitality oils. However, I don’t like the extremely high prices for the small amounts I receive, and I also am not a fan of the MLM thing. I always go with my gut on things, and lately I’ve been feeling like there’s a lot of pressure to “recruit” friends, family & strangers in order to get discounts and benefits. I don’t want to do that…I just want to enjoy the oils for myself and my family as well as share with people in my blog (like you do) and on my website. Our son was dx with autism @ 3 yrs. (he is now 9) due to gut damage by chemicals, toxins and antibiotics (I won’t elaborate, but I’m sure you get the point)- so my website/blog is all about how we have been able to restore his health and reduce & eliminate ASD symptoms. My main reasons for becoming interested in the oils. Do you use oils internally at all from the company you are now with? Just curious. I like peppermint in my tea and thieves in my coffee! Even grapefruit in my white wine. 🙂 Again, thanks for sharing your hard work with us! Take care!

    • Hi Erin – thanks! MLMs can be good or bad. Depends on the company, the products, the pricing, and more. If you are a “shareperson” instead of a “salesperson” I think it can be a great model. I am aligned with a few Direct Sales companies that I think are ethical and have sound products and I am proud to be associated with them. I would love to know what blog you have – please do share. I am very very careful and almost never use oils internally now. I am concerned about damage to the microbiome. I just use other things in my coffee substitute and tea. I love the oils but I think better safe than sorry. Hope to stay in touch.

  18. Hi! I know you are recommending RMO but I was wondering how you felt about Eden’s Garden. I was considering them and want to know what you think.

    • Hi Monique. I am talking to other companies to see if there are others that I can share more information about on my site – but I haven’t gotten to EG yet. I did look at them years ago when I started the series, however.

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