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).


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?

UPDATE 4/16: I will be updating this distillation information, but please note that doTERRA’s Frankincense is a blend of 3 varieties, including the less expensive carterii.

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 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 it’s designed by DK Books.  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.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Angela says:

    Hi! I do not want to bash any company, but I do want to state facts. Just beware of what company you choose because even if it says 100% pure that means that it only has to be 10% purely that oil and 90% a filler oil. Young Living is 100% pure with NO added fillers. They are also the ONLY essential oil company that owns their own land to grow the plants, so they have complete quality control and never use pesticides. Oils can be dangerous if they are not completely pure, so please consider that. I do sell Young Living. Here is my link: (link deleted by blog owner) and I would be happy to discuss this further with anyone. I chose Young Living after years of research and after years of trying a few brands (including Young Living). YL was the only one I felt comfortable with in the end. Please contact me with any questions though!

    • Hi there. Glad you found something that works for you. I am sorry but I don’t allow Direct Sales links on my site as it is not meant to be a marketing platform for others’ businesses. Thank you and hope to see you around again.

  2. Hello and thank you for all the information.
    I would like to know if anyone used “AMEO” essential oil or researched them.
    Thank you.

  3. Are you saying you have decided on healthy living oils? Is it only aromatherapy use you like or for medicinal? Based on price, how does it compare? Thank you very much.

  4. Wow, what a journey and I’m grateful, Adrienne, that someone has the persistence to research and evaluate all of this. Today, as I write I am contemplating ditching my account with Doterra because of their back office policy. I have never met the Doterra person I enrolled with ( lives in another state) and would like to switch to a specific local Doterra sponsor. (The latter did not solicit—I just took a local essential class and liked her). I feel like I can promote the business better by having local relationships. First, I was told I would need SEVEN signatures from their hierarchy, then learned that I could not switch to her, PERIOD! REALLY! I don’t think I want to do business with a company that requires seven signatures or finally tells me NO. I don’t need SEVEN SIGNATURES to switch a 5 million dollar bank account from one bank to another….but I do to change essential oil sponsors????This is way to militant for me. Sorry for the rant but as you know, there are things that one needs to consider when they are signing on and promoting a company.

    • You are so welcome, Susan! That is frustrating. I know those companies vary w/ their policies. Basically I think the reason is that one sponsor could solicit someone else just to get people in their downline and make money, which could cause a lot of trouble, but I understand your concern. There is a lot to consider with Direct Sales companies. Hope to see you around again. More to come!

  5. I’ve only recently learnt about doterra. At first when I heard about it was like “wow, this is awesome”, but as time has gone on and the rep for doterra has started co ya ting me daily with when I’m going to but my next oil, it’s left me no choice but to question “is it as good as they say?”. Thank you for your info!

  6. Nathalie says:

    I’m thinking of joining one of the companies, and I’ve very on the fence as to which one to join. I’m in Canada, so I want a company that I don’t have to worry about the higher cost of shipping, the difference in the dollar but also want a company that I can stand behind. I’ve never heard of NYR, but which to choose 😕

    • Hi Nathalie. NYR currently doesn’t have reps in Canada, but I am keeping a list of those who are interested. I will drop you a line.

    • HI! Just an FYI that doterra is on the ground in canada now and should be fully Canadian (all enrollmen’s and purchases will be able to happen in CDN $) as of June 2016

  7. Since this is a series I cannot complain that the answer I was looking for is not here. However, it did verify what I know in my “gut”.

  8. Hi !
    So after all your research, which is the best company ? WHat do you think of Neils Yard?


  9. Marietta Overton says:

    Thank you so much for all this information. I am new to the essential oil active usage, even though my Family in Germany has been using natures’ remedies for decades. I find essential oils a great supplement – and sometimes even a substitute -for specific ailments. I was trying to line-up some research between the most well-known essential oil companies and I found your research so helpful. Thank again, keep up the great work.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Just bought my first set of oils from DoTerra. I bought Frankensence, Peppermint, Lemon, Breathe, and Slim and Sassy. Now I run across this website! Lol. Any advise or recommendations? I’m particularly into skincare and weight loss.

  11. Norine H says:

    I am confused. Your title indicates you have reviewed and i dicated a EO choice, but your posts seem to indicate no true preference except for skin care products. What is your EO choice?

  12. Marrissa says:

    Can you explain how YL oils have failed tests just recently? Apparently cinnamon is showing an added filler and the lavender isn’t pure? Sorry, but I am going with a company that passes 3rd party tests. I also want to go with a company that grows the plants in their indigenous environments…..not in a greenhouse. That totally changes the potency. Anyway, what do I know? I don’t have a fancy blog to toot my own uninformed horn on…….

    • Hi Marrissa.

      I did see information about Young Living’s cinnamon but nothing about lavender. I am confused about your comment about my having a “fancy blog to toot my own uninformed horn on”. I recommend a company that passes 3rd party tests. Perhaps you didn’t make it to the end of the series? http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/natural-remedies/announcing-the-best-essential-oils-company-and-a-great-sale/ I too prefer oils that come from plants grown in their indigenous environments. http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/toxic-overload-health-concerns/essential-oils-testing-is-it-reliable/

      Hope that clarifies things.

    • YL DOES have their EOs Third Party Tested…. and spend MILLIONS on it! The Third Party Lab that released info suggesting YL Cinnamon Bark had a filler, was not as fully equipped/thorough in their testing. Similar to saying you are allergic to milk. Once heated the chemical structure of milk changes. Once cooled it changes yet again. After this some people CAN drink the milk. (almost like soft boiled to hard boiled eggs for some people for tolerance). Look again and you will find the scientific explanation on the YL Cinnamon Bark. As for the Lavender, YL was just awarded an award for the best Lavender grown OUTSIDE of France….. YL continues to strive to be as pure and truthful as possible. It is still a Buyer Beware market so keep investigating!

      • Hi Dolly. Thanks for commenting. Just wanted to clarify that for those with life threatening food allergies, heating does not affect the protein enough. Heating can denature some proteins but I would never advocate someone who has a life-threatening trying a heated food that they are allergic to. Thanks!

  13. Kim Reilly says:

    I keep getting pop ups from a company named Miracle essential oils. What’s your take on them?

  14. Ray Santos says:

    As a long time customer of Young Living oils, I demand that Young Living answers the questions that are on the minds of all us:

    We as distributors and customers, are requesting the following answers from Young Living Essential Oils, regarding the cinnamon bark testing of Young Living oil.
    1. Please provide a response to the C-14 testing done showing 56% synthetics by the University of Georgia on Lot#15B10032
    2. Why have you not provided the mass spectrometry output and tabulation for the testing done by Chemtech, in house testing, or Herve Casabianca?
    3. Why was the test preformed by Chemtech only a 20 minute test, when industry standard is 90-120 minutes for complete separation of co-elution?
    4. While coumarin can be expected in cinnamon bark, the LEVEL of coumarin suggests this is cassia oil. Remarks?
    5. In the Chemtech testing, the compound (1-Ethylbuta-1,3-dienyl) benzene is actually the Phenylpentadienal, it is not present in the NIST library. It also should not be present in the oil. Why is it in there?
    6. Chemtech is a lab not associated with the testing of essential oils. Why was this lab used?
    7. Why have you not provided us with the detailed ‘in house’ test results, or the test results from Herve Casabianca?
    8. Although plinol has been found to naturally occur in grapes, the analysts who issued the ‘failed’ report have stated that plinol is not a compound that occurs in cinnamon bark oil. Why is this found in our oil?
    *** 9. Can you explain why your own 3rd party testing lab, Chemtech-Ford Laboratories, found 1,2,4,5 – tetraethyl-benzene (Durene) which is a petroleum by-product of gasoline production was found in the oil tested by that company?

Simple Share Buttons