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 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.

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.**

Helpful Books from Young Living and doTERRA

Regardless of what you think about either of these companies, each of them have put out quite helpful books on essential oils and their usage.

As always, I can’t endorse everything in either of these books and if you read the reviews of each of them you will see that there are some who think that a good bit of the contents are not helpful.  And of course, each book is geared towards those who purchase their oils so there are numerous references to their exclusive blends.

But if you put that aside, you can get some helpful information from both.

(Please note that the links to these books are affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase I might make a commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.)

Modern Essentials – doTERRA Essential Oils Book

Modern Essentials - Essential Oils Book by doTERRA

Essential Oils Desk Reference – Young Living

Essential Oils Desk Reference Book - Young Living Essential Oils Book

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.

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    Speak Your Mind


  1. kate guisinger says:

    hahahahaha has! this post is a joke!! u mention a few times that you didn’t lookup all the companies because it would take too long or you couldn’t find them all. so basically this is your opinion. it seems mayb you should do full research on each company instead of slamming the 2 you don’t like!! hahah people, I use all of these brands from aura cacia to young living…. some of my cousins even use doTerra. find a company you like and trust and just go with it. some essential oils will not be cheap , some of them may actually “break the bank” !! some of this are costly if they are pure. you use so little though , they will last awhile!!! I use mine in our cleaning products, I use them on our kids, I occasionally cook with them and I use them daily in my massage practice!! at least if you go with “YL” or “DT” you can share what you know with family and friends and get back a little of your “investment” ???????? by selling it …..

    • Hi Kate. It’s not a joke. I spent hours and hours doing this research and got entirely burned out from all of the time it took. What companies are you suggesting that I do full research on? I called many more than the ones mentioned in the posts. If you read through the comments you can see some of that. I called Butterfly Express, Stillpoint Aromatics, and more. I was explaining why I left Young Living and doTERRA – not really slamming them. I feel that the Direct Marketing oils businesses don’t really make sense for the reasons that I shared. I think they recommend using way too many oils and that it just isn’t a prudent thing to do. I hope that clarifies things.

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    Thank you so much for your insight about the best essential oils on the market.

    I totally appreciate your thorough reviews and detailed explanation about YL and DT.

    Since my yoga mentor recommended Floracopeia to me years ago, they are my go to resource for all my oils. I love the focus on sustainability and environmental wellbeing that is integral to their work and vision.

    The thing is, I’ve heard so much about DT, that I kind of wonder what all the talk is about.

    Have you ever used Floracopeia’s products? And, if so, what are you reflections as far as quality of Floracopeia’s oils vs. DT or YL?

    Thank you in advance…. I do appreciate your time. :)

    All the best,


    • Hi there. I did look at them and decided not to recommend them for several reasons. As far as them compared to DT and YL, I really can’t say. This turned out to be much more complex than I thought, with the exception being that most oils are coming from the same 5 or so sources (the “experts”). It’s just a very convoluted industry. Once I found the company I wanted to go with I did a little more digging but then I got exhausted from all of it. Take care. :)

  3. Hiya,
    Have you heard of Neals Yard Remedies (NYR Organic)? If you want to buy fairly traded, certified organic essential oils then I’m surprised that you’ve overlooked this company.
    I have huge concerns about DoTerra and the way that they recommend that oils be taken internally.

    • Yes, I have heard of them. They seem like a good company but their offerings are pretty few so they wouldn’t meet the needs of most people looking to incorporate oils into their daily life. I just couldn’t cover all of the companies out there either. Once I saw how many there were I got completely overwhelmed :(.

    • Beth,

      If an oil is 100% pure you will be able to ingest it. Although it may not be recommended it will not hurt you. The oils that worry me are the ones that cannot be ingested because that means that something was added that is not an essential oil.

      • Hi Amber – just wanted to hop on here to clarify that there are some people who do recommend caution when using oils internally. There are some oils that can be used too much internally and some that shouldn’t be at all. I for sure wouldn’t want to use any that have been tainted, however, but I have talked to different people who think that you can really upset the microbiome of your gut by using the antibacterial oils for any length of time.

  4. Hello, thank you for the much needed information on essential oils. I live in Utah which is home to Nuskin and recently they released their essential oils called Epoch Essential Oils. I’m curious since Nuskin claims that the essential oils is the purest and no other company can come close. They apparently have a machine that can detect the slightest impurities. My Question to you is: have you heard of Epoch Oil? If so, would u recommend it? Epoch oils are extremely expensive so I’m wondering if I should invest in it. Thank you.

    • I didn’t look at them and couldn’t really find enough information right now. I’m sure you can understand that I just can’t look into every company. It seems there are new ones turning up every day. And no surprise w/ all the interest in the marketplace.

      I also need to really not talk about negatives of other companies – this industry is very murky and I got a threatening email about negative comments on my blog about one company. Thanks.

  5. Eliz1212 says:

    Young living has horrible customer service.
    1. I paid extra to have shipment delivered next day. Found out next day it takes them 1 to 2 days to process order. Therefore, Fed Ex will come in a few days. At least credit me $10 to make me feel good.
    2. When I tried to cancel my order they said it will take TWO MONTHS to get my money refunded back on my card. Not cool.
    3. Now I am trying to cancel and I have to mail in or fax a signed letter. I don’t own a printer, scanner. I have no stamps. This makes it a pain in the ass to me to cancel. It would be much easier if they just accepted an email cancel.
    I can’t support company with horrible customer service. I feel bad for a friend who is doing this for a living. I hope she is getting better service from this company than me. :)

  6. Veronica says:

    I was planing to buy From DT and YL but now i feel more confuse. Could u tell me what company do u get ur oils?

  7. crosswind says:

    Thank you, Adrienne. You brought up some excellent points, especially with the 1st, 2nd & 3rd distillation process. My esthetician friend did not like the Frankincense she ordered. The scent was awful to her. I have been buying my organic pure essential oils from a local herbalist shop. I need a good back up supplier, but I’m just starting to research all the brands. it certainly is overwhelming, but should not be. there shouldn’t be so much hidden info that we have to research for days & weeks. what are they hiding? Jeesh. The prices of the MLM oils shock me too. I’ve been following facebook walls by 21 drops.com and Jade Bloom. Their oils look really nice & prices cheaper. I’m looking to find focus & calming blends sometime.

    • Hi there. Thanks for the encouragement. Which Frankincense are you talking about – from NAN / RMO? Please let me know and I will do what I can to help.

  8. stephanie says:

    Some of your information is incorrect. YL only has 3 farms/distilleries the u.s. (2 in Idaho, 1 in Utah). They in fact do not force things to grow out of their element. They also have farms in the following countries; Canada, Peru, Equador, France, Israel, Oman.and Taiwan. No where near “most” or a great deal. Which was your major concern with this company.

    • Hi there. I appreciate your comment. I updated the post to have more accurate information. When I posted this I was going off what they had on their site – and since made more phone calls to find out more. I don’t think I found out the acreage, however, which I guess would be the most accurate thing to have. Thanks! Oh, and it was not my major concern – it was just one of them. Thanks!