Young Living vs. doTERRA–Which Essential Oils Company is Best? Series-Part 4

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Young Living or doTERRA?

This is one of the big questions out there in the essential oils world–and it makes sense, since these two companies are the big “giants” in the essential oil industry.

Amber Brown Essential Oil Bottles--Young Living vs DoTERRA

Likely, if you have been thinking about buying essential oils, or getting involved in essential oils as a business, you have wondered the same thing–which is better, Young Living or doTERRA?

This post is actually not a stand alone post meant to compare these two companies. It’s actually just one post that was a part of my search for the “best” essential oils company, since these two companies were a big part of my search.

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I Was Wrong About Essential Oils

Before we get into the comparison between Young Living and doTERRA, let me say that I’ve had to admit I was wrong about things before.

–  My thinking was that Lilla Rose Flexi Clips were a waste of money (see my “I was wrong” Lilla Rose review).
– or saying my Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid was a great idea.

We need to be willing to admit we were wrong.

When I started out my journey with essential oils (which I never expected to go on, by the way–I initially thought that essential oils were a scam), I went with Young Living. Because it worked.

As time wore on, however, I wasn’t sure what to think.

Wondering About These Companies

Remember my enthusiastic posts about their Thieves and Peppermint and Wintergreen?

I was pretty excited about the results I had, but as I started writing about essential oils, I started having some second thoughts. In particular, one rep from doTERRA started pointing out some things that had me rethinking my decision and wondering if I made the right decision or not.

And while I was doing my investigating, some different things popped up about both Young Living and doTERRA that made me think and wonder even more. About both companies.

It was hard to sort through all of the information, but I’m going to lay out most of it for you here so you can see some of the concerns that came to my attention. This isn’t everything that I found to be disconcerting, but it’s a lot of it.

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

Amber Brown Essential Oil Bottles--Young Living vs DoTERRA

Young Living and doTERRA

If you’ve been looking into essential oils at all, chances are you have come across Young Living and doTERRA.

You’ve for sure heard “Young Living is the best!” or “doTERRA is the most pure”.

Or something like that.

I touched on some of these issues in the beginning of my Best Essential Oils series. But here’s more.

First up–Young Living

Young Living Review

Reputation and Ethics

First of all, Young Living was pretty much the first on the block. They literally made essential oils mainstream. There’s something to be said for that.

However, 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 might be 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 an 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…

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.

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.

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 Young Living, 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).

Product Claims

In the literature that I got from Young Living when I signed up, there were Thieves® Oil brochures. The brochure mentioned this study was done that apparently addressed the superior therapeutic value of the oil.

I looked up the tests online to see what they were all about because I was curious to see the exact results and found, however, that the study was done on generic Eucalyptus Oil–not on Thieves Oil.

Huh?  So it seemed to me that the company was saying that it was proven that their Thieves® oil was proven to be effective when what really was the case was that Eucalyptus, one component of Thieves®, was proven to be effective.

In a sense, that’s fine, I guess. But I still was confused and decided to email headquarters.

This was their response:

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we cannot comment on any
research articles or provide this information as it would be in direct
violation of FDA regulations. You may want to contact Life Science
Publishers at 1-800-336-6308 or and Sound
Concepts at 1-888-285-6317, 801-225-9520 or
www.essentialproductinfo {dot} com. These companies both carry several
items or research that contain useful information concerning essential
oils and supplements and may be able to assist you further.

What’s that Smell?:

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 (synthetic) overtone.

Does that mean there were synthetics added?

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

Country of Origin

As of the 2018 update of this post, all or many of the oils from Young Living do not have a country of origin indicated on the site.

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 is 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 ylang ylang and possibly peppermint, according to what I have learned.

Claims About “Special” Peppermint Oil

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).

Now–please keep in mind that there is a LOT of controversy about what this does or might mean. I don’t know. But I’m sharing what I am learning and reading.

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 (and there is really a first and later distillation of peppermint), then their peppermint oil might not be top quality.

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.

I will add, however, that the most disconcerting thing to me about the whole issue was that I could never get solid information about WHY their peppermint smelled the way that it did.

In one video, one of the founders of doTERRA stated that their peppermint smelled amazing because it was from Washington. Well, other peppermints are from Washington.

Then, while researching the whole thing, someone else from the company said that it was because it was distilled only from the leaves and the flowers.  I couldn’t get a real answer on it. I tried for months and months. It’s a very disconcerting situation when I can’t get answers to questions like this.

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.

The Terrashield Ingredient Conundrum

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.

DoTERRA’s Frankincense is a blend

I often get questions about doTERRA’s pricing for their Frankincense Oil as to how it compares to other brands, with people citing that doTERRA’s appears to be less expensive.

The reason for this has to do with the composition of doTERRA’s Frankincense Oil. Most companies sell either just one variety of Frankincense Oil, or several varieties, but doTERRA’s Frankincense is, at least as of Aug 2016, a blend of different varieties (source).

Following are the types of Frankincense in their blend:

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

Sacred Frankincense is typically one of, if not the most expensive varieties of Frankincense oil, so if you compare doTERRA’s Frankincense to another company’s Sacred, doTERRA’s will likely come out to be cheaper.

No Organic Certification

One of the things that bugs me about doTERRA is that they don’t have any certified organic oils.  What I have heard is that it’s too hard for them to get that certification from all of the countries that they source from. Emily Wright says:

The reason for this is because we source from so many developing countries. The certification requirements and availability differs from country to country. Some countries don’t even have a certification offering.

I get it. It can be hard. But they could source some or many of them organically if they wanted to. At least I see other companies doing it. Maybe I’m wrong, but that is the way it seems to me. I’ve looked into organic certification before and it wasn’t as expensive as most companies (those without certification) make it out to be.

Country of Origin

As of the 2018 update of this post, all or many of the oils from doTERRA do not have a country of origin indicated on the site. This is interesting especially since the company and/or its reps repeatedly say that they can’t get organic certification due to it being hard to get it in the countries where their oils are sourced.

I heard from a reader that there is a source map for doTERRA oils, but I couldn’t find it. I did find one page that shows sourcing for Spikenard and Petitgrain. It shows that Petitgrain Oil is sourced from Paraguay. Other companies have organic Petitgrain from Paraguay so I would be interested in hearing where their other oils are from to see if their claim about organic being something they can’t do is reasonable or not.

Evidence That Young Living and doTERRA Seem to Have the Same Source for Their Oils

Here’s something interesting that just came to my attention. Young Living and doTERRA appear to have the same source for at least some of their oils.

Bio Young Aromas. Look at the following sources and see that Bio Young Aromas is the supplier to both companies.

(Sadly it appears that the information about Bio Young is not showing at that link now unless you pay to see it.)

Here, however, is a link showing other purchases from Bio Young by doTERRA.

Here are some Bio Young Aroma purchases made by Young Living.


Kunshan Toxen.

doTERRA and Young Living have both purchased from this company.

Here is a link showing Young Living purchases from Kunshan Toxen.

And here is a link showing doTERRA purchases from Kunshan Toxen.

Not sure what to make of this but it’s interesting information.

“The” Essential Oil Safety Book

Whatever essential oils company you choose, you need to know how to use them safely.  This book by Robert Tisserand, is THE book you want to have about essential oils safety.

Hands down.

I Recommend
Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand

Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand

This is widely considered to be THE book on essential oil safety, written by Robert Tisserand who is regarded as one of the most highly respected essential oil experts in the world.

While it's mostly (of course) about safety, the book also covers essential oil composition, adulteration, usage, and more. Lots of solid information that any essential oil enthusiast will enjoy.

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

To find out which essential oil company I went with at the end of this search, read this post:

Announcing “the Best” Essential Oils Company – Part 7 


There are some other things about these companies and I couldn’t go into all of them for various reasons.

When I first wrote this series, doTERRA had very few oils so if you were looking for a company that could be a one stop shop, then it wasn’t really a great option. That has changed somewhat since that time.

The two companies have a big command over the marketplace and there is a lot of tension between the two.  I think it’s difficult to say which is best, and of course different aspects of each company continue to change making them both kind of moving targets.

My goal here wasn’t really to say which of these was best, but to talk about different aspects of each of these “essential oil powerhouses” in the midst of my search for the best essential oil company and point out some of my concerns with both of them.

What do you think?

Do you think one is better than the other or would you rather not work with either of them?

Free Essential Oils Report & VIP Newsletter Access

Also, if you go and grab my Free Report on 10 Things to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy, you will not only get more myth-busting essential oils information, but you’ll get access to my VIP newsletter as well–complete with updates, great healthy living offers, of course new posts on essential oils, and more.

Whenever there’s a great deal on essential oils (or other healthy living deals) I let my readers know about it–believe me, you won’t want to miss out.

10 things you need to know about essential oils report in ipad

 Between Young Living or doTERRA, which do YOU prefer?
Did you learn anything new in this post?

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  1. Thanks so much for your incredible research. I have always went with YL mainly because the store I worked in carried them. Then life got busy I moved on to other journey’s and have come full circle back to oils again. YL was not going to be my first choice again and although about 1 mile from my house is a big distributor of doTerra, it just wasn’t working for me. Now I feel after some checking I will try Rocky Mountain. This is all for personal use. Not looking to sell or practice. Only refer friends as needed. So I am appreciative for all your hard work. Thanks truly, thanks. Very informative!

    1. You are soooo welcome! Happy to answer any questions. I hope they work well for you. I will most hopefully be writing more about essential oils in the near future so stay tuned :)!

  2. I was curious to know if you have tried to research the batches of oils (indicated by the serial numbers on the bottom of each bottle). With these batch numbers, you will be able to see the tests that were run on each of these specific oils. All of the oils are 3rd party tested as well.

  3. I love essential oils! In my own research, however, there is no such thing as “Therapeutic Grade” for oils. To claim that is rubbish and a ploy to get you to buy something.

  4. The information was well known at the time it happened. I was in YL since 1995 so I remember getting that letter from Gary Young about Do Terra and the compliance issue…yes I’m sure now in 2019 they are very much careful of what their distributors say but this was a long time ago, when they got in trouble for saying things they weren’t suppose to. Whereas Young Living, when I first joined in 1995 I was told by my upline to never ever say the oil cured anything. So I was in compliance always. When I got that letter from GaryYoung, I was shocked that distributors were saying those things. In fact I stopped selling Young Living at vendor fairs because I couldn’t compete with Do Terra distributors saying their oil cured diseases. Customers would ask me if my oil cured disease and I had to say what Young Living told me to say, then they went over and bought from the Do Terra vendor. Whereas when I asked a Do Terra distributor at a health fair that I only attended (not as a vendor), they told me what all there oils cured. So I had first hand experience with this. I still use YL oils but haven’t sold any except to family and friends for years because of the lies some distributors say. It’s just too hard to compete for sales, when you have to stay compliant and others don’t.

    1. Essential oils do not heal, they bring good being, that’s why we cannot say that they heal, I am in France, I do not know in other countries, but if we said that essential oils heal, we would be out the law, because it is like practicing illegal medicine. Oils are not recommended depending on the individual person. And the work we do is to know the product & especially the person, also tell them to talk to a doctor before use.

  5. Most Young Living Distributors know this but the reason there is tension between Young Living and Do Terra is that Young Living sued Do Terra years ago after Do Terra was an established business…why…..because former corporate Young Living managers quit Young Living and stole the formulas and other documents and then they used that information to create their own line of oils. This is why Do Terra oils and Young Living oils are so similar. They only needed to add a bit more of one of the ingredients to change it slightly, which is allowed so as to make that oil their own formula. Unfortunately the lawsuit wasn’t started by Young Living until Do Terra had a huge foothold on the essential oil market industry. By that time it was too late to stop Do Terra and the thousands of distributors they had.

    Another reason for the tension is that Do Terra distributors think it is ok to say that their oils CURE DISEASE…which is a no-no. I remember Gary Young writing an email to everyone of his distributors, years ago telling us that if we ever made a claim about curing disease like the Do Terra distributors were doing that we would be dismissed from Young Living, losing our business and our downline. The FDA came after Do Terra for spouting those cure comments and then lumped Young Living into the complaint since at that time, these were the only essential oils companies out there. So Gary got on top of it making sure his distributors were compliant with the FDA. I get upset when people tell me Young Living is the same as Do Terra or that Do Terra is better. Young Living has integrity and also has complied with the FDA regulations. I’ve been with a Young Living since 1995, so I remember what all has happened with Do Terra’s beginnings

    1. Hi there. That is interesting that you state that about doTERRA distributors because my experience is that doTERRA is very very heavy handed in not allowing their distributors to say anything about any kind of disease–even to the extent that it used to be that if a blogger was a rep for them and had anything on their site that seemed like anything close to medical advice, they would ask the blogger to remove that even if it wasn’t related to oils. Where did you get that information?

      1. As she said it was years ago. doTERRA has since (at the corporate level at least) put a ban on that kind of talk. There ARE still a large number of reps that still make the “Cure” claim to help them sell the products. My own “up-line” has a naturopathic degree and will talk about doTERRA oils using something along the lines of ” We can’t legally SAY these oils cure but….”

  6. Adriana, I’ve learned in my 82 years that the best source of information is God and that being prayerful and feeling inside for our answers is the only way to really know for sure. All this other stuff is mental and leaves out the Spiritual so in the final analysis, God only knows and we all have the ability to tune into Him.

    1. Yes, I would agree that God is a fantastic source of information. However, I would also say that it’s never a good idea to just go by feelings to sort out what is the truth.

      By the way, have you written about your testimonial about your experience with essential oils anywhere? I also would be interested in knowing if you ever used any other brand of essential oils or was it Young Living from the start and nothing since? What is your favorite oil?

  7. I tried to write you an answer back to your email but your return email doesn’t work. I think the best oil for anyone has to be pure and uncontaminated. So what you get depends upon the source and the testing. And It may help to have it grown where you live since it seems food is best for us that way, but who can always do that with food or e-oils. If that was the case, none of us could have oils to use! It’s not easy distilling oil. I personally love YLEO I know they’re pure, even thought some people like to say bad things about Gary Young, it seems to always be that way when someone is successful. But I’ve been using yleo oils for 20 years and feel they’ve saved my life, I was poisoned on formaldehyde years ago and had a terrible struggle till I was introduced to YLEO and literally, the oils and pure personal care products are wonderful and would be good for anyone. Not only that, Gary and Mary Young, and they new managers since Gary has died are wonderful, loyal and dedicated people. So anything bad that is said about them, I do not believe. I know them personally and they are exceptionally, honest and true people and very very dedicated to providing the most pure and perfect products. I have friends who use do-Terra and love them. And I’m sure there are others that are good, it depends on the purity and whether or not they contain the naturally occurring properties as in nature. It would be good if we could all grow our own but have you ever tried to distill an oil? It’s a very laborious job! I for one will be forever grateful for Gary and Mary Young and their dedication and yes I’ve heard the bad stuff but it seems that’s the way it is when someone is successful, someone always has to try to take them down. The best way to find which oil is best is to try them out for yourself. If anyone has any questions about yleo, I’d be happy to respond.

    1. Hi there. Do you mean that you clicked reply in your email and that didn’t work? If so, what did you see?

      It is great to talk here regardless b/c then others can learn from our conversation.

      Yes, pure and unadulterated is great. Adding a carrier oil or less expensive oil isn’t dangerous, but it’s deceptive.

      It is better to use indigenous plants due to the quality of the plant, typically.

      As for YL purity, there have been some reports about their oils being adulterated, but the company responded. That kind of analysis gets pretty technical.

      I am not saying that YL isn’t good in saying this, but trying an oil really isn’t enough at all to determine if it’s best b/c even adulterated oils can work well–you need to look at the whole picture including testing, sourcing, etc., and then a lot of it comes down to believing and trusting b/c a company could even put up false tests results and it would be very hard to know that. This has for sure happened.

      I’m glad you have had so many positive experiences :).

  8. Thank you for this article. I’ve been using DoTerra for several years now based on all of the positive banter online but my nose tells me different. When I compare DoTerra side by side with YL, I’m sorry but YL hands down, smells so much purer/cleaner to me. DoTerra has a clear chemical undertone which makes me think they use chemical extraction. I’ve also been turned off by the fact their lemon oil tastes nothing like lemon when I add it to my water but perhaps this is because it’s oil as opposed to juice? Either way, I’ve recently converted back to YL and could not be happier. If only the process to finding out the truth were easier and more transparent, ugggg!

    1. This article intrigued me and irritated me all at once. Lol. First the use of the word Indigenous. Indigenous plants or “native” plants are plants that grow naturally in a given environment, in a geologic time- and this includes plants that have occurred naturally, and develop or existed for many years in an area. To say that lavender is NOT an indigenous plant of North America is not entirely correct. Lavender grows like wildflowers in some areas where I am from. As do many other healing plants. If it is grown in a greenhouse where its growth is cured and manipulated, then of course it is not considered Indigenous. I studied landscape design and garden maintenance and plant identification and knowledge is a huge part of that. As well as being an absolute plant and essential oil enthusiast. My naturopath doctor used Do terra, and she wanted me to rep. I love Do terra, even drank it, but what I found is their essential oil scents never lasted long. I never found them chemical smelling. ONE THING TO REMEMBER is FDA regulations and ALL regulations differ between Canada and the United States and I MEAN DIFFER. You can buy a jar of Nutella in America, Canada and Italy and neither of them will taste the same as the other. Canada puts too much sugar in it, Italy’s tasts like hazelnut & Cacao more and America’s tastes more like chocolate. Same with essential oils. Regulations differ worldwide and unfortunately oils and distributors or rather manufacturing and production MUST adhere to the guidelines of the country they are being manufactured in. So I’ve used essential oils from China that smell more toxic than say America. I’ve used ones from Canada that smell more pure than America. I’ve used ones in America that smell more pure than Canada. But I did find Do terra’s scents don’t last quite as long. If I took lavender seeds and rubbed them on my wrists, they lasted longer. Some of Do terra’s employees have now started Saje. Sage is also. quite pure and really lovely and they do work. Utterly beautiful essential oils. Do Terra’s oils also work, I have used them extensively. As for YL I haven’t used them enough but the ones I have, have worked efficiently for me. There is NO ONE SOLUTION FITS ALL in essential oils as it is like perfumes, and I mean expensive perfumes, real perfumes. I could put Dolce & Gabbana on my wrist and it smells flowery, if my husband put it on, it smelled musky. IT depends on YOUR BODY CHEMISTRY, as well, and what part of your body needs healing. I’ve gone into my naturopath some days and Frankincense and sweet orange have lifted my spirits and grounded me. Other days Frankincense made me turn my cheek. The philosophy with oils is that your body tells you what you need at the time because the oil is attributed to body parts and what needs to be healed. So if one oil tempts your buds one day and not another, it could be that’s not what needs to be healed for that day.

      Some of my favourite oils and many will argue the purity of course, are the Aura Cacia. They are versatile, consistent and they never fail to give me results and the scent is longer lasting. I have been using them for 30 years. I never ever though use ALL one brand or another because life is not like that. It’s like saying you only like English Lavender and not French but even within the English Lavender there are varying smells. So much goes into it, I mean even in terms of the crops. There are so many levels to an oil that to say one is better I believe is wrong, there is only better FOR YOU. We do not all have the same body chemistry, genetics, environmental upbringing, illnesses, or ailments. What may “cure” one may not “cure” another and that is the joy of essential oils. (I used the word cure because I have been cured by essential oil therapy.) The endless possibilities that lie in fragrance because fragrance does heal. You only need to walk through a garden or a wooded area, or forest and smell the pines, plants and flowers and you have your answer. 🙂 OH and to respond to one statement above…Peppermint plants grown and distributed in Canada, really do smell like a Candy cane. I planted them, I’ve used them in water and drinks. Again, you have to take into consideration soil. It’s the whole reason wines don’t ever taste the same. Soil. Environment. Climate. Location of Sun 🙂

      1. Hi there – I do plan to rework this post but alas – so little time! Anyhow, indigenous is often defined as being native and apparently lavender came here from Europe. So that’s where that information is from. I agree on the body chemistry part for sure and about soil variations, etc. Oils shouldn’t smell the same with each batch for sure!

  9. I like to go with a company that does not charge alot for postage & handling. there are several other competent companies besides those two, that have high quality oils.Appreciate your advice & insight.

  10. I see you did not mention the laws suit the two companies have agaist one another or that do Terra founders were once working for Youg living and broke way taking with with themboth experiance and trade secrets . I supposed that really is not the point the artriclel but is fanicilty to me any way

    1. Hi there. Yes, you are right about that. What do you think about that? I know that there was a lawsuit but I heard that doTERRA won it if I’m not mistaken?

      1. Sue Mitchel-Runow
        9:25 AM (8 minutes ago)
        i came to web this morning to try and see what has happened with cases, but I don’t know about the lawsuits yet….will look for more info. the search did bring me to your webp age again and am impressed with research you are doing. thank you so much

        1. Hi again. I just looked it up and doTERRA seems to have won. That doesn’t mean that they were in the right b/c judges and juries can be wrong, but that is what happened. Thanks for the kind words!

          1. Just online attempting to figure out the best essential oil to purchase….any ideas? I see other brands like piping rock, organic ones etc and obviously the big ones (doTerra and young living). I have one from doTerra but wasn’t wanting to spend quite that much but also wanted to get a pure oil. Help!

  11. Hello – read most of your information on essential oils and your recommendation of Rocky Mountain Oils. I am from Canada and wonder if you have heard of or know of New Directions Aromatics

  12. Is there a way to reply to your email?
    Yes I use godesana. The reasons I started with these was because when I found out that Alexandria Brighton was the original formulator for Young Living and heard her testimony about them becoming adulterated I was not much interested in YL anymore and that is one reason I think she may have divorced Gary, who knows. I also have heard that doterrra oils are also adulterated. I cannot say I know all of this to be fact. I used YL many many years ago and I would guess that is when Alexandria was formulating them. For some unknown reason I quit using them and when I went back a few years ago I sensed they were not the same. I received a massage with the godesana oils and knew something was right with them. I signed up. I have sensed that they have high integrity however how is one supposed to know that, Also I like the fact that we do no have to buy a sales kit to buy wholesale. I am very curious what you found about form visiting with them and why you are not doing a comparison. Please respond. I love to know about companies through background info because who know what they are telling us is on the up and up. NB

    1. There should be a way reply in the email that you got w/ my comment on it–did you not see that? Please do let me know. There have been some glitches on the blog and I’m trying to get everything fixed!

      I thought they seemed like a nice company but their sites are very hard to navigate and oils are pricey–they have about 5-6 different sites, if I’m not mistaken, and it’s very confusing. It’s hard to know everything about every company–and there are so many out there!! I’m hoping to dig into this all again, but even so, I am not able to post everything I have found out b/c of threats, etc.

  13. I prefer doTerra. The founders started with Young Living and broke off when they decided to source from the countries of origin. Young Living has some great oils too. My preference just happens to be doTerra.

  14. Hello.

    I distill oils in Indonesia.

    You do not seem to have a good grasp on the issue of organic certification.

    Some countries just do not have this available(such as Indonesia), but the laws do not allow spraying of pesticides/herbicides for most crops.

    By demanding certification, you are not allowing third world countries that are very poor to export their livelihood and to make a better life for their families and communities.

    The truth about organic certification is that the industry s very corrupt and the highest bidders win and get by not meeting the standards set for certification.

    Go to the Cornucopia Institute to read about this problem

    Thank You


    1. Hi there, Gary. I appreciate your commenting (and reading!). I am totally open to this being the case–I have heard from several companies, however, that being certified organic isn’t that pricey. I am aware that so many of these things can be an issue–and of course there are loopholes. I know for some the certification can give great reassurance, but I know of one company that really appears to be lying. What are we to do?

      Can you tell me how much it costs for a company to be certified organic?

  15. Why is the post called “Which Essential Oils Company Is Best” then at the end of the article say “My goal here wasn’t really to say which of these was best…” – Incredibly annoying to read the whole article and then read that at the end.

    1. Hi there “G”–that is b/c you are confusing the title of the series with the title of the post. You came in at the middle. I started with this post as the beginning and that was the first in the series to find which company I wanted to go with.

      If you note, the title says “series”–my goal wasn’t to determine which of Young Living and doTERRA were better–it was to talk about pros and cons of both companies in the middle of the series.

      Hope that clarifies. Thanks for reading.

  16. I’m an essential oil producer/broker here in Washington, specifically peppermint, spearmint and roman chamomile. I grow peppermint and spearmint for the company that sells to DoTerra.
    In any competitive market, 99% of the time a seller of anything will never reveal the origins or specific components of their product to anyone unless required to by law. If DoTerra listed all their origins, they might as well fax their list of suppliers to all their competitors and wait to be undersold. Don’t think they don’t watch each other.
    If your peppermint smells candy-like, it was formulated that way. So is most of the peppermint you consume like in candy and toothpaste and that’s why one doesn’t taste like the other, but both use peppermint.
    Yes, it is possible that both Young Living and DoTerra source from the same supplier, purchasing is based on availability, consistency and price. Some oils only are only available in one location.
    Not all their oils can be unadulterated, because that’s sometimes how they come from the source and there’s nothing that can be done about it. When you’re buying from 3rd world countries where there’s no government standards, you get what you get.
    You probably don’t see a lot of “organic” oils due simply for the small availability and the price. It’s not worth keeping on the shelves to wait for those who can fork out double the price for it. (Also, be careful it’s certified and not just organic. I’m organic, but not certified.
    As for whether one company is better than the other, I’d go with whomever you feel provides you with a superior product. Neither are out to do you harm.

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      A few questions:

      1. So you stated that not all of Young Living or doTERRA’s oils could be unadulterated b/c that is the way that they get them and nothing can be done about it. Of course they could reject them–correct?

      2. You mentioned that one should be careful to get certified organic only but then mentioned that your oils are not certified. I’m not following why you would recommend that someone buy something which you can’t sell. Could you clarify, please?

      3. As for no one being out to do harm…I assume you mean neither Young Living nor doTERRA? I ask b/c there are other companies out there for sure selling adulterated oils knowingly, which I would consider doing harm in the sense that they are cheating people.

      4. Do you sell oils to either of these companies (if you are able to share)?

      Thank you!

      1. Hi Adrienne,

        1, These oils don’t arrive on little brown UPS trucks. No, there’s no return policy on sea freight. I’m sure some oils get rejected upon testing and I wouldn’t be surprised if both YL and DT have a warehouse somewhere with a stack of 55 gallon drums with unusable oil sitting in the corner.
        2, Little joke there. You can label anything as “Organic” if it was or is a living thing and I’m a living thing and could be technically labeled as “Organic”. Point being if you DO buy organic, make sure the label contains the word “certified”.
        3, Both YL and DT test their oils when they get them. The most common thing they’re going to find in adulterated oils are “thinners” like glycerine or propylene glycol. Are you getting cheated? That’s up to you. “They’re not out to get you” meaning they’re not going to send out oil that’s obviously going to do you harm. They wouldn’t stay in business very long if they did that.
        4, No, I don’t.

        Glad to help!

        1. Hi again.

          1. So I assume you mean that when these companies state that they reject oils that don’t meet their standards (not just referring to YL and DT) that they have to keep them?

          2. Yes, of course just the word organic doesn’t mean much–wish it were the other way around that the stuff w/ a ton of pesticides had to bear the cost but ah well.

          3. I do think that if you are getting a thinner in your oil that you are being cheated b/c buyers are told that they are getting pure oils.

          Thank you!

          1. 1, Yes, they have to keep them.

            2, I could write all day about organic labels.

            3, Case closed. But don’t think the problem is limited to YL and DT. Unless you’re growing the plants and distilling your own oils, you can never really know what you have.

            Pro tip:
            The thing about “thinned” oils is they’re actually quite a bit thicker. If you’ve got a bottle that’s less than full, shake it next to your ear. If it makes a “poink poink” sound like motor oil it’s probably been thinned. If it makes a splashing sound and you can hear bubbles forming, it’s pure.


            1. Thanks again.

              1. Perhaps some of them are referring to tests they do before purchasing but I get your point. Makes sense from what I have heard in that sometimes companies have mentioned receiving on oil that is different from the sample they originally got–which puts the blame squarely on the broker or other supplier it seems to me.

              2. Maybe you should :).

              3. Of course it isn’t limited to them. I have seen many third party test results of essential oils where the oils failed purity testing. Testing is crucial but even then not perfect.

              Thanks for the tip but I have heard that adulterating is much more sophisticated these days so it can be lookalike oils that are cheaper, etc as well which wouldn’t be detected by this kind of test. Nonetheless, it’s appreciated.

          2. I have found so much value in this conversation between you and Joe. Thank you both for being willing participants to help enlighten people such as myself, who is merely at the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in regards to knowledge of essential oils. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  17. I love (and prefer) Young Living oils, but their member services and functionality of their member service is below average. I wish I could just walk away but I have built up 12 months worth of consistent purchasing rewards….

    1. Hi there. What happens if you redeem–can’t you leave then? What things have been a problem for you?