The Great Essential Oils Showdown – Problems in the Essential Oils Industry – Part 3

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We’re back with Part 3 of the search for the Best Essential Oils Company.

After writing Which Essential Oils Company is Best – Part One (basically, where this whole thing started) and Which EO Company is Best – Part 2 (where I outline what you should be looking for in a company), I thought that I should share how I came to find “the best essential oils company”.

Come along for the investigative adventure with me…..

Ever wonder how the essential oils industry works, and what makes some companies better than others? 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!

Now, of course, I am only one person.  And a homeschooling mom who is battling adrenal fatigue.

And one of my kids has Aspergers’s (See The Best Autism Therapy) and life-threatening food allergies (see Food Allergies and Eczema – a Healing Story) and the other has dyslexia.

Let’s just say I am busy.

If I were only studying essential oils full time, I could possibly check out every essential oils company on the market and get back to you with a list of all of them in order of preference.

Well, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started, but if you go back and skim through the comments on Part One and Part Two, you will see that there are LOADS of essential oils companies out there.

Even for my intensely investigative mind, there needs to be an end. At some point, I needed to be “OK with a super good, reasonably priced company” and call it a day.

That’s what I think I have and this is how I got there.

Ever wonder how the essential oils industry works, and what makes some companies better than others? 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!
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How I Chose “The Best Essential Oils Company”

All of these events kind of converge with each other, so bear with me.  It will all iron out in the end.

Started with Young Living

Here’s where it started.  You can read my post on A Skeptic Looks at Thieves Oil to see that I really thought that EO’s (as they are referred to in the oils world) was a bunch of baloney.

I finally tried them and became a fast believer.  Check out Peppermint, Wintergreen, and More to see how well they worked.

I wasn’t thrilled with some of the things that I’d read about Young Living’s Founder, Gary Young, but I spoke with a number of people about it (including one previous skeptic at Young Living) and felt that if the products were good, then I could deal with the negative.  The information in this document (Update: 2/14/17: This document is now gone from the site) was particularly disconcerting to me, but then again, the author of Quackwatch pretty much has nothing good to say about any alternative modality of healing so I didn’t want to put too much stock in his words.

Anyway, after sharing my Young Living posts with you all, I read through all of the comments and started talking with other companies.  I just felt that I owed it to my family, and my readers, to look into other companies more.

Little did I know that the fun had only just begun.

I started contacting numerous companies based on those mentioned in the comments on my oils posts.

Tried Out doTERRA

One of the first things I did was to contact a rep from doTERRA (one of the commenters on my Best Essential Oils post) and after asking a ton of questions (really – a TON), and doing a little investigating into some of the other non-multi-level companies, I decided to take the plunge and buy a starter kit (Yes, I have spent a LOAD of money on oils).  To this doTERRA rep’s credit, she was very much “not pushy” about doTERRA and I had to even ask her if she was a rep or not.  That meant a LOT to me.  I NOT into pushy salespeople.

My first thought–their oils smelled AMAZING.  My youngest son always wanted to smell them, particularly the peppermint.  In fact, as I walked down this path, he was always asking voting for doTERRA as being the best essential oils company.

I used their oils some, but didn’t know what to think.

After awhile, I thought I’d dive in and commit to using only doTERRA oils for a bit to see what results I would get.

Some OK results and some really great ones too.

a.  A leg / groin injury.  I tried to heal this with YL’s oils for months, but it never went completely away.  doTERRA’s lemongrass and peppermint took it away.
b.  Sleep – no apparent help from either lavender or vetiver.  Sad, tired mom.
c.  Oregano – really helped with warts, but we didn’t use it long enough to get rid of them
d.  Frankincense – husband had what looked like a precancerous spot on his back and this healed it up quickly.
e.  On Guard – I never really felt that this had the same “punch” that YL’s Thieves did.
f.  Slim and Sassy – tastes great (with stevia in water), but no weight loss here.  I’m not really heavy but would love to drop about 2-4 pounds.
g.  Allergies – no help there either with peppermint, lavender, and lemon.

I do really like their educational support from reps and their company, however, some of that education is just plain wrong.

Problems with the Oils Industry

I contacted other companies and went on literally a heap of essential oil company’s sites. Then, during my investigations, I ended up being asked by a company to help them choose an essential oils supplier (crazy, huh?) so I got to try out another company’s oils (for free this time) and found out more and more about oils along the way.

As all of my testing of doTERRA and Young Living was going on, I started looking at other oils companies and talking with folks in the industry.

This is where it gets really interesting.  I don’t have documentation for all of this but here is some of the “dark side” to the essential oils industry.

– Some of the companies actually distill at high pressure and high temperature to get more oil out faster, despite it being widely known in the oils industry that low temperature and low pressure is the way to do it.

Oils are adulterated.  With chemicals, fragrances or cheaper oil.  I heard from one source that CODEX allows for oils to be labeled “pure” with only 3% of the pure oil in the bottle.  I couldn’t get documentation for that, but I can see it being true.  You’ve seen those bottles labeled “pure vanilla extract” that have a lot of alcohol and sugar in them as well, right?  The vanilla part is pure but there’s other stuff in that bottle.  One oil company owner told me he once tested a health food store brand that was labeled “pure” but it tested with 75% propylene glycol.

Basically, if the price seems too good to be true, it likely is.

False certificates – One oil company owner told me that he had sold small amounts of 2 varieties of oil to a smaller company.  They asked for the certification of the more expensive oil, apparently for “verification”.  Later, they ordered a large amount of the less expensive oil to sell to their customers.  The first company’s owner later visited the buyer’s site and saw that the company had posted the certificate for the more expensive oil alongside the info for the “cheaper” oil they had just purchased from him.  Ugh!

Just because there is a certificate doesn’t mean that is what is being sold.

“Complete distillations” or “redistillation” vs “first distillations”.   Apparently, if you distill it at a higher temperature or pressure, or redistill, you get this same “candy”-like smell.  I will refer to this later.

– I have also heard about oils being reheated to make them smell more palatable.  Remember we said “low temperature”?

Chemical Solvents – Some companies are distilling with solvents.  No more chemical nasties, right?  Ick.  There are a few exceptions, but very few.  You want steam distilled oils only otherwise.

Safety violations – There are some companies without good reputations in this arena as well.  I will talk about this next time as well.

I could go on, but again, you can see that this is a murky industry.  Kind of like the modern-day food industry.

More about other companies (and more on YL and doTERRA) in my next post, Best Essential Oils – Part 4.  Hang with me–the end is near :-).

A Great Book to Add to Your Essential Oil Library

There is so much to learn about essential oils. If your appetite is whetted like mine is, you’ll definitely want to grab this book.

I Recommend
Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook for Aromatic Therapy

Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook for Aromatic Therapy

This book is highly recommended by aromatherapists and has details of over 250 essential oils, absolutes and resinoids, a chapter on the latest research in plant medicine, and also information on formulating essential oils.

Also included is information about how essential oils are created, how and where aromatherapy is used, and the underlying science. A very valuable book for everyone from beginner to advanced.

The Essential Oil Company I Chose

If you’d like to find out which essential oil company I went with at the end of this long search, read this post:

Announcing “the Best” Essential Oils Company – Part 7 

you can also read the other parts of the series here:

For more in the Best Essential Oils Series:

– Which Essential Oils Company is Best? – Part 1
– Best Essential Oils – What a Good Oils Company Should Have – Part 2
– Young Living vs. doTERRA – Part 4
– Are Multi-Level Marketing Oils Worth It? – Part 5
– Distillation, Bias, Vomit and More Concerns – Part 6

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.

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

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  


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  1. Hi there, thanks for the article. I was wondering if you could answer something for me. Can you use essential oils everyday? I just started using them and there’s so much conflicting information. Thanks in advance for your answer!

    1. Hi there. You can use them daily technically but there is some concern building among some experts that overuse is leading to sensitization so I would be careful and for sure dilute appropriately. Hope that helps.

  2. Could you tell me how you feel about Plant Therapy.I have been using YL and need to find something more reasonable.Thank you Denise

    1. Hi there. Yes, I looked at them when I started this process and didn’t go w/ them for several reasons but of course many things change in the industry over time. I hope to revisit this issue hopefully in the not too distant future. In the meantime, if you’d like to sign up for updates you can do so here:

      I’m inundated with other personal and professional things but I have started working on this again as I have been able.

      Thanks much!

  3. After receiving EO as a gift, and never had used them, I started my research and ended it with your wonderfully informative article! Keep up the good work! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much–I hope you got to read some of the other posts in the series. Please do let me know if there is a topic you would like to see covered. I have some other posts on the blog here and am working on more. I also have a new Facebook Community where we talk about all kinds of health-related topics. If you’d like to join we’d love to have you:

  4. You’re not supposed to ingest EO’s in any way, shape or form. Waaayy too potent to do and could cause serious internal and skin problems.

    1. Hi there. I agree that they are very potent and that one should be cautious. However if one is under the care of a physician or aromatherapist, many would agree that this is sufficient. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    1. Well that was rude! She’s put her whole heart into this article AND her research. This is a tough topic to conquer. It’s nearly impossible to find the truth about anything we use for bettering our health, homes and overall wellness. Quite frankly I’m sick, tired and exhausted from these companies taking advantage of us. I’m sickened by the FDA recalls. Oh, oopsies! All the while they sleep soundly at night. Clearly YOU have too much time on YOUR hands to troll blogs and leave your nastiness in the comments.

  5. Thanks for doing this research. There is so much to learn …..but worth not taking another pill for an issue that other meds havent healed.

  6. sounds like you’ve been very busy! I sure appreciate the time and energy you’ve put into this. In your studies did you look at Edens Garden? If so how did they compare to Doterra?

    1. Yes, I did look at them. I can’t really say how they compared to doTERRA–what exactly are you wanting to know? I more look at the company and what it tests for, etc., rather than scent but sometimes I bought the oils and smelled them, but I am not an aromatherapist and regardless, the scent part (organoleptic) is of course quite subjective. Hope that helps!

  7. As a student for three years studying and double-majoring in CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) and Aromatherapy, I would urge you to continue your research. There are a number of factors that must be considered when using and choosing essential oils. If you are looking for essential oils for health optimization, it is important to use therapeutic grade, certified organic oils. I would strongly recommend looking at how and where the oils are harvested as well. As you said many companies mix their oils with additives. Commercial oils smell good but have no therapeutic value. As far as price, a good quality oil isn’t going to be cheap. Price should not be a factor considering the price of conventional healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Do not expect quick results with essential oils. Natural medicines take time. They are not a quick fix. Overall health can be improved combining the use of oils, herbs, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. There is no one ‘miracle cure’ for anything. It is important to note too that everyone is different and can react differently and obtain different results using any type of naturopathic medicine. It is very important to obtain advice and knowledge from a professional before using essential oils to treat any health issue.
    Side note: most essential oils are not recommended for internal use – definitely seek professional advice before doing so! And with oils – less is more. Overuse or misuse can be detrimental to your health.

    1. Hi Tara.

      Thanks for reading and for writing.

      Actually I have a lot more written on the blog including this:

      Therapeutic grade is not a defined term, however, and organic isn’t necessarily optimal. I have an email from a company that was selling certified organic oils and some of them were found to have been adulterated.

      What do you mean by commercial oils?

      I do not recommend internal use unless under the care of a physician or aromatherapist and I do talk about not overusing in this post:

    2. tara, instead of encouraging more research by adrienne which she is obviously doing and blogging about, why dont you share some of your “three years studying and double-majoring in CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) and Aromatherapy?” this area is largely anecdotal for obvious reasons and you could likely contribute knowledge. at least answer adrienne’s questions

  8. First I’d like to say that I really enjoyed your article(s) and have great respect for the tremendous amount of time and effort it took to put them together. While I know you may not have been able to touch on each and every essential oil producer out there, there is one in particular that I was hoping to see your thoughts on. One in fact that I am a big fan of which is called Jade Bloom. I use their oils in products for my bath and skin care business as well as for personal medicinal use. I am very curious if you have any thoughts on Jade Bloom. Thank you in advance for responding.

    1. Hi there and thank you so much for your kind words. It does take a ton of time. I would recommend that you look at this post to see what my standards are. I would recommend seeing if you can find some 3rd party test results for them and encourage you to do your own research about it. There are people in FB groups doing testing randomly on certain oils. Hope that helps :)! I’m trying to do more research into other companies but am actually researching a lot of things now – some hair products, CBD oil, omegas, gut supplements and more so I’m a bit swamped!

      1. Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I was just curious if you had come across them by chance. You mentioned doing research on gut supplements and CBD oils. I am super excited and looking very much forward to what your results yield, as I suffer horribly from digestive issues myself. The research I have done is minimal at best. I make a daily drink and take essential oils, which help. There is a local company called Fairwinds (my sister in-law so works in the administrative office). Supposedly they are on the cutting edge of research with sublingual CBD (and other) digestive aids. Just thought I’d mention it in case you were interested. Keeping my eye out on your next post. Thanks again, enjoy your weekend!


        1. You are so welcome. I’m behind on comments (always) but saw yours come in and felt like responding so you are lucky :). I can tell you some of the results.

          I would be very careful about ingestion of essential oils. I am working on a post on that. It’s a big problem potentially.

          Fairwinds sounds interesting but looks like they are in store purchase only?

          You can read some of the information here on the Biome Medic supplement:

          As for the CBD, this is a post that I wrote but I will be changing it up soon as I’m digging into more companies:

          I’m hoping to have some more info up soon but for now, I have one company I am confident in and another I am pretty sure I am going to be good with and I hope to have this info more in about 2 weeks.

          Let me know what you think :).

  9. Hey, just reading about the results you had from doTERRA (or lack there of.) I am wondering if you tried any of their blends? My husband has horrible allergies all year round it seems. When I first started using oils, ‘breath’ was one one of the first ones I started using. It has helped amazingly, not only with his allergies but also his snoring at night. Another one we use is ‘serenity’ for sleeping. its an amazing blend and really helps me get into a deeper sleep (I’m a very light sleeper). I tent to like the blends a lot better for specific needs. I use OnGuard VERY frequently (just about on a daily basis) and working in the medical field it has surely helped keep sickness away from me and out of my household. I would definitely recommend trying them again and trying some different mixtures.

  10. For allergies, I was given a sample of YL ravintsara in a rollerball by a distributor. It worked great for me, stopped my sneezing and relieved sinus pressure. Doterra’s past tense tension release oil blend also works miracles on me, it’s like IcyHot!

  11. Can you tell me anything about 100% Pure Essential Oils company. I need to make sure it’s safe and good for my son as well as the rest of the family thanks

  12. I find your blogs very interesting. As seller of frankincense oil distilled from boswellia carteri resins we import from Somalia, we are shocked by the very low prices of our competitors claiming to offer 100% natural and pure. The prices they offer are so low they cannot cover the resin price, forget about distillation costs and margins. We have our resins distilled here in the UK and we would like to send you a sample for your evaluation. Please drop me a line if you’d like to try it. Thanks.

    1. I would be interested to try your frankincense and share it to friends who are eager too try it. We were gonna buy one and split the cost.. With your generousity we may just be lucky to be a believer

  13. I’ve used Bach Essential Oils for about 20 years. Buy them at Whole Foods. Nobody ever asks me to sell anything that way. I really can’t stand Pyramid Schemes. Eventually people figure out that what they’re selling is overpriced and they can get the same oils at the store or at for a fraction of the cost, then the scheme starts to fail and another one starts. Yes, I do believe in the healing power of plants. I just don’t like pyramid schemes.

  14. Hi Adrienne, I am so glad to see your website again. We haven’t spoken in years but I have always enjoyed talking with you and hearing your perspective in health alternatives. I just wanted to share my own experience with doTerra’s TriEase for allergies. I don’t have allergies myself but my son, Sam, does. His allergies are not to the extent that your children have but he did end up in ER a couple of years ago with anaphylaxis. We still are not sure what triggered it. He went to an allergist and was found to be allergic to about ten different things, food and environmental. We are thinking that the spring burning in our neighborhood that weekend combined with some of the foods he ate that we didn’t know he was allergic to overwhelmed him. Anyway, he was on shots for while until he couldn’t afford them. Most allergy meds work to start out then stop working. He is a skeptic of everything especially alternative therapies. He rolled his eyes when I asked him to try the TriEase and said, “Fine, I’ll try it but it won’t work.” But it did. Not for food allergies but the pollens and other environmental allergens. I expect his body will eventually stop responding to this, too, because it always does. But for now, he can breathe. Again, I’m glad I ran across you website. I hope the family is doing great. How old are your boys now? Sam is 23 and engaged. Alex and Abby are 16 and 15 and I’m still homeschooling them. Take care and keep up the wonderful work. You are a gem.

    1. Hello Bette!
      So great to hear from you!

      I will get in touch on another platform — but how wonderful!

      So I have personally tried essential oils for allergies and haven’t found them to be that helpful. Not sure why. We stopped shots b/c I am not happy w/ the ingredients in them. I researched it before but got kind of misleading information. I’m disappointed that we were putting that stuff in our bodies for so long.

      That anaphylaxis issue is scary!!

    2. And thanks for your kind words. You made my night. I don’t feel like a gem but I did really enjoy our talks as well!

  15. I stopped reading at your comment, “f. Slim and Sassy – tastes great (with stevia in water), but no weight loss here. I’m not really heavy, but would love to drop about 2-4 pounds.”… eyerolled and almost didn’t leave a comment but if you HONESTLY think that the oil alone which your statement implies would be the reason you were to loose 2-4 pounds your blog isn’t worth a further read. DoTERRA is by far a superior EO, not only because of the quality of their product, but as a business. And by the way I am NOT a rep, but a user of DoTERRA and a Certified Personal Trainer.

    1. Hi Elise -sorry you felt that way. I’m confused by your comment. I don’t understand what frustrated you. That I said that I didn’t lose weight using the Slim and Sassy? Your sentence reads “if you HONESTLY think that the oil alone which your statement implies would be the reason you were to loose [sic] 2-4 pounds” and that doesn’t make sense – I think you left some words out.

      Please tell me what your concerns are. Can you tell me if you think it’s a far superior business why you aren’t a rep, then? And why you think they are far superior to other oils? I am happy to interact about it but just stating that without putting a reason why doesn’t help the conversation any more than my saying “my company is far superior in quality” would convince anyone if I didn’t state why. Thanks.