I have used Essential Oils for YEARS and recommend them almost daily. They are the foundation of my chemical-free home and natural first aid kit that I use on our whole family; human and fur-babies alike. One of the most hotly debated arguments in the oily world, is where to source them from. Here is my comparison of the top essential oil companies.
Why I’m only comparing doTERRA and Young Living…
If you are new to the world of Essential Oils, there are 2 main players that dominate this marketplace: Young Living and doTERRA. Although there are many, many small brands and backyard distilleries around the world, doTERRA and Young Living are the leaders.
I won’t go into too much detail about what makes these two superior, but the main points are related to the size of the company. As large, multi-nationals, both Young Living and doTERRA invest hugely in quality-control procedures that are generally beyond most small distilleries. This includes growing plant material in the country where it is indigenous, complex laboratory batch testing and ongoing research. And both companies are MLM/direct selling models.
Although the MLM business model turns people off sometimes, it is absolutely the BEST business model for essential oils. Why? Because rather than just buying an essential oil off the shelf and have it sit forgotten in a cupboard somewhere, by signing up under a friend, or at a class you learn how to actually use it.
Essential oils have a broad range of uses, which takes some learning. Its not like a drug, used for a single specific thing listed on the box! One oil can do or support many things and learning what that is takes time. MLM marketing is the perfect way to share oils (Once you start you can’t stop!), share your knowledge and get a little financial thank you for doing so.
A Comparison of doTERRA and Young Living Essential Oils.
|Founded by||David Stirling, Corey B Lindley, Emily Wright, Gregory P Cook, David Hill, Robert Young and Mark Wolfbert. David Stirling was previously CEO at Young Living and Mary Young was personal secretary to Mary Young. Dr Hill and Gregory Cook were both also employed at Young Living before founding doTERRA.||Husband and wife team Gary and Mary Young|
|Age of company||Founded in 2008||Incorporated officially in 1994|
|Location(s)||Headquarters located in UTAH, US. Farms are not owned by doTERRA, but are owned by local farmers in exclusive partnerships with doTERRA.
“While the temptation for a company as large as doTERRA may be to buy large plots of land and mass produce oils, doTERRA places great value on the expert knowledge of local farmers—many of whom have nurtured essential oil plants for generations. doTERRA recruits their expertise into a Global Botanical Network and, in so doing, responsibly supports thousands of jobs around the world.” (SOURCE)
|Headquarters located in UTAH, US. Farms in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Australia in over 30 countries. This is a combination of corporate-owned farms, partner farms, and Seed to Seal-certified suppliers. (SOURCE/map)
*Personal note; Although YL claim to grow plants where they are indigenous, Lavender is not native to North America (SOURCE), yet Young Living grows it at their Whispering Springs Farm in Mona, UTAH. This is just one example I found – there may be others.
|Environmental responsibility efforts||“Co-Impact Sourcing promotes the use of energy efficient technologies and renewable energy technologies to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. doTERRA seeks to minimise the impact of waste streams on the environment, and encourages agricultural producers to minimise their environmental impacts.” (SOURCE)
*Personal note; doTERRA uses recyclable packaging and thus far I have not received any plastic wrapping in my parcels which I think is great!
|“Reforestation of harvested trees; recycling at Young Living offices; and the construction of our brand-new, LEED-certified headquarters in Lehi, Utah.” (SOURCE)
*Personal note; Young Living use plastic extensively in their packaging and I could not find any more details specific to eco-friendly practices or sustainability standards.
|Social responsibility|| Co-Impact Sourcing (SOURCE)
Co-Impact Sourcing provides the tools needed to help lift these families and communities out of poverty and promote economic development. doTERRA adheres to additional Sourcing Guiding Principles when working in developing nations. Through these partnerships, they create jobs, provide fair and on-time payments, build supplier capacity, ensure fair-labour conditions, promote cooperatives, facilitate community development and ensure environmental sustainability.
“When doTERRA looks for sourcing partnerships, we deliberately choose locations where we can improve the individual, social, economic, and environmental well-being, while producing the highest quality essential oils.”
Wellness Advocates and doTERRA leaders can get involved in Co-Impact Sourcing projects (SOURCE)
|“The program ultimately determines several specific legal factors associated with botanical harvesting in order to protect delicate landscapes, plants, and wildlife, including knowing where, how, how much to plant and harvest, and more. “(SOURCE)|
|Charitable efforts|| doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation
“The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation seeks to bring healing and hope to the world, for lives free of disease and poverty, and to ultimately empower impoverished communities with the tools needed to become self-reliant.” (SOURCE)
The Healing Hands Foundation is currently involved in over 150 projects by country! (SOURCE) Here are just a few of the bigger programs in action:
|The D. Gary Young, Young Living Foundation
“…is committed to empowering individuals to achieve their potential and defy limitations by providing wellness and education opportunities to underserved communities.” (SOURCE)
Current projects (as at 6/1/18)
|Quality Assurance||CPTG – Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (see Source to You website and CPTG testing)||Seed to Seal (WEBSITE)|
|Testing methods||Testing is done on each batch in a 3rd party laboratory and batch test results of GC/MS tests are accessible via the Source to You Website. “The CPTG quality protocol requires the use of independent laboratories for standardisation and testing.” (SOURCE)
||Mostly in-house laboratory testing, using 2 third-party centres “as needed.” (SOURCE)
|Oils education resources & support||
My personal experience & comparison with each company
Before I go into my personal experience with the two, I would just like to say that no matter which company you choose, essential oils are always a preferable first choice over any pharmaceutical drugs or chemical household products. Young Living or doTERRA, you’re doing great by your family’s health!
When I originally conducted this research I was an active customer of Young Living, so was somewhat bias toward them. But after many months of digging, reviewing the two companies and pouring over many online articles I am now an active and very happy customer and wellness advocate with doTERRA. Here’s why.
I had always been encouraged to believe that because Young Living owns the farms they grown their plants on, that they had ultimate control which meant better quality oils. However, by purchasing the farmland, they have displaced the local farmers. Since many essential oils are produced in developing countries this doesn’t seem like a socially ethical practice to me.
doTERRA on the other hand contract with the local farmers, allowing them to manage their own land (while adhering to doTERRAs strict CPTG guidelines to ensure high quality oils). The farmer gets to keep their home and are paid above-market rates for their produce. They are paid even MORE per kilogram in low-produce seasons, so that the farmers can feed their families.
The first time I looked into Co-Impact Sourcing I cried. Because this partnership that doTERRA manifests with some of the poorest people in the world is such a beautiful thing to be associated with. Additionally, instead of vast land purchase debt, doTERRA invests in research programs and extensive charity efforts through their Healing Hands Foundation. Win, win, WIN.
One of the big draw cards that got me keen on essential oils in the beginning was getting creative and making my own blends/remedies. But while with Young Living the only way I was getting help on this was by scouring the bowels of the internet. And fishing through articles took all the fun out of it!
I have put this down to the fact that Young Living have an enormous collection of ‘complimentary’ products they have formulated like the personal care, household cleaners etc I wanted to make myself. Naturally, they encourage you to purchase these, so did not seem to offer much incentive or support for DIY. I also found these products were exceedingly expensive to use every day – well beyond the budget of a single-wage family of four!
By comparison, doTERRA’s ‘other’ products are not only a more realistic price, but they also offer many resources to DIY products including videos and written tutorials online. Just to clarify, these resources come directly from doTERRA, not my ‘up line’ support – I have even more from them!
Young Living sells a product called Ningxia Red. Which is Goji (aka wolf) berries mixed with citrus essential oils and a bunch of other stuff made into a ‘superfruit’ juice. Ningxia Red is a proprietary blend exclusive to Young Living, so is one of their primary products and something they spend a lot of money advertising – it even has its own dedicated website! (SOURCE).
The primary ingredient, wolf berries are a superfood native to the Ningxia district in China. Which is one of the world’s ‘Blue Zones’ and goji berries are credited, at least in part, to their astounding health and longevity. Young Living have combined these superfood berries with essential oils and other high antioxidant fruits to make Ningxia Red. Which is amazing in theory, however to make it possible to ship world-wide un-refrigerated, Ningxia red is pasteurised and uses preservatives.
The FAQ on the Ningxia Red (SOURCE) website states:
“Why is sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate used in NingXia Red?
NingXia Red uses whole wolfberries—juice, peel, seeds, and fruit—in a naturally beneficial juice puree. Using these safe and effective preservatives allows us to extend NingXia Red’s shelf life, maintain product integrity, and protect the wolfberry benefits, all while keeping it free of naturally occurring microorganisms.”
Sounds harmless enough, right? A lookup on The Chemical Maze shows 2 results for Sodium Benzoate…
Sodium benzoate combined with vitamin C (ascorbic acid, a primary nutrient found in wolf berries (SOURCE) is known to create benzene (wiki), a known carcinogen (SOURCE). The levels present in drinks are tested to ensure they are below levels considered harmful, but if you follow the suggested RDI by Young Living, you get a small dose twice daily. Just like all the additives/preservatives found in your supermarket foods, it puts pressure on your body to eliminate.
Personally I tried Ningxia Red years ago, well before I really started digging into ingredients lists. Aside from a considerable dent in my bank account, I found no noticeable different to my health or energy levels whatsoever from consuming it daily. This product is expensive, over-hyped and is controversial for a company supposedly all natural, all chemical-free.
What ultimately made me switch to doTERRA.
My final point I’ll mention here that drove me out of Young Living is I have always felt uneasy about ‘doing the business’ with them. I use essential oils daily and share them with clients and friends however I never felt comfortable with giving Young Living my full endorsement. I love the essential oils and blends they create, but the company culture, product discrepancies like with Ningxia Red and excessively high prices all drove me to doTERRA.
doTERRA is reasonably priced, has no controversial ‘other’ products (that I have found so far at least!), their culture of lifting the communities where their oils are produced is mind-blowing and my up line support is second to none. I am so excited to finally feel free to share the oils I have used for years through a company I give my support wholeheartedly.
Congratulations on making it down to the end of this very long post! I hope that it has helped outline the differences between the two market leaders in essential oils so that you can start making a shift toward low-tox living.
I realise that this article may ignite passionate responses from team YL or doTERRA. So please remember that what I have written here is a combination of my own personal experiences/opinions and months of research. If there is something that I have missed, or should add/change in my table please let me know!
xx Good luck!
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