Several months ago I had an opportunity to try some oils from doTerra. I’ve been doing some research and reading ever since. I was intrigued, at Pure Home and Body I want to offer you the best and purest in health, wellness and of course, essential oils. I had not known of any other company than Young Living that sold essential oils labeled as food grade supplements. Update: as of Fall 2014, another company has joined the food-grade supplement market, Ameo essential oils. Read more below about this company.
It appears there might be some other options.
The companies I have identified here for comparison are multi-level marketing companies, some might call them “relational marketing”. Gary Young makes it clear to his company associates of the reasoning behind structuring their company this way (which makes sense for the other players in the market as well). Aromatherapy is a technical subject and unlike other home-based businesses it is important to work with someone knowledgeable in the field. Tupperware, cosmetics or jewelry can be purchased pretty much on their own, customers make a purchase and know how to use it. Aromatherapy however, is an art and takes years to understand and integrate. Aromatherapy is not a one-size fits all and quick solution to complicated problems. I have been practicing and studying aromatherapy for over 20 years and continue to learn and realize I have much more to learn in the practical and safe application of essential oils. Relational marketing in it’s most effective scenario provides the space for individuals to be supported and coached in the safe and effective use of essential oils with personalized attention, versus buying a product off of Amazon and guessing the best use for it. Using essential oils without wise, experienced counsel will most likely result in haphazard use of the oils, over-use or unsafe use of essential oils. In a perfect world, anyone who is committed to doing business in the essential oil business will be committed to ongoing education to best support their customers. Unfortunately, the market has become flooded with overnight “experts” that are confusing consumers. There appear to be 2 camps, the MLM business owners who are “experts” selling the oils and the organic community (aromatherapists) also with experience selling their educational programs to teach all they know. It’s easy for each to be critical of the other, while in the end consumers do well with a dose of common sense, wisdom in reading information (look at who the authors & marketers are and what they are “selling”), and a filter of perspective in where the information is coming from.
I have found some very interesting details and facts about this company (doTerra), of which I want to remain as objective as possible. What I first discovered is that the Young Living vs. doTerra topic is a hot one. I’ve read quite a few blogs highlighting the debate from both sides, some with good details and others with more subjective, emotional content, (some saying they used one line for a while, then switched to the other and it was amazing, such a difference). Sadly, it reminds me too much of companies like TOMS copied by a company called Bobs who has modeled their marketing, brand and product too close for comfort to the original TOMS. It’s unfortunate that the American Dream has become to some more a sheep in wolves clothing just to make a dollar. All that said, I don’t want to add to the drama. Copycat behavior in business is likely to draw out emotions in everyone involved, especially when it’s in competing forces. I found comments on such articles bringing out a good deal of passion from readers, some of it far from constructive. So, before I even begin my analysis of these two companies’ products, I want to make it clear this article will be filled with as many concrete examples as possible, including the comparison of specific oils, production and their qualities which I’ll cover later. I welcome any comments below that will help give readers facts.
I am doing this to educate consumers, not bash companies. This article will have all the details you’ve wanted. I will not sugar coat things or gloss over important details and in the process I’m sure I will offend someone, which is not my intent. The essential oil industry is growing, but it is also one riddled with inconsistencies, little regulation and known for diluting, altering and synthesizing products to extend supplies and profit (common industry lingo includes “preparing the sauce” as a term for adding chemical fillers to essential oils just before shipping)I believe that fair competition can only make our marketplace better, in quality, pricing and availability. Because consumers have access to the internet it is even more important for companies to practice business with integrity, providing accurate information, and in the natural living industry, their products must be pure without a doubt. Greenwashing is prevalent in every industry, especially the Essential Oil industry where many want to get a share of profits. Knowledge is power. So grab a cup of tea, fresh juice or smoothie and get ready to discover more about the essential oil world.
Young Living was founded by Gary Young after he healed himself from a major accident. His doctors told him he would never walk again after injuring his spinal cord, but he did. Out of his recovery came a passion for holistic healing, and a love of essential oils. This passion is what created the Young Living company. Since it’s beginning, Young Living has formulated many products including 10 exclusive single essential oils they distill and over 75 essential oil blends targeted to specific needs.
Since there is little regulation in the essential oil industry, truth in labeling does not apply to essential oils. A company can label their oils as 100% pure even if there is a synthetic oil in the bottle that smells like the real deal. Synthetic reproductions of essential oils are only designed to smell like an oil and do not perform the same as true plant oils distilled from the living plant material. You can read more about Therapeutic Grade essential oils and what makes a quality oil. Pure, quality essential oils with no chemical fillers is what produces results when you use them.
Since the average consumer has little experience with essential oils, the only way to verify purity is to trust the company you buy from or trust your nose (of which a pure essential oil will last years as long as it is stored in a cool, dry location. An essential oil that has synthetics or fillers will break down over time, similar to cosmetics that suddenly have a change in odor which is the added chemicals breaking down). Young Living has been in business 20 years to refine their products, determine the best chemical structure in purity and their products have stood the test of time.
Blending essential oils is another mastery and an art that takes time and experience to develop, not unlike creating wines. Young Living continues to research and maximize that research to create better products that produce results.
In addition to the oil blends, Young Living has developed the Raindrop Therapy. This is a specific therapy for building up the immune system with 9 specific essential oils that are applied along the spine. Books are written about the Statistical Validation of the Raindrop Therapy for those with cancer, autoimmune disorders, colds & flu and many other chronic conditions. Young Living has been around over 20 years and continues to evolve to meet consumer needs. What I’ve seen is a broad reach of consumers, weighing heavily with massage therapist, skin aestheticians, nurses, doctors and even hospitals due to their strict methods of quality control. Their product base is pretty broad including vitamins, supplements, skin & personal care in addition to essential oils and diffusers. Their target market reaches a broad age range as well, from young families to older generations.
doTerra has been around for about 7 years, the company founded from some executives who left Young Living. They structured the network marketing company with products very similar to Young Living including a strong resemblance in personal care products, single essential oils and essential oil blends. DoTerra is an aggressive marketer targeting young families and active adults looking for natural options in health care. Their marketing materials are appealing and effective at drawing in your senses. The primary focus of doTerra is on building a network marketing company while the product (essential oils in this case) is the commodity, a vehicle to deliver the results of a residual income.
What is food grade and where did those oils come from? doTerra has labeled some of their products as food grade essential oils, certifying that their essential oils are pure, a step in the right direction for the essential oil industry as long as they are honest. There have been questions and apparent lawsuits into the purity of doTerra oils, especially their peppermint essential oil which may have ethyl vanillin added. Ethyl vanillin is a food flavoring synthetic. It gives a sweet vanilla aftertone. Adding anything to an essential oil would not only remove it’s therapeutic value, it’s a deceptive business practice in an industry that has few regulations and standards. doTerra has created a copyright CPTG logo that can only be used by them, the logo is only that and according to doTerra, ICP’s should not be using it as marketing their oils as therapeutic value. It is only a set of words, the CPTG does not stand for any essential oil standards. Proof of their certified pure therapeutic grade standards will only show if the quality of their oils stand the test of time or they start to reveal some of their reports on quality. doTerra notes on their website that they “work with a global network of leading essential oil chemists and growers”, yet the sources of their specific oils are not listed anywhere I could find (product catalog, doTerra essential oil reference or online shopping). Do any doTerra reps or executives have suggestions for resources or more information on the certified grade of their essential oils? I invite you to list any helpful information for readers in the comments below.
Update: as of the first writing of this article, doTerra seems to have modified their Frankincense to include 3 species: Boswellia Sacra, Boswellia carterii and Boswellia frereana. Their frankincense at the writing of this article was labeled as Boswelia frereana, as of Spring 2015 their frankincense is labeled with the 3 species. I have not a chance to verify why this change was made with the company, anyone with more details is invited to leave it below in the comments.
What is the chemistry of those oils? In addition, several essential oils they use in their blends are not even listed individually in the essential oil desk reference to research what chemical components should be in these “therapeutic grade” essential oils. I would assume that if they indeed had all their essential oils tested for standards, those standards would be available for all oils used in their products. I’ll write more about that in the next post…..
DoTerra has created some unique products, like their peppermint beadlets which deliver a drop of peppermint essential oil in an enclosed round capsule. The rest of doTerra’s product line, is quite similar to Young Living’s line packaged with different oils and names. DoTerra even created thir AromaTouch which is similar to the Raindrop Therapy, only using twice as many oils. I have yet to see research specifics regarding the use of all the doTerra oils (why all these oils are used and their purposes) and blends in the AromaTouch technique, but look forward to reading more if it comes available. If you know of resources, I invite you to list them in the comments below.
Intellectual Property doTerra has also created an essential oil blend (Immortelle) which they may or may not know is also the name of a line from La’Occitane, a French company which uses essential oils similar to those marketed in the DoTerra product with the same name. If doTerra wants to stay a long time player in the essential oil industry, they’ll have to be more innovative in creating products that stand out from competition, not create threats to patents, trademarks or intellectual property.
For the time being, Young Living continues to build a cache of research and results with their products. doTerra is on the defense and must prove themselves in this new game of aromatherapy by playing clean and growing their expertise reputation in the essential oil industry. Integrity and trust are built over time, especially in the essential oil industry where purity, consistency and truth in labeling is a must. If everyone focuses on creating the best products, everyone wins with fair pricing and enough business for everyone. There are a lot of self-made “experts” on the internet, some very aggressive with marketing. The bottom line is you have to be an educated consumer, look past the hype, pay attention and ask the right questions if you want to invest in quality oils.
Essential oils are powerful substances and must be handled with care and respect, it is imperitive that you use oils that are pure, without a doubt for aromatherapy. The big difference between Young Living & doTerra? Young Living is investing in the soil of the earth by managing 9 farms in 6 different locations all over the world and teaching sustainable agriculture to the next generation. Yes, Young Living is a business, but the inspiration for doTerra mainly appears to be making network marketing and the essential oil industry is the commodity for now.
Ameo is another essential oil company that provides food-grade supplements as of Fall 2014. Ameo is a distributor of essential oils but does not grow their own plants or own farmland. Their strength, however, seems to be in putting a face and details into the science and testing of essential oils. While Young Living and doTerra speak of third party testing, the public does not hear much of who does the testing or where it is done, only that it is “Third Party Testing” as if an unknown entity. Ameo product introductions come after many months if not years of research into how to provide the highest quality essential oils backed up by strict research and data. Ameo essential oils are tested specifically for many things including heavy metals toxicity, something that can occur if essential oils are distilled in cheap equipment or materials that might contaminate oils with metals such as aluminum, nickel, copper or lead. Their cache of essential oil products includes single oils and blends as well as some essential oil infused supplements. I had the opportunity to speak with a distributor as well as their scientific product developer, Joshua Plant. Mr. Plant has been the driving force behind the companies cutting edge technology to identify how essential oils are interacting with human cells. They have some interesting blends that may be worth researching, such as their AGX line that has been developed specifically for their synergistic abilities to improve cell function. Ameo seems to be raising the bar in research, technology and advancement in the essential oil industry, another agent of positive change for the field of aromatherapy holding the industry accountable to purity, potency, effectiveness and above all safety.
Is integrity important to you when you decide where to shop? How do you determine if a company is practicing with integrity? I invite you to leave your polite comments below. I also welcome any research and facts you have that will add value to this information.
After publishing this article, I had someone refer this article to me, another comparison of YL vs doTerra that would be worth reading.