Choosing Between doTERRA and Young Living Essential Oils


a little disclaimer:

When I first started looking into this, it felt like such a charged subject. I saw a lot of hateful things being said about both companies and their founders; much of it baseless speculation and assumption.

So if you're looking for a breakdown w/o any emotional charge, you're in the right place!

This is just how I made my own personal choice between these two companies. Both brands offer incredibly high quality oils, unlike those that you find at most health and grocery stores. I think they are both excellent choices if you are interested in making essential oils a regular part of your wellness routine!

Why does this decision feel so confusing?

My answer: lack of third party testing and certifications. 

As ethical consumers, we rely on third party testing to know that the companies we buy from are operating correctly. However, neither YL nor dT is Fair Trade Certified, FDA Certified Organic, or a B-Corporation. 

What this means is that we as consumers need to put a lot of trust into these companies that they are doing what they claim, which is not necessarily a position I like being in. 

My Breakdown:

I started to feel overwhelmed with all of the information, both negative and positive, I was hearing and reading about both brands. It's challenging to get objective data since both companies rely on their customers as sellers. I am really hoping that in years to come one (or both!) of them will apply to become B Corps. But until then, I'm going to have to rely on my own investigative abilities.

 So I took a page out of my grandfathers book and made a spreadsheet to break down the data that could be verified.

Young Living doTerra
Price of Equivalent enrollment kits - $160 (plus tax & shipping) : Premium Starter Kit: Diffuser, 55 mL oils ($2.90/mL) - $150 (plus tax & shipping) : AromaTouch® Diffused Kit: Diffuser, 40 ml oils ($3.75/mL)

- $275 (plus tax & shipping) : Home Essentials Kit: Diffuser, 140 mL oils ($1.96/mL)

doTERRA has many more starter kit options than YL

Note: I ended up paying $220 (plus tax & shipping) for doTERRA's Home Essentials Kit whcih comes to $1.57/mL
Product Testing - Uses owned and third party labs for testing.
- Self-regulated
- Limited transparency, no release of GC-MS tests
- Issues with adulterated oils
- Uses third party labs for Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) testing
- Self regulated
- CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®
- Extrememly transparent
- Worked directly with FDA to develop standards
Environmental Reporting: - As of Aug 2017, working with SCS Global Services to advance and improve their Seed to Seal® promise - Source to You ®
- No third party reporting
Distillation Methods - Steam distillation
- Cold pressing (citrises)
- Resin Tapping (Frankinsense, Myhrr, copaiba)
- Solvent / Chemical Extraction (Jasime, neroli)
- Steam distillation
- Cold pressing (citrises)

Note: Frankinsense is harvested via resin tapping but distilled via low temp steam distillation
Habitats & Resources:
Human/ Workers Rights: - Little transparency of workers locations and conditions, some OSHA violations - Co-Impact Souring, not 3rd party regulated
- No OSHA violations
Supply Chain Management: - Has a company code of eithics and claims to follow DSA Code of Ethics
- Seed to Seal ® (recent violations are problematic for this)
- Following a Lacey compliance program (b/c of previous violations)
- Co-Impact Sourcing
- not third party regulated
- No OSHA violations
Irresponsible Marketing: - Seed to Seal not necessarily guaruntee (see legal actions)
- Gary Young is not a Doctor though advertised he was at some point (not confirmed w/ reliable source)
None that I could find
Giving Back D. Gary Young Foundation Healing Hands Foundation
Company Ethos - Some illegal actions in sourcing (rosewood)
- OSHA Violations (only a few incidences)
- One worker death (accident, not related to bad working conditions)
- No OSHA Violations
- No Criminal Activity
- Co-Impact Sourcing (not 3rd party certified)
Legal Actions - illegal harvesting and importing of Rosewood (voluntarily reported)
- Violation of Lacey, Puruvian law, and CITES
- As of June 2017, All charges against doTERRA and its defendants by YL have been dismissed
Organic Product - Stringint product testing, meets organic standards, though not as transparent - CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® meets organic standards
Certified Fair Trade No No
Certified B-Corp No No

my final choice

In the end / for now, I chose doTERRA. Here's why:

  1. Recent Legal Actions
    • The fact that YL recently was found to have been illegally sourcing Rosewood was a really big deal to me. And it's hard for me to believe that this is a one time incident. If nothing else, it shows that there are cracks in their Seed to Seal promise.
    • doTERRA also recently won the lawsuit that YL had taken against it.  This shows me that doTERRA did not do anything illegal when their founders broke away from YL to start the company.  
  2. Sourcing
    • This was a hard thing to judge simply because neither company is Fair Trade Certified. I'm really hoping doTERRA will have a third party certification soon. 
  3. Third Party GC-MS testing and reporting
    • YL does not release their GC-MS tests, and there shouldn't be any reason not to. I read a piece written by a long time YL user who had her oils tested only to find that they were indeed adulterated with synthetics (read her post here).
    • DT does use third party testing and reporting when it comes to GC-MS testing, and this means you can rest assured that your oils have not been adulterated with any synthetics

Honestly, if I had made this decision even 6 months ago it might have been different. But the recent releases about Young Living nudged me in doTERRAs direction.