The more I write and the more you get to know me, the more you will realize I am mildly addicted to information, and sharing my research. This time I dove into researching two popular essential oils brands, and decided to share my journey and findings with you all. Yes, I do have personal experience using both. I spent more than a year on my journey using both companies’ products while trying to decide Young Living vs DoTerra.
*** Please note I’ve added a few sections and some additional information based on questions emailed and asked via my search bar.
When I started researching oil brands in 2012, I didn’t know that MLM companies had a presence in the oil industry. The oils I had purchased at my local grocery store were quickly running out, and I wanted to explore other options after having developed headaches while using them. While walking through a parking lot on my way to a prenatal appointment in 2013, I noticed a SUV in the parking lot that had a doTERRA sticker across the back window. I honestly thought it was a local shop, and tried searching for it upon returning home, quickly found TONS of info about doTERRA and Young Living. I didn’t know anyone who sold either, and curiosity won me over to see what the hype was all about.
I read directly from each site, blog reviews and blog comments that I came across. I paid close attention to posts that compared them and challenged readers to compare for themselves. I even embraced my inner nerd by setting up an excel spreadsheet for cost/product comparisons! After researching and reading about both for over a year, I decided to try them both… for a year at the same time to fully be able to compare and contrast and decide for myself.
If you’re on the fence about which company to go with, I STRONGLY suggest you try oils from multiple brands to see what works best for you and your body.
doTERRA vs Young Living: my personal review
First and foremost, the two companies are very similar. While each offers oils the other doesn’t, they don’t differ much in their entry price. Starting out, however, is a different story. You can begin both for free by purchasing items at retail cost. Or, for a small fee you can reap the benefits of purchasing products at wholesale prices and be eligible for rewards programs (offered by each company) and commission opportunities.
Starter Kit Options
Each company offers starter kits where you can get started faster with an assortment of oils. Although with doTERRA’s entry kits, you receive larger oil vials, they are much more expensive than Young Living’s premium starter kit. I had a hard enough time shelling out $160 for Young Living’s starter kit (for about $350 worth of product) that I couldn’t find it in me to spend $275 for doTERRA’s closest resembling kit. Instead I spent the $35 for doTERRA’s entry fees and selected a few items and comparable oils to help with my comparison.
Wholesale Account Maintenance
To maintain the wholesale membership, doTERRA requires you pay an annual subscription of $25 (similar to a Costco or Sam’s Club membership).
Young Living requires their wholesale customers to only purchase 50pv each year (PV is often the same as the dollar amount for most products). So, with regards to maintaining your account, Young Living provides more bang for your buck.
I really like that Young Living sells many more oils, 100 oils and 80 oil blends, with occasional additional promotional blends. doTERRA sells 43 oils and 20 blends (*** please note, these numbers are as of February 2015), and does sell a few oils that Young living doesn’t. Of the oils I’ve compared so far, I found Young Living’s to be more earthy, reminding me more of a garden. I found doTERRA’s to be sweeter. Although most of doTERRA’s oils are either slightly cheaper or comparably priced, I was a bit overwhelmed with the thought of needing to make most of my own blends, which using doTERRA’s oils would require me to do. I even went as far as creating a matrix to show the difference in blends and which blends translate to the other company’s and was surprised to see similarities in their pricing. Honestly, the price differentials wasn’t enough to sway me one way or the other!
One aspect of Young Living that really sets it apart from all other oil brands is their Seed to Seal guarantee. doTERRA speaks highly of their quality, but I haven’t seen the same level of quality dedication. Overall, from a basic smell test, I did enjoy Young Living more, and noticed I needed fewer drops in the diffuser to fill the room with the lovely scents. Knowing exactly what I’m getting and where the oils come from did help put my mind at ease too, especially with being so chemical-conscious. Being a new mom, I was also impressed by Young Living formulating and diluting a collection of oils designed for and gentle enough for kids.
Personal Care Items
Like many others, I’ve been more and more concerned about ingredients in my food and everyday items used around the house. I ended up frustrated with my previous skin care brand for containing a few ingredients that made me cringe: polysorbate-80 (a known carcinogen), citric acid (a black mold byproduct), phthalates (can cause liver/kidney damage and birth defects), and propylene glycol (can damage the brain, liver, and kidneys and is advised by the FDA to handle with full protective garments and disposed in a specific manner because it is so toxic). I do have a list of toxins I avidly avoid that you’re welcome to check out too.
doTERRA’s site confused me for a while on where I can find their product’s ingredient list. Finally I realized they have a separate website that lists product information guides and ingredients lists for all their products, of course I found that after trying a few of their items. I decided to take a leap of faith anyways and ordered the HD Clear Facial Kit. The foaming wash smelled woody (likely because it had cedarwood oil in it), but I didn’t feel the clean or refreshed feeling I expected after using it. It felt heavy and just not right for me. I moved on to the toner (which actually didn’t sting like I’m used to with my previous drug and department store brands). Using the HD Clear facial lotion even felt much heavier than the coconut oil that I had been using. I used the products until I emptied the containers, which lasted me about two months. Why? Because I hate wasting money and throwing things away. I didn’t much care for any of the skin care items in all honesty and found a few questionable ingredients that made me nervous about trusting their products on my skin.
Young Living made me feel much more comfortable with their Orange Blossom Face Wash and ART Intensive Moisturizer which are invigorating and nice! During the winter months, the Orange Blossom it felt incredibly light and very refreshing on my face, which was very pleasing. I really do enjoy using it and the way it smells.
Which do I prefer? In all honesty, I would have to choose Young Living’s orange blossom face wash, a homemade toner (like this one from Dr Meghan Birt), and either the Sheerlume or the Sandalwood moisturizer. Young Living’s lavender lotion was also really pleasant to have on hand, and has even helped with the bumpy and irritated skin I’ve recently noticed around my elbows. The Sandalwood moisturizer is phenomenal in helping the dry, cracked skin on my feet.
I LOVED the smell of doTERRA’s orange shampoo/conditioner… like… we’re talking so good you’d want to write home to mom about… then I read the label… nope nope nope nope nope… a whole LOT of nope!!! I’m actually ashamed for them by the ingredients on their label, and was greatly humbled for taking a company’s word for the safety of their products instead of reading the label before buying it. doTERRA’s shampoo does contain PEG (Polyethylene glycol – made by ethoxylating propylene glycol, and toxic) and polysorbate 60 (a petroleum product that may cause cancer). Yup. That went into the trash.
Young Living’s copaiba vanilla and lavender mint shampoos and conditioners are lovely to use as well, and don’t contain the ingredients I’m actively avoiding. My scalp is generally happy, as is my hair with Young Living. Also Young living excels by providing a healthy shampoo choice for kids. I did notice my scalp, like my skin, wasn’t as happy in the hottest and humid summer months. My favorite is the lavender mint shampoo and conditioner, though I also sometimes change up the shampoo with the one from Beautycounter. Young Living does not currently have a baby shampoo, though their Seedlings line is very nice. We use Beautycounter’s baby products for our little guy.
I haven’t tried any of the pill supplements yet because the few I wanted to try with Young Living have ingredients I’m allergic to (I don’t mess around when it comes to allergies!). I finally figured out how to find doTERRA’s ingredients lists, but haven’t had the time yet to do my research or try them. I’m honestly not in any rush to take pill supplements after having years of experience becoming sick from other companies’ products and don’t want to chase good money after bad. Plus, I firmly believe that eating properly farmed foods can provide our bodies with the nutrients we need. I am, however, very happy with Young Living’s probiotics and LOVE their NingXia Red drink. Drinking an oz each day has significantly cleared my brain fog – no more “mommy brain!” – but that review is again more suitable for another post since doTERRA doesn’t have any comparable items. I do enjoy knowing Young Living sells vitamins for kids too, unlike doTERRA.
At first I did like doTERRA’s On Guard laundry detergent, although my husband didn’t at all. It was decent in the winter and did what we needed it to do, but in the summer we quickly noticed it did not remove any heavy sweat smell from the clothes, even after a few washes. Having a hobby mechanic for a husband, that was not at all ok. Needless to say we don’t use it anymore.
Summer of 2015 Young Living launched their Thieves laundry detergent that I was honestly hesitant to try after my On Guard detergent experience, but felt compelled to give it a try. I’m sooooo happy I took the chance!! It works wonderfully!!! My husband is happy and I’m no longer spending my time failing attempts to make my own detergent and softener from recipes found on Pinterest.
(If you’re curious… we use vinegar in the rinse cycle as a color lock and fabric softener, dryer balls and instead of dryer sheets.)
Products from Amazon.com
Price: $11.95Was: $16.95
The household cleaners from both companies are very close to being the same. Young Living uses their Thieves oil as the base of their cleaning, and does a very fine job. doTERRA is very similar with their On Guard oil being the basis of their cleaning solution. Thieves and On Guard, from what I’ve been able to tell, are pretty much the same except for Thieves contains lemon essential oil and On Guard contains orange essential oil. Do those two oils make a difference? YOU BET!!! Thieves did work more efficiently for me. They both, however, work much better than any other brand of cleaners I’ve used in the past (Windex, Lysol, Pinesol, Clorox, Legacy of Clean, The Honest Company, EcoSense…etc), and neither makes me go on sneezing fits when I spray them which was constant with the store-bought brands).
I guess that one really comes down to personal preference and cost. doTERRA’s sells for $14.50 wholesale for 12 oz. Young Living’s sells for $22 wholesale for 14 oz, with the option of purchasing a 64 oz bottle for $85.25. Break it down ounce for ounce, doTERRA sells their cleaner for $1.21. Young Living sells their cleaner for $1.57 for the 14 oz, and their 64oz for $1.33 per ounce – not a whole lot of a difference. Both are very concentrated, and when diluted to proper use levels are less than $0.10 per 8oz bottle and cheaper than the options you’ll find at your local stores or Amazon.
Each can be used for just about any surface, and has dilution recommendations on the labels. I LOVE having a nontoxic cleaning solution to use around the house, especially with having small children. I enjoy the peace of mind that my toddler isn’t going to poison himself by chewing on surfaces that may have residue of cleaning solvent stuck on it. In regards to the cleaners, I think you’d be happy with both options too.
In August 2015 Young Living also launched Thieves dish soap and fruit and veggie wash. In August 2016, Young Living launched automatic dishwasher detergent too. I have not seen anything from doTERRA about whether or not they will develop products that compare. I do use them all and thoroughly enjoy them so much more than I did Dawn and Cascade (linked are their EWG ratings… pretty disturbing to think that is what I used to clean dishes with), and I never thought I’d every be happy with anything other than Dawn. Thieves dish soap doesn’t dry out my hands, regardless how many sing loads of dishes I wash. To the best of my knowledge, doTERRA does not have dish soap, dishwasher detergent, or a fruit/veggie spray that compares. There are, however, tons of DIY recipe ideas plastered all over Pinterest.
Young Living has two different foaming hand soaps: Thieves and lavender. my husband does prefer the lavender one over the Thieves, but I think that is mainly because when the Thieves one gets low, it ends up squirting extra far, hitting his midsection (while I get a laugh out of it, he isn’t too amused). Both of these soaps also leave my hands feeling soft, even when washing hands all the time. Our babysitter also loves it because it’s the only soap she has tried that cleans, smells good, and doesn’t aggravate her weight lifting calluses. That also makes me feel comfortable using them on my toddler for his hand washing needs. doTERRA now has their On Guard foaming hand soap too, and it is very similar to the Thieves… basically which do you like more… orange or lemon? Thieves Foaming Hand Soap wholesales for $36.50 for a 3-pack (~$12.17ea). The Lavender Foaming Hand Soap wholesales for $32.25 for a 3-pack (~$10.75 ea). doTERRA’s wholesales for $22.50 for a 2-pack (~$11.25). For me, the costs are similar enough to not be a major deciding factor. We do use the lavender foaming hand soap the most often, but as far as YL vs DT on this one, it depends on which you would prefer to smell.
doTERRA used to interact more by emailing subscribers with product training, which is especially nice for beginners, but can be spammy with the amount they email – you are able to change your email subscriptions. I do hear this has gotten better since I ended my subscription with them in August 2015. doTERRA has a couple of resource websites that I ended up having to ask help to learn about, and even then the info was vague and didn’t meet my expectations. I was disappointed with doTERRA for providing only enough information to keep me asking questions, and then becoming frustrated when I couldn’t find additional answers from the company’s sites. Though this may have been largely a leadership issue (I had next to none – which brings me to a quick point… if you are looking for a team to join – whether you’re a customer or wanting to build a business – make sure you ask detailed questions about the type of support you’ll receive… aside from quality, nothing is more important than support, which should be one of the largest perks to be purchasing from companies like doTERRA or Young Living).
Young Living emails only a couple times per month. Usually the first email of the month gives you all the info you need – what is on the blog, member news, product promotions… etc. Young living does have a section of their site dedicated to product training that is easy to navigate and compliantly thorough. I felt like Young Living had all their info laid out for me to review as I was ready in a much more user friendly fashion.
I do personally take the extra step for essential oil and use education with new customers to help bridge the gap of not knowing where to start learning. You’re welcome to check out my 3-week email class that covers the basics on using essential oils, and some information about some of my favorite oils – no purchase is necessary. Click To Enroll
Update fall 2015: Since the whole ordeal with the FDA becoming stricter with enforcing member disease claims and the FTC becoming stricter on marketing regulations, Young Living really has gone above and beyond to provide specific training to their members on marketing appropriateness. I really appreciated Young Living hitting the ground running with flooding their members with references on how to talk about oils properly, and even used my knowledge to help friends who work as doTERRA Wellness Advocates navigate the whole change in communication needs.
doTERRA’s response to FDA/FTC compliance (as per emails in my inbox) was to ask their members remove mention of their oil brands from their blogs. doTERRA seemed to face a lot of learning curves, and took longer to reach out to their members, but did create a campaign to help their members to be compliant as well, though I’m not sure now if its mostly support through mentors who are also selling their products or if the company is providing the majority of the guidance. Now bloggers have to be approved by doTERRA to mention the company name on their blogs.
Either way, bloggers, sales reps, and members from both companies (or any reputable essential oil company/marketer for that matter) should have no excuse to not be compliant in how they talk about essential oils, specifically with the marketing requirements dictating that essential oils are not to be used as or to replace medicine. No individual who has the capability to make an income from the sale of an oil is allowed to be making any disease claims or comparing essential oils to any medication whatsoever. If they do, they can lose their business and be punished by the FDA.
Yes… if you see anyone with links to other oil brands that are talking about medical condition claims or treating anything that uses essential oils in a manner similar to medication… the company they are endorsing has failed them miserably, and putting that blogger at risk for legal action from both state and federal governments. It is the responsibility of the company to educate people who do any type of marketing for them. FDA compliance isn’t just isolated to Young Living or doTERRA… it is for all oil companies, and is a big reason why many have shut down already.
Which has the best rewards: doTerra or Young Living? (Updated)
This really has a lot to do with perspective. I think they both compare very well with each other. Where one lacks, the other makes up for. Both doTERRA and Young Living offer their wholesale customers a rewards program where you as the customer can earn points to use to “purchase” free product based on how much you purchase each month.
They both also offer free products for qualifying purchases.
doTERRA gives their customers enrolled in their Loyalty Rewards Program (LRP) 10-30% back based on the number of points (50 minimum) purchased. During the first three months, they give 10% back to the customer. During months 4-6 they give back 15%. During months 7-12 they give 20%, and after month 13 they give 30%. They also include shipping costs for the amount of points their members earn too.
Young Living gives customers enrolled in their Essential Rewards program 10-25% of their purchase point value. In the first 3 months you earn 10%. Months 4-24 you earn 20%, and 25+ months you earn 25%.
doTERRA clearly gives more points back to purchase more product after the first year.
Both companies also provide free products with qualifying purchases that change every month.
doTERRA offers a free 10ml roll on oil or a 15ml oil each month with qualifying purchases of more than 200 points (usually $200).
Young Living offers 1 free 15ml oil and 1 free 5ml oil at the 190 point level (usually $190), with an additional 5ml or 15ml oil if you’re signed up for Essential Rewards. Young Living now also offers an additional FREE 5ml oil for members enrolled in Essential Rewards who make their ER purchase of 100pv or more too.
Young Living also offers additional free oils and/or products at the 250, 300, and sometimes 400 point levels. Often they offer an additional 10-20% back in rewards points or additional free products too. When combining all the free items for the 300 point purchases, you’re looking at receiving anywhere from $100-250 worth of free product… sometimes more.
With the extra freebies Young Living offers, I do feel as though they value my purchases more with all the free promotion items they give away each month. The free oils Young Living provides are worth much more than the extra 10% or so in points you could earn through doTERRA’s rewards program. Personally, I like earning the $100+ in free YL oils more than I’d enjoy an extra $30 in DT product credit after spending 300pv level for both companies.
For current promotions from doTERRA, check out their website at www.doterra.com.
For current promotions from Young Living, check out our current promotions page at http://www.essentialoils.life/current-promotions
Both Young Living and doTERRA operate their own nonprofit companies. Both companies also make donations easy by providing their members the opportunity to donate while making product orders by rounding up to the nearest dollar or by inputting donation amounts.
doTERRA runs their Healing Hands Foundation (founded in 2012). In addition to donations, doTERRA donates 100% of their profits from their Rose Oil Lotion and their Hope Essential Oil Blend to their Healing Hands Foundation. This foundation’s projects include:
- Partner with Mentors International by providing funds to be used for small business owners that do not have access to financing opportunities or whose only lending options are with unethical and even dangerous lenders. This initiative provides entrepreneurs with small business loans and education needed to be successful and help them elevate their communities through economic development.
- Donates to Days for Girls, which is a nonprofit working to provide girls all over the world with education, safety, and distributing sustainable feminine hygiene kits.
- Donates finances and their Hope Essential Oil Blend to Operation Underground Railroad (OUR Rescue) to rescue children from sex trafficking by utilizing some of the world’s experts in extraction operations and anti-child trafficking efforts. Fun fact: the Hope oil blend donated has a special label that peals back to expose a list of hotline numbers at-risk children can use to call for help
Young Living runs their Young Living Foundation (YLF), founded in 2009. Young Living funds 100% of their foundation’s operating costs so 100% of donations go directly to the foundation’s various missions. I specifically love that Young Living members are encouraged to volunteer with ongoing missions and with temporary missions. Their projects include:
- Built, maintain, and run schools in Ecuador for impoverished children to receive educations. 100% of the children attending are graduating and moving on to gaining college educations.
- Provide mosquito nets to families in Uganda to reduce mosquito bites and malaria
- “Sole Hope” provides handmade shoes (mostly hand made by Young Living member volunteers) to villagers and schools in Uganda to help prevent jiggers from embedding in their feet, which can cause diseases. They also provide clinics for people to attend to have their feet washed and learn more about hygiene and care, where they also receive the handmade shoes.
- “African Hearts” is a rescue program for children living in Kisenyi, Uganda, the biggest slum in all of Africa. African Hearts is a nursery school building for 200 children ages 3–5. The Foundation has also doubled the impact of the African Hearts slum program, providing meals to starving children in the slums five days a week. The Foundation also funds African Hearts’ transitional homes so they can house 40 children, making it possible to rescue even more from the slums and restore their hope.
- “Hope For Justice” initiative helps train police, care homes, doctors, and outreach programs to identify victims and/or work appropriately with identifying, rescuing, and supporting people affected by human trafficking in Cambodia. They secure criminal and civil justice for victims, advocate for access to housing and health services, pursue canceling debts created by traffickers, and work with victims to overcome trauma and rebuild their lives. More than 90% of victims who go through Hope for Justice’s restorative programs never return to trafficking, which is the largest success rate of all the nonprofits fighting to help human trafficking.
- Through the “Rebuild Nepal” initiative, YLF provided villagers in Nepal with brick making plants after their villages were devastated by 2 major earthquakes in 2015. Volunteers (mostly Young Living members) helped rebuild one village and then donated equipment to the villagers to help them rebuild their economy by providing bricks for surrounding neighborhoods. YLF supplies all the resources and funds more than 50 jobs for local unemployed villagers, along with paying and contracting local builders and engineers to continue rebuilding affected homes and schools.
- Young Living Foundation has also spearheaded helping a variety of locations recover from natural disasters by providing hygiene supplies, volunteers, healthy foods, and essential oils to hurricane and earthquake affected areas in the US as well.
From their business opportunity perspectives, I found Young Living easier to fully understand and therefore also easier to explain to others. Why? Because lets face it, Network Marketing structures are most successful when your efforts are easily duplicated. Plus, how can I expect someone to understand something I struggle to comprehend? KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly.
When looking directly at the compensation plans, it appears DT provides higher commission compensation. However, the chart doesn’t account for bonuses. When breaking down each rank’s commissions PLUS bonus rewards, you do end up making more with Young Living when matching overall requirements.
My doTERRA sponsor was absolutely wonderful, though within a year of my decision to deactivate my doTERRA account and pursue continuing to use Young Living, she ended up leaving doTERRA to join Young Living too. I did come across doTERRA’s tools website, which helped me sort through their ingredients lists and use instructions without having to purchase everything in order to see their labels, which I had been doing for a couple of months (and yes, it was expensive buying items I normally wouldn’t have if I could have seen the ingredients list first). No more blindly succumbing to trial and error with my wallet when it comes to reading ingredient labels! UPDATE: since originally writing this post, doTERRA has created a means to see the ingredients list on their sales pages for each individual item.
I didn’t know anyone who sold Young Living, so I scouted the blogosphere for well over a year searching for someone like-minded that I felt I could trust and count on. After much meditation and prayer, I gravitated to the Well Oiled Abundance group. After signing up, I was pleased with my decision. I ended up finding a phenomenal group of women and men who, when I expressed interest in seeing the business side, invited me to take part in an 6-week Facebook class exclusive to our team that covered everything we needed to know about building a business – including personal development – that really impressed and inspired me.
Although I really wasn’t confident in participating in network marketing (especially after being burned by other teams in other companies promising the world only to provide absolutely no support after they received their bonus for me signing up), I was having fun talking about my oil knowledge with a few people who knew I grew up with them and kept asking questions. I prayed and meditated a lot about it and found myself drawn to Young Living’s opportunity. I figured I would give it a shot as a business, with nothing to lose, and see what happens.
I chose Young Living to build a business with mainly because I truly believe in the products and the spirit of the company. I loved Young Living’s Seed To Seal guarantee and that they own many of their farms and have direct oversight of the farms they use but don’t own – knowing what is in each oil, where it came from, how it’s farmed, and that they are distilled on site right away really resonated with me. I love how distributors are regularly encouraged to participate with the farms and distillations to see how things are done and be a part of the process too (this was HUGE for me after reading some questionable nonsense scattered on the internet).
I chose the team I did because of their amazing support and constant willingness to help, which align beautifully with my personality and business ethics. My business is growing steadily, which I’m really excited about especially since I’ve been one of those veterans who’ve been out of work since leaving the military in 2008. I love setting my own hours and being able to work from home, especially when that means I am able to stay home with my son, and can take my business with me anywhere we move (being a military family, we move A LOT).
Long ramblings summarized
I can’t get over how good I feel when I use Young Living products. I enjoy the peace of mind knowing what is in the products won’t cause any accumulated harm to my body or my family. I’m also incredibly impressed by the amount of business growth they continue to experience while still remaining true to their values and produce products that are healthy.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me. I do read through every contact request and respond to questions via email.