Young Living vs doTERRA: A Full Comprehensive Review

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The more I write and the more you get to know me, the more you will realize I am addicted to information, and sharing my research. I am an information and research analyst (trained by the US Navy), and LOVE to share information as I find it.

This time I dove into researching two popular essential oils brands. Yes, I do have personal experience using essential oils and oil-infused products from both of these companies. I spent more than a year on my journey using both companies’ products while trying to decide which company I would continue using: Young Living vs DoTerra.

*** Please note I’ve added a few sections and some additional information based on questions our readers have asked us, and include updates annually with regards to ingredients and product types. This page is 100% based on MY opinion and MY experience. It is updated annually with relevant info. ***

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. By that time, I had a friend who had started with doTERRA who I chose to sponsor me, and I found a blogger (RealFoodRN) who resonated with me to try Young Living.

Please note… 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.

Young Living or doTERRA... which is better? Which company has better oils? Which one has better products? Here is a comprehensive review from one oiler's experience trying them both.

doTERRA vs Young Living: A Full Comprehensive 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 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 $165 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 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). doTERRA does provide a bottle of peppermint essential oil to go with the subscription renewal ($27.33 retail value, $20.50 wholesale value).

Young Living requires their wholesale customers to only purchase 50pv each year (PV is often the same as the dollar amount for most products). You can choose whichever oils you want. Your account will remain active until 12 months after your last 50+pv order. If you’re buying oils frequently, you’ll never have to worry about renewing your account.

With regards to maintaining your account, I personally appreciated Young Living’s decision to allow members to choose which oils they want to purchase, and when they want to purchase, without the additional fee.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Essential Oils

I really like that Young Living sells many more oils, 87 oils and 85 oil blends, with occasional additional promotional blends. doTERRA sells 54 oils and 33 blends (*** please note, these numbers are as of January 2019).

Of the oils I’ve compared so far, I found Young Living’s to be more earthy, reminding me of the time I spent gardening… and when we mow our lawn (peppermint grows wild throughout our neighborhood).

I found doTERRA’s to be a bit sweeter, almost reminiscent of candy… especially their peppermint oil. It wasn’t enough to make me stop using them, but definitely something I noticed.

When it comes to quantity… I was honestly 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. In 2014 when I started my comparison, doTERRA had 20 blends and less than 50 single oils. Being a new mom, I wanted everything to be as simple to use as possible, with as little DIY as possible so I could maximize use of my time.

doTERRA vs Young Living Essential Oils Price Comparison

I read all the blogs that talked about how doTERRA was cheaper than Young Living, bashing YL for how “unnecessarily expensive” they are. And yes… I did have some sticker shock looking through both websites compared to other brands I saw at the local store. But what no one had provided was a side by side chart showing what each company charged, and adjusting for bottle size differences. Of course one company’s 15ml bottle is going to be more expensive than the other company’s 5ml bottle.

My mind was intrigued enough to create a matrix to show me the difference in blends and which blends translate to the other company’s and was honestly shocked to see similarities in their pricing.

Some of doTERRA’s oils were more expensive… some of Young Living’s oils were more expensive. But each were comparable… the price was only a few dollars different at most.

And to be truly transparent with you… the price differentials… a few pennies to a couple dollars here and there… really 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 and transparency inviting customers (and the public) to see first hand what their process is throughout the entire product creation from selecting the seeds through the farming process through the distillation and bottling with in house and 3rd party quality control checks every step of the way. Young Living also sends a sample from each batch to a chemical testing company to ensure no synthetics are added.

doTERRA speaks highly of their quality, but I haven’t personally seen the same level of quality dedication, outside of marketing. I say “marketing” because that is what their “Certified Therapeutic Grade” trademark is… a trademark.

There is no governing authority for essential oils or their certifications, so any claims of “grade” or “certified ___” is all 100% marketing.

Update 2018: I hear doTERRA has made some changes to be more transparent with a program that mimic’s Young Living’s Seed to Seal program. I have not yet heard anything in regards to them opening their partner farms to members to see or participate in the process. 

** PLEASE NOTE ** Don’t be fooled by clever marketing. Not all essential oils are created equally. Make sure you’re not wasting your money on fake essential oils, or oils diluted in questionable solvents (even if they’re labeled as “pure essential oil”). Don’t miss our complete guide on how to find quality pure essential oils to ensure you’re not wasting your money on brands of oils that legally carry out questionable or unethical practices and mislead you through deceitful marketing practices.

My Personal Results Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Essential Oils

Overall, from a basic smell test, I did enjoy Young Living more.

I needed fewer drops in the diffuser to fill the room, which significantly offset the couple dollar difference in initial price… I was using more doTERRA oil than I was Young Living oil each time I ran the diffuser to experience the same effect… which means I was replacing my Young Living oils less than I was replacing my doTERRA oils. So spending a couple dollars more on certain oils ended up being cheaper in the long run.

On average, I noticed the same potency with 3-4 drops of Young Living’s oils as I did with 5-6 drops of doTERRA’s oils.

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 (if you haven’t read my health story, you can do so in my But You Don’t Look Sick post).

Being a new mom, I was also impressed by Young Living formulating and pre-diluting a collection of oils designed for and gentle enough for kids.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Personal Care Products

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), 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 in my healthy home course.

Skin Care:

doTERRA’s site confused me for a while on where I can find their product’s ingredient list. It took me forever to realize they had 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 (it has 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, pleasantly surprised that actually didn’t sting like I’m used to with my previous drug and department store brands, though again didn’t feel as refreshing as I was hoping. 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 decided not to repurchase after seeing a few questionable ingredients that made me nervous about trusting their products on my skin. Had I found the ingredients list prior to purchasing them… I probably wouldn’t have.

Update 2017: doTERRA now has their ingredients list on each product’s page. That was a HUGE improvement from when I first used their products back in 2014. I’m really happy they chose to take that step so consumers can make their own informed decisions without being swayed by marketing or find out the ingredients the hard way like I had to.

Young Living made me feel much more comfortable with their Orange Blossom Face Wash and ART Intensive Moisturizer which I really did enjoy (as did my husband)! The Orange Blossom felt and smelled incredibly light and very refreshing on my face, which was very pleasing.

Which do I prefer? In all honesty, I would have to choose Young Living’s Orange Blossom Face Wash, a homemade toner, and the Orange Blossom Moisturizer. I preferred the Young Living’s moisturizer more than doTERRA’s, but I do admit, I don’t use it all the time. (This is what I primarily use)

Overall, the way I felt using Young Living’s products was much more pleasant than what I experienced using doTERRA’s line.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Hair Care Products

I absolutely 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 was actually ashamed for doTERRA by the ingredients on their label, and was irritated with myself 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 is toxic) and polysorbate 60 (a petroleum product that may cause cancer). Yup. That went into the trash.

Update 6/2018: It was brought to my attention that doTERRA’s formulations for their hair care has changed since I tried them. I looked into the ingredients, and was happy they made some positive changes, however I still am not comfortable recommending them to anyone. The shampoo lists “fragrance” in the ingredients, which I hope is only comprised of essential oils, but there is no way to be 100% sure. They also use products like STEARALKONIUM CHLORIDE and COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE that I personally don’t appreciate.

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. Both those options feel great to use. They are light, smell incredible, and don’t weigh down my fine, straight hair at all. My favorite is the lavender mint shampoo and conditioner.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Hair Care Prices

When it comes to price, doTERRA’s shampoo is $19.50 wholesale and their conditioner runs $23 wholesale ($42.50 for both), with the option of buying the combo pack with both the shampoo and conditioner for $28 wholesale.

Young Living’s Lavender-Mint shampoo and conditioner costs $20.95 each ($41.90 for both). When buying individually, Young Living’s is cheaper by about sixty cents.

When factoring in the insane discount doTERRA provides in the combo pack, doTERRA’s hair care is cheaper.

For me, the price difference isn’t enough to sway me to use ingredients that I don’t feel are safe for my family, especially when Young Living’s feels lighter on my hair. So you will need to decide for yourself which you like better and if you’re more interested in cost savings or ingredients. I have found that both work well when added to a foaming soap bottle, so that is one way to save money (one bottle of shampoo in a foaming soap bottle lasts our family of 4 approximately 6 months).

Updated 2018: Baby Care Products

doTERRRA launched their baby collection in 2018 with hair/body wash, lotion, and diaper rash cream. Looking at their ingredients, they are all looking really good, rating mostly 1s on EWG’s SkinDeep database, with a few ingredients rated 2 (you need to build your own report to see it). The 2018 wholesale price is $34.50 (retail $46). I have not yet seen their baby products available individually.

Young Living has their Seedlings line for babies, and the KidScents line for kids. Seedlings line includes baby wash, baby oil, baby lotion, diaper rash cream, a calming linen spray, and baby wipes. Each can be purchased individually or in a gift basket (rope basket, wash cloth, and baby towel are included in the gift set). The Seedlings products showed up as rated 1, with a few ingredients rated as 2. The Seedlings Gift Set Bundle costs $118.50 wholesale ($155.92 retail). When factoring in the cost of purchasing the products individually to make the same collection doTERRA offers, you’re looking at a $60.50 wholesale price tag.

Young Living’s baby set comes with more products than doTERRA’s, and provides more options outside of the set. doTERRA’s is clearly cheaper over all. Both companies’ baby products smell wonderful and contain quality ingredients that will feel good to use. I do like that Young Living has the wipes available… That is the one item I use the most when it comes to baby hygiene, and I do appreciate having a nontoxic alternative without having to DIY instead of resorting to using typical store-bought products that my baby has reacted to each time we’ve used them.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Cosmetics

Because both companies do not have a cosmetic line, I won’t be filling out this section. I have not yet heard whether doTERRA will catch up with Young Living in creating or acquiring their own cosmetic line.

I can tell you that I have tried Young Living’s Savvy Mineral Makeup line and loved it so much, I decided to cancel my account with Beautycounter.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Supplements

I was initially hesitant to take pill supplements after having years of experience becoming sick from other companies’ products. I have not personally tried and compared Young Living and doTERRA’s pill supplements as of yet… it honestly makes me a bit nervous. I do have several friends who purchase from Young Living and doTERRA who have had nothing bad to say about either company’s  supplement lines.

Update 2019: I will not be comparing supplements because of how sensitive my body is. When I began this comparison I was a new mom who recently had overcome some intense medical issues. Being a mom means the world to me, and I am insanely hesitant to jeopardize my current wellness by experimenting on supplements just in case there is something in one that my body may react to. There are very few supplements I have not reacted too, and those are very gentle. For info about what supplements I do take, you can check out this site.

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 and pro/prebiotics for kids too, which doTERRA does not yet have.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Cleaning Products

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.

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.

doTERRA and Young Living Cleaning Product Price Comparison

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, in my opinion.

Both are very concentrated, and when diluted to proper use levels are less than $0.10 per 8oz bottle made, and both are cheaper than the options you’ll find at your local stores or Amazon.

My thoughts on the cleaners…

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).

In regards to the cleaners, I think you’d be happy with both options too. If you’re using OnGuard, adding a drop or two of lemon essential oil can make it work better.

Comparing Young Living and doTERRA’s Laundry Products

At first I really liked 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 who also was actively gardening with me, 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 laundry soaps and softeners 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… you can read more about our laundry routines over on our laundry blog post.)

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Laundry Detergent Prices

Both companies provide a 32oz laundry detergent.

doTERRA sells theirs for $27.50 wholesale ($36.67 retail). Young Living sells theirs for $29.50 wholesale ($38.82 retail).

I felt the extra $2 was absolutely worth spending, because Young Living’s detergent worked significantly better for my family’s needs.

Other Cleaning Supplies and Comparisons:

  • In August 2015 Young Living launched Thieves Fruit and Veggie wash. doTERRA does not yet have something to compare it to.
  • In August 2016, Young Living launched automatic dishwasher detergent. doTERRA does not yet have something to compare it to.

Because doTERRA hasn’t yet acquired comparable products, I will update this post and fill this section out when they do.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Foaming Hand Soaps

Young Living  has three different foaming hand soaps: Thieves, lavender, and lemon. 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 when he uses it, hitting his midsection (while I get a laugh out of it, he isn’t too amused). All three of these soaps leave our 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). The Luscious Lemon Foaming Hand Soap wholesales for $44.25 for a 3-pack (~$14.75 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 totally depends on which you would prefer to smell.

When it comes to the actual products, there really isn’t much of a difference. They both feel light, smell great, and work as expected for normal use. I did notice, Thieves works a little best when it came to scrubbing off car grease and oil after my husband spends time working on his project car… but aside from that the Thieves and On Guard options are very much comparable.

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Customer Service Interactions

This is a big one for me… how the customers are treated by customer support.

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. Since then (for purposes of updating this post), I’ve kept in touch with their updates through my cousin, who is an active doTERRA Wellness Advocate.

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. Being an information analyst, I quickly became 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 nothing when it came to spline support beyond my sponsor – 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 Network Marketing companies like doTERRA or Young Living.

Young Living emails only twice per month, with the exception of order processing and shipping status updates. 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 in a much more user friendly fashion. doTERRA has been slowly catching up with providing more information in a more streamlined manner, which I think is long overdue, but fantastic for current members.

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, and it is not brand specific.  Click To Enroll

Comparing Young Living and doTERRA’s FDA/FTC Compliance History

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 dove in right away, going above and beyond to provide specific training to their business builders on marketing appropriately.

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 several months to finally reach out to their members, though I’m not sure now if its mostly support through upline leaders 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 run the risk of losing their business and being 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 oil companies have shut down already. ​

Update 2020: doTERRA was called out again in a letter from the FDA for their distributors violating FDA/FTC regulations for income and health claims. I know Young Living has gone above and beyond from the beginning of the Corona Virus pandemic to ensure its members are not making improper claims and providing additional training. I do follow some of doTERRA’s teachings to keep updated, but I have not seen nearly the efforts, and that shows with this letter. Because of that, I feel that doTERRA has a lot of growing needed in their Wellness Advocate training programs and hope they achieve the higher level soon.

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 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… often more.

My thoughts…

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

For current promotions from Young Living, check out our current promotions page at

Comparing doTERRA and Young Living Nonprofit Involvement

Both Young Living and doTERRA operate their own nonprofit companies, which I absolutely LOVE.

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.


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. A few years later, my cousin decided to join doTERRA, and since has been my primary go-to point of contact for updated information.

I didn’t know anyone who sold Young Living, so I scouted the blogosphere (mainly through Pinterest) 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 team. After signing up, I was pleased with my decision. I ended up finding a phenomenal group of women (and some men too) 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.

When it comes to which to choose for business purposes… I STRONGLY encourage you to interview the specific team.

Which team you’re on is really the make or break decision on whether you’re actually going to be supported or not… and the type of support you’re going to receive.

Too often am I contacted with oily leaders asking for help on how to run their business because they sign up with a friend and suddenly are left in the wind when it comes to actually building a business. It breaks my heart, and is why I have a post about how to choose an up-line.

Regardless if you choose to build a business with doTERRA or Young Living (if you’re even interested in the business), I hope you ask the important questions to ensure you’ll be supported the way you need to. Having a business degree and having failed at network marketing back in the early 2000s… this is super important to me.

I also believe who you choose your sponsor to be is also important, even if you’re “just a product user” because I’ve seen too many people in my inbox asking for help, stating they have no support and don’t know how to use their oils.

When it comes to actual business-building I firmly believe the most important aspect on any successful network marketing business is the team you choose. Very few teams are teaching proper network marketing techniques that are fresh and effective in today’s modern day. What worked in 2018 and prior are no longer as effective as they used to be. Too many teams are teaching their people to spam messages to friends, family, and strangers using scripts… and all that does is cause heartache, headaches, and repetitive failures that discourage beginners and contribute to the 95% failure rate.

Please… before starting a network marketing business of any kind… please interview your prospective “upline” and find out exactly what they provide for support. If you need help in your current business or wish to join our team, let me know. I have a comprehensive guide available in a course format that teaches authentic relationship-based business building practices that I would love to set you up with.

Long ramblings summarized

I started out on this journey with an extreme bias. I really wanted to like doTERRA more because my sponsor was a military veteran family whom I met in high school and served with in the Navy. They were homeless, and needing additional income. I loved that my spending money on cleaners and oils helped contribute to their income.

As my year-long review continued… I couldn’t help but notice the quality difference in everything. And I had to be honest with myself as a research analyst that results aren’t always what we want. Interestingly enough, my doTERRA sponsor also switched to Young Living 7 months after this post was initially created in February 2015. She is still with Young Living today as an Executive leader.

Through it all… 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, especially after my dramatic recovery from autoimmune and neurological issues. 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.

Nicole Graber, team leader, author, and editor to EssentialOils.Life and blog websites.

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16 thoughts on “Young Living vs doTERRA: A Full Comprehensive Review”

  1. I started with Young Living oils many years back when first introduced to them at a health food store. Several years later I decided to try out DoTerra and have noticed some differences. Recently I called DoTerra with some questions (rep was very nice), but wasn’t able to get clear answers, but was referred to info to read through to see if it is helpful. I will also be submitting my questions via email to see if that’s any more effective. My question is regarding the differences I notice in the smell and feel of same oil from each company. The Young Living oils seemed to smell more herby/hearthy to me and the DoTerra oils had a sweeter more clarified smell to me. An oil I really noticed this with is the peppermint. The DoTerra peppermint smells great, but because of the difference in smell and feel, I wonder if it is more clarified/refined or processed more, and if so how does this effect the oil? I have used Young Living’s toothpaste and mouth wash for some time. They are potent, but I love them. I was disappointed when I tried DoTerra’s toothpaste as it didn’t seem to have the potency, although some may prefer the milder option. DoTerra also has no mouth wash (I’m aware of the OnGuard), but really like Young Living’s mouthwash. I’m currently using mostly Young Living but would love to know why the peppermint oil from Young Living seems so different than DoTerra’s. Both companies seem to produce high quality oils and like products from both. I don’t care for all the drama between these two companies which has made me start to check out other companies I’ve read good things about.

    1. Hi Kathleen, thanks for commenting! I noticed the same exact thing back in 2014 when I first compared the two companies, and feel the same thing is still true today. I’m not 100% sure why. I don’t know if there is something doTERRA does differently in their processing or if there are other factors at play. The DT customer service reps I’ve talked with were not at all helpful about it. I do know Young Living is very transparent with their distillation process and leaves the plant matter in the distillation process much longer than any other company I know, which allows them to unlock more constituents in most their oils. This may be a differentiating factor in the smell. It could also be the farming conditions since their products come from different farms in different locations, with different farming methods… or it could be a combination of all those circumstances… I don’t fully know.

      I’m totally with you on the drama. I made a point to make this post about my experience with the products and purposefully left out all the nonsense that has gotten way out of hand. Having seen both sides of the drama argument first hand, I feel that the drama is way over inflated and honestly is just obnoxious and overplayed at this point. Since taking the stance that I will not involve myself in the personal drama of the founding members, I’ve found that I’m rarely exposed to people asking about it, which has made my journey helping people navigate between the two much more enjoyable. In my experience, people I talk with want to know why I made the choices I’ve made based on the products and customer service they can expect. At the end of the day… the product and customer service quality is more important than the “he said she said” game that truly only serves as a distracting soap opera.

      The only other company I recommend after all my research and personal comparisons is the Oshadhi USA brand. They grow their plants in wild conditions (no chemicals), and have a high quality standard for everything they create. Their prices are on par with high quality brands, they don’t use any shady marketing practices, and do sell online.

  2. Nicole
    Thank You for this! I am an Independent Distributor for YL & I am 100% satisfied with what YL is about & has to offer! They are the only company that I trust & prefer! If the other DT Reps would actually look into YL more, they would make a switch to YL! ?
    p. s. I heard DT rebottle their oils?!

    1. Hi Ashley, thank you for commenting! I’m glad to hear you are enjoying your Young Living oils! I’ve seen reps from DT switch (my DT sponsor switched), but I’ve also seen some YL switch to DT. Once you get away from the dramatic competitiveness, its easy to see that they both produce oils that are slightly different in constituents because of the environment grown.

      Most companies do rebottle their oils, and that gives many opportunities for the oils to be diluted with odorless solvents. I’m sure you’ve tried a few when comparing the difference… its remarkable! Yes, the majority of companies purchase their oils from an essential oils broker, then take oils from the barrels they purchase and bottle it into the nice little bottles with labels that we are accustomed to. I guess in a sense, all oils are rebottled. When you look at the process, the oils are distilled and put into barrels for shipping. Then the oils are rebottled into their own little vials we purchase. Young Living also does this for oils distilled overseas. The only way to get around that is to distill and bottle in the same location, which isn’t always physically feasible. That is why YL and DT have so many steps for testing… to ensure no one adds additional solvents or swaps them out with synthetics. It is a delicate balance that needs extra care to ensure what they’re selling is genuine.

      Does doTERRA do this? I’m not 100% convinced they do. I’m not a chemist with a lab either. All I know is I noticed a difference between YL and DT with YL feeling like it impacted my body more than the DT ones did. I know of other people who had the opposite experience. Perhaps its because the constituents are different based on where the plants themselves were grown? I don’t 100% know. This is why I encourage people to try it for themselves and go with what feels better. In all honesty, I preferred Oshadhi over doTERRA too, but that also doesn’t mean doTERRA’s oils don’t work at all (they do, I just felt the others worked better with less… again… that is the result from my individual body). From a business standpoint, it makes sense for them not to… they make too much money advertising their quality control process, like Young Living does. To be caught in the type of scandal that goes against that marketing would have catastrophic consequences. They may have at one point in time, but I am not convinced that is their practice today.

  3. Maybe it’s just me because I LOVE doTERRA and find the company to be absolutely spot-on with their customer support and product quality. I was left feeling appreciated and respected after interactions with doTERRA.

    I found this article (to ME) seemed to be written from the start with a large slant toward YL. I have tried both as well and I find doTERRA to be superior in customer service and in product and delivery. I find their oils to be more appealing and even their packaging is more what I would expect from an essential oils leader in the industry. I LOVE the foaming hand soap and find that for what is important to me, there is no comparison. I just can’t take this article as unbiased after reading it several times.

    Thank you for tackling the age-old issue but science research proves that YL isn’t totally what it says it is – there are synthetics added to their oils (read Dr. Pappas’ research article and experience with YL). YL also has a bully legal team that goes after anyone that puts it down and has some odd relationship with YouTube where negative videos are mysteriously removed. That’s NOT the kind of company I want to be affiliated with. As far as sales — doTERRA is the leader according to the research I have seen so there is something to be said about that too. Just my two cents! 🙂

    1. Hi Renee, Thank you for your comment! This is exactly why I mention a couple times to do your own comparisons and choose what works best for your body. We all are different in so many ways, that the preference really comes down to individual choice. I can see from your point of view how this article would have a slant towards Young Living because that is the company I chose. When I started this article and the comparison, I was set out to prove that Young Living wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I genuinely wanted to choose doTERRA because it meant I was supporting a good friend (who ironically also left DT a year later). I’m thrilled that you had a great customer support experience, and that my experience isn’t 100% of what everyone deals with. I only shared my experiences and preferences.

      I honestly couldn’t care less what the packaging looks like. I’m much more of a utility type of person. When it comes to oils, where the plants are grown makes a big difference to most people because it does impact your body a bit differently based on the different climate and soil conditions. Some people prefer the oils doTERRA makes, some prefer Young Living. I personally preferred Young Living’s, and will always continue to encourage people to try both to see what works best for their individual body.

      As for “science proves” – well… having studied science and statistics A LOT in several academic environments, and also studying different trends in business (specifically corporate sabotage), I’m not so convinced. Dr Papas has a personal axe to grind with Young Living. And YL has been able to prove in court that doTERRA’s orange oil didn’t contain any orange… it was later discovered that the lab used to determine those results did not have files in their database that covered the exact samples of where the oils were created from. When taking those samples to a well known chemical testing company, it was proven there were no synthetics in the oils from both YL and DT. So, yes… science can be used in both ways, depending on what the analyst is searching for. This is why multiple testing and studies are necessary and why both YL ad DT spend $$millions each year in numerous quality testing sessions for each and every batch. Personally, I don’t see the need to dive into the drama. I know first hand they work. I know first hand what the farming and producing practices are for both companies. I also see Dr Pappa’s hatred, and am quite frankly turned off by it… trying to prove a company’s product legitimacy that you publicly blast hatred towards shows there is a lot of room for inaccuracies and inflation.

      Both companies have solid legal teams. Legal teams do what they are paid to do. With the amount of ridiculous bickering and drama that has been stirred up on both sides of the debate, I commend both companies for doing what they need to do to bring out the truth and silence people only stirring the pot with inaccurate garbage just so they can gain views and cause a problem (many of whom have been proven to have been paid by companies not related to essential oil production). When I look at which company to choose, I did so based on my own opinions… not by reading blog posts from people who may or may not have used both. I looked at the support I was able to receive with the upline and customer service. As for sales, they both are doing spectacular, and I do pray they both continue to foster nurturing businesses void of dramatic distractions as they have been for the past year.

  4. Thanks Nicole
    Was a little concerned about your post until i had read through it. There are so many additional reasons why I prefer Young Living oils that you didn’t mention, one of which is they help people in third world countries as well as hurricane victims from this past year. One thing that you may want to really research is who started first and yes Young Living does have many more unique oils than doTerra & they are constantly discovering more. For instance doTerra only has 1 Echinacea while Young Living has 5, doTerra only has 1 frankincense Young Living has 2 (btw w both Echinacea and Frankincense they come from different plants.) Young Living says right with any product the ingredients they are using before buying. There are other advantages too w Young Living over doTerra. Not trying to slam doTerra just really when you get down to it there are very few perks compared to Young Living & their customer service is terrific! Guess you could say that i am highly partial to Young Living & yes the oils smell much better than the ones i have smelled w doTerra

    1. Hi Sarah, thank you for your comment. I am fully aware of how and when both companies were formed with respect to both sides of the story, and intentionally left that out because in all honesty it doesn’t matter. The reasons behind the departure that lead to doTERRA’s formation are personal to those members, and I want this post to be free from any drama or branding wars. I want to honor both companies in a fairly and respectfully… knowing everyone grows… and cherish both journeys to who they’ve become today as corporations and focusing on my personal experience with their individual products.

      I did mention the number of oils both companies have, clearly YL has more than DT does in both single oils and blends. This is a personal decision for people on which is better for that. For example, my cousin chose doTERRA because she likes having less to chose from and enjoys creating her own blends. doTERRA has become better at listing product ingredients online without sending inquiring minds on a wild goose chase.

      Both companies are involved with running their own nonprofits. Thanks for mentioning that… I’ll update the post soon with those added!

      My intentions are not to create bias towards one company or the other, but to create a fair review, focusing on how they compare without bashing or really focusing on whether or where one lacks over the other, but focusing on each companies’ strengths and where my personal preference was between the two.

  5. thanks for this Nicole … I was with DoTerra and didnt even know about the renewal fee and wasnt advised it was due. So looked into YL recently and signed up. My kit should arrive tomorrow so keen to check the difference. I like that they have not only skin care but make up and still seem to have a lot more oils and blends than DT. We shall see … oh and the pet shampoo!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Leonie! Thats awesome you’re trying the products from both companies! Young Living definitely has many more products, which can be a bit overwhelming to new members, but I really enjoy having so many options to choose from easily and without needing to source from multiple places. I hope you enjoy!!

  6. Much has changed since your did this thorough comparison. Many of the negatives or dislikes you mention about doTERRA no longer exist. I’m curious to know if you’ll do an updated comparison; especially post legal proceedings that showed Seed to Seal is not practiced across all of YL’s products? Clearly I am a doTERRA customer. The only other company I recommend is Young Living.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Rich! I appreciate you reading and commenting on this page. I have seen a lot of changes with doTERRA recently and have been digging more into their new ingredients. To be fully honest, I’m not fully impressed. I stick with items rated as A or 1-2 on EWG’s database, and after inputting doTERRA’s hair care and skin care items into their DIY report tool the results showed a 4 rating. While thats a lot better than it used to be, the ingredients they use is still not within my comfort zone to recommend. I am putting together a comparison guide for YL and DT that is updated to the latest 2018 updates that will be published soon.

    2. This has been most helpful. I am currently trying a couple of things from each.. trying to decide which company is for me.

    3. Hi Lisa, thank you for commenting! I’m thrilled to hear you’re trying them both out to see which works best for you! That is honestly the best way to find out, and happy to have provided some assistance. If you need anything or have more questions about my journey, you’re welcome to contact me on our contact page.

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