Monday, May 12, 2014

Why don't you carry doTerra (or Young Living) Essential Oils?

This is Part One in our essential oil series. Part Two is available here, where I talk specifically about the oils we do carry (Tisserand and Oshadhi) and why we chose them.


Since opening the store and getting to meet so many folks interested in essential oils, I have noticed a trend. Here in Columbus (and perhaps to a greater extent, smaller cities and towns throughout the USA), the companies of doTerra and Young Living (YL), who sell essential oils through an unfortunate multi-level marketing (MLM, or pyramid) scheme have a very strong foothold.

When I talk to people in the store about oils, they often reply with, "Oh I 'do' (emphasis theirs) doTerra." I try and be gracious, but as a shopkeeper whose mission is to educate and inform as much as it is to sell, I feel the need to explain why these companies are NOT the be-all and end-all in aromatherapy.

In fact, there are much higher quality oils that are more sustainably grown, ethically cultivated, sustainably harvested, and their manufacture is highly overseen every step of the way. You see, to use essential oils to is run through in incredible amount of plant material- and often this is done in a less than sustainable way. You need to be sure the company that you get them from isn't violating the planet in the name of (faux) healing.

I have noticed that some people get very defensive around their choice of oils. It is perplexing to me, as it is just another consumer choice and should not have identity or ego tied into it. Does the oil have legitimate therapeutic value? Is it cultivated and harvested in a way that is good for the planet? It is tested and does it list its constituents on the label? These are questions one should be asking, not necessarily "brand".

There's that bogus CPTG claim again!
And what is infuriating about doTerra in particular has been misleading the public that their oils are "so pure you can ingest them". No trained aromatherapist would advocate for ingestion without the regular supervision of a practitioner. Simply buying "On Guard" from their product line and taking them is reckless and irresponsible. The other day at the farmer's market, I had someone ask me, "Oh the oils you carry- can you ingest them?" And I had to reply, "I would never suggest anyone ingest essential oils." This person left before I had a chance to explain that she had been misled by shifty marketing (doTerra trying to distinguish itself from Young Living) to think that doTerra is the best because they claim you can ingest them. She assumed I meant the oils I carry aren't "pure enough". It was frustrating that this person had been so misled.

There has been very little choice available for therapeutic oils in Columbus until now (with the opening of my store). I know, because I personally looked for them. Most of the oils widely available are low quality, to be used for fragrance, if at all (These brands include Aura Cacia and Now). Others in retail purport to have high quality, but are not anywhere near the quality of the two brands that I deliberately selected, Tisserand and Oshadhi. (For the record, I almost picked FloraCopeia, but did not for business reasons rather than quality ones. They are wonderful, too).

What is very strange indeed is how the devotees of YL and doTerra act when you question the companies or the products. They get hostile and mean- all from a few simple questions. This tells me a lot about the cult-like culture of what it is like to be a part of the "doTerra (or Young Living) family" (yes, I looked into being a distributor and firmly decided against it).

I dislike Young Living less than doTerra. YL has been around for 20 years and has a model of raising and manufacturing the oils that is commendable. They have their own land, grow their own botanicals, and see the process from start to finish. doTerra does not. doTerra is simply a re-bottler of essential oils- nothing more.  They don’t grow any of their own plants.  They don’t personally distill any of their own oils.  There are plenty of other companies that do that, for a much smaller price.

But both companies restrict how you can get their products in a creepy way. You must buy through a distributor or become one yourself. There are minimums that are required to continue getting discounted product and most reps only get their training from the company themselves. (Which may explain why doTerra reps think you can safely ingest essential oils without the supervision of a practitioner.) MLM is a pyramid scheme. Both YL and doTerra are sold using MLM. I am of the mindset that if you have a good product and people find out about it, you don't need to ensnare people in contracts with minimum sales, and they will not need to recruit others under them to make a decent living. I will not join a special club to get exclusive access to a product. It is shifty.

Another issue that I have with doTerra specifically is their fake certification. DoTerra trumpets how much their oils are tested. They claim that their oils are the only ones that are "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" (CPTG). This is true, would you like to know why? It is because it is a purely arbitrary phrase that doTerra invented (there is no external certification called CPTG that any other company uses) and they trademarked it so no one else could use that phrase. It's completely bogus. CPTG is an internal doTerra certification. Check the research link at the bottom and top of the article that links to their own site. Because of the trademark, that particular "certification" cannot be used by any other company regardless of the quality level they possess.

So, if these huge well-known companies are not who you should get your essential oils from, where should you get them? Part Two of this series will explain my research and reasoning for choosing the lines that I did for the store.


This is Part One in our essential oil series. Part Two will talk specifically about the oils we do carry, Tisserand and Oshadhi and why we chose them.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review. I personally like buying oils that are from a single plant so I can make my own blends instead of relying on the manufacturer to do that for me. I might put lavender in soap, lavender and eucalyptus in a diffuser for a cold, lavender and lemon in a cleaning product - one bottle of lavender is simpler than buying different blends. I look forward to learning more about the brands you carry.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel!

      I also like to make my own blends as well (although I do make a couple blends for the store, a Headache Relief roll on and one for Acne)!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this as well! I have been using doTerra, but I am still pretty new at buying essential oils. I look forward to seeing part 2- when will it be out?

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    1. I will be writing my article this week for publication in a week or so. Stay tuned!

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  3. Thank you for this -- very informative.

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  4. Finally someone has a factual portrayal about the brand doTerra! I have always felt very, very skeptical of their quality, pricing, and their pyramid scheme business model. I agree that people who use doTerra are very defensive and even hostile toward the idea of using other brands. I get asked all the time if the essential oils I use are doTerra. Thank you for writing this. It is refreshing to hear.

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    1. I get asked, too. I figure I should use all the tolls at my disposal to educate people about the choices I make for the store and why. I am always talking about this at the markets and in the store.

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  5. Why can essential oils not be ingested? It was my common sense they could be because I ingest lemons, ginger, peppermint, cinnamon, etc. Would love to hear more on why essential oils cannot be ingested. I have not had any adverse affects, personally. But I want to be informed and not doing anything detrimental to my health! I, also, look forward to hearing more about the line of oils you use/sell. Thank you!

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    1. Great question, Allison! It takes a lot of botanicals to make a single dram of essential oils. Plants are so much more than their oil- there is fiber, water- all kinds of constituents. For fifteen mls of pure rose essential oil, it takes 65 pounds of rose petals!

      Essential oils themselves are very volatile and concentrated. This is why trained aromatherapists advise using carrier oils (like almond, jojoba or olive) when applying to the skin and never ingesting them. Even cinnamon oil in a carrier oil can burn the skin. Imagine what it would do to your stomach and esophagus!

      I am glad that you have not had any issues. But continued use internally is never advisable. It could corrode your digestive tract and cause ulcers and worse.

      You will find the ONLY people that advise ingesting the oils are sales reps who are selling the oils, not certified aromatherapists. A simple google search for "ingesting essential oils safe" shows some of the problems you could be facing if you continue.

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    2. And here is a link that I think is pretty impartial (although for the record, the other MLM EO company, doTerra recommends this, too:
      http://leetea.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Are-All-the-Articles-that-Suggest-Ingesting-Essential-Oils-is-Safe-Written-by-Young-Living-Sales-Reps

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