Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils — UPDATED

by Julie Behling-Hovdal on July 10, 2013

Feeling Confused About Essential Oil Companies?

confused woman Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils    UPDATED

If you have been exposed to the power of therapeutic-grade essential oils, chances are you have heard of the pioneering company Young Living Essential Oils and the latest up-and-coming essential oil company, doTerra.

I have been a part of Young Living Essential Oils since 2005 and the oils I recommend and sell are Young Living oils.  Young Living was founded in 1993 by D. Gary Young, a pioneer in the field of essential oils.  To date, Young Living has farms and/or essential oil distilleries in six locations on 4 continents and the expansion continues.   Young Living has revolutionized the field of aromatherapy by growing many of its own plants and distilling many of its own oils using proprietary techniques developed by Gary Young.  All essential oils that carry the Young Living label — whether purchased from around the world or not — are rigorously tested with gas chromatography to ensure the oils have not been adulterated.

Since 2008 when six members of Young Living’s corporate staff left the company and started doTerra, I have seen and heard some interesting things especially since I live in Utah where both companies are headquartered!

Through the years doTerra has built itself up largely standing on the shoulders of Young Living.   Many of its essential oil blends are strikingly similar to Young Living’s.  I noticed many other similarities while at the same time catching wind that doTerra was routinely disparaging Young Living founder D. Gary Young and Young Living products.

I have mostly kept quiet since this new competitor arrived on the scene as I feel that tearing down another company is not only in poor taste, but an unattractive and ineffective way to build my business with Young Living Essential Oils.  But I have gotten so many questions from clients of mine as well as potential clients asking me what I think of doTerra that I finally felt it necessary to come out of the closet in regards to the Great Essential Oil Company Battle!

Why I Love Young Living Essential Oils

everyday oil collection Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils    UPDATED

Over the past few years as people have asked me what I thought of Young Living vs. doTerra, I would usually just tell them how much I love Young Living!  Here are a few reasons why I love Young Living:

  • I’ve been with Young Living since 2005 when Young Living’s NingXia Red gave me 95% of my health back within one week after being partially-disabled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the previous six years.
  • I got off 4 Rx drugs I previously couldn’t function without using Young Living oils.
  • I’ve had so many results with Young Living essential oils, there are too many to name.  Besides two “incurable” autoimmune illnesses, here are a few more conditions I have personally gotten powerful results with using YL oils and products: burns, cuts, shingles, insomnia, thyroid problems, corns, insect bites, sunburn, acne, cold/flu, an illness resembling mumps, an illness resembling swine flu, sprained ankle, migraines, nausea and vomiting, food poisoning, fatigue, weight loss, stress, emotional balance, dealing with a divorce, spiritual connectivity, physical and emotional detox, ovarian cysts, and heart palpitations.
  • I absolutely LOVE their skin care line and essential oils for skin care!!
  • I ADORE many of their supplements — vitamins, protein shakes, probiotic, and others!
  • I have seen hundreds of clients get massive results with Young Living essential oils and other products, including for such things as cancer, West Nile virus, severe anxiety, hemorrhoids, acid reflux, chronic pain, tendonitis, depression, ADD/ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vision difficulties, diabetes, hypoglycemia, childhood diseases, and this is the short list.
  • I love my Young Living family — the people I have met at conventions, worked with on various projects, my wonderful up-line leaders were instrumental in helping me when I was sick, depressed, and down and out when I met them years ago!
  • I have had a great experience with Young Living employees and corporate staff over the years and appreciate their strong efforts to treat their distributors well.

Why doTerra Isn’t For Me

doterra oils Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils    UPDATED

  • See all the reasons above why I love Young Living as a company and Young Living products!  Even supposing that I were to find that doTerra was superior to Young Living in some way or another, my experiences with Young Living and my loyal nature provide ample reason for me to not be interested in doTerra!
  • I am not impressed with some of the actions of doTerra leaders, many of whom I knew back when they were on Young Living’s corporate staff.  Six of the founding members of doTerra’s company leadership are currently being sued by Young Living for allegedly stealing proprietary, protected information including oil recipes, vender lists, and customer lists.
  • I am not impressed with the anti-Young Living rhetoric from doTerra leaders and distributors that I have come across personally and heard about from clients of mine, some of it quite vitriolic.
  • I do not enjoy when doTerra distributors try to recruit me and my customers and distributors.   My doTerra friends, I am not trying to recruit you into Young Living — no need to try to recruit me and other Young Living distributors and customers!  There are plenty of other people out there to market your product to!
  • I have not been impressed with the doTerra essential oils I have come across.  While I can tell they are better than most health food store oils, there is something about many of them that smells off and artificial to me.  Their On Guard oil, a knock-off of Thieves oil, was a real disappointment.  To me it seemed like a weak attempt at copying a masterpiece, kind of like a generic watered-down version of the original.  There is no comparison whatsoever to Thieves.  I’ve been equally unimpressed with several of their other blends.  A few of the single oils I have smelled from doTerra seemed fine.
  • There are real reasons to question the purity of doTerra essential oils.   It has recently come to light and been verified by a 3rd-party laboratory in France that doTerra peppermint oil contains the synthetic chemical additive ethyl vanillin, and doTerra lavender oil is adulterated with the synthetic additive linalyl acetate as well as geranium and chamomile essential oils.  (details & documentation here).  I also have questions regarding doTerra’s frankincense.  Dr. HK Lin, phD who is one of the foremost scientists researching the use of frankincense oil for cancer spoke at the Young Living Convention in 2012.  He is not affiliated with Young Living as a company and was there to share the status of his studies on frankincense and cancer.  He has primarily used Young Living frankincense in his studies and found that it kills several types of cancer.  He mentioned that he used doTerra frankincense oil for a while in his studies and found that it did not work against cancer.  Ironically, I know that doTerra distributors have often called Young Living’s frankincense into question.  Lastly, I was exposed to doTerra cinnamon oil at an event I did back in May and within a minute or so of standing next to the diffuser pumping out molecules of the “pure” cinnamon oil, I had a headache.  In all my years with Young Living, I have never gotten a headache from the oils!

I Don’t Have the Full Story

I have just taken a look at the documents in the lawsuit of Young Living vs. doTerra, and if Young Living’s allegations prove correct, it could bode poorly for doTerra as a company.  I do believe in innocent until proven guilty, though the attached documentation showing doTerra’s oils to be adulterated, along with my experience with their oils, is enough to convince me!

doTerra, in turn, has filed a lawsuit against Young Living alleging they purposely falsified laboratory data in order to disparage doTerra.  Those documents are available here.

I don’t know the hearts of all the people involved, or what their motivations are and were.  I like to assume the best of people.  Is it possible that Gary Young ticked some of these people off?  Absolutely.  I have a huge amount of respect for Gary Young, but I get the feeling he is a very demanding employer.

Did the former Young Living corporate staffers who started doTerra want to have a different business model than Young Living and focus more on the business aspect of the MLM?  More than likely yes, and if so, good for them!  I just don’t agree with what I know of how they went about it.

I happen to have personally met and talked to the Young Living distributor from whom they swiped their model of teaching distributors to build their business.  This Young Living distributor who had attained a nice degree of success told me these then top Young Living corporate staffers picked her brain for months on end for details on her system.  All along she thought they were going to use this information to help other Young Living distributors, so that’s why she was willing to give away all her secrets.  Much to her chagrin, they shortly left Young Living and started a competing company using her business model!

Do people get results with doTerra oils?  Apparently they do, and I am honestly very happy for that.  I have friends and acquaintances who use doTerra oils and if they are satisfied, then I am satisfied for them as long as they know that at least some of doTerra’s oil may be laced with chemical additives.  I am happy that doTerra is spreading the word about the power of essential oils and reaching people that Young Living may not have reached.  I am saddened, however, at what appears to be dishonest marketing on behalf of doTerra.

My final thoughts are this — there is enough room in the world for two essential oil companies to succeed and bless humanity, as long as the playing field is even and both companies properly represent their products.

May the truth prevail.  And may the knowledge and understanding of the power of essential oils continue to spread like wildfire!!

- Julie =)

UPDATE October 2013 –

I previously had a video on here where I shared my understanding of the Young Living/doTerra lawsuits, but doTerra threatened to sue me if I didn’t take it down.  I will make no further comments about the lawsuits.  However, I do think it’s relevant to post the public findings of a recent 3rd party testing of peppermint oil from 12 different companies, including both Young Living and doTerra.

In this independent test, the doTerra peppermint oil was found to have the synthetic ingredient ethyl vanillin.  Incidentally, 10 of the 12 peppermint oils, including the Young Living and doTerra peppermint oils, also were found to be “not in compliance” with ISO standards.  This concerns me far less than the finding of synthetic chemicals.  It’s kind of like testing an orange and finding it has a little more Vitamin C than expected, a little less of something else.

Learn more here –

peppermint testing results Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils    UPDATED


NOTE:  Out of the 250+ articles, videos, and podcasts on my website this is the only one where I address doTerra, or any other essential oil company for that matter.  Interestingly, I get far more hits to this article each day than to any of my other articles.

Due to the fact that I don’t have time to respond to all the comments that continue to come in on this article and my business is not focused on this topic, I have decided to shut commenting down.


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Julie 3 June 2013 crop Young Living vs. doTerra Essential Oils    UPDATEDJulie Behling-Hovdal is a reflexologist/holistic healer and founder of Essential Survival where she teaches people how to prepare for the #1 cause of death in the event of an economic collapse — lack of access to medicines.  In 2005 Julie was able to get off 4 prescription drugs and heal from a 6-year stint of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia with products from Young Living Essential Oils. Get a free copy of her report “Fast Track Survival Medicines” at


Statements made about the essential oils that come in the Essential Oil Survival Kit and other products offered by Essential Survival have not been evaluated by the FDA.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.

Julie Behling-Hovdal April 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Natalie – I haven’t heard anything, so I’m pretty sure the cases haven’t gone to trial or been settled yet.

Sue Brinkley April 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Are these products available in australia. If soo where can i get some information about them and how do i go about purchasing some. I reax an article on facebook and my daughter is medicated for deppression and wants to get better. I feel your frankincense oil might be the way to go. I hope we can do business. Thank you

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