I love essential oils.
How many times have you heard that phrase? Dozens? Hundreds? Probably the latter, because these modest little bottles are making headlines like crazy. Science backs it up, with essential oils used in trials and studies boasting big results. But not all oils are created equal, and not all companies have YOU at their interest point (big mistake!) Here’s my breakdown of the oil game and why I do not doTerra. And, I’ll share who I trust with my essential oil love, because it’s strong, people.
What are Essential Oils?
Simply put, EO’s are the concentrated oils from various plants. By concentrated, I mean really, really concentrated. Because of this, the effects of the plant when used for healing are oftentimes much more noticeable and faster acting. They can be used in a variety of applications, from aromatherapy to massage and even to internal supplementation.
I’ve used oils for around five years now, and I must say I have come a long way from where I started (which was with cheap products, probably used in dangerous ways. Don’t do that, guys.) Along the way, I have learned a lot about these little compounds, and I’d like to share with you where I stand.
MLM: The Oil Game
Anyone who knows oils knows these two names: doTerra, and Young Living. They’re GIANTS in the world of essential oils. I used doTerra when I first started out, because, quite frankly, I didn’t know there WERE other companies. That’s how big these two are, they cloud out everything else. In order to understand why I don’t support these companies, we need to look at the beginning. See, doTerra and Young Living go way back. What you need to know about that is that Young Living used to have several reps that were, well, fired. Fired over something very ugly. Unfair pay, diminishing their female executives, etc. That’s a nasty business you can read about on this page. Basically, Gary Young, founder of Young Living, didn’t want justice or equality for his employees. He fired David Stirling and Emily Wright (now owners of doTerra), and they parted ways. Young Living also conducted immoral practices, including lies about their whole ‘Seed to Seal’ process. Definitely not someone you’d want to support, right? Well, David and Emily got tired of it and after they were fired, went out and found some fellow people to plan doTerra’s launch. As this went down, Young Living pitched a fit, and a whole slew of legal ugliness ensued. Fake lab reports, former employee testimonies, it was deep.
Now then, obviously both companies are still standing, so what happened? Well, the court found doTerra to be in the right, and the whole thing kind of dissolved. This legal battle lasted over five years. So, then, it looks like a cut and dried answer, no? Young Living is obviously not great, but doTerra seems much better! Ehhhh, sorry.
doTerra, or don’tTerra?
Now, I want to start by saying that I have no problem with people who use this company. It’s generated a lot of community, love, and health for people, which should ALWAYS be appreciated. What I’m dissecting is the behind-the-scenes stuff. The details that matter to ME, because I want to support companies I BELIEVE in. Now, good, great, let’s move on. Keep in mind, I used to buy doTerra. My family did. I knew people who sold it, and who still sell it. I know it is a great thing for some people. It wasn’t great for me, and here’s why.
– doTerra made up a label to mislead their customers. Yeah, there’s no sugarcoating that. doTerra takes great pride in their Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade labeling, boasting that they have the highest quality oils in the world, and that the CPTG label proves it. Only, it doesn’t. They claim that this label is FDA given, but with a bit of research, which most people wouldn’t think to do, you can find out that hey, the FDA does NOT evaluate essential oils at ALL, and furthermore, sent a warning letter to doTerra in 2014, exposing the company for violating FDA laws for marketing drugs and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the letter, which can be read here, touches on the fact that doTerra’s MLM consultants, known as Wellness Advocates, are NOT allowed to promote these products for uses in treating disease, as they do NOT have formal medical training to do so. So, you can see where that’d be a problem, right?
– doTerra encourages its MLM base of sellers to promote products as a doctor would. The FDA got on them for this in the same letter, which can be read here, and touches on the fact that doTerra’s MLM consultants, known as Wellness Advocates, are NOT allowed to promote these products for uses in treating disease, as they do NOT have formal medical training to do so. So, you can see where that’d be a problem, right?
– doTerra advocates internal use of oils. This isn’t necessarily a BAD thing, but it is a DANGEROUS thing, and doTerra doesn’t seem to put much emphasis on the RISKS involved. What that means for customers is a lot of very risky oil ingestion, which could lead to very serious consequences. My stance on ingestion is know before you go, and I don’t think doTerra is equipping people to do that. Not all oils can be taken internally, most can be taken ONLY in very specific ways as to not harm your body, and you should only take them in very closely monitored amounts, after ensuring there’s no preliminary triggers for a bad reaction.
– doTerra is exclusive. Point blank, this isn’t fun to say, but it is. doTerra build this weird atmosphere of superiority, through people who buy into (literally!) their system. I’m never fond of companies that do this, especially when they have such a high minimum price point. The cheapest enrollment kit for doTerra is $200, and if you choose to pay the fee, it’s $35. But the kit is what gets you really “in” the door, pretty much forcing out anyone with a tight budget. Sound like someone who is all welcoming? If doTerra is truly about health, then accessibility needs to be their number one priority, and it’s not. You may say, but Allison, you pay those prices because it’s a really GREAT product! Yeah, I can see where you’d think that, but again, it’s a deception. The reason doTerra has those prices is so their wholesale prices look way more appealing, and, guess what? To get THOSE prices, you must pay the $35 dollar fee. Then buy more, and more, and recruit people you don’t want to drag into this, and so on. See the vicious cycle? It’s ridiculous.
– doTerra prices are unforgivable. I said it, I believe it, I’ll bear my cross for it. This ties into the above a little, but on a more glaring note. doTerra’s prime focus is bringing in more people, right? In order to do that, well, they spend a FORTUNE on events, rewarding their top earning advocates, and marketing. This translates into stupid high costs for you, the innocent consumer trying to do better by doing natural. Sorry, but I’m NOT shelling $30 for Lavender when I don’t even like their Lavender. That’s my WATER BILL, for crying out loud. There’s nothing sustainable about that if you’re not making six figures, which, shockingly, most of us do not. (There’s a big difference in Lavender oils, which I’ll discuss another time.) No one can afford this, with the monthly fees, pressure to recruit, and more. Needless to say of the social ramifications that aggressive recruiting will have on your relationships.
So.. what does this mean?
It means that nothing is as it seems, especially when it comes to health products. Like I said, I’m not out to get anyone for using these companies, I just feel everyone should have the information to decide for themselves. MLM doesn’t stack up with that in the Essential Oil department, and, now that I know better, I’m sorry I ever wasted my time with them. There are better options out there if you find yourself shaken like I was when I read this information for the first time. That said, I want to touch on the parts of doTerra that ARE good. (I won’t touch on Young Living because I simply don’t want to encourage people to support their practices, but you can find info on them at their website.)
– they have pure oils. The whole nonsense in the legal debate was solved as being falsified, so you can trust that the oils are good quality. That said.. they don’t publicly share their test results, which I don’t like. They also are not very clear about their sourcing. I love having that ADVERTISED to me, to blatantly say: “Hey, we test our stuff and here’s the scoop!” So, if that’s your thing, check my recommended companies down below.
Honestly.. I’m not a doTerra fan, if you couldn’t tell. I like transparency, and made up certifications, messy legal battles, and skeptical sourcing practices do not match my standards. That said, many tests have been done and there’s no concrete evidence against doTerra’s oils. So, if anything, the product is okay to use.
Let’s change it up.
So, if you like being the guru of where things come from, how they’re made, and what steps they go through from manufacturer to YOU, you’ll love this next bit. After I delved into the MLM oil madness, I decided to kick it all to the curb. Sorry, not sorry! Let me tell you, sifting through these companies for the truth is a MIND GAME. Advertising that’s created to pull you in, carefully worded statements about quality and morals- it’s a labyrinth. Fortunately, I was able to find two companies to roll with, and my results have been perfect. This journey of trying out new companies has been a little over three years, so be informed that I’m still formulating opinions. I’m not a die-hard, not a loyalist, but just someone who loves good product and great companies that fit my vision for natural health – for all.
Rocky Mountain Oils
I’ll admit, the first time I checked them out, I was like- whaaaaat? What’s all this sciency jargon about GC/MS, batch numbers, and the like? Well, RMO is a very bold company. They’ve skyrocketed to the top of non MLM EO companies with their publicly announced test results. Every bottle comes stamped with a batch number, for which you can find the results of very intensive tests through their website. GC/MS, or Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry testing, is the ONLY way to tell what is in an essential oil. The process starts by having the Gas Chromatographer pulls out all the molecules in a sample of oil. Then the MS, Mass Spectrometer, “sorts” the particles out and identifies them based on an extensive database of known substances. It gives a report of these substances with proportion to sample size. That’s the simplest way to explain it, but Robert Tisserand wrote an awesome article about it here.
So RMO offers these test results for every bottle of oil, which is kind of amazing, right? But wait, there’s more! RMO has a very strict sourcing process. Here’s the main page, but essentially (no pun intended), they sample a potential source of oil, then test again, and again, until they’ve exhausted all their efforts in finding any flaws. The oils that pass, are sold with the RMO label. The ones that don’t, well, those get rejected.
Another reason to love RMO is their Oil-ty points program, a program for customers that earns you points on every purchase to use in their store. And, unlike similar programs, the points add up very fast, and nothing is off limits. RMO is also well known for their generosity. I have received free gifts on nearly all of my orders, big or small, and the company is more often than not running severe discounts on oils, offering freebies, and more. You’ll notice how much price difference there is as well, because RMO is not an MLM, they can offer those lower prices.
So, yeah, they’re kind of amazing.
But moreover, what have I tried from them? A LOT, thanks to their ridiculous deals. (Thanks, guys, for feeding my oil hoard. Appreciate it.) What drew me in was their lavender, which has been the penultimate favorite of all the ones I’ve tried. They offer multiple cultivars for those nuanced aroma profiles, which is important to me, since I spend a lot of time with lavender. Plus, they’re the only company to implement a bottle recycling program to help offset their impact on resources. Win!!
Jade Bloom Essential Oils
So why would anyone look anywhere else for oils? RMO has clearly set the bar. Well, true, but for me, it wasn’t a case of lacking anything. It was a “Holy CRAP it gets MORE INTENSE??” reaction to a new company. Jade Bloom, y’all. So I stumbled across a Facebook ad for Jade Bloom, for their Oil University, actually. Me being me, I had to go check this out. More education?? Yes please. And then I found out it was free. Free education. Warms my soul! Oh, wait, there’s more. By completing the oil university, you earn a boatload of points to use with Jade Bloom, and just like RMO, nothing is off limits! So, obviously, I had to do that. And as I went along completing the courses, I realized something. I had NEVER seen such in depth stuff from an oil company. This was in depth, advanced learning, from start to finish for beginners AND experts. I was hooked. I had to get behind this company. They paid so much detail to everything that I felt giddy when I ordered. They are hounds when it comes to their product, and while they do not own their own farms, they vet them thoroughly to ensure that not only are the growing conditions right, the practices safe and natural, but they ALSO make sure that the plants are happy. Wait, say what? Happy plants?
Yes, happy plants. Say for instance, a cactus. Would it be happier in the desert, or a dorm window in New York? Obviously, the desert. Jade Bloom does this same research, to figure out where they can get the absolute top notch materials. The better a plant is, the better what comes from it, including the oils. Jade Bloom sources from all over the globe for this reason, seeking not only the best of the best, but to improve economies for the people who grow and harvest the plants.
Wow, talk about good deeds. But wait, Jade Bloom isn’t done. They have a page that’s super duper important. The failures page, found here. Wait, a failure page? That sounds bad. See, Jade Bloom is only five years old. They’re brand new, and their mission has been since the beginning, to promote the truth, health, and happiness of everyone involved, from CEO to customer. So they publish the obstacles they’ve faced, the lessons they’ve learned, and how this affects the consumers they serve. Indeed, it’s remarkable and absolutely commendable work. Especially when adulteration came into the picture. When faced with this, Young Living called foul and tried to force Dr Pappas, who tested their oils and found the flaws, to retract his statements. doTerra went to bat with the French company who allegedly falsified the reports. But Jade Bloom, well, JB sat back and went “Well, what next?” They took the oils in question off the market to do more testing. They shared from day one with the customer base what was going on, and reached out to several labs to run tests. Dr. Pappas, who also tested these oils, made the discernment that the adulterations were so minor that only an experienced eye could have caught them, and furthermore, the adulteration would not have harmed anyone. So really, no one would have known, but Jade Bloom persisted, hiring a doctor of chemistry to permanently test every batch of oil before they even thought about marketing it. They then implemented a new action plan to help prevent this from happening again, which you can see at the bottom of their failures page.
Bottom line: Jade Bloom exists to promote change in the natural health world, and I’m growing to firmly support this company in their endeavors.
One last note, pricing. Yes, that really IS the right price- in a good way. I know, the prices make you wary at first glance, but TRUST ME, they’re totally real. Jade Bloom has simple priorities- oils for everyone, and part of that includes prices for all. They focus so much into their product that they offer it at these prices to encourage you to broaden your oil horizons. But how is that possible, you might wonder? Low overhead, efficiency, and passion. Jade Bloom loves what they do, and because of that, they are working for everyone, not just themselves. This is true natural health and healing, as it SHOULD be. Accessible, wonderful, and PURE. Their education is what I came for, but their company values are why I’ll forever stay. They want to teach everyone how to use these oils safely, effectively, and efficiently. Also, I have to tell you about the lavender, because who doesn’t LOVE lavender??
Lavender and Lavandin… what?
So you may not find a basic Lavender label on Jade Bloom bottles, and there’s a reason for that. They offer two types of lavender, and lavandin. We’ll start with the latter. So Lavandin, or Provence Lavender, is a French lavender hybrid with spike lavender. It’s used for its high aroma and sweet fragrance over true lavender’s more healing benefits. So, it’s an economical alternative when you just want the scent of lavender, if that makes sense. It is higher in camphor, so may help with sleep problems.
Bulgarian Lavender is a type sourced from, you guessed it, Bulgaria, that has a very distinctive floral and almost fruity scent. It’s not as light as Lavandin, but it’s well used in many different applications. Some report Bulgarian to be one of the sweetest smelling lavenders.
And finally, Kashmir Lavender. Be still my oil lovin’ heart. I didn’t even know this was a thing before I started with Jade Bloom, so to be fair, our relationship is quite new. But, I’ll be honest,it’s been awesome. The second I took the top off it was unanimous- this was the BEST lavender my family had ever smelled. Why is that? Well, this lavender is Jade Bloom’s pride and joy, sourced very exclusively from the Kashmir region of the Himalayan mountains. Jade Bloom sources from a family farm as well, to preserve the heritage and culture of this beautiful variety. Because of the elevation and climate, this lavender thrives and boosts the content of some properties in the oil. It has a sweet, full, almost grassy or green aroma, which just blows your mood out of the water.
So this has been a full article.
We’ve covered oils from top to bottom, as far as brands go, and I feel confident saying “Go for it!” As you embark, keep in mind that companies SHOULD:
– advertise test results in a simple way
– source from thoroughly evaluated farms
– maximize needs of the customer
– take education to the top
– encourage you to try more oils and use them safely
Of that list, Jade Bloom has rocketed to my #1 spot. I love Rocky Mountain as well, and I love their oils, but Jade Bloom has really swept me away with their determination and attention to honesty and sourcing. Plus, those price points free me up to explore a lot more.
What do you think? Do you have specific things you look for in an essential oil company? I’d love to hear them down below!