Why I Do Not Use doTERRA or Young Living

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Doterra and Young Living


By now almost every one knows someone that sells Young Living or doTERRA. And you may as well! In fact, it may be what brought you to this article.

I get asked often why, as a holistic healer, I don’t offer DoTERRA or Young Living essential oils and so I wanted to compile in this blog post the reasons why including resources and references.


doTERRA and Young Living independent sales representatives (aka that friend that sells their oils) post about the essential oils everywhere. They now consider themselves to be experts when it comes to all things essential oils. Oh, and always willing to send you a sample.


But, are these companies you want to purchase your essential oils from and most importantly, take their essential oils advice?  Do they have the proper training (outside of the companies they are selling) to provide safe essential oil use?


Keep reading to learn why you may want to reconsider some of the advice your well-meaning wellness advocates (or whatever updated name the companies give their independent sales associates) of essential oils may be telling you.


Free ebook for mothers


The resources I will share with you are just some of many more references for essential oils. Please continue the conversation by researching aromatherapy further such as reading the books that I mention in this blog post and others.


doTerra vs Young Living

When it comes to safety of doTerra vs Young Living, both companies use unsafe essential oil use practices. Both companies use misleading marketing strategies and both companies are multi-level marketing companies. They are similar in their sales strategies, which makes sense considering that doTerra was started by former Young Living employees.


When I'm asked if I like doTerra vs Young Living, my answer is none.


Misleading marketing

doTERRA uses the term “certified pure therapeutic grade” in their marketing. Well, it’s exactly only that – marketing.


There aren’t any certified essential oils, because there isn’t any recognized organization or agency that certifies essential oils. So, doTERRA coined the term, put it on their bottles and trademarked (see the TM after the logo above) the term.


What does it mean? Nothing, as their oils are not certified. They use the term as a way of letting others know that they test their oils (like nearly all essential oils providers do).


But, it makes for good marketing. Unfortunately, doTERRA sales reps (called “consultants”) misunderstand this to mean that the oils are certified.


From doTERRA’s website ~

CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products.


An interesting and very informative article about this topic is the “The ‘Therapeutic Grade’ Essential Oils Disinformation Campaign.” by Cropwatch Organization.


Potential essential oil buyers should independently check out the marketing information provided by essential oil traders – do not be put off asking for any extra information or reassurances that you are legally entitled to if the situation is not absolutely clear cut. The professional aromatherapist has a duty to be able to provide all relevant safety information relevant to to their clients’ treatment(s) and therefore It is part of ‘due diligence’ to ask questions, require any stipulated proofs, request an MSDS, ask for compositional data & certificate of origin of the batch of oil purchased and have their eyes wide open to marketing ploys & scams of all types – including providing GC’MS print-outs and other information which relate to other batches of oils entirely, and, of course, describing essential oils as ‘therapeutic grade’.

Internal Use of Essential Oils

Consultants of doTERRA are taught to recommend the internal use of essential oils to the general public. However, this contradicts the respected advice and scope of practice recommended by Aromatherapy and Herbal associations, organizations and health care providers (including both mainstream and alternative medicines).


Essential oils are quite potent. For example, one drop of essential oil is the equivalent of 25-75 cups of the herbal tea of the same plant. doTERRA for example recommends for peppermint oil – “take one drop internally to calm indigestion or upset stomach” in their Introduction to Essential Oils.


RELATED ARTICLE: Herbs and Aromatherapy for “that time of the month”.



Planet Therapy


Plant Therapy is usually my go-to brand for home use

Also Starwest Botanicals is where I purchase my herbs and some of my oils


Essential oils are very powerful and there have been reported cases of poisonings and fatality due to the self-dosing of essential oils. It is not something to do lightly, as I often see recommended by doTERRA consultants.


The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) warns

Some oils are associated with toxicity problems (e.g. a risk of accumulative effects), and so internal use is not entirely hazard or risk-free.

Get the 7 & 7 Starter Set, Only at Plant Therapy!



The International Federation of Aromatherapists Code of Ethics states –

No aromatherapist shall use essential oils for internal ingestion or internal application nor shall any aromatherapist advocate or promote such use of essential oils unless the practicing aromatherapist has medical, naturopathic, herbalist, or similar qualifications and holds an insurance policy which specifically covers the internal application of essential oils. (IFA code of ethics. Simply Essential, No. 11 December 1993).


Salvatore Battaglia in The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy writes –

Oral administration does have a number of disadvantages:

  • possibility of nausea and vomiting
  • irritation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • much of the essential oil will be metabolized by the liver
  • destruction of the essential oil constituents by stomach acidity or enzymes in the intestines.


It’s common practice in the aromatherapy, herbalism, and alternative medicine health care that essential oils are not to be taken internally unless under the proper care of qualified care providers. (The friend selling essential oils does not meet this criteria.)


There are two major aromatherapy organizations and both have in the scope of practice and ethics that members do not recommend the use of internal essential oils (to the general public for example). This advice is in just about every aromatherapy respected book written by experts in the industry (some of which are quoted in this blog post). And it’s in all of the well known educational programs for aromatherapy and herbalism. They agree with each other on this.


However, the only places it differs (not including personal blogs and such) is these multi-level marketing companies like doTERRA and Young Living. They are actually the ones in the minority when it comes to recommending the internal use of essential oils.

Undiluted (Neat) Use of Essential Oils

When I first was introduced to doTERRA essential oils the consultant rubbed peppermint oil directly on my skin. Almost immediately I started to get a burning sensation and she removed the essential oil with vegetable oil and instead rubbed wintergreen oil (also directed and undiluted) to my skin. And yes, it also burned. Not to mention that Wintergreen can be toxic, which of course, she didn't even know. But, the point is that she used the essential oils on me undiluted.


In doTERRA’s Introduction to Essential Oils almost every oil listed in the manual is recommended to use undiluted. Another brand, Young Living, recommends the use of undiluted essential oils as well.


It’s interesting (as a side note) that doTERRA emerged from a group of professionals that were a part of Young Living.


But, when it comes to dilution – the use of undiluted essential oil is again also not recommended by respected aromatherapy associations, experts, and well-known educators in essential oils.


Because essential oils are so powerful, they should always be used diluted. The recommended correct dilution for topical use is 1% for children (avoid essential oils in newborns) and pregnant women, 2% for adults and 3% for medicinal use.


While there are some essential oils that are “skin friendly” such as lavender and tea tree oil (though skin patch test is recommended), they are the exception to the rule. Essential oils in general should be properly diluted before use.


Valerie Gennari Cooksley, R.N., Co-founder of Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy writes in her book Aromatherapy Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate, and Heal

Most essential oils you must dilute to use. Essential oils do not exist in nature in large quantities; they are tiny, microscopic droplets, unseen by the naked eye within the plant’s structure in miniscule quantity. So when you embark on your experiential study of nature’s gifts start by using highly diluted essential oils.


Allison England writes in Aromatherapy and Massage For Mother and Baby

Essential oils are powerful and need to be diluted before applying directly to the skin. They should always be used either in a carrier oil, or mixed with water, some oils such as the citrus oils, could cause soreness and irritation.


I hope this helps to educate and clarify what is often seen and incorrectly provided by well-meaning sales reps of multi-level marketing brands of essential oils. While I’ve mentioned doTERRA, this also does apply to Young Living.


RELATED ARTICLE: Natural Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety


The Intention of this Blog Post

My intention is to educate and provide holistic wellness in a responsible way.


As an Aromatherapist and Herbalist working with those in pregnancy, birth and motherhood, it is within my scope of practice and responsibility to provide correct recommendations and education when needed - and absolutely when it comes to safety.


Mindful mothering giveaway

Choosing Oils

I’ve been asked quite often about specific brands and if it’s a good quality essential oil.


I’d like to share with you how you can know yourself if a brand is a good quality brand by sharing a piece of an article from the East-West School of Herbal and Aromatics Study.


I personally shop for essential oils in this way and encourage you to consider this as well. Don’t just pick a few things on this list and consider it a good essential oil ~ does it fit everything in this list? Does it fit at least the grand majority? This is how you go about choosing a quality essential oil brand.


  • who is dedicated to supplying essential oils to the aromatherapy practitioner market and educated public.
  • that is on the small size and not a large corporation.
  • owned by an aromatherapy practitioner or essential oil specialist
  • who has relations with his/her distillers, if possible
  • who can readily supply a batch-specific MS/GC spec report on each essential oil it sells
  • readily able to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) as needed
  • who has a strong unquestioned noncontroversial reputation in the field
  • who has preferably been in the field for a number of years and is well known to other aromatherapy practitioners and/or educators


RELATED ARTICLE: Essential Oils for Happiness



I’ve received quite a few post as to WHY not use essential oils undiluted. The risks are irritations,and allergic reactions. Here are some articles that I hope will help those that would like to learn more.



For those who like me prefer books ~

  • Essential Oil Safety, A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Tisserand and Balacs
  • Aromatherapy Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal by Valerie Cooksley, RN
  • The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
  • These are just some of the resources to learn more about essential oils and proper dilution and the reasons why.


INGESTING OILS – another article (click here) filled with even more resources and information about ingesting essential oils. A must-read!


Through this post, I’ve received many emails and have also people post on this blog post of a bad reaction from essential oils based on the information provided by a sales rep brand. If you are one of these people, please I can’t urge you enough to report it.


Robert Tisserand, a leader in Aromatherapy often called the Father of Modern Aromatherapy and author of Essential Oil Safety for Aromatherapy Professionals is collection information about these cases. Please email him directly with as much detail as possible at robert@roberttisserand.com. Another place to report is here at the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy. Please help others by reporting your experience.


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doterra and young living



With kindness,
Giselle Baumet

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    Comments on this post

    Giselle Baumet (Author) says...

    Mary, I’m glad it was helpful to you!

    Posted on October 21, 2020

    Giselle Baumet (Author) says...

    SDF1 – it’s up to you to use essential oils internally on your own. I do post where you can report when doing this over time starts to wear on your internal organs and you begin to experience the effects of others who do this on their own because a sales rep for doTERRA or Young Living told them it’s good to do it.

    Posted on October 21, 2020

    Giselle Baumet (Author) says...

    Milan Sadhwani – I get a million emails for “What do you recommend” and so in this article, I post to some oils that I do recommend. And these are based on my personal experience as a Certified Aromatherapist using brands that are ethical (unlike doTERRA and Young Living). My article is as you wrote well-researched. Now, it’s on YOU to decide to ignore it or to take from it what you’ve learned.

    Posted on October 21, 2020

    Milan Sadhwani says...

    Thank you for this well-researched article. It was definitely educational and helpful. However, interspersed throughout the articles are advertisements to buy essential oils. As a reader, how can I say with conviction that you’re not just trying to sell another brand of essential oils by saying that these big brands promote unethical/harmful use? It does sound like you had a bad experience but it’s not right to paint all of the distributors in bad light, no? Just my two cents.

    Posted on October 21, 2020

    SDF1 says...

    I have used Doterra oils, both internally and externally. Internally, it has helped me when I have been sick or getting sick. Externally, it helps tremendously when I have panic attacks or anxiety. Calms me down in seconds and withing minutes, am back to normal. It has helped with my pets respiratory issues and yes, their anxiety. So, while you are against Doterra, I am not. Their oils are wonderful. Can’t say the same thing about the way they sell the oils, but the oil themselves, they have absolutely been a miracle

    Posted on October 18, 2020

    Mary says...

    Thank you for this article! I have been going back and forth with the idea of becoming a wellness advocate with doTERRA. I’ve been learning up on Aromatherapy via several books and podcasts from Aromatherapists. The whole thing about indiluted oils and ingestion has not set well with me and has been the forerunner of my doubt. Your article has set me more at peace to not do doTERRA. I really want to become a Certified Aromatherapist and help people and can’t wait to check out some of these books! Where did you go to school for your Aromatherapy Education and Certification as you briefly mentioned at the time of this article?

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Pat says...

    I use doTERRA oils and I find that almost every bottle recommends to use with a carrier oil for dilution or already has carrier oil mixed in. I have also tried a few of the less known, less expensive oils out there and find them rather nasty, like they have some kind of additive or synthetic smells. doTERRA also recommends checking with your DR. before use if using for medicinal purpose.

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Charlez says...

    Dotterra saws to always dilute and I have never heard of someone putting oil directly onto the skin. I think you had someone who didn’t know what they where doing.

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Kelly says...

    Great article, thank you! While researching the testing standards and info on different essential oil companies I was baffled by the fact that doTera recommended ingestion where almost every other company warned that ingestion should only be done under the supervision of a doctor, and that topical use should be properly diluted. This was a great collection of information on the topic.

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Marge says...

    supplying essential oils to the aromatherapy practitioner market and educated public – how do i find these places? Who do you order yours from?

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Lynn says...

    Would you share your favorite essential oil brand?

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    Brittany says...

    Great info!! Are you familiar with the Revive essential oil brand? I’m new to this market and have been trying to do my research and am interested in learning more of the health benefits for my family but looking to do so in a more affordable way than the bigger name brands Is there is something comparable at a lower price point?

    Posted on March 30, 2019

    DeniseF says...

    I commend you for your well laid out information and support from other sources. I am often surprised at the dedication and loyalty of the name brand followers and sometimes it reminds me of a cult. Admittedly the business model is pretty amazing in being so financially successful but the end result to consumer is a product identical to lower cost products that are not as well known or financial behemoths . Your article is to the point and provides good information to those who have not yet been “inducted”. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

    Posted on October 21, 2018

    Giselle says...

    Please read post again. It was about the usage recommendations, not about efficiency.

    Posted on October 06, 2018

    Dave says...

    As a user of doTERRA Essential Oils, I use most of them neat and must say that I have never had any problems. Proof of the pudding is in the eating. They work for me.

    Posted on November 12, 2017

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