Shady Sourcing: Why I Can’t Trust Young living’s Essential Oils
Last week, was a total treat — I was invited to tour the farm that supplies the organic milk and free-range eggs that I buy at my local health store. Let’s just say that getting some face-to-face time with the farm’s five new calves was the highlight of my summer. Anyways, the drive home was filled with an epiphany moment: that brand’s ethics matter — really, really matter.
It might sound overly sentimental, but knowing where/how a product is sourced can make a profound difference. Being “source aware” is good for the soul, it’s good for the body, and it’s good for this friendly place we called Earth.
I started thinking about the origins of other products that I use on the daily. I was feeling pretty good about my Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, Puracy Shampoo, and SSEKO bags (gold, leather, and fair trade — yes, please!) but what about all my EO’s (essential oils)? Somewhere between pouring drops of Lemon and Eucalyptus oils in my diffuser and sparkling water, I thought “Wait, where this really coming from is?”
So, I dived into some research. First off, I have to admit (blush) I wasn’t the brand-loyal girl out-there, so my essential oils drawer had a bit of everything — Young Living, doTERRA, and a couple other labels like Aura Cacia and Fabulous Franny. Anyways, turns out a little digging revealed quite a lot:
The (Seemingly) Good: Of all the brands I had in my oil entourage, both Young Living and doTERRA seemed to address and publish both their sourcing and ethics the most openly. DoTERRA stands by their “Source to You” (a really in-depth program that covers all sorts of good policies — from partnering with underdeveloped countries/fair trade to super transparent sourcing) and Young Living had this neat “Seed to Seal” promise. Their website emphasized their oil’s purity came from owning their own farms and controlling what goes into every bottle.
The Sketch: Okay, here’s where the bad news comes in, as I was looking into whole “Seed to Seal” from Young Living, I realized it’s sounds fantastic, but it is a bold-faced lie. Young Living claims to control all their oil sourcing, but when you take time to look at how many farms they own (and compare it to the amount of products they sell) things really, really don’t add up. We’re talking about seven farms (that are less than _____ acres) creating all _________ products every year? Yep — that’s impossible. The more research I did, the worse it got.
On the flip side, when it comes to sourcing, I give the thumbs up to doTERRA’s oil origins. First off, they are a heck of a lot more realistic. I really appreciated all the material they publish about where each oil comes from — with a map, links, and stories describing the partnership farms all over the world. Plus, I became an ever bigger fan when I read about their Co-Impact Initiative. Three cheers for transparency! You can even find super specific details on doTERRA setting up ethical working practices everywhere from Nepal to Somalia and Madagascar.
And then the Ugly: Jumping back to Young Living, things went from bad to worse when I found this article all about false documentation. This leads me to a chain of examples where third-party testers discovering synthetic substitutes in Young Living’s oils, like Jasmine and Birch. All that info made me more than a bit sad — the whole purpose of essential oils was to embrace Mother Nature’s way of bringing us back in balance. But touting an oil is “all” natural when it’s synthetic is just aggravating. It’s like putting a “12-grain Sprouted Wheat” label on white bread. Not okay.
Anyways, on Saturday, when I went to purchase frankincense oil — it wasn’t a hard choice. Young Living’s and DoTERRA’s prices are about the same (in fact doTERRA is slightly less expensive) but I felt a lot better swiping my card for doTERRA because A.) They aren’t hiding their sources B.) Their third party testing C.) Their actively working to be ethically/socially responsible. Here’s to the investing in the good stuff!