Why I Quit Young Living Essential Oils

Posted July 8, 2019 by Thirty-Something Angie in Clean Living / 42 Comments

Why I Quit Young Living

They’ve been our families favorite for years, so of course everyone wants to know why I quit Young Living. Read on for the whole story.

I’ve been incredibly reluctant to write about my “break up” with Young Living for many reasons. Mostly, because I still have a lot of friends with the company who I love and respect. And also, because I know a lot of people trusted my advice and came to me for help. Publicly changing your mind about anything is a hard pill to swallow. I’m sure you all know what I mean.

I want to preface this entire article by saying I still believe Young Living has some amazing quality products. My family has used them for years with such good results. The oils literally changed my life.

But, I will no longer consider myself a partner with them and will no longer be recommending them on this blog, so I wanted to clear the air on why that is. I owe you that much.

I’m incredibly passionate about essential oils. If you’ve spent even 3 minutes on my blog or social media, you probably already know this, but if you’re coming from an internet search, welcome! I’m Angie, and I love essential oils.

My family turns to essential oils daily. We diffuse them, apply them topically for emotional support and focus, and I love making DIYs with them. (I’ll link to some of my more popular essential oil DIYs at the bottom of this post, so check it out!)

So, why did I quit Young Living if I love essential oils so much? Don’t worry. I’ll do my best to spill all the details below. Just know that this is only one blog post, though, so I may not go into too much detail.

How I Got Started with Young Living Essential Oils

I’ve been using essential oils for the better part of a decade, but for years, I was just grabbing whatever I could find off the shelves in the stores.

Mostly, I used them in cleaning, but I started seeing people talk about diffusers and carrier oils, and I was intrigued. What was I missing? Could I really use these essential oils for more than just homemade cleaners?

I’d tried several different brands of oils at that time, but the one name that kept popping up over and over was Young Living. (I now know that is because of the business structure that pays distributors to share and sell their kits, but I didn’t at the time).

I held off buying for a long time, because let’s face it. Their oils come with a much higher price tag, especially compared to the $3 lavender I’d been buying from the grocery store.

But one day a friend ordered their starter kit and invited me over to check it out. So, I went over and we chatted oils with her and a couple of other friends. I got to check out her diffuser (something I’d never used), smell all the oils that she had bought, and even put a few directly on my skin.

It was clear that the quality was way better than what I had been using. You could tell just by smelling them! Plus, I really liked how they had their “seed to seal” promise that guaranteed the quality of their oils, and a foundation that did so many good things around the world. It’s worth paying a bit more for those things, right?

By the end of that visit, I’d purchased my own kit and started anxiously awaiting it’s arrival.

I hadn’t planned on buying the whole kit, truthfully, but I added up the cost of what I wanted, and realized that the kit was actually the best deal. Honestly, it was the only way I’d be able to afford the oils long term, because it gave me special pricing (aka “wholesale”).

That was about 6 years ago now, and it’s the day I became a loyal Young Living customer.

Why I Decided to Become a Young Living Distributor

I actually refused to pursue the business end of Young Living after buying my first starter kit. In fact, I distinctly remember telling the girl I bought from that I was only interested in the oils. I’d never do the business.

I’d been part of another network marketing business back in college and lost a lot of money, so I had no interest in another one. Plus, I already had a business, and didn’t want to dedicate time to something new.

It wasn’t until I started this blog years later and wanted to share some of my favorite DIYs that I started considering the business side of this oily adventure.

I was already an affiliate for a few other companies, and knew that adding links to my posts were a great way to fund my blog and earn a little extra income. So, I contacted my upline (that’s MLM speak for the person above me in the business) and learned how to grab my link.

I quickly learned, though, that being part of the business side of Young Living was a lot more than I’d bargained for.

Why I Quit Young Living

This post contains affiliate links. That means I could earn a small commission based off of your purchases. To learn more, see my full disclosure here.

I guess I should have taken a closer look at the compensation plan before I started, because when I first joined, I thought all of these distributors were making money based on product sales. That’s something I knew I could easily do through my blog, and so I went for it.

Within a few days of joining, I’d realized this business wasn’t about selling oils.

It was about signing people up for an account. In laymens terms, that means sell them a starter kit and get them ordering regularly. It’s the only real way to make money. And don’t get me wrong. That option truly does get you the best price for Young Living oils.

If all someone wanted was a bottle of Lavender, I was instructed to just offer up my discount and add it to my own orders to enjoy the points I’d get. (Points to use towards more oils and products). That’s what I did for a long time, but when you look at it from a business perspective, it’s not really smart. My only profit from those “sales” was in the form of points to use for more oils.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t pay my bills in oils.

And the little bit of income I was earning from people who had signed up certainly wasn’t passive. No. I was constantly hustling.

In fact, the business groups were always full of people bragging about hustling from the car, or at their kids’ ball games, or on vacation.

On vacation, ya’ll! How is that “freedom??”

There were “post ratios” to adhere to, “hot words” to avoid using, and scripts written for you to send to your friends to get them signed up and “doing the biz.”

At the end of each month, members are given a list of ideas from those higher up in the company to help them “boost their numbers.”

Only, most of the ideas didn’t actually boost their paycheck. But…they boosted the paycheck of those above them.

This wasn’t what I’d signed up for at all.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in good old fashioned hard work. I do it daily. But this?? This wasn’t the same thing.

Seriously. I just wanted to be able to sell a bottle of Lavender in a blog post when it was relevant. How did I turn into the girl who everyone thought was just out to make a buck? That wasn’t me! It broke my heart the day I told a friend about something I’d just bought, and she thought I was trying to sell her something. It was a huge eye opener for me. That’s how people saw me, despite my best intentions to break that stigma.

But I couldn’t quit, because as I’d been reminded over and over, success was right around the corner.

Except, it wasn’t. I went on this way for over a year, telling myself that I could make it work because I loved the product. (Which, I did). Finally, one day I realized my heart just wasn’t in it.

The MLM business structure is great for some people, but it just isn’t one that works for me, and I couldn’t do it any more.

That’s when I realized I wanted to quit Young Living.

Originally, I was only going to quit doing the business side, and continue using the products as I always had. I could earn the little bit of passive commission I’d built up and use it to support my purchases.

But within a month, I realized my commissions were no longer even supporting the minimum requirement set by Young Living to earn anything!

I got curious about some of the more sustainable options I’d heard about in the past, but really didn’t think anything would come of it.

It brought me down a bit of a rabbit hole, though, because I ended up spending months researching different sources for essential oil knowledge and comparing other companies and their usage guidelines.

Red Flags and Bad Advice

Let me be really clear. Young Living distributors don’t have to be certified aromatherapists. In fact, part of my business training included encouraging me not to pursue a certification. “It’s a waste of time,” they said. “Don’t get caught up in anything that won’t make you money,” they said.

But…I got into this because I really wanted to learn more about aromatherapy. And part of why I chose Young Living was so that I could get advice I could trust, instead of all the conflicting advice online.

I continued to further my education on the matter outside the Young Living influence, and the more I did, the more red flags I started to notice.

See, as distributors, we’re trained to not just give a straight answer to safety questions. We can say something like “well, this is what works for my family.” And that’s fine sometimes, when what you’re promoting doesn’t affect someone’s health.

But, a lot of times it did.

In one group, a poster asked for help because she had a hormonal imbalance, and every. single. response was for one product. But guess what…that product does the exact opposite of what she needed. It didn’t matter, though. It was a popular product and everyone swears by it. (That’s the thing…they swear by everything)

Another poster was struggling with the Young Living shampoo and conditioner. Much less serious than the hormone imbalance, sure. But when 50+ people were trying to tell her it was user error that was causing her to lose her hair, I had to leave that group. I wanted no part of it any more.

The longer I watched, the more uneasy I became. And the worst part is that nothing seemed to change over time. The bad advice wasn’t getting corrected. It just kept spreading like wildfire.

And, so…that’s why I quit Young Living. It was a hard decision to make, after years of being such a loyal customer. But it had to be done.

What to Look for in an Essential Oil Company

Of course, deciding to leave the company was only part of it. I still love using essential oils and needed a source I could trust.

I asked around to a lot of my essential oil gurus and fellow crunchy moms. I’m in a lot of Facebook groups for natural living, so I did searches in there, too.

It turns out that, surprise, surprise…the world of essential oils is very divided. And, everyone thinks their company is the best. So, there was a lot of information to weed through.

In the end, I decided to write up a list of what I wanted out of an essential oil company:

  • Excellent quality control, from the farm lands to the final product.
  • Transparency with their testing results and ingredients.
  • A focus on quality education for their customers (vs the vague usage information I was receiving).
  • Actual certified aromatherapists on staff giving advice.
  • A good selection of blends and singles.
  • Ease of purchase – I didn’t want another MLM with all their rules and business structures and sales gimmicks.
  • It wasn’t a requirement, but I’d really hoped I could find a company with a philanthropic program similar to the YL Foundation, because I loved that my money went to support something bigger.

I wasn’t sure I’d actually find one single company that fit all of these requirements, but I was hopeful for at least most. If I could find a company that fit 5 out of 7 of my requirements without sacrificing quality, I’d be sold.

If not, I’d keep using what I was using as a customer.

I set out to research all the top companies I’d found by reaching out and searching my natural living communities. Over and over, I kept coming back to one company.

Plant Therapy.

  • Excellent quality control? Check. They even research the background and reputations of the distiller and farmer before partnering with them!
  • Transparency with their testing results? Check. Right there on every single product, you can see the link to their third party testing results. You don’t even have to buy the product first!
  • A focus on quality education from actual aromatherapists? Check and check. Plant Therapy has an extensive blog, videos, classes, recipes, and FAQ put together by their on staff certified aromatherapists. And you can even talk to them, too.
  • A good selection of blends and singles? Check. While they may not have as many options as YL, one thing I realized is that I don’t actually use that many. Plant Therapy still has a huge selection, and an extensive KidSafe line. I’m having a blast checking out all their options!
  • Ease of purchase? Check. I need an oil, go to the website, and add it to my cart. That’s it. No gimmicks. No required monthly orders. Plus, there’s free shipping in the US!
  • Philanthropic Foundation? Check. Check out their Planting Kindness page to check out some of the things they do!

Want to know the best part? These oils are about a third of the price of Young Living’s, because they’re not paying all of their distributors. Because, yes. That’s why the oils were so expensive. It was a gut check to realize that.

At first, I thought it was too good to be true, so I put in a small purchase of our most-used oils to compare.

We did some comparisons straight from the bottle, in the diffuser, and topically (with proper dilution). Hands down I can tell you there’s not a difference in quality. Especially not such a difference that I’d want to pay three times the price.

I guess that’s another reason I quit Young Living, and I didn’t even realize it at the time. I always thought I was paying for the quality, and unfortunately, I wasn’t.

Needless to say, my family will be buying Plant Therapy essential oils for the foreseeable future.

Want to give them a try yourself?

Get $5 Off Your $50+ purchase and FREE Shipping! Use code “5OFF”

Update September 2020: It’s been over a year since I left Young Living, and I haven’t regretted it once. In fact, I’ve recently made it my mission to learn about and review other top recommended essential oil companies to help you find the best fit for you! I love Plant Therapy, and feel like this post gives a pretty honest and thorough review of why I chose them, but if you want to learn about other companies, my first full review was on Simply Earth. You can learn about them here!

Final Thoughs on Why I Quit Young Living

Young Living does indeed make a quality product, at least from what I can tell. And I really do believe that their starter kits are a great deal to get you set up with a variety of oils to try from day one. Those two things are true.

But eventually I got sick of the sales gimmicks, bad advice, and overall business structure that put too much pressure on me.

I thought I was supporting one of the only truly high quality brands out there, but the more I watched, the more I realized it was all a marketing ploy. So much of what I was told was just a sales tactic.

We all just want what’s best for our families, and that includes finding brands we can trust. If that brand for your family is Young Living, then I 100% support that, and I hope it’s reciprocal now that you’ve read my experience.

But, if you’ve been considering breaking up with your favorite MLM brand, I hope seeing why I quit Young Living gave you some hope and some confidence. Because once you step back from that world, you’ll be able to see that there are so many companies offering safe, effective essential oils (with proof). So, have fun, shop around, and explore what’s really out there!

If you choose to give Plant Therapy a try, don’t forget you can get free shipping and $5 off a purchase of $50 with the code 5OFF!

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42 responses to “Why I Quit Young Living Essential Oils

  1. Shara

    I found Plant Therapy oils through a patient and agree. They are just as good, if not better than there MLM counterparts. I love that it is a family owned business who is upfront about their practices and quality controls.

  2. Gretchen

    Love Plant Therapy!! I have used them for years and truly stand by so many of their oils compared to YL!!

  3. Patti

    I have also heard good things about Revive essential oils. I just bought a few to compare with my doTerra oils. Have you tried Revive oils?

  4. Pg

    Interesting article.. Wrt YL.. I attended a launch and purchased the starter kit but was pleasantly surprised to see an email indicating my kit was en route.. So does that translate to pints for the person who gave me the kit from her boot after paying her Eft? So if I understand all my purchases going forward for my personal use will reflect under her “umbrella” account as I am sure others also purchased on the day and she earns these points to use towards future purchases?

    • She will earn a monetary commission for whatever sales she made, since she signed you up. In that way, it’s similar to any sales job. 🙂

      The points are in reference to their essential rewards program. You can earn points to spend later if you enroll and order monthly.

      Enjoy your oils!

    • Nur idayu binti nordin

      Hai angie.. I’ve read your content and tbh i was YL members also. One thing i want to know. As i already have about 3 type of diffuser from young living. Can EO from Plant therapy be used on Young Living diffuser? Please.. Answer me please

  5. Melissa Cayford

    Florihana is also an excellent company, based in France for us Europe based folk. I know what you mean about the essential oil business though. Glad you wrote this post, my mom does YL and is always trying to get me on the bandwagon.

  6. Kennedie

    I love Eden’s Garden EO. They also make blends and whatnot that are safe for the kids. I never once wanted to try the other popular brands. That isn’t my style. I hope you are happier with the decision of leaving and love your new discovery of Plant Therapy.

    • I don’t know much. I’ve seen a few ads on Facebook, but haven’t researched them very thoroughly. They do seem to have certified aromatherapists on staff, though, which is a plus! Another blogger I know has started using them. She blogs at An Uncomplicated Life. You might want to check out her post!

  7. Gretchen Dietz

    I’ve used Edens Garden oils and like them but my favorite company is Hopewell Essential Oils. They are a Christian based company, they are very helpful with advice on what oils work well for whatever problem you may have and their oils have worked very well for me.

  8. Debbie

    I also switched from Young Living. Love their products but I knew there was no way they should be charging those prices. I also researched and found a great company that I absolutely love. Simply Earth Essential Oils. I’m so glad the Lord showed me this new company.

  9. Kelly

    Thanks for your honesty! I want to start using oils and I keep being shown doterra, but the price point is far too high for my family right now. I have bought one thing from there but if I was to actually start doing oils, I knew I would have to find something cheaper. I’m definitely going to be looking into these! Thanks!

  10. Thank you SO much for this post. A good friend recommended Plant Therapy to me, and shared a FB group that’s unbiased about companies. I’ve been using Plant Therapy and I love the oils. Granted, I don’t have much to compare them to, but YL has never sat well with me. Not to mention, I still find the starter astronomically expensive (I mean, they’re only 5mL bottles!).

  11. Mahea

    I used young living too! And then I switched to Plant therapy just to try them. But I have found that I really like Enden’s Garden essential oils!

  12. Elena

    Which Frankincense from Plant Therapy do you use in your face cleanser? I have used YL Frankincense with my moisturizer for years and love the feel of my skin.

    • I haven’t actually bought any Frankincense from Plant Therapy, yet! I still have most of a 15 ml from YL that I’ve been going through. Carteri and Serrata seem to be the most popular, though, in that order!

  13. TJ

    I’m tying to get out of my monthly $60 obligation with Young Living and cannot find on their website how to do that….do you have any suggestions?? I signed up not to sell, but to be able to purchase a few things, but it’s getting too expensive

    • Hey! Unfortunately, you have to call for that. They don’t make it easy! Spend any points you have on file (otherwise you’ll lose them) and then call customer service and they’ll do it for you. My experience was pretty painless and easy. Good luck!

  14. Ashley

    Thank you for your honesty and I’ll say I’ve seriously been doubting the MLM strategy of this company too. I love their oils and I’ve had great success with them as you say the MLM part is not for me. That is the first and main thing that has slowly turned me away from this company. I belong to a secret group where we are all linked in the pyramid somehow and this is a group of thousands of women. When people new to the group post something simple just questioning the cost of the oils and how to afford them on a budget the first thing is they are all jumped on asking if they are promoting and selling. Many of these new members are quiet and shy like me. Plus they only bought the kit because it was more affordable. When joining this group we are told we will get educated on using oils which is true yet most of the stuff is step by step instructions on what to say, how to say it and even how not to say. I rarely even visit that group now. A few months ago I quit the reward program to save us money and within the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling about trying another company for oils and feel so guilty. But, the more I read about other former members leaving the more I can identify with them. I see I am making the right decision. I still plan to use a few of their YL products such as Thieves Cleaner as we love it a lot. Just last night I spent a few hours researching other oil companies and on my own discovered Plant Therapy. So I’m thrilled to see not just you mentioning it but others who have left YL tend to move to them too. I love everything I read about them and I’m excited. Thanks for helping me not feel guilty parting from YL. It’s nice to see I’m not alone.

  15. TJ

    Thank you so much for this blog entry. I’ve been using YL oils on and off for the past three years and I’ve recently been getting back into it full steam ahead.

    I’m realizing that I just want the oils to begin getting away from all of the chemicals put in our products (acne treatments, face cleansers, lotions, help with pain). I’ve been on information OVERLOAD and can’t seem to find one “right” answer, my head is spinning with all of the information out there!!

  16. Karen

    Yes, I’m considering leaving YL as well just so expensive and it’s crazy just to think you have to spend so much to stay qualified. Many people are saying it’s just too expensive. I have been looking at Revive, Plant Therapy, Vitality, Edens garden now will look at Hopewell. I’m from Australia and trying to locate Australian products, my head is swimming with all the different companies and just don’t know what is good or not.

  17. Thank you for this post. I am a registered nurse and an aspiring Aromatherapist, currently training. MLM companies are completely irresponsible in their business model, and the fact that it discourages furthering your education, erks me even more. I have never tried Young Living, or Doterra for that matter. I never will, based on their practice. Plenty of good quality essential oils out there without the nonsense. Plant Therapy included.

  18. I feel so much better about my decision after reading your article. Thank you so much.
    I only joined YL last month. I loved the products but didn’t understand the system at all, it’s very complicated. My sister and my daughter love EO’s so they signed up under me.
    I then learned that I was going to receive a $50US cheque simply because two people signed under me in my first month.
    Now, $50 is great, but that raised a red flag for me. Being paid to sign people up? Does that sound a little like a pyramid scheme?
    I’ve found a great online store in Australia called Australian Wholesale Oils. The show transparency, have a good range and are good value for money.
    So, I’ll be spending my bonus points and getting out of there ASAP.

  19. Katie

    YES YES AND YES!!! Oh my goodness. I started YL about a month ago, and the more research I have done by actual aromatherapists, the more concerned I have become with being a part of this community. I have done soooo much research on oil companies, and Plant Therapy has come up as #1 across the board. Thank you for your transparency! Your post just confirmed my decision.

  20. Robyn

    I’m so glad I found this blog. I, too, am a YL convict. Looking to ditch the high priced addiction, but am looking for something just as good. What is on the EO market is just mind boggling, to say the least. I got into YL under my two nieces and am going on 3 years. I’m glad I read on here to use up my rewards points before I quit, or else I would lose them.

  21. Fiza

    Hi there,
    I use both YL & PT. I am thorn between this 2. I love YL because I think the oils were like more concentrated but i am not sure. But I hate it at the same time because it is too pricey!! I enrolled in their monthly program so…yeah don’t know if I could keep up. I found PT later after a few months using YL. I love PT because well like you said, they are way more affordable. Should I stop that YL monthly order program? How do I stop it?

    1 more thing, I just hate that most YL distributors always say not to use the diffusers with other brand of essential oil as doing so will damage the diffuser. How on earth an essential oil is going to make a diffuser broken? Just say don’t buy other EO because I need you to keep buying from me.

    And can you tell me the difference of Kidsafe EO and the ones without kidsafe from PT? Is there a difference? Would really appreciate if you could clear it for me. Thanks!

    • Hey! You probably already got an answer to your questions by now, but in case you haven’t – There’s NO reason you can’t use other oils with YL diffusers. That’s a marketing ploy. As for kid safe oils from PT, they’ll have a special label on them! That just means they’re safe for kids under 10. Anyone can use those, but kids under 10 should only use those. Hope that helps!

  22. Hi
    So I’m the husband. I have been seeing what you have been talking about .. Thanks for that I was wondering if I was losing it :). I’m not a big fan of all the oils. Some are not bad but some don’t smell good to me. My wife has bought in totally to the biz side but like you, we are not seeing really anything come back. But she wants to spend more and more. How do I get her to see what I’m seeing and what you have just talked about .. Like you I’m not against all oils but I do feel the running as a biz is a scam.

    • Hi! Sorry you’re dealing with this. I don’t have a lot of advice, but perhaps keeping a profit and loss spreadsheet might help? Otherwise, I’d suggest sharing as many stories as you can from people who experienced the business and got out. Best of luck!

  23. Thank you so much for writing this blog.

    I have been doubting YL for a while now and I couldn’t figure out why, but now I know and it’s exactly what you wrote about.
    I wanted to start my business with YL but it just didn’t click and I was afraid to start, now I know why and I am so glad.
    I am not yet quiting YL, but I will defenitely quit the Essential Rewards section, I started on ”investigating” Plant Therapy, right after reading your blog.

    I am honestly so happy!

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