I don’t talk about essential oils on my blog often (or at all?) because to a lot of people, they can seem New Agey and, in their (wrong) minds, worthless. Since chatter around them can usually be in the context of health and wellness, and many people love to diagnose the health issues of those around them, essential oils can be rather polarizing.
Also, saying you “believe in essential oils” makes them seem like these elusive substances that somehow only get magical powers “if you believe,” like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. But essential oils are in fact 0% magical and 100% science-backed. Which is why my family and I, supporters of a holistic approach to medicine that takes into account Western science + alternative techniques, use essential oils when necessary.
However, this post isn’t about the benefits of essential oils (EOs). (If you use them, good for you!!) Instead, this post is about what some self-proclaimed believers are saying about EOs and how they’re getting people to sign up to their little EO “clubs” under false pretenses.
Without further ado:
Welcome to another installment of reality stars selling out!
A few weeks ago I started noticing a reality star suddenly start going on and on about essential oils–but not just any essential oils, just the brand SHE endorses and (like thousands of others like her) happens to offer a “special discount” for.
I get it: some of us have to hustle and make money on the side the best way we can. In her case, it seems like she uses only her image and name as her best assets, which, at least she found out that that’s what works best, so kudos to her(?).
But sometimes, like with this particular endorsement, I just wish she knew better and actually promoted more worthwhile stuff.
This post is kind of a letter to those who are considering going along with her pleas to buy with her code.
Let’s back up a bit because you may want a bit of context.
The reality star (RS) in question shall stay nameless but she’s the wife of a guy who grew up on camera as the twin of a dwarf in Oregon and whose parents are also little people. My family and I are big fans of his family’s for always being/seeming genuine and down-to-earth. Our favorite is the family’s patriarch, who’s been overcoming huge obstacles his whole life, only to give his kids and now-former wife a great life.
Years ago, as I started thinking of a future with my now-fiancé, I even considered getting married on their farm because it’s a beautiful property and it’d have meant so much. But I digress.
The oils RS endorses are from a Utah company, Young Living.
I don’t think she could’ve picked a worse company to endorse and sell out to, which is kind of sad yet not surprising. Desperate times call for desperate measures?
But what do I know about essential oils?
Many years ago, my mom started going through pre-menopause. Oprah and others recommend hormonal replacement “therapy” but we’re not the kind of family who’d opt for something so drastic and so potentially dangerous.
My parents just knew in their gut there was a better alternative to hormonal replacement, and in his research, my dad discovered essential oils and all their properties and abilities. Among his many books on the topic, he has an almost thousand-page Bible-looking book on EOs that discusses each and every EO there is. It’s safe to say he knows that book backwards and forwards.
He spent several years learning about EOs and homeopathic medicine, studying which EOs can be combined, how they’re applied, how else they can be used, etc. You think it, I’m sure he learned it.
After years of research, he devised a truly novel (back then) way to “consume” these oils–soaps. Specifically, he decided to start making all-natural soaps with organic EOs and vegetable oils.
Well, the soaps did so well among friends and relatives, that they implored us to sell them. So my dad and I designed the packaging and I developed the website.
That venture is on pause for the time being but I know God will help us relaunch it soon, which is why I’m not sharing any other brand-related details.
My dad didn’t just learn about EOs in his research. He also came across stuff on Young Living. He was intrigued so he started looking into it a little more, and let’s just say he didn’t appreciate what he was finding (more below), which is why we never bought anything from them. (Well, maybe a couple oils to study the competition, but we never saw that company or its business model as a worthwhile “adversary.”)
Basically, you buy from that company if you don’t know anything about essential oils and you’re OK not knowing anything. You just buy for the sake of saying that you supposedly understand essential oils.
So to our family, who spent years researching and manufacturing natural organic soaps made with vegetable oils and essential oils, Young Living always felt too gimmicky and wrong.
Here’s why we don’t recommend Young Living:
Outrageous costs (but quality isn’t what it’s charging for)
The oils are drastically overpriced. Yes, good essential oils are going to cost more money, but in this case you are NOT paying for better quality. You are paying for layer upon layer of commissions for the reps and recruits. –Jackie
You pay more, not for quality, but for all the levels of commissions and bonuses. –Crystal
Along those lines, don’t forget that if a discount is always available, the stuff the discount is for has to be overpriced. Young Living (YL)’s EOs’ (and those of other multi-level marketing companies!) prices are so outrageously priced that we always wondered what else could’ve been going on.
And in case it wasn’t clear from the quotes above, YL practices multi-level marketing (MLM), which some refer to as a Ponzi scheme. This means that those companies are in the business of selling connections instead of products: A rep’s job is to get you and everyone you know to sign up under them and buy their stuff–not actually help solve your needs.
Nonsensical quality claims (and sub-par quality, in general)
YL also alleges it’s the only company with pure therapeutic quality EOs, so they’re safe to use undiluted on the skin. Ironically, in her copied-and-pasted sales pitch, this Reality Star claims that there’s no governing body that regulates this industry’s standards or allegations. But then a few lines later, she states that YL EOs are “100% therapeutic grade.”
That doesn’t mean anything, however:
First of all, there are LOTS of companies who sell pure, high-quality essential oils and even have them tested to prove it. (Meaning: No, “there is no universally accepted independent body that certifies essential oils as therapeutic grade…”)
Second, there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade.” Who is grading them? There is no certifying body for essential oil quality.
According to this RS:
Most of what you will find at the grocery store is either another ingredient altogether or has toxic fillers in it.
Young Living essential oils aren’t a magic cure-all. They’re not even certified organic. Neither are doTerra’s, yet both companies charge more for their products than organic brands do for offerings of a higher quality (the lack of pesticides and herbicides).
There are a number of respected, quality brands of essential oils; many are available at health food stores, Whole Foods, [Sprouts,] or online. In most cases, what you’re able to find at health food stores are therapeutic-grade products, like those made by Simplers Botanicals, Aura Cacia, Now, or Mountain Rose Herbs.–Organic Authority
You buy into a scheme (and sell your soul in the process)
And perhaps the best part: What members get upon sign up (I swear Reality Stars in general must think the regular public is plain STUPID!):
Yes, you get access to the infamous 24% discount (meaning stuff is at least 24% overpriced), but you MUST agree to sell your soul by signing other people up and commit to buying a specific amount of product each year.
EO Blends (just don’t)
Another (perhaps smaller) beef I have with EO reps and the gimmicks they represent is when EOs are mixed and packaged as a magical mixture under silly corny names, mainly because some EOs aren’t meant to be mixed! Therefore we recommend you stay away from pre-made combinations.
Copied-and-pasted (not researched) sales pitches
Last but not least, if you ever come across her statements/sales pitch on EOs and think to look up various parts of it, you’ll find that somehow hundreds of people came up with the exact same statements she makes. For example:
Essential oils for aromatherapy use are available from many suppliers who do not make ridiculous claims and whose prices are not inflated by dubious multilevel marketing practices. –Dr. Eva Briggs
You’re really better off staying away from a company founded by “a man with no training, with inflated credentials, and a history of arrests for health fraud.” (Check out this more detailed overview on non-doctor “Doctor” Gary Young.)
When it comes to essential oils, you MUST do your own research, There’s just no other way about it.
Also, be smart and think twice about believing a bunch of people who copy and paste the same sales pitch from a company who overprices its goods for the sake of its business model.
And when it comes to EO brands, I don’t recommend any, although our family does have a few favorites–none of which sell overpriced EOs or practice MLM. Contact me if you’d like more info. I don’t gain any benefit from sharing any names with you.
Do you use essential oils? Which have you found that you like the most?