Young Living: 16 surprising facts you should know about their essential oils [Review]

ylYoung Living has been offering 100% pure essential oils for decades…

And they’ve gained a huge following as a result.

But do they live up to the hype?

Young Living is a health and wellness MLM company that sells essential oils and other wellness products.

Founder Gary Young was onto the power of essential oils decades before they became everyone’s favorite natural remedy, home cleaning base, and fragrance substitute.

Today, he’s called the father of the modern-day essential oils movement.

But should you get involved? Keep reading to find out.


1. What does Young Living sell? Young Living sells essential oils that are genuine, free of synthetic chemicals, and pure. They also sell home care products and cleaners, supplements and nutritional products, personal care products, and diffusers.

2. What are Young Living’s most popular products? Their essential oils—lavender, orange, and peppermint—are their flagship product and remain their most popular. But for true believers, essential oils should be used in cleaning products, skin care, and nutritional health. So Young Living is giving people what they want: natural, trustworthy products that replace chemical-laden alternatives.

3. How much does it cost to join Young Living? You can join as an Independent Distributor as Customer if you purchase at least $50 a year. Or you can join as an Independent Distributor as Business if you enroll in the Essential Rewards program and order $100/month. For either option, you’ll need a starter kit, which costs $45 to $260, depending on the diffuser you choose.

4. Is Young Living a scam? No, Young Living is a legit company with legit products. You do need to be a smart consumer and do your own due diligence. We love essential oils as much as the next person, but you shouldn’t believe claims that they can heal medical conditions or replace drugs. You should also be aware that claims about purity are often exaggerated.

5. What is Young Living’s BBB rating? A

6. How long has Young Living been in business? Since 1993

7. What is Young Living’s revenue?  $1.52 billion

8. How many Young Living distributors are there? 1.5 million

9. What lawsuits have been filed? In 2018, Young Living was ordered to pay competitor doTERRA $1.8 million in legal fees and other costs related to a long-running lawsuit that Young Living lost in 2017. In the case, Young Living alleged that doTERRA founders violated their employment contracts and stole trade secrets. The judge ruled that Young Living pursued the lawsuit in bad faith. [1] In 2017, Young Living was sentenced for the Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act violations and paid $760,000 in fines, forfeiture, and community service. [2] Also in 2017, Truth in Advertising called them out for making misleading income claims. Most of the instances listed appear to be fixed. [3] In 2015, the Environmental Research Center filed a complaint claiming some of Young Living products contain lead. [4] In 2014, Young Living was slapped by the FDA for promoting some of their products as drugs. [5]

10. Comparable companies: Melaleuca, Total Life Changes

So should you get involved?

Product-wise this company might be legit, but if you’re just interested in the business opportunity, there are better options out there…

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Either way, here are 16 surprising facts you should know about Young Living essential oils.

#16. The world’s “leading essential oil company”

Chances are you’ve seen someone with their products at some point, if you don’t own them yourself.

They’ve been around for a good while. Since 1993, to be exact, which is back before the essential oil craze even started. Back when Avon and Amway owned the MLM space.

And now, their sales for 2017 surpassed $1.52 billion, making them the largest essential oils company. They’re kind of a big deal.

#15. Huge market growth for essential oils

The market for essential oils has grown tremendously, and it’s only going to continue. Given that they’ve established themselves as market leaders, I don’t see this company losing ground anytime soon. [6]

#14. Global expansion

From a small Washington state farm to farms in Utah, France, the Middle East, and Ecuador, and they have offices in Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan, and Singapore. Young Living now sells in over 100 countries. [7]

They also have a farm in British Columbia where they grow black spruce trees for various oils, called the “Northern Lights Farm,” for public visitation. [8]

They’ve also been doing some pretty rapid expansion of their executive team. [9]

#13. Replaced their entire executive team in 2013

Well, they call it expansion. It’s more like replacement.

In 2013 they wiped their entire executive team clean and started from scratch, claiming that not everyone had the same interest in the company or shared vision as Gary.

It sounds a little shady and makes you wonder about stability, but after they replaced the team they experienced a huge uptick in growth, over 27% in 2013.

#12. Pretty much one of two empires

The other big player in this game is doTERRA, who has experienced a similar growth pattern but at almost double the rate. Young Living might not be the essential oils giant for long.

DoTERRA is newer, (founded in only 2008), so they have the advantage of being able to take over the hotspot without having to reinvent themselves. But can they hold their own against the OG, or are they just a trend?

The two rivals have butted heads on more than one occasion, with both having filed lawsuits against one another for false advertising and false lab tests as well as imitation. The courts did decide that the two oils have different compositions and dropped the case. [10]

#11. Started as a brick and mortar with humble beginnings

Young Living was once just a tiny brick and mortar on a street corner with one small organic farm and distillery. The owner tapped into his own farmland in Utah and Idaho when he discovered a budding interest in natural living.

#10. Always reinventing themselves

To keep up with the competition, Young Living just announced 15 new and rebranded products as well as their first ever over the counter products – plant-based cough drops and pain relief cream. [11]

As long as they do more than rely on what has brought them success in the past, they should be able to hold onto their market share.

#9. Mostly woman run

A lot of MLMs market themselves toward women and stay-at-home-moms, but they don’t all practice what they preach.

This MLM is one of the largest women-run businesses in Utah. Mary Young, the founder’s wife, is still an executive within the business, and about 90% of active sellers are women. Almost half the company’s C-level management team are women as well.

A spokesperson claims, “We’re role modeling women in executive-level positions. I think Utah County can ultimately lead out in shattering the glass ceiling.” [12]

#8. Developed their own standard for oils

Not all oils are created equal. In fact, most of the oils on the market are synthetic, especially if they’re cheap.

Young Living oils are so pure, they’ve even developed their own purity standard called the Young Living therapeutic-grade standard. They’re marketed as the purest oils on the market, never synthetic or diluted, 100% “seed to seal.” The company advocates often for industry purity.

#7. Founder is very passionate about the product

Founder Gary Young was in a nearly fatal accident that left him in a wheelchair and, tired of medications, he began to explore alternative medicine and healing. From that time, he developed products and advocated in the field of essential oils, even before most people knew what essential oils were.

May 12, 2018, Gary died following a stroke and other health problems. [13] Now, his legacy is being continued by a team as passionate about natural health as he was.

#6. Involved in sketchy dealings in the past

But it’s not all unicorns and rainbows with Gary Young.

He’s been involved in some questionable businesses in the past, including a Tijuana, Mexico, clinic in the 80s that ran cheap blood tests for Americans. One investigative journalist sent the clinic cat’s blood instead of human, and the scientists couldn’t tell the difference. [14]

#5. Huge variety of products blended with oils

From their original oils, such as lavender, orange, and peppermint, they’ve blended together an array of products from home living to nutritional supplements that include…

Home Products

  • Natural cleaning products
  • Healthy Cooking
  • Pet products
  • Family Health

Wellness Products

  • Multivitamins
  • Weight Management
  • Joint & Mobility Assistance
  • Energy & Stamina
  • Antioxidant Support
  • Age-Based Nutrition

Beauty Products

Because of this, they have a product for just about anyone. If you have a problem you’re dealing with, a Young Living rep will almost definitely whip out a product they claim will help.

#4. Basic starter kit is relatively cheap

It’ll run you about $45, which is pretty cheap, and it includes a variety of samples. More expensive kits include full product.

#3. Member support is not always free

Most of the conferences, workshops, training kits, etc cost money, and representatives have complained that there is not a lot of online media and support offered up for free.

#2. Complicated compensation plan

There are a bunch of different ways to earn money. Whether or not you can earn a lot of money, though, is up in the air. Aside from profit on personal sales, you get…

  • Downline commission. You get 8% of the sales off your first level, 5% off your second, and 4% on the next three levels.
  • Fast start bonus. 25% commission for the first 3 months on every new recruit’s purchases.
  • Member starter kit bonus. $25 for each new distributor you sign up who buys the Premium Member Starter Kit.
  • Generation commission. If you hit “Silver”, you get an extra 2% on specific sales from your team, and when team members hit “Silver” themselves, you get 3%.
  • Diamond profit sharing pool. If you hit “Diamond”, you get shares of 0.5% of Young Living’s commissionable sales.

#1. There is evidence that some of their products are synthetic

There have been many claims as well as a good amount of evidence (a lot of it buried by Young Living) that suggest their oils aren’t 100% pure and that many of them are, in fact, adulterated. [15]

During lawsuits between Young Living and DoTERRA, Dr. Robert Papas of Purdue University found that both had oils that use synthetic materials. [16] The lawsuits were therefore dropped by the courts. [17]


It’s no secret that essential oils are hot right now, just look at the Google Trends. But is there really an income opportunity here?

Sure, you might have a few friends you could sell oils to. But after those warm leads expire, how will you continue to sell?

Look, I’ve been involved with network marketing for over ten years so I know what to look for when you consider a new opportunity.

After reviewing 200+ business opportunities and systems out there, here is the one I would recommend:

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Meet the Author


JP teaches network marketers how to build a real business. Far from a hater, he still LOLs at 3-way calls and building "downlines". If you like Monday morning conversations with your kids by the pool, you might like this.

8 comments… add one
  • Someone Mar 16, 2017, 8:08 pm

    I was a member of the “nothing but oils” Facebook page among a few others and also a buyer of YL oils until today…

    Today I saw a post from this woman whom said:

    ” I have family that swears the smell of any oil makes them sick with headaches and nausea ANY suggestions to over come this… I may diffuse just a drop or apply on my body and still they react like I am evil incarnate because the get ill. and no it isn’t me.”

    Joni Jeager-reed stated: There is always gonna be people like that we come across Karen. Some are just overly sensitive . I personally just advise more dilution or taking the the oils in a capsule! Don’t let it get to you. Where one is different, there are 20 more waiting to hear about oils from you!!

    Another poster stated: Matthew , my son lives in a nursing home. He used to have a roommate that swore every time I diffused in the room his eyes would burn. well he was a bit of a drama queen to the staff & about everything that ever happened-i told him “no it doesn’t. you’d be the first person i ever heard that from!”
    that being said…i have heard but never researched to confirm, they people who have that kind of reaction to our oils have bodies that are toxic.

    Another poster stated: do you have any thoughts on this?

    I posted: I personally get headaches and allergy effects from diffuser but love the smells. I use a mixture of oils on my face with zero issues.

    A poster stated: It can happen with people who have sensory issues…However they would have similar and more exaggerated responses to synthetics too. Most likely it is people who are used to popular synthetic fragrances-it cab take some time to switch over out bodies. I did have a patient once who was sickened by the diffuser in the office. I was just diffusing lavender and she swore it smelled like rotten cigars and was burning her lungs (seriously? 3 drops in the diffuser only) Everyone else that day had commented on how wonderful it smelled. I knew she was very sickly and so attributed in to that.

    Now everyone, the next post submitted was by me in which I believed was a mutual fair and correct statement. Everything typed above I was able to screen shot and share but my next comment was Deleted and blocked from every Young living site possible therfor I am unable to type out exactly what was said. The words are not word for word but purely by memory of what I wrote.

    Everybody now a days has side effects to everything good or bad and that The negative side effects does not mean the product is bad or perfection but just may not be for them. That this is a money making buisness therfor sellers and avid users will always have a rebuttal in regards to negative side effects posted. I also stated that both sides of the fences may not like the post but its the truth. There was a bit more to the post and not demeaning in anyway but simply explaining to others that yes… the oils are effecting some people… EVERYTHING is this world has a side effect, good or bad but doesn’t declare it harmful to the world but harmful to some.

    I personally did not see anything wrong with stating the obvious! I did NOT bash Young living in any way… I did not ride the boycott train because I was a young living customer up until a few hours ago. There was no point/agenda or conflict with Young Living until now. I find it disturbing that I would be blocked and banned from Young living social media and such because I stated the harmless truth. Yes, people are in business with young living… Yes, this is for most their bread and butter to support their families but I find it frightening that they banish a member for involving themselves in a communtiy post about a product. Im sorry, I think that people would rather know the good and the bad of a product you heavily promote considering its all about ingesting,inhaling and applying. God for bid someone dies from this product because the Sellers would rather keep their pockets fat by only promoting how wonderful the product is and ignoring the potential side effects for some.

    Not every person effected by this product is sickly or insane. They are having their own REAL individual experiences. I will Never buy or promote Young Living ever again. I find something very wrong with the “CULT” mentality they have.
    I say “cult” because it is just that. I hope the FDA does shut them down and people open their eyes. Ive watched the Facebook videos that one member does and I knew I didn’t belong when all she does is crazy bulging eyes clearly showing she is not stable and her very own product is apparently messing with her nervous system.

    The Young Living Cult will respond with Im mad because I got kicked out or blocked… Im getting revenge… I didn’t have a problem with it until now…

    and the answer is yes, no. yes…!!!

    I am angry… I am angry for my freedom of speech being taken away because they felt their bread and butter was for what ever reason threatened without being asked. No explanation….just banned!!

    Revenge? Nah…

    If you read this post then you’d see if I had any issues prior to this…

    • Jeremy Page Apr 8, 2017, 4:58 am


    • Eizabeth Aug 17, 2017, 2:57 pm

      Agreed! The cult like mentality is real and they are rude. I promote doterra so obviously I’m the enemy and have had multiple Young Living reps attack this week for no apparent reason. My response to each is pretty much the same. Glad you found essential oils to help with your health and wellness needs regardless of company. Wish you all the best! They are just mean!

      • Beth Mar 6, 2018, 11:11 pm

        Calling all YL reps mean is not fair. I have a massage therapist who is a Doterra rep. She is having trouble growing the business. She loves her oils and we share oils between us. I am helping her grow her business because I respect her and her company.

        You just did to YL reps what you claim they do do to you.

        There is plenty of room for more than one oil company in the world. Support each other as advocates of health and well being.

        I don’t really do the business side. I love the oils and I use both YL and Doterra. I have some Edens Garden. Just make sure you all get oils from a good source. One thing that sets Doterra and You g Living apart from many companies is the FDA scrutiny.

        • JP Mar 23, 2018, 12:26 am

          I respect that, Beth.

          All the best!

  • R Moy Oct 5, 2017, 8:35 am

    I to this whole YL vs dõTERRA thing, but if there is one thing I know, it’s when someone feels threatened. YL is highly threatened by dõTERRA and the fact that it has grown rapidly. Also with the failure of YL’s lawsuit against dõTERRA as well as the more recent incident involving illegally obtained, endangered rosewood and spikenard, it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

  • Sarah Sep 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Yeah, not cool at all
    First off, their complan is not complicated at all, I learned through a free resource. You so not have to pay money to get the training for Young Livings Biz side. See Sarah Harnisch. Yes she wrote the top selling book on Amazon at which you can purchase, but her videos and yl strategies are free. In response to the DoTerra rep saying we are all rude… That’s in fact rude to say just that. It is rude to judge, especially if you aren’t familiar will all 3 million members. I advise you to do more of your research. There are going to be all kinds of different people working their business their own way. So Ms. DoTerra rep, dont be so quick to judge.

  • Robert Dec 20, 2018, 7:45 pm

    I cannot be near synthetic fragrances or essential oils. BOTH produce the same outcome. Skin, eyes, and respiratory irritation. Doesn’t matter where the oils come from. Same outcome.

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