In this age of social media marketing, MLM essential oils are everywhere, being marketed as the best, the purest, as ingestible and “certifiably” graded by a trusting salesforce of “consultants”.
I don’t fault the consultants too much, except for the fact that they have failed to do their due-diligence in determining the truth of what they’ve been told.
MLM Essential Oils: How it Works
Like any multi-level marketing plan, consultants or distributors join the company, usually “under” another consultant, who then becomes their “upline”…they becoming the “downline”. To join these consultants must usually buy some introductory “kit” which comes complete with product and a plethora of marketing materials all designed to brainwash…er, convince…or teach the new consultant about the particular products…essential oils which they will be selling.
These consultants are able to buy their own oils at “wholesale” prices and then are to turn around and sell them to their friends, neighbors, family and anyone else that comes across their trap…er path…at a ridiculously high marked-up retail price.
TRUTH: The markup of MLM essential oils, even at the wholesale price, is between 400% and 600%, the same price mark up of most jewelry! So if the wholesale price is 500% above the price the company actually pays for the oil, then the retail price is going to be marked up 600% to 1000% higher than the price paid for the oil!
That’s a RIPOFF!
MLM Essential Oils: False, Misleading and Inaccurate Claims
I was taught that one way to tell a false claim was when the words “always” and “only” were used, or words that end in “est”
(greatest, purest, best, and other superlatives).
You don’t have to listen very long to an essential oils MLM consultant talking about her product to find
these words cropping up frequently:
- "Our essential oils are the ONLY essential oils that are therapeutic grade"
- "The ONLY essential oils that are safe to ingest (take internally) are ours"
- "We diligently scrutinize every step of our production process to bring you the purest products earth has to offer" (Whew!)
- "Only one company can make this promise…only..." of course that one company is theirs.
- "…we use the most exacting standards possible to make our products, your life, and the earth better." (Talk about hyperbole!)
The truth you won't be told by any MLM essential oil consultant
- No governmental agency or authority sets purity standards for essential oils.
- No governmental agency or authority certifies or grades essential oils.
- MLM companies do their own certification on their own oils (that’s like asking the fox to guard the hen house!)
- No grading scale exists for essential oils (except in the marketing minds of MLM companies). So terms like “therapeutic grade”, “aromatherapy grade”, “fragrance grade” and “medical grade” are just marketing buzzwords designed to fool the buying public.
From one essential oil MLM’s website:
“Any time you hold a bottle of our powerful essential oils, you are holding the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals that can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, incorporated into massage, or taken internally”
Notice the “our”? Do you also notice how they say these oils can be “taken internally”?
The Most Dangerous Claim of MLM Essential Oils: Safe for Ingestion
Probably one of the most dangerous claims being passed around and taught about essential oils by these “marketers” is that
the “pure essential oils” by their company can be “taken internally” or ingested.
Here’s why these claims are not only false, but downright dangerous:
- The only deaths associated with essential oils have come from ingesting or swallowing them.
- The “pure essential oils” by these essential oil MLMs are NO DIFFERENT in quality and purity than most other 100% pure essential oils. No different! So saying that their oils are pure enough to be ingested is an outright lie!
- The folks making these claims are, for the most part, NOT trained, certified and licensed aromatherapist in good standing with the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy. They’re sales people. At the same time the companies are making unsubstantiated claims solely for the purpose of selling their high-priced oils.
- No one knows yet what stomach acid does to the integrity of essential oils.
- Pure essential oils are so strong and powerful that they should be diluted before applying to the dermis (skin) because they can cause negative reactions when applied full strength.
- Only a couple of oils in their purest form are gentle enough to be applied full strength to the skin. One of those is Lavender Essential Oil, and it is one of those that should NEVER…NEVER be ingested! Yet, these MLM consultants are taught that “because God made these pure oils” it’s okay to ingest them, including lavender!
Why Am I Going After the MLM Essential Oils Companies?
It may seem that I am targeting essential oil MLMs, but the truth is that having been party to other MLM experiences and been exposed to the practices of MLMs from the inside, I’m convinced that they ALL practice deception, exaggeration and mind control to sell their overpriced products. However, regards the essential oil MLMs, here’s a direct quote from www.quadrivium-supplies.com’s owner in the comments section when he/she responded to someone who asked in their choice of MLM was the same as the particular MLM at the forefront of that particular article:
“I don’t know much about DoTerra, except that they’re another pyramid scheme. Can’t attest to the quality of their oils, but I do know that like Young Living, they inflate the prices on them. Still, if you can get it easily, and if you’re satisfied with the quality, there’s no reason not to use those oils, as far as I’m concerned.
The issue is finding an essential oil provider that you trust. For some people, that’s DoTerra or Young Living and that’s *awesome* for them. They like the oils, it works for them, end of story.
Where I start having issues is when the companies (and distributors) start making misleading claims, or providing information that they know to be incorrect, and manage to convince whole swathes of otherwise rational people that these particular oils are the ONE TRUE ESSENTIAL OIL and no others deserve the title. That’s the part that bugs me.
Really, all you have to do is read some of the comments on this entry to see just how far the Young Living rabbit hole goes. I don’t publish the email that I get about this blog entry, but some of the stuff would curl your hair. Huge long screeds about how I’ve been duped, I’m a shill for the FDA, I’m not really an oil user, etc. If I hadn’t been convinced Young Living was a scam before, the way the distributors behave when someone criticizes the business model and prices would set off a lot of alarms.”
I couldn’t have said it better. Then the very next reader comment was exactly what I’ve been seeing:
“I know a lot the only people who benefit in a MLM company are the ones at the top. There is also an eery cult like aspect that is disturbing. I’ve found better oils, much cheaper-minus the hype."
Actual MLM Essential Oil Companies or Brands
Here’s a partial list of MLM companies selling essential oils:
- Young Living
- Simply Aroma
- NYR Organics
- Essential Oil Exchange - While not actually an MLM, it is a wholesale membership site, where you get a huge (50%) discount for buying product, which you can then resell. I didn't see that members earn extra income by building a downline. However, for those that don't want to pay that $10 per month membership fee the prices are quite high.
You might also enjoy this article: http://everblossom.net/2014/08/non-mlm-essential-oils-2.html. Love what she says about the cost of essential oils sold by MLMs, plus her explanation about “organic” vs “non-organic”.