Is Young Living Essential Oils a Scam? Has It Learned From Its Shady Past?!

Welcome to our Young Living Essential Oils Review!

Have you been approached by a friend or family member encouraging you to sign up and sell Young Living Essential Oils?  I bet a part of you is wondering what it is all about and whether you can actually make any money with it, or in fact whether Young Living Essential Oils is a scam…

We will answer all of your questions in our full review of their business opportunity today, and the answer might leave a sour taste in your mouth especially with some of the details around the owner and the difficulty you will find to make any real money with it too.

Just to be open and transparent, we are not affiliated with Young Living in any way and want to ensure you we will give you an independent review of their business opportunity in our review.

Let’s dive in with a quick Product Overview for you:

Young Living Essential Oils Review Summary

Product Name: Young Living Essential Oils

Founder: Gary Young & Mary Young

Product Type: Essential Oils MLM Business Opportunity

Price: $45-$265 + 100 PV ($100) per month

Best For: No One

young-living-essential-oils

Pros

  • Charitable Giving
  • Natural & Good Quality Essential Oils
  • Good Experience & Record

Cons

  • 94% of Distributors make an average of $1 per year!
  • The truth about MLM (99% of recruiters lose money)
  • Previous Lawsuits
  • Many Negative Reviews – Customer Service
  • Ongoing Costs

Summary:  Young Living Essential Oils is an MLM or Multi-Level Marketing Business opportunity in the essential oils market.  If you are reading this review, it is probably because you are wondering if it is a scam or a pyramid scheme, or even a decent business opportunity. Whilst I would not say that it is a scam, the owner and the company have history with the authorities and all MLM’s have an element of a Pyramid Scheme.

In 2014, the FDA issued Young Living with a letter about the way some distributors were misleading people into the recruitment side of the MLM business model.  But many active distributors thought it was the FDA calling out Young Living out as a scam.  Either way, the bigger issue is with the extreme difficulty it is to be successful within an MLM.

There are also a number of concerns about the products that Young Living offers too, from price to question marks about the claims made about how natural some of the products are.

MLM’s extremely difficult to succeed in, especially if you are new to the business model and when you factor in the expensive products that Young Living are selling, it makes it a tougher route to sell and make any profit.

Whilst I would not say it is a scam, it is not an opportunity that I would recommend to you.

Rating: 40/100

Recommended? No

Table of Contents

What is Young Living?

Young Living is an MLM or Multi-Level Marketing company, it is based in Utah.  Gary Young is the founder, we will get into Gary a little more detail shortly. But he founded the company to promote and sell essential oils to promote health and wellness benefits that these oils can bring.

Young Living has a ‘set standard’ for their essential oils, this is known as the ‘Seed to Seal’ with a value dedication to selling 100% pure, raw, uncut oils – this is to retain its ‘vital power’.

Young Living claims to be the only company that cultivates its essential oils on local farms to keep the costs low, but many do claim that.

There is a huge market in essential oils with many health and wellness benefits, but I am not really here to review the products or their benefits.  I am here to review whether their business opportunity is a worthwhile venture.  The health and wellness sector is highly competitive and your ability to sell these products will depend on the trust factor of the company you associate with, and unfortunately there are a few skeletons in Gary’s locker that would have us worried for a start.

Here’s a 5-minute promotional video to explain more about essential oils and the Young Living MLM opportunity…

So, Young Living looks like a great opportunity, right?  

But you’re clever enough to know this is just a marketing video…  Before we cover off that, let’s take a look at the founder of Young Living…

Who's Behind Young Living?

Gary Young & Mary Young started the company in 1993.  Gary always had a passion for alternative medicine, essential oils and life.  

When he was 24, he was involved in a logging accident which was almost fatal.  He now uses a wheelchair.  During his recovery, he started experimenting with essential oils.

Gary has also had several challenges to deal with whilst setting up Young Living, which include:

  • Being arrested and fined for practising medicine without a license in 1982
  • Having his Young Live Wellness Center shut down in 1988 for promoting misleading health cures
  • Being fined for the death of an employeein one of the lavender fields distillery of Young Living in 2000
  • Lawsuits against fraudulent medicine practices in 2005 (causing near-fatal kidney failure in a patient)
  • Firing 3 employees in 2007 who set up a rival company doTERRA (he filed a lawsuit against doTERRAfor stealing trade secrets… it got dismissed and Young Living were forced to pay doTERRA $2 million in legal fees!)

Despite all the setbacks Gary’s vision has got the company to where it is today.

The company surpassed $1.5 billion in sales revenue in 2017.

He also set up the Young Living Foundation in 2009 to provide education, schools, and housing to communities in need around the world.

Gary passed away at the age of 68 in 2018 from a stroke. But the company is still run by his wife and Jared Turner who serves as Chief Operating Officer.

If you want to know more about the founders then you can check out this Q&A about Gary.

Is Young Living a Pyramid Scheme

All MLM businesses have an element of a pyramid scheme.  Generally, it is when referring to the recruitment side of any MLM.  There are two ways for you to make money:

  1. Selling the Products for Commission
  2. Recruiting new distributors into your team.

Let’s be honest, selling expensive MLM products to others is a tough sell.  It can harm relationships as your friends and family become your first audience.  They may buy a few products to keep you happy, but there will never be a huge uptake unless you can master selling to people.  But even then, most MLM’s expect you to hit certain sales criteria a month to stay active.  That leads many to chasing the second option, which is where the pyramid comes in.

If you are able to recruit people into your downline (team) then you can earn commissions from their sales.  If they are able to recruit others into their downline, you can also get some commission too.

It starts to look like this:

MLM-pyramid-scheme-structure

The reason why is the person at the top of the pyramid is earning commissions from all that are underneath.  The person at the top, doesn’t actually need to go and sell any products as long as the guys underneath are.

Why’s that a problem, well most people are chasing the recruitment side instead of the selling side, so the pyramid tends to fail.  The top of the pyramid needs the distributors underneath them to support it.

A true Pyramid Scheme only resembles the recruitment side, they fail when people stop paying money into the system.  A true pyramid scheme is illegal.

As Young Living does have products, it is an MLM and therefore legal.

Here’s a 5-minute video that shows you how to spot pyramid schemes in disguise…

Success is Rare at Young Living

Less than 1% find success with an MLM scheme.  The commission structure is designed so that only those at the top of the pyramid get all the money, the guys at the bottom do all the work and receive next to nothing.

The people at the top of the pyramid know their stuff and are well trained.  They know that if they can encourage 100 people to sell under them, they are going to make money.  Even if it means you do not earn anything.

When you sign up for the program, you are going to get pushed into buying the largest order you can.  Your recruiter will tell you that the bigger your order, the bigger the commission will be.  This will be true.

But your recruiter, also gets a bonus.

They will then encourage you to sell these products to your family and friends.  They don’t care if you are going to make money, but they will also get a bonus if you get any of your friends to buy anything.

They know you are very likely to lose 99% of your money.  But if you buy $500 and then sell $250 to your friends and family, they will get a huge chunk of the proceeds.

If that 1 person at the top of the pyramid has 100 people who lose money but sell something, they will still have made a huge amount of money.

Whilst you sit there counting the amount of money you have lost!!!

There is also a good chance you will have lost some friends along the way if you keep putting pressure on to try and recoup some of your lost earnings.

Related Post: How to Increase MLM Sales

How Does Young Living Work?

Young Living has lavender farms all around the world to make sure all the essential oils come from sources you can trust.

The 6-minute video below goes into more detail about how the essential oils come into production…

There are 3 grades of essential oils, which have an impact on your health:

  1. 100% Synthetic Essential Oils (Perfume Grade)– They’re made up of chemicals to mimic the aroma but there are no therapeutic benefits to the body
  2. A mix of Synthetic and Pure Essential Oils (Food Grade)– They may contain synthetics, pesticides, fertilizers, chemical/synthetic extenders, or carrier oils. There are natural benefits but cut the costs.
  3. 100% Pure Essential Oils– They are usually made from organically grown plants distilled at the proper temperatures using steam distillation (these are used at Young Living and are typically more expensive).

To give you a better idea of what you’ll be promoting, let’s take a look at the product line at Young Living…

Young Living Product Line

Before considering any MLM business opportunity, it’s worthwhile checking out the product line as you’ll be expected to become the expert as part of the role.

There are 4 main product categories at Young Living:

  • Essential Oils & Blends – a range of oils with different benefits.  Prices between $15 – $80
  • Thieves – oils, personal care, and home care products that boost the immune system. Price between $15 – $80
  • Wellness Products – a range of vitamins, snacks, weight loss, and supplement. $10 – $100
  • Beauty Products – soaps, shampoos, facial care, etc.  $15-$120

There is a wide selection of products, which you can check out here.

The 47-second video below shows more about how to use one of the essential oils…

Something you should also know is that there are many other MLMs offering very similar products, some of the more popular ones are:

Now, let’s talk more about their business opportunity (which is probably why you’re here)

Haven't Made Your First $1 Yet?

Studies have shown that more than 70% of the people who want to make money online have not made their first dollar yet. So, you’re not alone!

How To Make Money with Young Living?

There are two ways to earn money in Young Living:

Retail Commissions

Like any legit MLM, you can buy products at a discount (24%) and then sell them onto others.  Things to consider, you will need to be able to hold stock and have a start-up budget to be able to buy products to be able to sell them.

Recruitment Commissions

The alternative route, and the one most strive for is recruiting a team.  Recruit new distributors under your umbrella and then earn commissions based on their sales, you will receive a 25% bonus when your new recruit orders products and 25% for every starter kit your recruits order.

But, please note that you need to buy at least $100 worth of products to qualify for the commission.

The company will always win, no matter if you are able to succeed or not.

Getting Started with Young Living

To get started with Young Living, it’ll cost you $45.  This provides you with a basic starter kit as an Independent Distributor.

You’ll get 24% off retail prices and you can then start promoting their products for a commission.

They also offer some premium starter kits (aimed at speeding up your success) with more products and samples.  These are priced between $150 and $265.

But these are not the only costs you’ll need to factor into your expenses, as there are monthly costs you’ll need to think about…

To remain active, and therefore eligible for commissions, you need to gain 100 PV (Personal Volume) each month.

What this means is that if you’re not able to sell $100 worth of product each month, you’ll be expected to buy $100 worth of product yourself.

It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to start selling straight away, and the MLMs know this.  So, what they do is guarantee themselves a customer, as you will need to spend $100 a month of products even if you’re not selling any to your friends and family…

Here’s what you should expect for the first year with Young Livin…

  • $45
  • $150-$265
  • $100 x 12 ($1,200)

Minimum Costs for Year 1 = $1,395 – $1,510

That is before you factor in any other costs and expenses that go with running a business, like training, marketing, fuel, travel, etc.

P.S. This program enabled us to Create a 4-Figure Monthly Passive Income Stream.  It’s Free to get started and costs only $49/month to go full-time!

Young Living Compensation Plan

MLMs love a complicated compensation plan, it’s so you think there are many different ways for you to earn money, but the reality is it is just the 2 ways we described earlier (selling or recruiting).

Young Living’s compensation plan describes 8 main ways for you to earn form their compensation plan.  These are:

  • Retail Customer Earnings(24% commission… this is your discount and you can sell them at retail price and keep the difference!)
  • Starter Kit Bonus ($50 bonus if you recruit someone that purchases the $150 Premium kit)
  • Fast Start Bonus
  • Rising Star Bonus Pool
  • Unilevel Commission(“5 levels deep” 8% commission of the people you sponsor, 5% on the people they sponsor, 4% on the next 3 levels)
  • Generation Commission
  • Generation Leadership Bonus (2-3% bonus on everyone in your team. You need 2 teams of 4,000 PV + 1,000 PV elsewhere)
  • Diamond Leadership Bonus

But when you breakdown these 8 ways, you’ll see that they are based on either:

  • Selling their products, or
  • Recruiting new members

But notice that 7 of the ways are all focused on recruiting?

Here’s a 7-minute video that describes their compensation plan a little more for you…

Or you can check out the official compensation guide here.

Is Young Living a Scam?

No, Young Living isn’t a scam.  They offer legitimate products and pay their members on time like they say they do.

But the reason why so many MLMs are labelled as a scam is down to the fact that they don’t reveal to their new distributors all of the facts, and don’t tell them how difficult it is going to be.

So, naturally after a few months of no sales and having to pay a monthly autoship to stay active, they leave and claim it is all a scam.

The remainder of our review will help you get all of the other details you need to know about this business opportunity, so you can then be in an informed decision as to whether this business opportunity is right for you.

Just to be completely transparent with you, I’m not a distributor of Young Living, nor do I endorse Young Living in any way.  I have researched the website, testimonials, and information available on the internet to get the details about what this program genuinely does.    I do this, as I have been caught out by a scam in the past, and am trying to help others avoid a similar fate…

Tired of MLMs? Check How We Make Money Online Here!

What We Liked About Young Living

Here’s what we liked about Young Living:

#1 Charitable Giving – Young Living Foundation

The Young Living Foundation does a lot of good.  It was set up in 2009, and helped children avoid being involved in trafficking.

It provides them with a safe place, with education and a loving family.  You can learn a little more with this 5-minute video about what the foundation has done in 2018..

#2 Natural & Good Quality Essential Oils

With Young Living having their own lavender farms, means they can control what actually goes into their products.  You’ll be surprised at how many “natural” essential oils are really fully of synthetic materials.

But by having their own farms they can control the ingredients and the price.

The last thing you want to do is promote essential oils that are actually man-made or synthetic.

#3 Good Experience & Record

Did you know that 1 in 3 MLMs don’t get past the ten-year mark?

Young Living is still going strong after 25 years (and more).  It generates billions of dollars each year, has a charitable foundation.  So i think it’s safe to say they are not going to be closed down any time soon.

What We Didn't Like About Young Living

Here’s what we didn’t like about Young Living:

#1 Really Low Success Rate

When you check out the Young Living income disclosure statement, it shows that 94% of recruiters earn a average income of $1 per month!

Not exactly a figure that could mean you leaving your day job, right?

young-living-income-disclosure

You may notice that there are some people that earn up to $262,864 a month.

But that percentage is less than 0.1%!!

As usual, these will be the members that joined the company early and got a head start in recruiting people.

#2 Controversy Over Products

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have issued warnings against the company in the past.

The company was found to be selling products that were classed as drugs, which they are not licensed to do.

The issue seemed to have arisen from MLM recruiters using phrases such as “combat Ebola virus” or other diseases.

fda-warning-letter

The complaint was resolved in the end, but it also shows that a company that had been in operation for more than 20 years, can still get itself in trouble over a technical issue.  This issue could have had the company closed down in an alternative outcome.

You can read more details about the FDA accusation here.

#3 Young Living Lawsuits & Founder’s History

You could probably tell this was coming from Gary Young’s struggles with the company earlier in this Young Living review.

class-action lawsuit was filed against the company claiming it’s a “cult-like” pyramid scheme in recent years.

Then there are reports that Mr Young  was a little wild too…

This side of him, created a lot of complication sin the early part of launching Young Living, which included fines for not being registered/licensed.

#4 Young Living Complaints & Negative Reviews

Young Living is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

For a company that has been running for over 25 years, this is quite rare.  It also shows numerous complaints from existing customers and recruiters.

young-living-bbb-complaint-1

Lack of communication and customer service are the most common complaint made about Young Living.  For a big company the number of complaints is a little too many to be dealing with.

This can affect your ability to make sales, or make recurring orders.

Haven't Made Your First $1 Yet?

Studies have shown that more than 70% of the people who want to make money online have not made their first dollar yet. So, you’re not alone!

My Young Living Review - Final Conclusion

Young Living is a legit MLM that offers some natural essential oil products.  They may be good and beneficial for people.

But when it comes to their business opportunity, we feel it is not a great opportunity…

The success rate is just really low, with most members only earning $1 a month.  But considering they have to spend $100 a month to stay active, that means they are losing money every month anyway.  Then there is the legal problems the company has had in the past, which doesn’t give consumers the confidence to buy these products in an already saturated market.

However, with the ongoing costs of $100 a month and the actual success rate of MLM recruits, it’s clearly not a great opportunity for most people.

If you use online marketing this opportunity could work.

Without it, you will be selling to friends and family, in reality.  Which really harms relationships

How We Make Money Online

I’m not a fan of MLM, not because it’s illegal or not profitable, but because of all the restrictions and expensive costs involved.

Instead, Affiliate Marketing is our top recommended business model for anyone looking to make money online

The reasons are simple…

  • You can promote anything you want and aren’t restricted to only promote products from one MLM company
  • You don’t have to recruit anyone to make money
  • You never need to sell to your friends and family
  • It’s free to get started

In fact, with affiliate marketing we’ve been able to Create a 4-Figure Monthly Passive Income Stream.  If you want to learn more, click here.

Thanks for checking out our Young Living Essential Oils Review!  iF you have any questions or comments to add, then please write them in the comments section below. 😉

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Young Living Essential Oils

$45 to $260