Essential oils have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. More and more people are turning to these concentrated plant extracts for their health, wellness, and home care needs.
With so many essential oil brands on the market, it can be tough deciding which one to buy from.
Two of the biggest names in essential oils are Young Living and Now Foods. But which one should you choose?
Here is an in-depth comparison of Young Living vs Now essential oils to help you decide which brand is right for you.
The goal of this post is to compare and contrast Young Living and Now Foods, analyzing factors like oil quality, pricing, company reputation, and product range. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to determine which brand best meets your essential oil needs. The key factors we’ll be looking at are:
- Brand history and reputation – How long have they been in business? What are customers saying?
- Oil sources and production – Where do they obtain ingredients? What extraction methods do they use?
- Product range – What types of oils and oil-infused products do they offer?
- Oil quality and testing – How do they check for purity? Are oils independently tested?
- Pricing and value – How much do the oils cost? Do the prices align with perceived quality?
- Customer service – Are they responsive to questions and concerns? Do they stand behind products?
Let’s start by looking at the origins and reputations of these two major essential oils brands.
Brand History and Reputation
Young Living was founded in 1993 by Gary Young. It follows a multi-level marketing (MLM) business model, relying on independent distributors to sell its products.
Young Living claims they control their product lines from “seed to seal,” meaning they oversee the entire production process from farming to bottling. This seed to seal designation is part of their quality story.
As an MLM company, Young Living has cultivated a passionate team of salespeople and advocates. Reviews of their oils are generally positive, with many fans swearing by their efficacy and purity.
However, some consider the oils to be overpriced due to the MLM model. The prestige positioning also leads some to question whether the quality lives up to the hype.
Now Foods entered the essential oil market in the late 1990s, expanding their extensive line of natural foods and supplements. Founded in 1968, Now Foods is a family-owned company known for making natural products affordable.
As a more value-oriented brand, Now Foods essential oils are praised for their low prices. However, some feel this means they cut corners on quality control compared to higher-end brands. Overall reviews are more mixed compared to Young Living, with quality being the main point of contention.
So in terms of company history and positioning, Young Living markets itself as a premium essential oil company, while Now Foods aims to provide affordable access to essential oils.
Oil Sources and Production
A key consideration when evaluating essential oils is how and where they source their ingredients. The production process also has a major impact on oil quality. Let’s look at how Young Living and Now Foods approach these factors.
As mentioned, Young Living takes a “seed to seal” approach to production. This entails:
- Owning some of their own farms to grow botanical ingredients
- Closely monitoring growing and harvesting methods
- Using low-heat steam distillation to gently extract essential oils
- Bottling oils on-site immediately after extraction
Young Living also uses a proprietary cold extraction process for delicate oils like rose, jasmine, and frankincense. This protects the plant compounds and aromatic molecules that can be damaged by heat.
In all, Young Living emphasizes complete control over their supply chain. They argue this results in a superior grade of essential oils.
Rather than cultivating their own farms, Now Foods maintains partnerships with trusted growers and suppliers around the world. Their website states a commitment to sourcing the purest botanical extracts possible.
Now Foods uses industry-standard distillation methods, primarily steam distillation. Some of their oils are also designated as USDA Certified Organic. This requires the use of organic farming techniques free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
While Now Foods doesn’t own their own farms, they invest heavily in laboratory testing to verify the purity and potency of sourced oils. Their production focus is on quality analysis rather than control.
The main differences in production approaches are:
- Young Living controls more of the farming and distillation process
- Now Foods relies on sourced ingredients and testing during and after production
- Young Living uses proprietary cold extraction for delicate oils
- More of Now Foods’ oils are USDA Certified Organic
So Young Living emphasizes vertical integration while Now Foods focuses on verifying ingredients from outside sources.
When it comes to the types of essential oils and related products available, Young Living and Now Foods have some notable distinctions.
The Young Living lineup includes over 300 single essential oils and proprietary oil blends. Some of their most popular blends include:
- Thieves – antiviral and immune support
- PanAway – reduces muscle soreness and pain
- Stress Away – promotes relaxation and mood improvement
Beyond essential oils, Young Living offers a number of essential oil-infused personal care products. This includes lotions, soaps, Roll-Ons, oral care items, Savvy Minerals makeup, and more.
Young Living also has several diffuser models to disperse essential oils in your home. Overall they provide a robust essential oil-based product ecosystem.
Now Foods carries around 100 of the most common single note essential oils like lavender, tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus.
They have a smaller selection of proprietary essential oil blends, including:
- Immune Booster – supports healthy immune function
- Sleep Ease – encourages restful sleep
- Citrus Refresh – uplifting and energizing
The personal care selection from Now Foods includes coconut oil, aloe vera, carrier oils for diluting essential oils, and empty roller bottles for DIY products. They offer a range of affordable options for essential oil use and crafting.
- Young Living has a wider variety of essential oil blends and oil-based personal care selections
- Now Foods focuses more on popular single note oils and oil supplies for DIY
- Young Living has a more robust lineup of branded essential oil products
- Now Foods aims to provide value-oriented options
So if you’re looking for pre-made blends, diffusers, and lavish essential oil experiences, Young Living likely has more to offer. For affordably stocking up on common oils for health or DIY, Now Foods gets the job done.
Oil Quality and Testing
Given the varying production methods and ingredient sourcing, how do Young Living and Now Foods stack up when it comes to oil quality and purity?
The Seed to Seal designation is Young Living’s primary quality guarantee. While they do internal testing, they argue their oversight during growing and distilling ensures oil purity.
However, Young Living does not provide third-party testing reports to verify the quality claims. So ultimately you have to trust their word and Seed to Seal promise.
Now Foods conducts its own in-house testing using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. This allows them to analyze for appropriate chemical constituents in each oil.
However, like Young Living, Now Foods does not employ third-party laboratories to verify their internal quality assessments. They rely on their own evaluation processes.
Some independent testing has found adulteration and impurities in certain Now Foods essential oils:
- Lavender was found to contain synthetics and fillers
- Eucalyptus showed signs of solvent residue
This indicates inconsistent quality, though other tested oils showed higher purity.
- Neither company provides extensive third-party testing data
- Young Living argues their farming and distillation process guarantees purity
- Some independent tests indicate quality issues with certain Now Foods oils
Without unbiased third-party verification, it’s tough to conclusively rate which brand has higher standards of quality control and purity.
Pricing and Value
Given the questions around oil quality, are customers getting good value for what they pay? Let’s break down the pricing structures.
As a premium brand, Young Living essential oils command a higher price point. For example:
- 15mL lavender oil = $32 retail
- 5mL thieves oil = $46 retail
- Everyday Oils Kit (10 oils) = $166 retail
Being an MLM company, you may get discounts buying from a Young Living distributor. But most oils range from $20-$50 for a 5-15mL bottle.
The premium pricing fits Young Living’s luxury branding. But it requires a substantial investment to build an oil collection. For the quality, the prices may make sense to some consumers.
True to their affordable positioning, Now Foods essential oils cost significantly less:
- 16oz lavender oil = $39 retail
- 4oz thieves oil = $55 retail
- Top 10 oils sampler set = $24 retail
Oils frequently cost under $10 for smaller sizes. And you can buy larger 4oz bottles of popular single oils for under $40. The low pricing provides easy access for casual or budget-conscious buyers. However, skepticism on quality means some view NOW oils as “you get what you pay for.”
- Young Living oils cost 2-3x times more than comparable Now Foods oils
- The premium pricing matches Young Living’s luxury branding
- Now Foods makes essential oils affordable to the masses
- But the low price also signals lower quality to some consumers
Overall, Young Living skews towards higher prices and prestige, while Now Foods emphasizes value and accessibility. Which you prefer will depend on your budget and willingness to pay for quality assurances.
How responsive a company is to customer issues also affects the shopping experience. Here is how Young Living and Now Foods handle service and support:
Young Living has a dedicated customer service team to field product questions, concerns, and complaints. They also offer a satisfaction guarantee – if you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, you can return it for a full refund within 90 days.
Many reviewers praise Young Living’s willingness to make things right if there are ever any issues. Between responsive support and the satisfaction guarantee, they appear to stand behind their products.
Opinions on Now Foods’ customer service are less consistent. Looking at reviews, some customers have had excellent experiences working with their support staff to address concerns. Others felt they received slow responses or no response at all from Now Foods.
When service issues arise, some consumers turn to third-party retailers like Amazon for returns or refunds. But direct support from Now Foods seems less reliable.
- Young Living has better reviews of direct support services
- Now Foods service experiences are mixed
- Young Living offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee
Young Living appears to provide a better overall customer service experience. But Now Foods support may also suffice if you encounter no issues.
To wrap it up, should you go with Young Living or Now Foods essential oils?
For those prioritizing quality assurances, the Seed to Seal promise of careful oversight from Young Living may seem worth paying a premium. Their vertically integrated process and satisfying customer service also boost the value.
For budget-friendly options, Now Foods gets you a range of common oils at just a fraction of the Young Living prices. Their focus on affordability makes essential oils more accessible. But potential inconsistencies in purity and quality control are trade-offs.
Ultimately, sample some oils from both brands if possible. Compare the scents, aromas, and how they feel on your skin. Get a first-hand gauge of their potency. Then you can determine if Young Living’s standards justify the higher costs for you or if Now Foods offers sufficient purity for oil uses.
Everyone’s nose, skin, and budget will have different priorities. Hopefully these key contrasts provide an informative starting point for deciding between Young Living vs Now Foods and finding your ideal essential oil brand.