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Primer to Our Next Hack:
What are Essential Oils?

by Angie on October 9, 2013

Oops. I didn’t post yesterday. Forgive me. I actually did have this post entirely written yesterday, but I was traveling all day and when I got home from my 7-day trip, I just wanted to hold and kiss my kiddos. Instead of connecting to the internet and uploading this post, I was 100% mommy and wife and it was awesome. No regrets.

sam and mom on plane

Sam and I had a great trip to Utah this past week. She’s a cute girl who loves being in Utah with the Utah cousins. In her opinion, Utah is heaven and Virginia is a porta potty.

We are working on altering her perspective, since it doesn’t sound like much fun to (think you) live in a porta potty when in fact your life is pretty sweet.

On that note, tomorrow’s “Life Hack for Mediocre Moms” will be MANAGE YOUR MOOD. But before I can attempt to share with you how I’ve been managing my moods, and helping my family do the same, we need an Essential Oils 101 primer.

I’ve learned so much lately about natural ways to, as a mother of 4, take basic healthcare into my own hands. It’s time for me to stop being selfish and start sharing my experiences with you. I think of each of my blog readers as a dear friend. If you were sitting at my kitchen counter there is no doubt we’d have a conversation about my “oil box”. So let’s dive into it right now!

I started experimenting (in secret) with pure therapeutic grade essential oils almost two years ago. I was so annoyed at first that they actually work! ha! I didn’t want to change the way I do things. I was perfectly content jaunting off to my friendly neighborhood pediatrician with the kids at regular intervals.

Back up.

Are you familiar at all with what essential oils are? Have I lost you already? Do you know anybody who uses them? I’m still learning about the oils, and I’m no expert, but I’ll try to tell you what I’ve learned so far.

what are essential oils

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are found in every living plant. When you take a part of that plant (roots, leaves, bark, sap, fruit, etc.) and either steam distill it or cold press it, very small amounts of a pure oil can be extracted from the plant. These oils are volatile aromatic compounds that not only smell unique and lovely, but can have various therapeutic and medicinal properties. The oils can be diffused and inhaled, applied topically to the skin, or (if processed at the highest purity and quality standards to match certain chemical standards) ingested.

There are MANY types/brands/qualities of essential oils available today. The FDA does not regulate essential oils, so it can be difficult to know how pure an oil on the shelf at a health food store actually is. Even when the bottle says, “100% pure essential oil” it can actually be diluted with carrier oils and contain other ingredients.

My Favorite Oil Company Carries the Purest Oils Available

Some of you might be brand loyal to an essential oil company like I am. I respect that. I’ve decided to buy my oils from a specific company, and I invite you to email me if you’d like me to tell you more about them. AngieEssentialOils@gmail.com. They are the largest distributor of therapeutic grade essential oils and their potency and purity standards are the highest in the world. They source and process them for absolute purity and chemical and therapeutic consistency. Basically, my fave oil company is an oil snob and won’t compromise. (I can write a whole post on the process that they go through to get their oils if you want me to. Let me know.)

My favorite oil company goes to great lengths to source their oils from very specific regions of the world, because where a plant grows can greatly effect it’s chemical make up (and thereby it’s aromatic and therapeutic properties). Frankincense from Egypt is different (chemically) than Frankincense from Oman.

frankincense resin

Let me give more specific examples: my favorite oil company buys their lemongrass from a specific rural, mountainous region of India, because the oils derived from the lemongrass grown high in those remote mountains (by native generational farmers) is the very best lemongrass oil on earth. It would be cheaper and much easier to get lemongrass oil in the U.S. But it’s not an option for this oil company. Purity and potency are the priority, so the lemongrass must be from India.

Another example: the absolute finest lemons in the world (by taste, smell, and chemical qualities) grow in certain regions of Italy. The lemons there are very expensive. But the Italian farmers in that region have been cultivating a specific breed of lemon for several generations and share the high quality standards that my favorite oil company requires. Buying lemons from Florida would be much cheaper, but the essential oils produced from those lemons would not meet the highest purity and quality standards. (Again, please email me at AngieEssentialOils@gmail.com to learn more about how to get oils from the company I trust).

My favorite oil company has very specific quality requirements for their oils that are determined and revealed via gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (whoa! science in the house!) I said earlier that the company carefully selects it’s growers. When a vat of oil arrives from the growers, it is tested for purity and quality. If the batch does not meet the stringent purity tests, it is rejected and shipped back to the farmers. The oil quality is tested several times throughout the bottling process to ensure purity end to end. (If you want to know more about the tests the oils go though, I can write more. Let me know).


My Issues with Network Marketing/Direct Sales

Once the oil is bottled, it is ready to be sold. That’s where I got hung up, personally, by many essential oil companies, including the one I LOVE. My favorite oils come from a network marketing/direct sales company. Their oils are shared person-to-person, and purchased via wholesale memberships. For example, my brother told me about the oils and I signed up to be an “independent product consultant” so that I could buy the oils at wholesale price for myself. My brother is my “upline” enroller and the people who shared the oils with he and his wife are “up” from him. If and when I share the oils with friends of mine, they can choose to either buy the oils at full retail price from me (expensive idea), sign up for their own wholesale membership (many perks and discounts), or become a preferred member and receive a smaller discount and less perk$. Perk$, as in- you can make a small commission off of the oils bought by those IPC’s and preferred members “under” you.

“Upline.” “Under.” “Commission.” “Wholesale.” “Members.”


Maybe network marketing companies don’t bother you. But they have bothered me in the past. I never attend a “home party” for a company. Ever. Be it Mary Kay, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, Usborne Books, etc. I sorta detest that whole “come to my party and buy stuff so I can get free product and make money off you, my dear friends” set-up. I won’t deny the quality of the products sold by those companies. And sometimes I’ll order product from a friend who sells them (via the catalog or just by stopping by their house), but I don’t go to the parties. They don’t feel party-ish when the sales lady let’s me pick a “prize” from the “basket” and the prize = I get to throw my own party next week!

mary kay party

My husband hates these types of companies passionately. He detests the thought of the people “above” you making money off of your purchases. And how some people in these companies begin to see their friends and fellow church/community members as business prospects. Relationships can really be ruined over the poor business practices of well-intentioned, but socially inept direct marketers. Amway, anybody?

This reason alone is why I’ve been using the highest quality essential oils in secret for almost two years. I was just plain old annoyed by the company structure, gosh darnit!

But. It is what it is. And I’ve done my research. I’ve listened to the executive team of the company and vetted them personally. These pure therapeutic grade oils are unlike anything you can buy at the store. If you had to choose between a $4 bottle of lavender essential oil and a $21 bottle of lavender essential oil, both sitting on the shelf at Whole Foods, which would you buy? Probably the $4 one, right? Me too. And it would smell pretty nice. And be diluted and impure. It would not have the therapeutic qualities that the $21 bottle had. But how were you supposed to know? The shelf on the store just didn’t teach you enough.

That’s why these oils are best shared person-to-person. They need to be shared with education and experiences. Once you sign up for your own wholesale membership, you can buy them for yourself whenever you want and you don’t need your “upline” to help you– BUT you could rely on your “upline” to help you if you needed help/information/advice.

I, however, tend to rely on Google searches or a book called Modern Essentials to help me learn more about the oils and how I can best use them.

And to address the concern about the people “above” you making money off your purchases or your own sharing of the oils… I’ve decided I sorta like the idea of people who work really hard to share the oils and teach their teams about how to best use the oils making some money. Work hard/share a lot/mentor your team = get some money. It seems fair. My favorite oil company is structured in such a way that only those who are actively sharing and working in the business are making good money. You can’t sit at the top of a group and do nothing. That would be like a pyramid scheme and that’s dumb.

With my favorite company, the magical thing is that the PRODUCT is the strength and the life of the business. Even if there were no business opportunity associated with the oils, we would still be ordering them EVERY SINGLE MONTH because of the value they have added to our lives. That’s the secret to a good network marketing company. Products that sell themselves and stand alone in their value!

Dare I say that I might prefer a network marketing/direct sales structure better than I like the way corporate america is often set up. In many corporations the minions work long hours, knuckles to the grindstone for the same $/hour each day, but the executives make the big money profits and bonuses.

And honestly, if an individual was looking for a way to make money, I can see how being an active, hard-working consultant could be a really smart choice. Sharing the oils with those around you isn’t really “work” anyway. It’s kind of ridiculous how easy it is to talk about the oils with those around me (and I’m not even trying). In fact, now that I’ve “let the cat out of the bag” and told a few friends about the oils, people seek me out and ask me questions about the oils everywhere I turn (much to the annoyance of my husband, ha ha!)

Authenticity of My Oil Experiences

My experiences with essential oils are real, authentic, and not driven by dollar signs. I hope you don’t mind me talking about the oils from time to time on this blog. Seeing as how this blog is titled “Angie in the Thick of It,” I figure I can talk about whatever I’m “in the thick of” or what I happen to be thinking about/doing on any given day. Right? The oils topic was bound to come up, folks.

You are going to learn from me that using essential oils is a green, holistic, natural way to care for your family and home. The oils are extremely intriguing and the “books” are filling up with valid “experiential” and “experimental” evidence to prove their potency and value in the realm of natural health.

Anyhow… wow. There was your Essential Oils primer lesson. I sorta feel like I just had quite the in-depth discussion out loud with myself. Are you guys okay out there? Did I ruffle any feathers? Make anybody mad? Peak some curiosities? Do you guys need some oils to calm yourselves (me) down?

Ah. That’s tomorrow’s post.

Email me at AngieEssentialOils@gmail.com to talk to me more about oils, ok?

If you have any general questions you want me to address, lay them down in the comments. Tomorrow we’ve got “Life Hack for Mediocre Moms #7: Manage Your Moods” coming your way.

Peace Out. -Ang

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly October 9, 2013 at 8:49 am

I feel like I keep hearing a lot about EOs lately! Maybe because they just had their big conference? I’m really intrigued by them, though. It seems like they could be very beneficial for a lot of different things. I just no clue where to start or how to know which oil or blend to get for different things. Like, people say to experiment and find what blend works for you, but that’s a lot of money to spend on an experiment, kwim? Anyway, I’m rambling. Excited to hear more about the mood stuffs tomorrow. :)
Jillian @ Hi! It’s Jilly recently posted..Framed Burlap Pumpkin Tutorial and Fun Fall DecorMy Profile


Laura @ House Of Joyful Noise October 9, 2013 at 9:06 am

Oh Angie…I could have written your post word for word! All of the same kind of things (like, exactly) have been swirling around in my head, and I have been overwhelmed by it all. So much so, I didn’t know how I would ever organize it into a post. You did it! I may need to just link to your post here sometime. LOL I mean, it’s practically my story. I’m even an Amway Kid! Meaning…my parents were heavy into it for some years.

I too have BLOWN away by doTerra oils, and they have changed my family’s day to day life. I learned about the oils casually first….but soon realized, UGH….it’s a multi-level marketing co? Shoot me. But ut-oh…..too late….already too deep in love with sheer medicinal/mood power of these oils, and there is no turning back now. There’s no way. Still….seeing words like ‘upline’ and ‘PV’ and such MLM-language, gives me twinges. However, it is very refreshing to realize, doTerra still doesn’t work quite like other MLM companies. It’s far more fair and worthwhile, just as you explained. I have said I have no interest in the business end, but having such a passion for the oils, I can’t stop talking to people about them. Then they want to buy them (by accident) and I start thinking, well, they might as well buy them from me, and that will support my need to keep buying these oils! LOL. I don’t know.

Anyhooo….a very well written post I could obviously relate to! Thanks for getting it ll out for me. LOL
Laura @ House Of Joyful Noise recently posted..Going All Natural In a Toxic WorldMy Profile


Angie October 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm

laura, sorry it took me so long to get back to your comment!! i am glad we can identify with each other! honestly, why MLM’s?? WHY?? Guess who else was an Amway baby. This girl. We would go on road trips as a family and all we would listen to on the radio were the motivational tapes on how to create “a pipeline” of residual income. so. much. fun. ugh!

and… yeah. my bro got into doTERRA and i laughed in his face for being such a fool. and he signed up my mom and dad. and then he put me under them. so here we are. in the biz “together”… much to my annoyance and entertainment! irony.

sell em, girl! why not you?


jaksgirl October 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I have been a secret Doterra IPC for a few years myself. I find people just don’t get the value of essential oils and are very reluctant to try them. I will sing their prises to anyone who asks though…but that’s they key… they have to ask. I would never push them on anyone (although I want to sometimes, they are amazing!)
Doterra’s quality can’t be beat, for sure. I can’t stress to people that are just starting out with oils to be casreful that they are getting the best possible grade of oil (DOterra of course) and that they are all not equal!
I have a book that is my go to for my oils: Modern Essentials, A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils. It tells you what oils are good for what ailments and all kinds of good info. It’s based on Doterra oils as well so that’s handy! It’s good to have on hand at home, I reference it a lot.
It’s always to hear about someone else who loves their Doterra oils as much I do! I get very passionate when talking about them too!


Angie October 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm

ah! the book! the great book!! i actually am lucky enough to have 3 of them. my brother left them at my house and i never want to give them back! sometimes though, i forget that i have them and i just google my issues/questions. i really like the site: everythingessential(.me?) Great testimonials in there too. Stop being shy about your oils, lady! oil it up!


Rachel October 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Love it! I put off using doterra for years now, because I knew I would like it, and I knew it was expensive. After last winter of having my 3 kids at the doctors office over 10 times with antibiotics prescribed, (but not filled because those caused so many other problems with little help to actual problem) it was time to take the plunge.
People always ask me if I use them, (guess I’ve got “the look”?) and I admit I lie half the time, because I don’t want to have to explain myself or convince someone that I know what I’m doing with them. : )
Sorry so long…I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences with it! Yay!
Oh, and my skeptical husband was convinced after a usual cold lasting for 2 weeks was cut down to 4 days with one of our “sickest” kids! Wahoo!


Angie October 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

ah! the skeptical husband break-through moment! i’ve had mine too! i know it must sound crazy to people, but the oils REALLY DO WORK, and there are simple scientific, chemistry-based reasons why. it’s just so simple that it seems odd. right? i’m glad you are looking forward to hearing about my oil experiences. i worry that many readers will be annoyed. maybe i’ll do a post a month? or two? or guest blog about the oils on other blogs? idk!


Lauren October 10, 2013 at 12:36 am

I love essential oils AND I hate MLM. Can we be BFFs? Oh, we already are? Well, then I guess you can be my doTerra rep. I’m still working through a set I got from Amazon from I’m thinking of making an investment in doTerra eventually.


Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

um. eventually? this month. for real. the promotion they are running is AWESOME and i am sincerely super jealous that they didn’t have it when i signed up. no pressure or anything :-)) you wanna do a little google hangout webinar type thing with me and a couple other friends that are spread across the country? i’d like to try it!

ps. i miss you, friend. why so far?


Eric October 10, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hi Angie – you described exactly how I feel about the oils. Network marketing – ugh! But, what I do like about doTERRA is that’s it’s so not about selling first. It’s about product and education. And, it’s as low key as network marketing can get. Even the convention was 98% product and 2% sales or team building. I like that. My wife and I have been part of doTERRA for just under a year and are having a ton of fun “sharing the oils” as part of our overall health journey and mission. All the best!


Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm

thanks for commenting, eric. sorry it took me so long to get back to you. what’s been amazing to me these last few weeks is how many people have either approached ME about the oils or responded with my simple comments or invites about the oils with a “thank you so much for telling me! i am so glad you did! how do i learn more?!” response! i never ever expected to a) be shamelessly part of a networking marketing company or b) have people asking to buy my product left and right. you explained it right- it’s not about selling. the oils sell themselves. it’s just fun to be a bridge between people and a new, empowered healthy life. (now i sound like an infomercial and hate myself for being such a dork!)


Emily October 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Almost thou persuadeth me to try the oils. They sound intriguing at the very least. And I hate to call you out, but I believe that I have a vague memory of sitting with you, Sara Harvey, your sister (?)…who else?? No idea, but we were at Alyson Matkin’s house sitting through a Mary Kay presentation by her mother. Fun times – I hate Network Marketing also. If I ever try the oils, I’ll credit you.


Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Ok. fine. I did do Alyson a favor and attend her “party” with her mom, who she admitted was a crazy mary kay schemer. And also, I still have a mary kay lady today! i use a couple of their products religiously. I just stop by her house and pick up what i need. she’s awesome!! :-) But i think that’s probably the last “party” of any kind I ever went to. AND HOW DID YOU REMEMBER THAT MY SISTER WAS THERE TOO?? You silly. Now, let’s get some oils all up in your house! LOL! srsly. life changing for us. I plan to do some google hangout webinars with a couple friends like you that are spread across the US. wanna join? that would be fun to “See” you again!


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