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Answering the Essential Oil Questions from Netflix’s (Un)Well Docuseries

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Answering the Essential Oil Questions from Netflix’s (Un)Well Docuseries featured image
Isabel Pavia/Getty Images

In episode one of Netflix’s new binge-worthy docuseries (Un)Well, filmmakers take on the aromatic essential oil wellness trend and some of its multilevel marketing groups, like doTerra and Young Living, that have become household names. In a brave attempt to debunk controversial health fads, the series focuses on two sides of each issue—those who believe in the trend and those who say it’s all psychosomatic. 

With its essential oils’ episode, the question of what really works versus what is a money-making scheme comes into play. As fans of aromatherapy and the benefits of essential oils, we wanted to hear firsthand from an industry insider on how viewers should navigate the questions brought about by the series’ in-depth expose.

NewBeauty Brain Trust member, holistic healer and aromatherapist Hope Gillerman of H. Gillerman Organics watched the episode and reported back on whether (Un)Well got it right. 

NewBeauty: What do you want viewers to know about essential oils if they’re left scratching their heads?
Hope Gillerman: Essential oils have many uses and are beneficial for the mind and body. Use them intentionally and in moderation in a couple of your daily rituals to help you heal an injury or for help with sleep, stress, relaxation, skin care, household cleaning, immune support, regulating your mood and mental focus and of course for their beauty and aromatic luxury! 

NB: As someone who is in this industry, what was your biggest takeaway from the essential oil episode? Are multi-level marketing companies giving essential oils a bad name?
HG: The multilevel marketing companies (cults) promote unsafe practices and massive accumulation and overuse of their products. In my work, I see an increased skepticism and mistrust of essential oil benefits, partly because of this. The good news is the professional aromatherapy world has shifted a bright light on safety. 

NB: What other moments in the episode stood out to you as problematic?
HG: Firstly, we advise not to swallow, drink or eat your essential oils. They must be diluted. Also, keep them away from your newborn child or babies six months to a year old. I recommend waiting until a child is at least two years old before using essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint, and of course diluted. Dilute at 1-2 percent for toddlers, pregnant women, the elderly and people weakened by disease or chronic conditions like cancer. Also, please don’t spray your kids in the face like the one father did in the episode.  

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