4 Tricks For Effective Essential Oil Diffusing
Diffusing essential oils has so many great benefits. It can help make your home smell fresh and clean, as well as helps lift your mood when you have a bad day. It even supports you when you feel a cold or flu coming on.
But we want to be mindful of the precious resources that make up these essential oils (remember it can take 30-50 roses to produce 1 drop of rose essential oil), not to mention the costs that can add up from buying so many different kinds of oils. I mean, who can resist the many choices of great smelling and supportive oils that are available to us these days! I know I can’t.
So, here are 4 tricks I want to share with you based on years of experience diffusing essential oils.
1. Understand the “personality” of your essential oils
What do I mean by personality? In this case I mean what type of volatility does your essential oil have. Is it a light, ethereal type (evaporates quickly) or is it more of a heavy, seductive type (evaporates more slowly). Without getting into too much chemistry - because essential oils are chemicals - you need to know that it’s the size of the molecules that make up the essential oil that determines how it behaves.
You may have heard the terms “top”, “mid” and “bottom” note from the fragrance world. These terms were created to help identify how the essential oil behaves based on its evaporation rate, chemical structure and weight. I’ve created a little chart to help you understand where some of the most common essential oils fall.
WHY THIS MATTERS: knowing whether your essential oil is a top, mid or bottom note helps you understand how quickly it will diffuse in the air and eventually disappear. The quicker it evaporates, the less time you will smell it. For example, the citrus essential oils are lighter molecules and evaporate faster. So, although they will fill a room very quickly, you wont smell them for very long.
2. Know the type of diffuser you have
There are so many different kinds of diffusers on the market. Depending on which one you are using will determine how well your essential oil will perform. I’ve created an essential oil diffuser cheat sheet to help you understand what the different types of diffusers are (click the link below to access this free resource).
Generally speaking, the most popular diffuser on the market is the ultrasonic diffuser which uses a high frequency vibration mechanism in water to diffuse a cool mist into the air. This diffuser quickly disperses a low volume of essential oil into a space, making it a gentle and mild way to scent a room. The best essential oils for this type of diffuser are citrus (i.e. sweet orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lime) and conifer (i.e. pine, black spruce, fir balsam) essential oils.
The heavier, “bottom note” essential oils like sandalwood, vetiver and patchouli will perform better in an electric heat diffuser. This diffuser gently warms the essential oil without using water. The heat helps break up the heavy weighted, larger molecules to more easily evaporate in the air.
WHY THIS MATTERS: choosing the right essential oil to go with the diffuser you have will give you the most productive diffusing experience.
3. Diffuse for short periods of time
Diffusing for only 15 minutes at a time helps prevent overexposure and habituation to the essential oil. If we diffuse for too long, we get something called odor fatigue. This is when we’ve been exposed to the same odor for an extensive period of time and we can’t smell the odor anymore.
Here’s why that happens and why your sense of smell is so amazing. With long exposure, the olfactory receptors that pick up the essential oil aroma get temporary sensory fatigue. This happens on purpose and is meant to keep your nervous system from exhausting itself from continuous odor stimuli. The receptors stop sending signals to the brain and instead focus on new smells that could potentially harm you.
WHY THIS MATTERS: shorter diffusion periods let you experience the scent more vividly. And you won’t be wasting precious essential oil on an experience you can’t fully enjoy.
4. Mix it up a bit
Instead of diffusing the same essential oil(s) all day, every day, why not try to mix it up a little. The same reason you don’t want to diffuse the same oil for an extended period of time, you don’t want to diffuse it every day. You get used to the smell and that makes the purpose of diffusing less effective.
Consider diffusing for different intentions. In the morning, as you get ready for the day, try diffusing bright, sunny citrus oils or energizing oils like peppermint or eucalyptus. Then when you get ready to sleep, diffuse some calming, relaxing essential oils like lavender, sweet orange and cedarwood.
WHY THIS MATTERS: your sense of smell is wired to protect you from danger. Although diffusing pleasant essential oils isn’t dangerous, your nose and brain are ready to act on dangers (i.e. gas, fire, spoiled milk) at any time. Odor fatigue / odor adaptation are protection mechanisms. So, you have to work around this protection mechanism to maximize the enjoyment of your essential oils.
As with all things related to essential oils, the motto “less is more” works well for diffusing. Short diffusion periods with the right essential oil in the right diffuser will give you wonderful feelings of wellbeing, not to mention helping the pocketbook.