So you want to purchase a room fragrance but don’t know which one to choose or which air fresheners are safe. Do you go for a plug in, a wax melt or a reed diffuser? Here I share with you 4 reasons why choosing an aromatherapy reed diffuser could be better for your health.
With the average aromatherapy diffuser costing around £30 compared to a fragranced block of gel costing £3 why would you want to spend more money just to add fragrance to your room?
1. Are air fresheners safe?
What exactly are you getting for your money when you purchase a home fragrance product? Are you even allowed to know what you are getting? The cheaper the product the chances are you’ll never actually know what you are unwittingly allowing into your home.
Only the manufacturers can tell you the hidden ingredients that go into their home fragrance products. Listed within the ingredients will be ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’. This is the manufacturers secret formula and it is entirely up to them whether or not they disclose all the ingredients.
Fragrance oil versus essential oil
A diffuser scented with a fragrance oil is an entirely different product from one scented with an essential oil. In simplistic terms, a fragrance oil is a manufactured artificial synthetic scent. There may be some essential oils added, but it will predominantly be made up of synthetic chemicals. Even though the name may imply otherwise, the aromas will have been created in the lab rather than grown in the natural environment.
Synthetic ingredients to create an aroma
When you choose a fragrance, take for example lime, there will be a number of different synthetic ingredients used to create this lime aroma. As mentioned before the exact ingredients do not need to be revealed as this is the manufacturers secret fragrance recipe. You, the consumer are not privy to this information despite the fact that it could contain hundreds of synthetic chemicals. Some of which you may not want as airborne particles in your home ready to be breathed in by you and your family.
Without knowing the ingredients it really is difficult to answer the question how safe is your air freshener?
Essential oils on the other hand are always declared individually, there’s no hidden formula secrets. Their names may be slightly hard to decipher due to labelling regulations. Cosmetic legislation requires that the INCI name is listed rather than the common name. The INCI classification system (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) is a way that recognises an essential oil regardless of the country in which the product is being sold in. This means that unless you are familiar with INCI names it can be difficult to decipher the essential oil.
Although the list on the left is not exhaustive, it will hopefully show you some common essential oils so that you can recognise them on ingredient labels.
2. Therapeutic properties
Essential oils are plant extracts distilled from the leaves, flowers, roots, resin and fruit of the plant. Their use within everyday life is termed as aromatherapy. So whilst a laboratory may be able to replicate the aroma of the essential oil it will not be able to replicate the fact that an essential oil is 100% plant derived. For instance one single drop of rose essential oil requires the distillation of 60 rose heads. That feeling when you see, touch, smell and feel a rose can not be manufactured in a laboratory. It would be like putting on a polyester cardigan but wanting it to feel like cashmere.
Essential oils are widely known for their therapeutic properties. Lavender is often used at night for it’s relaxing and calming benefits. It is also a great skin healer and is used in many skin creams to help with problem skin. These properties are due to the chemical make up of the essential oil coupled with its aroma.
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Restoring and sedating
This mood enhancing and healing of physical symptoms is a quality that cannot be replicated in the laboratory. Many essential oils derived from trees are thought to be grounding and calming to the mind. Meditation diffuser blends will often contain Frankincense for it’s restoring and sedating properties. The essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the tree’s resin and some believe that the trees very essence is present in the essential oil.
If we have essential oils then why are fragrances so widely used?
There are many reasons for this, but affordability will be top of the list. The price of an essential oil varies depending on the plant, but essential oils will almost always be more expensive than a fragrance oil.
This is where the £3 block of gel serves its purpose. But what if you want more than just a manufactured aroma? What if you want the possibility of mood enhancing properties too?
An essential oil brings aroma and therapy
It is possible to duplicate the aroma of an essential oil but one of the many benefits that an essential oil has lies within its therapeutic properties too.
A company which chooses to use 100% natural ingredients will probably have sustainability at the heart of their ethos too. For example, the use of palm oil has long been known to be unsustainable. The demand for palm oil has caused major deforestation leaving some animals on the verge of extinction. Never assume that because a business chooses to use natural ingredients it will also choose to use ingredients from sustainable sources. However, as the ingredients that go into a natural product are fewer and are disclosed (remember the amount of ingredients that can go into one fragrance are never disclosed) it is easier to ask questions from the company about sustainability issues and get honest answers.
For example, the Sandalwood tree harvested from the Mysore region of eastern India is under threat and faces significant sustainability issues. Australian Sandalwood, however is harvested from a sustainable source and therefore is the essential oil that is used in Hipsley Green’s diffusers.
4. Chemical versus natural
So, and this is the controversial bit. Is there a difference between the two? You could argue that even a natural essential oil is a chemical compound made up of chemical components. Even a natural essential oil has safety concerns depending on which oil you choose to use and even a natural essential oil contains allergens.
The difference when it comes to your air freshener lies in the choice that you as a consumer are given. With a natural product you are able to see exactly what has gone into that product and can make a choice regarding its suitability for you and your home. With a chemically manufactured product you are not given that same freedom due to the many hidden chemicals included under the term fragrance. With an aromatherapy diffuser you know exactly what you’re getting whether it be the aroma or the therapy that is of importance to you.
Whatever your preferred choice in air fresher is, remember that regular ventilation is recommended to bring in clean fresh air.
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