Aromatic Spritzers: Elegantly Effective and Affordable Aromatherapy

What Is an Aromatic Spritzer?

At its simplest an aromatic spritzer is a combination of essential oils and water put into a bottle with a spray top.

Spritzers for Many Applications

What may you choose to make with a bunch of essential oils in a bottle of distilled water with a spray top? It really comes down to your intention, which sets the course for what and how much of what you put in your spritzer. Following are a few common applications:

Atmospheric & CleaningAir freshener, Linen spray, Yoga mat (i.e., cleansing) spray…
Body CareSneaker spray, Facial toner, Body spray…
Emotional and Mental Care“Mood mist,” “Sleep Mist” (a.k.a., Pillow Spray)

As you can imagine, what and how much of what you put into a yoga mat spray will vastly differ from what is in a pillow spray versus a facial toner (see some recipe suggestions below).

Two simple aromatic spritzers.

Basic Ingredients: Solubility and Shelf Life

Firstly, I cannot stress enough how your intention always guides what you put into your spray and how much of it you make. A piece I wrote about cream makes the case for why holistic practitioners should focus on creating small (i.e., 1 ounce), preservative free aromatic products that are meant to be used up in a short period of time versus larger products (e.g., 4 ounces) or products that may sit on a shelf for months or years.

Depending on the intention behind the spritzer, you may choose to incorporate several adjunct ingredients to enhance its solubility and stability. Spritzers are great because the sprayer mechanism in itself acts as a physical barrier to contamination that naturally comes with contact with the atmosphere and human hands.

The following are common ingredients you may consider using in an aromatic spritzer and why:

  • Distilled water: Always opt for using distilled water over any other water, especially instead of tap water, to minimize microbial presence. Once opened, a bottle of distilled water will last several months if kept in a cool, dark place with the cap tightly secured.
  • Hydrosols: Use instead of or in tandem with distilled water to support your intention. Most hydrosols have a shelf-life of 12 months from the date of distillation. Treat them like a fine wine just as distilled water: store in a cool, dry place out of light and keep headspace to a minimum in the bottle.
  • Alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl): Solubility-wise: alcohol helps “solubilize” several essential oil constituents depending on how much is in your spritzer. It is a disinfectant in its own right and its shelf life is indefinite. I use the following guideline for some of my “mood mists”: 30% ethanol (e.g., grain alcohol, Everclear) and 70% distilled water. (Note: I opt for ethanol over isopropyl as I find it less drying and irritating and has less of an aroma.)
  • “Solubol” or Polysorbate 20: These are surfactants used to emulsify oil and water. I do not find them necessary to add to my single batch products as the user can “shake before using” AND I prefer to have products with minimal ingredients.
  • Preservatives: Should you feel concerned about microbial growth in a spritzer you are making look into incorporating a natural preservative such as radish root extract. One readily found is called Leucidal® Liquid. (Again…”less is more” in my book. Make small amounts and use them up!)

Shaken, Not Stirred: Best Practices

To be fully transparent, my spritzers are usually 1 to 2 ounces, and contain essential oils with distilled water. They often include hydrosols and occasionally contain ethanol. Following is a proposed framework for you to consider regarding the creation of aromatic spritzers.

  • Work in small amounts such as 1 (30ml) to 2 (60ml) ounces.
  • There is no need to add a “solubilizer”; all that is required is to “shake vigorously before using.”
  • Use the spritzer often; give the user specific usage directions (e.g., spray 2 to 3 times, 3x daily). They are not “precious” like botanical perfume (which is based in perfumer’s alcohol…). Holistic aromatherapy products are not meant to sit around; just consider their inherent, volatile nature.
  • Use a spritzer within 3 months. Ideally, the product is loved so much it is used within 1 month (recall giving usage instructions!). It’s a bit tongue in-cheek but think about how often we’re supposed to change a toothbrush: 3 months.
  • Treat a spritzer like any fine product: keep in a cool, dry place out of heat and light and always keep the top on to minimize contamination.

Recipe Ideas

Are you looking for some inspiration? Use the following guidelines for each spritzer idea that is shared below.

  • Add your chosen essential oils to a 2-ounce glass bottle with a spray top.
  • Affix the top and shake the essential oils to combine.
    • Tip: let the oils sit for 24 hours to enhance the overall aroma profile.
  • Measure out the base ingredients and add them to the spray bottle.
  • Affix the top and shake to disperse the oils.
  • Create a label for your product which includes the following information:
    • A meaningful name, the ingredients, the “Made on” date, and the instructions to “Use within 3 months” and “Shake before using.”

Recipe Idea: Yoga Mat/Cleansing Spray (5% dilution)

This cleansing spray goes beyond yoga mats. Use on counter tops, faucets and more. Avoid natural stone such as marble, though, as vinegar etches.

  • 75 drops of a citrus oil of your choice such as Citrus limon, C. sinensis or C. paradisi
  • 30 drops Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • 15 drops Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • 30 ml Ethanol
  • 20 ml Hydrosol such as Rosemary, Eucalyptus or Thyme
  • 10 ml Vinegar

Pillow Sleep Spray (3% dilution)

This is a classic formula that many people find pleasing and effective to enhance sleep. You may choose to omit the ethanol and only use distilled water or get creative with hydrosols! Keep this at your bedside and use nightly for 2 weeks. Spray your pillow 3 to 5 times before getting into bed.

  • 31 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 5 drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • 4 drops Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides)
  • 20 ml Ethanol
  • 40 ml Distilled water

Facial Toner/Mist (1.5% dilution)

This formula is intended for dry or maturing skin but is gentle enough for most skin types. Use daily after washing your face by soaking a cotton pad with the solution and wiping down your skin. Follow immediately with your face oil/moisturizer/cream of choice.

  • 8 drops Frankincense (Boswellia sacra or B. carterii)
  • 6 drops Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • 6 drops Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • 40 ml Rose (Rosa damascena) hydrosol
  • 20 ml Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) hydrosol

Aromatherapy does not need to be complicated, expensive nor inaccessible. Distilled water and spray bottles are generally easy enough to find, affordable and all you really need, along with your favorite essential oils, to create a lovely aromatherapy spritzer.

Thank you for your time! Please enjoy making deceptively simple yet elegant spritzers!

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