Home Fragrancing the Artisan Way
Natural and primarily all-natural artisan-made, "by the batch" home fragrancing products are a healthier alternative to their mass-market counterparts. Artisan-made products usually include higher quality ingredients and are typically packaged beautifully.
Billions are spent each year on home fragrancing products that include air fresheners, candles, potpourri and other mass-marketed fragrance products. They are found in specialty stores, chain stores, and in grocery stores. To keep costs low, most mass-market products are fragranced with synthetic ingredients and include other synthetic ingredients.
Over time, inhaling products scented with synthetic ingredients can cause headaches and even lead to allergies or asthma. If you are over age 30, you probably realize that there are many more individuals today that have allergies and asthma than back when you were in grade school. Part of the blame falls upon the ever-increasing use of synthetics in our daily lives.
To shop wisely for home fragrancing products, it is important to understand the distinction between the type of aromatics that are often used within artisan and commercial made products:
Essential oils are generally distilled (most frequently by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, and other parts of a given plant botanical. Other natural liquid aromatics include CO2 extracts and absolutes.
Dried aromatic botanicals (herbs) like lavender, rose buds, orange peel and eucalyptus leaves are used for their visual appeal and natural aroma within potpourri arrangements. Aromatic liquid herbal infusions, made by soaking herbs in alcohol over a lengthy period of time are sometimes included in room mists and sprays.
A hydrosol is the pure, distillate water that remains after essential oils are steam distilled from the original plant material. Hydrosols are usually clear and have the appearance and consistency of water. Their aroma is generally, but not always, similar to that of the essential oil, but the aroma is usually much more subtle. Artisans sometimes include hydrosols as a natural ingredient within room mists.
Fragrance Oils, often listed as just "fragrance" within ingredient labeling, generally are synthetically derived.
See Beauty By the Batch's The Important Distinctions Between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils article to learn more.
Home Fragrancing Methods
One of the easiest and most natural ways to diffuse essential oils is to use a candle warmer. The candle warmer gently heats the essential oil so it evaporates, fragrancing the room. Although not as convenient, one of the most therapeutic ways to disperse essential oils into the air is by use of an aromatherapy nebulizer. Other diffuser styles are also available including electric warmers, small, passive terracotta diffusers and fan style diffusers. Pure essential oils and essential oil blends can be used with the variety of diffusers. If you are using a nebulizer, thick oils like vetiver or patchouli may clog the diffuser. Fragrance oils can also be used with candle warmers, passive diffusers and some electric and fan style diffusers. Consult with the diffuser manufacturer's instructions for details.
Artisan air fresheners are typically available in the form of gentle yet aromatic room mists, packaged in spray pump bottles. They are available in a wide array of natural fragrances, but check as synthetic fragrances are also sometimes used by artisans to create fragrances that can't be achieved using natural essential oils alone. As with candles and other aromatic products, natural artisan room mists are available in an array of fragrances (Mandarin-Grapefruit, Rosemary-Mint), or for a specific intended purpose ("Energizing"), for a specific therapeutic purpose (Flu Fighter) or to enhance spiritual endeavors ("Meditation").
Potpourri is a beautiful way to accent a home with dried natural botanicals. Potpourri is commonly displayed in bowls of varying sizes, but you can also use potpourri as a filler for gift baskets or to a gift box of special soaps or other natural goodies. When natural botanicals dry, their natural essential oils evaporate, leaving the dried botanical with minimal scent. Essential oils or fragrance oils are used to give potpourri its noticeable aroma. over time, the aroma of the oils used to fragrance the potpourri will gradually diminish, and you can replenish the aroma by sprinkling a few drops of natural essential oils onto the potpourri.
Chunky natural sea salts and crystal salts scented with essential oils or fragrance oils can also be used to gently fragrance a room.
Candles are available in a wide array of colors, shapes, sizes and fragrances. Candles are one of the most well known methods for fragrancing a room and simultaneously enhancing the ambiance with its flickering, warm light. Most candles are made from paraffin wax, a type of wax that is a byproduct of petroleum production. Paraffin wax is inexpensive, but a disadvantage to its use in candles is that it emits toxins into the air as it melts. If you seek candles that are natural or are mostly all natural, look for beeswax candles or candles that are made from vegetable based waxes like soy wax. Natural candles should be fragranced only with essential oils and other natural aromatics. It takes a significant amount of essential oil to adequately fragrance a natural candle, otherwise the aroma is too weak to be detectible when it burns. Candles fragranced only with essential oils can be quite expensive. Most candles, therefore, are scented with fragrance oils. Because fragrance oils are inexpensive to work with and because a wide range of fragrance oils exists and includes fragrances that cannot be achieved by use of essential oils alone, candles scented with fragrance oils remains popular with consumers.
If the cost of natural, essential-oil based candles is prohibitive for you, consider purchasing unscented beeswax or soy wax candles. You can simultaneously enjoy the natural aroma of essential oils by using a candle warmer.
Reed Diffusion is a method of diffusion that has gained greater popularity in more recent years. Natural, rattan reeds ranging in length from 6" - 12" are immersed in a decorative bottle that contains an aromatic liquid. Often, 4-6 reeds are placed at differing angles into the same bottle, offering greater diffusion and more visual appeal. The aromatic liquid typically contains either essential or fragrance oils mixed with a non-aromatic "diffuser base" that helps to draw the oils upwards through the reeds and into the room. Many diffuser bases are not all natural. If using a 100% natural product is important to you, ask the artisan for details on the use of natural ingredients.
Incense has been used for thousands of years in spiritual, meditation, ceremonial and home fragrancing applications. Most incense that is commercially available are in the form of synthetically fragranced, dipped incense sticks. Hand rolled, Indian incense sticks are more natural, but if you're looking for an all-natural incense, ask for a list of ingredients. Other forms of natural incense are available including natural cones, woods including precious aloeswood, sandalwood and cedarwood, dried herbs including sweet grass and sage (used in smudging by Native Americans) and Japanese incense (Koh).
Shop Confidently for Home Fragrancing Products With Beauty By the Batch
Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that provide natural and nearly all-natural home fragrancing products. Begin your search by visiting the Home Cleaning & Fragrancing category of Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans promise to abide by truthful and accurate marketing and a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.