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Editor’s note: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes some possible risks when using essential oils in proximity to pets. Before buying an oil diffuser, be sure it’s safe for your pets and that you pet-proof the space where you plan to use it.
I didn’t realize what essential oils could do for me until the day I came across my sister working on her final project for school. She was sipping on coffee and listening to some calming playlist, and I spotted an oil diffuser beside her. Somehow, she seemed to be completely relaxed despite the stress of the moment: Back then, this included the onset of coronavirus and the college paper she was working on. I asked her about what smelled like Christmas to me. She explained it was coming from the BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser, a tiny device used to break down essential oils and disperse them into the air — besides the model I came to adore, there are myriad options for oil diffusers at retailers like Wayfair, Walmart and Macy’s.
After researching and learning how diffusers work, as well as which scents I could grab, I began to borrow my sister’s diffuser throughout the day. Within a month, it had become a fundamental part of my routine. My sister is mostly happy to share her diffuser with me — but I’ll be buying my own once I get back to New York.
Related: This Father’s Day, give the father figures in your life gifts that are useful, memorable and thoughtful, from custom to tech, grooming and outdoor gifts.
How I use the essential oil diffuser all day
The BellaMist diffuser is very simple to get going:
I pop off its orb-like cap and fill its body with water.
Then I add a few drops of oil into that water.
After replacing the cap and switching the diffuser on, it quickly produces steam and spreads it around.
The covering protects the heated water from bubbling over — and keeps me from accidentally touching the hot water. It also doubles as a light feature with a variety of colors I get to choose from. One of the options has the diffuser automatically rotate through its possible colors, adding a level of aesthetically pleasing entertainment to my relaxation.
The BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser is compact and easy to use. It produces mist for up to four hours and comes with a 5ml bottle of peppermint essential oil to get you started. It also includes a light feature that offers seven different colors.
SpaRoom BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser
SpaRoom BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser $20.66 at QVC
SpaRoom BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser $21.25 at ebay
Essential oil diffusers need oil
Which oil you end up using is up to you and your routines. BellaMist offers a variety of essential and fragrance oils, both individually and in sets.
In the mornings and while I work, I like to use something that can wake me up and keep me alert. To that end, I rely on peppermint oils.
Once I get tired of peppermint or enough time has passed, I’ll switch over to a fiery clove-and-spice scent — it gives me the feeling of entering a new environment.
Later in the day or during the weekend, I love the smell of lavender to help me unwind and relax.
While I prefer the aromatherapy aspect of essential oils, registered dietician Maya Feller previously told TODAY that they’re generally used in three ways: They can be ingested through droppers or capsules, applied to skin topically through hair or skin care products and spread into air for aromatherapy with a diffuser. Feller uses essential oils in her practice, scents including oregano, lemon, peppermint, lavender, and argan oil.
Regardless of which route you head, keep in mind the ASPCA notes some possible risks when using essential oils in proximity to pets. “Using an oil diffuser for a short time period in a secured area — one that your dog or cat cannot access — is not likely to be an issue,” they summarize. “However, if your pet has a history of breathing problems, it may be best to avoid using one altogether.” Before buying an oil diffuser, be sure it’s safe for your pets and that you pet-proof the space where you plan to use it.
Although the BellaMist Diffuser is what I currently use daily, TODAY contributor Katie Jackson recommends the Urpower Diffuser. It has over 33,000 reviews on Amazon, and goes for less than $20. She explains that the small-but-mighty diffuser freshens up the air and is easy to use.
URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser
URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser $19.99 at Amazon
URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser $26.35 at Walmart