How to Diffuse Essential Oils
Plus a Q+A With Ceramicist Jessie Lazar
In Just the Essentials, our founder Adina Grigore notes that the simplest way to integrate essential oils into your life is to just smell ‘em. Yep, pop open a bottle, take a whiff, and be done with it. In many cases, the smell will be pleasing – but that’s not the whole story, which is what makes essential oils so darn amazing.
Indeed, some research suggests that your body’s physiology may actually change in response to the smell of an essential oil. Take this study, which had participants sniff both lavender and rosemary essential oils. In the test, researchers measured their blood levels for the hormone cortisol – aka the stress hormone – both before and immediately after smelling the oils. They found that inhaling the aromas actually caused participants’ stress hormones to recede. It’s for this reason that we’re all about diffusing essential oils: Do it for the smell, keep doing it for the therapeutic benefits, which include but are not limited to: Treatment of nausea, stress, insomnia, anxiety disorders, dementia, and high blood pressure. Boom.
When it comes to diffusing essential oils, though, things start to get a little more complicated. While you can certainly just open up a bottle and leave it hanging, this method doesn’t really diffuse the aroma broadly. Furthermore, because the oil will be exposed to air, it will begin oxidizing and lose potency – a no-no if you want to really get the most out of that precious bottle. This is why we recommend using a diffuser.
The most straightforward and affordable diffuser is the OG ceramic tea light diffuser. In this type of diffuser, you simply put a couple of drops of essential oil in a ceramic bowl filled with water and light a candle underneath it; the heat from the candle will warm up the combination and help to naturally diffuse the oil.
Lucky for you, we’ve just launched a limited edition diffuser in partnership with the wonderful artist Jessie Lazar. Ahead, we talk to her about her S.W. collaboration – read on!
How did this collaboration come about?
Elana, an amazing ceramic sculptor [and S.W.’s VP of Biz Development!] was the awesome connector for this project. It was such an easy decision for me to do this collaboration – I think the style of our products, the shared attention to detail and appreciation for handmade, high-quality work made the conversation smooth and quick.
Have you ever created a diffuser before? What was the process of making it like?
I have wanted to make a diffuser forever. I have such a long list of things that I want to try to make; somehow this is one item I just hadn’t tackled yet. That’s why it was such a fun project for me. I had a few ideas: A sense of the proportions I thought would be a little more modern, an idea of what lines would feel most “me” while staying as fully functional as possible. The questions of how to make it and what was the best way to approach the clay were where I had some homework to do.
I ultimately decided to make these on the potters’ wheel, creating both the base and the oil dish the same day and connecting them on the wheel while the clay was still wet. Then, on the next day, I cut the windows in the bases for the candle and was able to do the finishing and cleaning detailing.
The final steps were a low-temperature firing in the kiln, then glazing and firing a second time at a higher temperature. Not a quick process, but I am so happy with how they’ve turned out. Worth every extra step!
Your clay work encompasses a lot of functional yet beautiful items. How was this project an extension of your work?
This felt like a really natural extension of the work I make. I do like to focus on functional, mostly tableware ceramics. I like the idea that my pieces become part of someone’s routine – your daily coffee, your go-to bowl for salad, or the special piece you always use to serve a guest. These diffusers fit in perfectly with making an every day item feel a little more special and more celebrated.
Filling your space with the right scent diffused from the right burner feels like a natural pairing of my work with S.W. Basics – I love the idea of being a part of people’s lives and home in that simple, everyday, elevated way.
And, hey, do you use essential oils?
I just had a baby. My time is so filled with the moment-to-moment needs of a newborn and there is very little time for self-care in my schedule. The one luxury I really try afford myself is a soothing bath in the evenings a few times a week. I have been using relaxing essential oils in my baths and they make it feel a little extra special. I’ve never actually diffused oils, so I am so excited to do so now!