I Tried It: Personal Aromatherapy Diffusers

June 18, 2018


Stephanie Goraczkowski


…Portable essential oil diffuser?

…Aromatherapy vape?

…Essential oil pen?

…Essential oil vape?

…Diffuser stick?

…Aromatherapy inhaler?


Personal diffuser? Sure. Let’s go with that.

Truthfully, I struggled on what to even call these.

And if you’re still confused after reading this intro list, basically I’m talking about these little plastic e-cigarettes. Only, they’re not technically e-cigarettes, because they don’t contain any nicotine, tobacco, artificial flavors, or addictive chemicals. They do, however, contain essential oils that you smoke—or rather “vape”—for aromatherapy benefits.


So, here’s what happens.

A plastic pen is filled with a mix of essential oils, vegetable glycerin and water. The heating element inside is activated when someone inhales at the end of the pen, warming the mixture into a vapor. Ooo, science!


Some customers claim these personal diffusers alleviate cramps and muscle soreness, and help them quit smoking cigarettes by offering the same "smoking" action, without the harmful toxins of tobacco cigarettes. And while you don’t have to be a “smoker” to reap the benefits, personal diffusers are, factually, a healthier alternative to smoking.

The most popular claim for these personal diffusers is that they help relieve stress, much like aromatherapy. Obviously some stress is a natural part of life, and everyone handles it differently. But think about it. How do you deal with stress? Do you properly handle stress at all? For me, I usually eat a box of graham crackers and then scream-cry into the void of my pillow. I’m still unclear on whether or not it works, so I'm willing to ditch the Graham Cracker Method and try some personal diffuser action.

But before I dive into it. Let's answer some basic questions.


What’s in them?

…Magic! No, I’m kidding. You’re not puffing away at unicorn tears or some spellbound liquid given to you by a wizard. The truth is, these personal diffusers aren’t putting off any burning smoke. That's right. It's just water vapor! You know when you're at work, and you heat up hot tea, coffee, or soup and see the heat vapor coming off of the top? Same thing! Which means you can "smoke" these anywhere. And because there are no additives, there’s also no gross stuff in the air or in your lungs, like from a standard vape or standard tobacco cigarette. Essentially in a nutshell, it’s like having an aromatherapy diffuser on-the-go.

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you sit around a conference room or in a restaurant puffing away at these, but what I am saying is that you more than likely could, and it wouldn't add toxins to the air.


So here we go! Smoking for my health! This is what I’m doing, you guys.



VitaStik Amore

I started with VitaStik Amore blend. This one has organic rosewater and geranium essential oil. Plus, all of the VitaStik brand products contain the recommended daily intake of vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, CoQ10 and collagen. Smoking my vitamins! Such progress from those daily chewable Flintstones I used to take as a kid. I'm a real adult now!

The Amore blend is a candy-pink stick that tastes like roses and, honestly, I look like a super chic, trendy lady holding my pink personal diffuser.

I found this flavor the most pleasing when it came to every day, out-and-about diffusing. For instance, I have some friends who enjoy a patio cigarette at the bar every so often. When I pulled out my cute, pink Amore blend, my friends were intrigued and curious about my newfound aromatherapy habit. And I felt like a part of the group, while inhaling actual water vapor and vitamins. Drinkin' wine and smokin' vitamins. Not a bad combo for a nice summer evening.



VitaStik Wellness Tonic

Next up on the smoking test was the VitaStik Wellness Tonic blend. Organic ginger mixed with honey and chamomile lemon. It’s also enhanced with reishi mushroom extract, lemon oil and ginger oil to help detox and cleanse your lungs. While it’s no doubt, the epitome of the wellness diffuser, it’s kind of like vaping a medicinal tea, and really wasn’t… my cup of tea. (Zing! Dad jokes all day.) The matte black color looked sleek and inconspicuous, almost like a clove cigarette. I ended up giving this one away, because sharing is caring. Actually, it was because I really didn’t like the taste, but I’m trying to pawn myself off on being a good and generous friend, so. Anyway, if you feel like vaping your tea, this one is for you. Cheers.



MONQ Sleepy and VitaStik Sleep

I tried both the MONQ Sleepy blend and the VitaStik Sleep blend for sleep aromatherapy. Relaxation and sleep seem to be big proponents in the popularity of personal diffusers. Both had different ingredients, with the MONQ brand including chamomile, kava, lavender, and hints of bergamot, lemongrass, marjoram, neroli and sandalwood. The VitaStik blend included honey, lavender and vanilla with melatonin as a sleep aid. Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot of trouble falling asleep. I can pretty much pass out on a pile of pizza boxes while watching TV reruns, so the melatonin wasn’t necessary for me. However, someone who suffers from insomnia could benefit from the VitaStik Sleep blend. Personally, I enjoy the added bergamot and neroli so the MONQ blend was my pick by comparison.




The final blend I tried was the ever popular MONQ Zen. There are over 5,000 reviews of this blend on their website, with the majority of them being 5 stars. Needless to say, this little Zen better pack a punch… it’s got a lot of hype to live up to! I used this after my yoga/barre classes to decompress from my workout, thinking it would help enhance my post-workout chill. I really did enjoy my drive home, unwinding from my workout with a Zen pen (Ha! It rhymes.) in hand. 10/10 would recommend. This one was by far my favorite. Shhh… don’t tell the others.


I continued to use my variety of personal diffusers well after this little week-long experiment ended, and I did feel like the cool kid, whipping out my trendy diffuser everywhere. Each diffuser lasts for about 200 breaths, and soon and I had puff, puff, puffed my way through my favorite MONQ Zen and VitaStik Amore.

With these two spent, my first thought about a disposable plastic diffuser is that… well, it’s kind of a bummer to constantly throw away an e-pen all the time. Especially if you’re an avid user of these, it seems like it would be the plastic water bottle pollution crisis all over again.

They’ll probably make a Netflix documentary about it. Picture this: A movie script hits the director’s desk. The storyline is set in the future. The premise goes through this emotional tidal wave of panic… We all screwed up by vaping these tiny plastic pens in an effort to become more “healthy” with our aromatherapy... but in doing so, we actually destroyed our planet, and now it looks like a pile of colorful, pastel matchsticks from space. The end.


Ok, I got a little sidetracked there, and maybe that movie wouldn't be a blockbuster. But guess what! I did some research, and I've got good news! We're not all going to drown in plastic e-pens. The MONQ brand has a recycling program in place, where you print a prepaid label and ship back your used, empty diffusers. I didn’t find any recycling program for VitaStik, though it’s hopeful they will jump on board with environmentally-friendly methods, given the popularity of their product. Plus there are other personal diffuser brands, like KNIN, which offer a device that you refill with your aromatherapy vapor of choice. 


I’m not here to give my thumbs up or down on any certain brand of personal diffuser. I tried these two brands, because of their endorsements, popularity, and the research I did on their ingredients. I personally enjoyed them for their aromatherapy benefits and taste. 

With that being said, it seems about time to address the big, smoking elephant in the room…

Are personal diffusers good for you? Moreover, are they safe?

Good question. These little badboys are so new on the scene, we don’t have sufficient evidence to really know for sure. Not the answer you wanted? Yeah. Sorry about that. As I said earlier, most of these products contain a mix of essential oils, vegetable glycerin and water, so the vapor is pretty much water. But not all diffuser brands are created equal. If you’re wanting to try a different brand, I recommend doing your research first, because some other personal diffuser brands could possibly contain chemicals like propylene glycol, which turns to formaldehyde when heated up.


So, do your own research on other brands, and maybe don’t smoke formaldehyde, ok? I mean, do what you want. I’m not here to judge, but it defeats the health purpose. Just saying.

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