Recently, we were enticed to buy a travel-size-two-fer of Les Floralies Sniff Boxes: one to encourage sleep, the other “focus”. Sniff boxes are little vials of “aroma beads” infused with various mixes of essential oils designed to assist well-being. We enjoyed Les Floralies‘ scents and charming packaging — and found that opening a sniff box did provided a lovely, instant break. But we have to admit that as soon as we opened the intriguing little vials, we started thinking about how we could improvise some ourselves, with our own, custom-mixed blend of scents. What would be the medium that would hold the scent of the essential oils for a good amount of time, without being messy when opened? White rice, balls of infused wax, salt...? Suddenly, we realized we had ALREADY improvised a solution — years ago.
We were hurredly packing for a trip when we realized that because of the recent shoe bomber scare, the TSA prohibited ANY liquid, in any amount being carried on in hand luggage. We relied on our small, well-traveled bottle of lavender essential oil to mask airplane smells and cool us out during stressful flights. But lavender oil was a liquid, now taboo. Our hasty solution: we stuffed some cotton into a plastic film container and saturated it with lavender oil…Voila: a vial we could open for a hit of lavender, that also had enough oil in it that we could dab a little under our nose, on the seat etc (if things were really stinko). The original, homely-but-effective iteration, is above.
So we thought, WHY NOT use cotton as the medium for our diy sniff box, a tiny make-up sample container? We pulled out our essential oils and started fooling around, seeing if we could make a mix that would provide just the right scent to shift our view, anywhere.
For a general guide, Les Floralies has a pdf of the essential oils used in their various sniff boxes:
The beauty of having essential oils on hand is not just for making sniff boxes; they are a great, inexpensive way to scent a bath. We have a small arsenal, with lavender being our favorite.
The most readily available and reliable essential oils are probably Aura Cacia, which you can get at most health food stores and Whole Foods; We’ve also heard that Young Living makes nice oils. (If you use a lot of Lavender, we recommend 2 or 4-ounce bottles of NOW Foods Lavender Oil. We have bought lovely oils online from Gritman, a family concern that produces their own. They have lots of great information on their website. Here is what they have to say about buying essential oils:
“If you go into a store and all the oils are priced at $4.95, most likely they are fragrances and/or adulterated synthetically and not essential oils. Also, to help ensure that you are getting high quality oil; it is important that the bottle clearly states the botanical name (genus species). Common names can be misleading. Several different plants can have the same common name.
The country of origin is also important. The same variety of plant grown in a different country can smell differently. Take for example, Lemongrass from South American and Lemongrass from India. The Indian Lemongrass has a milder smell and is not has irritating to the skin as the Lemongrass from South America.
If it comes in a clear bottle, is inexpensive, with a powerful scent, and has a fruit name (apple, banana, cherry, coconut, grape, watermelon) or a floral name (lily of the valley, hyacinth, sweet pea, wisteria, honeysuckle) then it is safe to say they are fragrances. Those are dead give always that it is not an essential oil, but a fragrance (synthetic) cooked in a lab. True essential oils are always in a dark bottle with varying degrees of prices. A bottle (10ml) of true steam distilled rose oil is over $100. Then some oils can be inexpensive, like peppermint at $5. Essential oils come in a variety of scents. They can be very pleasant to smell, as well as medicinal, and there are some that do not smell good at all.”
And if you don’t want to be bothered making your own, Les Floralies Sniff Boxes are available by mail-order for about $10 from Bigelow Chemists.