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What are the Different Types of Aromatherapy Spray?

By Amy C.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Though there are many kinds of aromatherapy spray, most fall into three broad categories: cosmetic, which are designed to be applied topically to the skin or hair; massage, which are typically used in the course of muscle relaxation; and olfactory, which are dispersed into the air in a room or other open space. Most sprays are made of essential oils from plants, herbs, and flowers, though depending on the brand and the purpose, extracts and even synthetic scents might also be used. Oils are usually the strongest and the most potent, but the exact composition can vary. A lot depends on the purpose and the precise application. In most cases, these sorts of sprays are used to get some sort of direct benefit, whether it be deep relaxation, a sense of calm, or a younger and more rejuvenated appearance.


Sprays that fall into the “cosmetic” category are usually intended to be applied directly to the skin or hair. Sometimes these promise to carry a certain benefit, like improving glossiness on the surface of the hair or making the face more taught. Other times, the goal is to promote emotional wellbeing and relaxation. These sorts of sprays usually come in small, portable bottles designed for misting on the face, hair, or skin; many are small enough to fit in a purse or pocket for use on the go.

Cosmetic applications usually designed to produce some sort of immediate benefit or feeling, and a lot of this is driven by the scent. Citrus extracts are often thought to be energizing, for instance, and products with these smells may be marketed as a way to naturally boost energy and improve strength and vitality. Ginger often plays a similar role. Herbs like lavender and chamomile are generally very calming, and sprays with these essences are often described as promoting relaxation and a general feeling of peacefulness.


Massage therapists typically massage essential oils into the skin, but an aromatherapy spray can perform a similar function. The correct combination of oils typically must be used so that the skin does not become irritated, and people with sensitive skin or who are prone to breakouts often do better with light sprays then direct application of oils. Many of these sorts of sprays are somewhat diluted, which means that they contain water or another neutral oil as well as the aromatherapy element. This can make them less potent, but many of the benefits — relaxation and rejuvenation, for instance — are usually retained.


One of the most popular types of aromatherapy is olfactory aromatherapy, which is designed to be inhaled or breathed in. Sprays in this category can be intentionally distributed around a space with something like a spray bottle or spritzer, or they can be pushed into the environment with a diffuser, vaporizer, or other mechanical spraying device. A lot depends on the location and the need. Hotels, spas, and shopping centers often use mechanical spraying machines to distribute scents on a schedule in certain key locations, frequently as a way of relaxing or energizing clientele. People can also use room sprays at home as a means of creating an ambiance.


The use of aromatherapy in all forms, including as a spray, has a long history, dating to at least 3,500 BCE. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians used aromatherapy before it made its way to the Anglo-Saxon regions and medieval Europe. The actual term “aromatherapy,” however, is relatively new, having been coined in modern times. In Europe, many doctors, pharmacists, and natural-medicine practitioners still rely on aromatherapy as an integral part of their medical practice. Sprays can make the practice more approachable for many people.

Effects and Benefits

The effects of aromatherapy vary depending upon the condition that is being treated and the plants used. For example, lemon is considered an energizer as well as a natural disinfectant, and lavender generally helps relieve stress and promotes a peaceful, relaxed feeling. Other examples include hyssop, which has healing properties and helps improve skin quality, and chamomile, which aids in sleep and relaxation. How effective a particular treatment is usually depends on how concentrated it is as well as its duration. Simply sniffing something pleasant from a spray bottle can improve someone’s mood temporarily, but long-term benefits usually only come with prolonged exposure to pure or nearly pure essential oils.

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