The Spa Spy blog

Scent of Spring

I’m a bit late to the reed diffuser party. My ignorance was highlighted when I ordered some in to test in the office and prepared to light the end of one of the reeds. (In my defence, they look like josticks). My editor practically leapt across the desk to prevent the office and everyone in it being consumed in a ball of lavender and lime infused flames.

Indeed, one of the reasons people like reed diffusers is that you don’t have to light them, hence no setting off fire sprinklers or having to scrabble around for matches in a post-bohemian world of vaping.

I have to say after a week of immersing myself and fellow Spa Spies in the heady scents of diffusers from our favourite spa brands, I am becoming a convert.

As much as I love lining my bubble bath with scented candles for an indulgent evening, reed diffusers give your home or office a constant spa aroma. They last about a month I am told, if not longer, and you can control the intensity of the scent by adding or removing the reeds. Make sure you move them around every so often to release more fragrance, and we found they worked better when placed higher than waist height near a window. Most of you reading this will already know these things, but to me, reed diffusing is unchartered territory. I am Columbus discovering America, even though people already live there.

Because the packaging is so beautiful too, they will definitely be my new go-to gifts – although having road tested them in offices and my home, and hearing everyone’s completely different reactions, I have discovered that diffuser scents can be as personal as perfume.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my three favourite spa diffusers guaranteed to bring Spring outdoor freshness into your homes.


VOYA Oh So Scented African Lime and Clove

£36 (Refill £18)

Key notes: Lemon, grapefruit, lime, herbs and cloves with a hint of patchouli

For: Hipsters, Men too

The Irish seaweed brand has repackaged itself lately – rather marvellously we think – and expanded its range to include an exotic selection of reed diffusers. The packaging is very naturel-chic, pale stoney-green with the VOYA logo embossed, a stripe of lime green at the bottom, and small but clear instructions on one side. I handed it over to someone more nimble fingered as I’m the kind of person who tears open cereal packets like some ravenous feral creature. The bottle containing the oil is like sea glass, and certainly stylish enough to display in my trendy loft apartment (joking: I have a shabby not-chic-at-all family house), the reeds dark almost black and like most VOYA products made from their own hand harvested seaweed. You have to remove a plastic stopper which is a bit of a faff, but as you do the powerful smoky spicy citrus aroma hits you. You then put a wooden ring on top of the jar (I presume for aesthetic purposes, although every diffuser I’ve seen has them) and arrange the reeds. The instructions say you may have to wait 48 hours for the aroma to spread, but perhaps we have a particularly wafty office as the effect was almost instant. Everyone’s reaction was different: it was a real love or loathe scent. Having said that nearly everyone who entered our office commented on how gorgeous it smelt. Some compared it to chocolate lime sweets, others to aftershave or shower gel – perhaps it is quite masculine. After a few days, the Spa Spies in my office thought it was too strong, so we lent it to the office next door, who love it. I have to say it was my personal favourite, for both the design and scent. It is also still more than half full after three weeks of testing, so clearly good value for money. I can’t wait to try their Chai and Mandarin.


NEOM Happiness Reed Diffuser 

£38 (Refill £20 or £14 when bought with the diffuser kit)

Key notes: white neroli, mimosa, lemon, peppermint

For: Gardeners and Country Casuals

Neom scented candles are beloved of most Spa Spies, so it was with great excitement that we received their Happiness reed diffuser. The kit comes in an elegant pale cream box with watercolour prints of plants. Again I needed nimble hands to help me unleash the reeds from the secure packaging and pull the moulded stopper from the bottle. As soon as we did there was a powerful burst of cut grass and wild flowers that seemed miraculously real, transporting us to a freshly mown meadow. (As my olfactorily astute colleague pointed out, Neom’s essential oil blends are more complex than most, creating a mood rather than any definable flavour). A cylinder of clear pale frosted glass contains the vaguely yellowy tinged oil, the blend of which has taken years to perfect. The pale wooden ‘lid’ with its ring of silver seems a little loose, although it’s sitting still so surely not a problem, and there are six black reeds to diffuse the ‘hand poured’ oil. After two weeks testing the oil has diminished quite rapidly compared to the other diffusers, something often commented upon on the site. The product should continue to effuse for 6-8 weeks. This was a firm favourite among my fellow Spies, but a little too subtle and floral for me. And yet I do smile like a happy fool every time someone wafts a redolent whiff my way.


ESPA Energising Reed Diffuser

£36 (sadly no refill)

Key Notes: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Lime

For: Chic Spa-istas

Espa’s Reed Diffuser came beautifully packaged in a plush purple box with a purple bow securing the ten reeds. I tested this at home, having to ask Mr Spa Spy to help me with the wretched stopper (I know it’s safer this way, but has no one heard of screw-tops? They work perfectly well for wine). The ‘lid’ is white porcelain and the effect perfectly stylish. Espa’s oils are some of my favourites, especially the warm heady scents like this one. It took a few hours for the reeds to absorb the oil but soon my home was smelling deliciously spa-like. The lime was held in a vanilla-y smokiness, so wasn’t the overwhelming note. After a few days, Mr Spa Spy said he found it a little too powerful (coincidentlly it was the day he invited his mates around to watch some hugely important football match). I allowed him to remove some of the reeds for a more subtle effect (subtlety has never been my forte) then replaced them to smother the eau de bloke after the game. But so far, we are impressed and the oil doesn’t appear to have diminished after a week. The only downside is that Espa don’t offer refills, so you would have to buy a new kit each time. Still, due to the packaging and brand kudos, they make charming gifts for discerning friends and relatives.