MONQ. Have you heard of it? Chances are if you show any interest in essential oils or healthy living on Facebook, you’ve seen their ads. A 20-something sitting in a forest or on a mountain or at the beach, apparently vaping. Many of you have seen this and heard that it’s a personal essential oil diffuser, and then proceeded to email me to ask what I thought. So here it is: my MONQ Review!
Disclaimer: I received two MONQ diffusers from the company to review, but this is my honest, scientific evaluation of their product.
How MONQ works
MONQ is a personal essential oil diffuser. It looks like a pen, and holds a blend of essential oils diluted in vegetable oil.
Each MONQ contains a blend of essential oils specifically chosen to help you feel a certain way, such as sleepy, vibrant, sexy, or happy.
It is used very similarly to a vape pen, in that when you inhale, the mixture inside is heated and ‘vaporized.’
It’s also different in the way it delivers to your body. A traditional vape is inhaled deep into the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream through the blood vessels lining the lungs, similar to the way oxygen is absorbed by the body. With a MONQ, the focus is on exhaling the vapor through your nose, so that it can be absorbed through the olfactory system.
As you all know, with my scientific background, I can’t help but evaluate things in a very scientific way. Therefore I defined some criteria with which to evaluate this product:
I’ll go over each one in detail below.
Effectiveness and Safety
Effectiveness is the hardest to evaluate, in my opinion, and is intrinsically linked with safety, as you’ll see below. Without a full-blown scientific study, it’s so difficult to pin down just how effective this product is. And while the science team at MONQ has told me there is a published paper in the works, I wanted a little more to go on.
Aside from evaluating the product directly, we can make inferences based on scientific studies of individual essential oils. We know that diffusing essential oils works, because when an oil is diffused into the air, and you breathe it in, tiny particles of it enter your olfactory system (your nose) and are absorbed into your bloodstream. From there they travel throughout your body and are delivered to wherever they will have an effect.
Because of this, you might be able to safely assume that this diffuser will work similarly to any other diffuser. And you’d be *almost* correct.
There is one difference between this diffuser and traditional essential oil diffusers: it uses heat to vaporize the oils. Regular diffusers are generally ultrasonic, meaning they distribute oil particles into the air using sound waves.
Now if you’ve read my article on Essential Oil Diffusing Mistakes, you might remember that I’ve said that you shouldn’t use heat on essential oils because exposure to high heat can degrade the oils, reducing their effectiveness and possibly becoming a safety hazard.
I spoke with the science team at MONQ at length about this issue and was assured that the 200C heat burst from the diffuser/vaporizer was not harming the essential oils, and through my own research, I’ve figured out why.
If you remember my article on Cooking Oils, you may remember that oils have two important parameters when it comes to heat: smoke point and oxidative stability. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to burn, and the oxidative stability describes an oil’s ability to remain stable at a temperature for a certain period of time.
It is my theory, since MONQ has not released their research on the topic, that the oil is exposed to the heat for a short enough period of time that it does not surpass its oxidative stability.
(Wondering why MONQ hasn’t released research? In science, the process from data to published paper can take months. The paper must be submitted to a journal, sent to reviewers who give feedback, edited according to reviewers expectations [this step often requires additional experiments to be done], sent back to the reviewers, edited again until the reviews approve, approved by the journal, and finally published. It is unprofessional to release unpublished results, which is why MONQ is not releasing the information yet.)
Without research, there are other, less conclusive ways to check if this is true for now. The most effective way is to simply use the product and evaluate the taste/smell of it. An oil that had degraded would have a different scent or taste, because heat degradation literally alters the chemistry of a molecule and would affect how your body perceives it. And as far as I can tell with just my own senses, the oils seem to be just fine after vaporization.
Additionally, to evaluate the effectiveness of the product, I recruited 5 of my friends to try it out as well. Three of the 5 reported an immediate feeling from using the MONQ, as if it went straight to their head similar to the way you feel caffeine hit you, and the other two reported a more subdued effect. I also experienced a more subdued effect from the product, but it was noticeable.
Conclusion: MONQ seems reasonably effective based on personal and interpersonal evaluation, and while I can’t guarantee it’s safety without the research from the MONQ team, it does appear to be safe to use.
A Special Note for Cat Owners
If you’re a cat owner, chances are you’ve read my article about all the Essential Oils Toxic to Cats.
And if you’ve had to cut certain oils out of your daily routine so that you don’t harm your cat, I have some good news for you!
Since MONQ is a personal diffuser, it is safe for use around your cat, even if it contains oils that are toxic to cats. Unlike a traditional diffuser that spreads the oil all throughout the air for your feline to end up inhaling, the MONQ diffuser keeps the oil localized to you, thus protecting your cat from exposure.
Once you’ve determined that a product is safe and effective, the next thing you generally wonder about is whether or not it’s worth the cost. If you love numbers, this section is for you; if not, feel free to scroll past it.
A single MONQ sells for $20, no matter which flavor/feeling you choose.
According to the website, a MONQ should last about a month with regular use following their guidelines, which is 2-3 puffs at a time, 2-3 times a day. Or another way to think about it is that a MONQ contains between 200-250 puffs, depending on how big your puffs are.
If we take the average number of puffs, 225, and divide $20 by the number of puffs, you’re paying approximately $0.09 per puff.
However, MONQ offers a package deal of 7 diffusers for $120, which comes out to $17 per diffuser, and consequently only $0.07 per puff.
So now if you want to know how much it would cost you per day to use a MONQ at the maximum recommended level, that’s 9 puffs a day, or $0.63 (if you bought the package deal).
In my opinion, this is pretty cheap. People pay 5-6 times that amount for a 2-3 hour caffeine boost (ahem, coffee). Plus this effect can last all day.
Then if you think about something like the Sleepy MONQ, which presumably would only be used once a day, then you’re talking about that lasting 3-4 months.
Conclusion: The product is very good value for the cost.
The last criteria that rounds out a product is how good their customer service team is. No matter how awesome a product is, if no one is there to help when you have problems or questions it may as well be worthless.
That said, my experience with the MONQ customer service team has been great. I emailed with a representative back and forth for a couple of weeks asking tons of questions to help write this review, and all of my questions were patiently answered.
The only thing that could take their customer service from great to exquisite would be a faster response time. 24-48 hour response time is good, but in today’s world faster is better.
Conclusion: Great customer service team.
Final Conclusion and Closing Remarks
Overall, I would recommend this product, and I’d give it 4.5 of 5 stars.
It meets all of my criteria, and although the effectiveness and safety haven’t been verified via published research, a combination of my prior knowledge, outside research, and the promise of published research coming soon from MONQ is enough to put my mind at ease. (I’ll be sure to update when the MONQ research is published).
As a few final comments on the product, I’d like to highlight some of the things I would like to see in the product that could improve my rating to 5 stars:
-Published, peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness and safety directly from MONQ
-Refillable diffusers (although they do offer a recycling option on their website)
-Subscription service so I don’t have to remember to re-order
If you’ve tried MONQ, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
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