Explore what is hydrosol and learn how to make it from fresh or dried plants that can be used in skincare or cleaning. Fragrant hydrosol (floral water) contains a small amount of essential oil and can be used in various ways, such as in skincare and as a natural cleaning solution.
What is a hydrosol?
Hydrosol, floral water, or hydrolat are highly aromatic liquids that remain after steam distilling or hydro-distilling botanical material during essential oil production. One advantage of hydrosol is that it comes from water-soluble constituents, which means it can be easily added to water-based formulas and does not require emulsifying or surfactant agents for stabilization.
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What are the benefits of hydrosols?
Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, have a variety of benefits depending on which botanical materials one uses.
A study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research found that rose, peppermint, and lemon balm hydrosols had strong antimicrobial activity against various bacteria and fungi.
Researchers found that Helichrysum Italicum (Immortelle) hydrosol promotes wound healing in rats.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that hydrosol of Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) had anti-inflammatory properties and may promote skin healing.
Anxiety and depression
Hydrosol of Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) has anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. This suggests that using lavender hydrosol may have potential therapeutic benefits for individuals with anxiety and depression.
A study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications found that hydrosol of Rosa damascena (Rose) improves skin elasticity and hydration and reduces wrinkles in women. Therefore, hydrosols are often used in skin care.
While there's a lack of scientific research on the benefits of hydrosols on humans, anecdotal evidence suggests that certain plants converted into hydrosols may be useful in several ways.
How to use hydrosols?
Hydrosols, also known as flower waters, can be used in various ways due to their medicinal and cosmetic properties. Some common ways to use hydrosols include:
Use them as a facial toner or mists, or add them to lotions and creams to hydrate, soothe, and balance the skin. Floral water hydrate, soothe, and balance the skin, reducing redness and inflammation. They are gentle and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Hydrosols have a milder fragrance than essential oils and are prevalent in aromatherapy without dilution. You can also spray them in a room or add them to a diffuser to create a relaxing and soothing atmosphere. Interestingly, many hydrosols may have a different scent than their essential oil counterpart.
Hydrosols can be used as a food flavoring and natural preservative in food and drinks.
They serve as a perfect natural cleaning solution, especially lavender water, for their antiseptic properties to clean and disinfect surfaces.
From cleaning to wound disinfecting, floral waters possess anti-inflammatory properties that ease wound healing.
Add these aromatic waters to a foot bath or a bath to create a relaxing and soothing experience.
Add them to a natural deodorant, mouthwash, or other personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, and lotions.
Do hydrosols have any side effects?
Hydrosols are generally considered safe to use and have few reported side effects. However, as with any skincare or cosmetic product, it is important to do a patch test before adding hydrosols directly to the skin area.
Some people may be sensitive or allergic to certain plants, and using hydrosols from those plants may cause a reaction.
Additionally, people with sensitive skin should use hydrosols cautiously, as they may irritate. It is always recommended to use hydrosols in small amounts and dilute them with water or other carrier oils if needed.
How to make your hydrosols at home
To make a hydrosol at home, you will need a distillation setup, fresh or dried plant material, and a heat source. In this case, we will be using 2 cups of fresh or dried herbs of your choice.
First step - prepare your distillation setup.
Place the flowers in a medium-size cooking pot to cover its bottom completely. Make a space in the center of the bottom and place a heat-safe bowl upside down on the bottom.
Next, cover the flowers with 2 cups of water. Place another heat-safe bowl upright on top of the first one and an upside-down lid on top of the pot. This will become the place of condensation where the vapor reaches the bottom of the cold lid and drops in the form of hydrosol in the second bowl.
Second step -bring it to a boil and cool simultaneously.
Now, switch on the heat source and bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a slow simmer.
Gradually add ice cubes to the lid to cool down the steam and turn it into condensation. Use a pipette or spoon to remove the water as it collects in the second bowl. Add another batch of ice cubes and remove the melted ice until the bowl is full. It takes about 20 minutes and one kilogram of ice to achieve this. Remember that making a hydrosol is a slow process, and it is important not to speed up the process by increasing the heat. The remaining water contains small quantities of essential oil plus many of the plant's water-soluble (hydrophilic) parts.
Third step - transfer the hydrosol to a jar.
Let the hydrosol cool before pouring it into a sterile jar and closing the lid. Store them in bottles similar to essential oils.
Many of the water-soluble constituents present in the plant are present in the hydrosol, providing a range of therapeutic benefits to the skin. And it is always better to use a natural preservative to keep it fresh for a longer time.
Common plants for hydrosol making?
There are many different types of plants suitable for making floral water. Choosing the right botanical allows you to customize your true hydrosol for your skin needs.
Hydrosol from lavender reduces redness and inflammation with its calming and soothing effect on the skin.
Hydrating and astringent rose hydrosol is suitable for mature and sensitive skin.
Chamomile hydrosol is calming and soothing, making it ideal for sensitive skin. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce redness, irritation, and dryness, making it perfect for use in skincare products for sensitive skin, as well as in body care products to promote relaxation and sleep.
Peppermint hydrosol is refreshing and invigorating. It cools the skin and alleviates headaches. Its strong menthol scent provides a cooling sensation that can help soothe and calm irritated skin and relieve headaches and tension.
Lemon Balm water
Lemon balm hydrosol is uplifting and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Its fresh and invigorating scent promotes calm and well-being, making it a great addition to any aromatherapy routine.
Soothing and healing Calendula hydrosol has anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective in aiding skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great addition to the skincare routine for soothing sunburns, acne, and other skin irritations.
Rosemary hydrosol has a refreshing and invigorating scent that improves circulation and hair. Its energizing properties make it great for use as a wake-up spray or for helping to increase focus and concentration. In addition, its astringent properties can help to strengthen and tone the scalp and hair, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing hair loss.
Hydrosol and Floral Waters, What's the difference?
hydrosol is a byproduct of the distillation process used to obtain essential oils, while floral water refers to flower water infusion.
Hydrosols are the water content leftover from the steam distillation of a flower. They contain the water-soluble constituents of the plant, as well as some of the essential oil that is present in the plant material. Hydrosols have similar properties to essential oils but are much less concentrated, and unlike essential oils, you can apply hydrosols safely to the skin without dilution.
However, hydrosols have an advantage over essential oils because they contain water-soluble plant constituents that are not present in essential oils.
You can easily make floral water by adding a small percentage (up to 1% to 2%) of essential oil or blend into the water. Let the mixture steep for a few days before filtering the essential oils.
Floral essences, on the other hand, are water infusions of a plant in direct sunlight that transfers the energy pattern of the flower into the spring water.
Hydrosols, floral waters, and essences have similar therapeutic properties, and the terms are often used interchangeably.