Hydrosols are often referred to as “flower waters.” This is because they are produced by distilling fresh flowers, leaves, fruits, and other plant materials. When you distill a plant, either through water or steam distillation, you are left with two end-products: the essential oil, which contains the oil-soluble constituents of the plant, and any condensate water, which contains the water-soluble constituents as well as microscopic droplets of the essential oil. This condensate water is what we call the plant hydrosol.
Not surprisingly, hydrosols and essential oils have similar therapeutic properties. However, hydrosols are much less concentrated. Their scents are much softer and subtler when compared to those of their essential oil counterparts. Due to their high water content, they’re also very gentle and can be applied directly to the skin without any sort of dilution.
HOW IS A HYDROSOL MADE?
Most hydrosols are made by steam distillation. In steam distillation, plant material rich in botanical extracts (leaves, buds, etc.) is placed into a steam distillery. The steam distillery is then injected with hot steam, which causes the plants to open up and release their extracts. The steam mixes with the botanicals, forming a hot herbal distillate that then rises to the top of the distillery. Once it reaches the top, the distillate condenses upon contact with the cool roof and the resulting liquid runs down a tube into a completely different chamber.
This is where the essential oil and water is then collected. The oil, which contains the most concentrated amount of oil-soluble extracts, floats to the top and is skimmed off to make the essential oil, while the remaining water is bottled up to produce the hydrosol.
Sacred Plants Farmacy offers both Rose and Lavender Hydrosols, made here at The Apothecary in Guiones.
Rose – You probably already know this one: rosewater. Rosewater is one of the most common hydrosols on the market, as it smells amazing and has some great benefits. Rosewater is a wonderful lightweight moisturizer – it acts as a humectant to draw moisture into the skin and help retain it. It’s also mildly astringent and aids in minimizing the appearance of pores while controlling oil production and restoring the skin’s pH balance. The hydrating and toning qualities of rosewater make it great for reducing the appearance of wrinkles too, and it has great antioxidant properties that can help prevent future signs of aging. Overall, rosewater is balancing and calming and suitable for all skin types, especially mature, dry, and/or sensitive skin
Lavender – This lovely smelling herb makes a wonderful, light-smelling hydrosol. It’s great for cooling and soothing irritated skin (especially from bug bites) and may help improve the appearance of skin that’s been damaged by minor cuts and burns. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s great for reducing redness. And, of course, its natural aroma is extremely relaxing. It’s suitable for all skin types, from oily to dry.
HOW DO YOU USE A HYDROSOL?
Hydrosols can be used multiple times a day, since they’re super gentle on the skin.
Here are a few ways to add a floral water to your beauty routine:
Use it in combination with a face or body oil to help the oil absorb into the skin. Spritz your skin generously with the hydrosol, then apply the oil while your skin is still damp. This process delivers the same benefits as using a cream or a lotion.
Spritz your face 3 to 4 times a day to replenish your skin. This will keep your skin plump, nourished, hydrated, and looking its absolute best.
Use it to set your makeup. Spritz some on after your makeup is all done to help it stay in place. A post-makeup misting will also lend a gorgeous dewy finish to your skin and will help your makeup look more natural.
Spray some hydrosol on a cotton pad to remove your makeup. You can do this prior to cleansing your skin or after cleansing to remove any leftover makeup or residue.
Use it in place of water when you mix powdered masks for added benefits. This also allows you to customize your mask, using different hydrosols depending on what your skin needs most at any given time.