Hydrosols, also known as Hydrolats, Hydrolates or Floral Waters, are a natural by-product of the distillation process of essential oils.  During distillation, steam is passed under pressure through plant material (such as flowers or leaves), the oil evaporates and, when cooled, condenses back into liquid form.  The essential oil floats on the top of this liquid (or sinks to the bottom, depending on the density of the essential oil).  The remainder is an aromatic water, known as a hydrosol.  Although not as well-known or easy to obtain as essential oils, hydrosols have their own healing properties and are especially valuable in skin care.

To gain the full benefit of hydrosols, it's important to make sure you buy them from a reputable supplier.  There are products on the market which have been manufactured using synthetic fragrances or made by adding essential oils to water, and although these may smell lovely, they don't have the same healing properties as pure hydrosols.  Hydrosols sometimes have a different fragrance to that of their essential oil counterpart - Roman Chamomile for example can have a musty smell.  Pure hydrosols can be used undiluted, and as they contain no preservatives they should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

Uses for Hydrosols

Skin and Hair Care

Rose Otto, Neroli and Lavender hydrosols can be used as a facial toner after cleansing. 

Use in a spray bottle to cool the skin after being out in the sun or during hot flushes.

Hot or tired feet can be revived by spraying with Peppermint hydrosol.

Make your own wet-wipes by spraying on a tissue or damp cloth.

Add to the final rinse after shampooing to condition and add shine to your hair.

Add up to 100ml to your bath water.  As hydrosols are gentle on the skin they are also suitable for children.  Add up to 50ml of Lavender or Roman Chamomile hydrosol to a child's bath before bedtime to calm them down and soothe any skin irritations.

 

Around the Home

Avoid using synthetic chemicals in your home by replacing them with hydrosols:

Add to the final rinse in the washing machine.

Spray onto clothes during ironing.

Use as a room spray - not only will they fragrance the air, buy they can help to clear the air of bacteria and viruses.

 

Car Journeys

To keep you alert during long journeys, spray reviving Peppermint or Rosemary hydrosol into the car.

 

 

The Properties of Hydrosols

 

Clary Sage

Salvia sclarea

  • Its astringent properties help to cleanse and tone oily skin.
  • It restores energy.
  • Helps to balance the hormones, relieving PMS and menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes.
  • Calms nervous tension.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulus

  • Its antiseptic properties help to treat minor cuts, grazes and insect bites.
  • It has a refreshing and energising aroma.
  • May be helpful for skin blemishes, including mild acne.

Frankincense

Boswellia carterii

  • Used as a facial toner, improves skin texture and helps to maintain elasticity.
  • Can be used in a spray to clear the energy in a room to prepare for healing, meditation or yoga.

Geranium

Pelargonium graveolens

  • Has a balancing effect on combination skin.
  • Useful for PMS and menopausal symptoms dur to its balancing action on the hormones.
  • Can be used in a spray to cool hot flushes and also has antidepressant properties.

Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

  • Its calming and soothing properties relieve skin irritation, heat rash, sunburn and insect bites.
  • Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties make it useful for cleaning minor cuts and wounds.
  • Use in a room spray to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Use in a cool compress to relieve tension headaches and migraines.

Melissa (Lemon Balm)

Melissa officinalis

  • Has a tonic and tightening effect on the skin.
  • The fragrance is uplifting and refreshing, while also having a calming and relaxing effect which helps to reduce anxiety.

Neroli (Orange Blossom)

Citrus aurantium

  • Soothes, hydrates and cools hot, itchy, dry or sensitive skin.
  • Encourages skin circulation and has gentle astringent properties.
  • Has a regenerating effect on dry or mature skin.
  • Helps to reduce anxiety and soothe tense muscles.

Peppermint

Mentha piperita

  • Cools hot skin after sun exposure or during hot flushes.
  • Helps to relieve itching, redness and inflammation.
  • Acts as an insect repellent when used in a room spray.

Roman Chamomile

Anthemis nobilis

  • Its anti-inflammatory properties have a soothing and calming effect on inflamed, irritated and sensitive skin, including eczema and allergies.
  • Relieves itching caused by insect bites.
  • To soothe tired or sore eyes and reduce puffiness, soak two cotton wool pads with Roman Chamomile hydrosol and place over the eyes for around ten minutes.

Rose Otto (Rosewater)

Rosa damascena

  • Beneficial for all skin types, it has balancing, hydrating and regenerating properties.
  • Soothes and calms reddened or inflamed skin, and over time may reduce the appearance of broken capillaries.
  • It has sedative, anti-depressant properties, helping to calm the emotions and reduce anxiety.

Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

  • Encourages healthy blood flow to the skin.
  • It has an astringent effect which can help to balance oily skin.
  • Use on the hair to add shine and stimulate the scalp.
  • Its invigorating fragrance can aid concentration.

Tea Tree

Melaleuca alternifolia

  • Its cleansing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make it useful for skin problems, including acne.
  • Helps to relieve the irritation of insect bites.
  • May also be useful in treating athlete's foot.