A hydrosol, also known as a floral water or distillate, is a byproduct of the steam distillation process used to extract essential oils from plants. Unlike essential oils, which are highly concentrated and potent, hydrosols are much milder and can be used directly on the skin without dilution.
Hydrosols are created when steam is passed through plant material, causing the essential oils to vaporize and become suspended in the steam. The steam is then cooled, causing the essential oils and water to separate. The water, now infused with the essential oils and other water-soluble plant compounds, is collected and referred to as a hydrosol.
Benefits of Hydrosols are:
- Gentle and safe for all skin types: Because hydrosols are much milder than essential oils, they can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin.
- Cooling and refreshing: Hydrosols can be used as a natural toner or facial mist to cool and refresh the skin. They are particularly helpful in hot weather or after exercise.
- Soothing and calming: Many hydrosols, such as chamomile or lavender, have a calming effect on the skin and can be used to soothe irritation or redness.
- Moisturizing: Hydrosols are naturally hydrating and can be used to moisturize the skin. They are particularly helpful for dry or dehydrated skin.
- Aromatic: Hydrosols have a subtle, natural fragrance that can be used in place of synthetic perfumes. They are also used in aromatherapy for their therapeutic properties.