At one point or another, you’ve surely heard of the term “hydrosol"- but what is it exactly? It's a question I'm frequently asked when I introduce people to A Girl's Gotta Spa! Lavender Hydrosol.
Hydrosol is water that’s left behind after the essential oil is extracted from a plant through steam/water distillation. In this article, I’ll explain exactly what these floral waters are, how they’re used and how they’re made.
What is Hydrosol?
Hydrosols are commonly referred to as flower waters. The reason being is that they’re produced by distilling fruits, leaves, fresh flowers, and other plant materials. When a plant is distilled, either through steam or water distillation, there are two end products: essential oil and condensate water.
Essential oil contains the constituents of the plant that are oil-soluble, whereas the condensate water contains the constituents of the plant that are water-soluble as well as microscopic droplets of essential oil. This water-soluble condensate is the hydrosol.
Hydrosol and essential oils have therapeutic properties that are similar, except that hydrosols are less concentrated in comparison to essential oils. The scent of hydrosol is subtler and softer, and thanks to their high water content you can apply them directly to your skin without having to dilute it.
How is Hydrosol Made?
Hydrosols are mostly made by steam distillation- this is when plant materials that are rich in buds and leaves are placed into a steam distillery. The steam distillery is then injected with hot steam, causing the plants to open and release their extracts.
The steam then mixes with the plant materials and forms a hot herbal distillate, which then rises to the top of the distillery. At the top the distillate condensates, and the essential oil and water is collected in a different chamber as the liquid runs down.
The oil floats to the top and is skimmed off making the essential oil, then remaining water is then bottled to produce hydrosol.
Common Plants Used to Make Hydrosol
There are many different plants that are used to make Hydrosol, but here are the most common ones.
Lavender Hydrosol is great to soothe and cool skin that’s irritated, especially from bug bites. It may also help improve your skin’s appearance from damages like burns and cuts.
When misted on skin, the anti-inflammatory properties found in Lavender is great to reduce redness and is suitable for all skin types.
Its natural aroma is relaxing, making it perfect as a stress-reliever or way to be lulled off to sleep.
Rosewater is one of the most common Hydrosols out there- it doesn’t only smell amazing, it has wonderful benefits too.
Rosewater acts as a lightweight moisturizer, drawing moisture into the skin and retaining it as a humectant. Rosewater minimizes the appearance of pores, restores the skin’s pH balance, and controls oil production.
Thanks to its toning and hydrating qualities, it helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Its antioxidants are great to prevent future signs of aging.
Witch Hazel controls sebum production, restores the skin’s pH balance, can be used as a toner to cleanse your skin, and reduces the appearance of pores. It’s a great replacement for toners that are alcohol-based, which are drying and harsh on the skin.
It’s soothing and suitable for all skin types, and its anti-inflammatory properties calm puffy-looking or red skin. Witch Hazel has a distinct green and herbaceous smell.
Helichrysum (includes many flowering plants in the sunflower family) has powerful and rejuvenating properties which greatly benefits skin that is sensitive or mature. It helps to enhance the natural health and beauty of the skin, and it has a herbaceous, earthy, and almost tea-like smell.