What is a hydrosol
Hydrosols are aromatic waters with therapeutic properties. Hydrosols are produced by the same method that is used to produce essential oil, namely, steam distillation. Hydrosols are often called flower waters. This is because hydrosols are produced by distilling fresh flowers, leaves, and other plant materials. You are left with two products when you distill a plant through water or steam distillation, the essential oil which is the oil soluble part of the plant, and a water condensate, which contains the water-soluble constituents as well as trace amounts of essential oil. This water condensate water is the hydrosol.
Hydrosols are a great alternative to essential oils, due to their water-based therapeutic properties. Hydrosols are much less concentrated than essential oils and can be used on babies, pregnant women and the elderly. As they have a large proportion of water, they are also very gentle on the skin, and you can apply it without diluting with any carrier oil. They have a soft subtle scent and are often used in skin care products and aromatherapy.
Uses of hydrosols
Hydrosols can be used in
- Skin toners
- Creams and lotions
- Face cleansers
- Wound healing
How to make hydrosols
Most hydrosols are made by steam distillation. The plant material is placed into a steam distillery, into which hot steam is injected. This hot steam makes the plant open up and release their compounds. The herbal distillate rises to the top. Once it comes into contact with the cool top, it becomes liquid and runs down a tube into another chamber where the essential oil and water is collected. The essential oil floats on top and is skimmed off the surface, while the remailing water is bottled up and sold as a hydrosol.
How to make hydrosol at home
- A heatproof bowl
- A large pot
- A stand or brick
- The plant material that you intend to distill
- Take a wide and tall pan or pot and place the plant material in it.
- Next pour enough water in the pot to cover and fully immerse the plant material in water.
- Now keep a stand or a brick in the pan, and keep a bowl on top of it to collect the hydrosol.
- Switch on the stove and cover the pot with a lid. The lid should be inverted so that it is easy for the condensed water to flow into the bowl. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the flame and let the water simmer.
- Place ice on the inverted lid to help condensation. When the water starts boiling, the water soluble compounds of the plant along with the water turn to vapour and rise up. When they touch the cool surface of the lid, they condense and form droplets that trickle down and collect in the bowl.
- This is your hydrosol, which is very aromatic and has many of the therapeutic properties of the essential oil, although in a non-concentrated form.
- Store it in a glass bottle and store in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.
How to make Mint hydrosol
You can make hydrosols with any plant material. The most common ones are rose, mint, chamomile, and lavender. Making hydrosols at home is very easy and you know that it is pure. When you purchase it, you have to be very sure that it is a hydrosol. Sometimes manufacturers add essential oil to water and sell it as hydrosol. So when you buy hydrosol, check for the ingredient list and see if hydrosol, distillate or hydrolat is listed as the primary ingredient.
Is rose water a hydrosol
Rose water is water infused with rose essential oil. Rose hydrosol is different. Rose hydrosol is what we get after the steam distillation of the rose flowers. Rose hydrosol is the water part of what we get when rose essential oil is produced.
What are hydrosols used for?
Hydrosols are mostly used in skin care products and directly on the skin.
Rose water is a moisturizer and acts as a humectant to draw moisture into the skin. It is also mildly astringent and helps to minimize the appearance of pores. It controls oil production and hydrates and tones the skin. It also helps to restore the skin’s pH balance.
Lavender cools and soothes irritated skin. It is suitable for all kinds of skin and is anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile can be used as a skin cleanser and it is also anti-inflammatory.
How to use hydrosols for the skin
- You can use it to spritz your face with the hydrosol, and then apply oil or cream for better absorption. Just spritzing your face also keeps it nourished and hydrated.
- You can also use hydrosols to set your make up, by spritzing some on your face.
- You can use it in place of water in face masks and packs for additional nourishment.
- You can make mouthwash with mint hydrosol and cloves, which is very refreshing and kills bacteria in the mouth. Click here to know the recipe for a mint mouthwash
- You can add hydrosols instead of distilled water, in the water phase of making creams and lotions.
- You can use hydrosols in toners and serums.