What Are Hydrosols?
In essence, Hydrosols are botanical waters. They carry gentle herbal benefits and aromas from that plant that was used during its distillation. These properties are often similar in nature to essential oils and extracts made from the same plant.
However, Hydrosols contain a much lower dose of active components than extracts or essential oil. This makes them quite mild and amazingly versatile. The properties of Hydrosol are so gentle that the ingredient can be used as-is directly on skin or hair, unlike essential oils or extracts that must be diluted prior to use.
How Are Hydrosols Made?
When an essential oil is steam-distilled, large quantities of water are used in the process. The essential oils are harvested after distillation, leaving water that has been infused with the residual and water-soluble components of the plant that was used.
What Do Hydrosols Smell Like?
Hydrosols can vary in aroma quite a bit. While certain Hydrosols, like Rose or Neroli, carry scents that are highly characteristic and recognizable, other types of Hydrosol smell entirely different from what you may expect. Hydrosols often smell more earthy, green, or herbacious than essential oils produced from the same plant.
Popular Types of Hydrosol
Hydrosols are becoming more and more popular as the interest in natural beauty and skin care continues to grow. As a result, more varieties of Hydrosol become available all the time. Still, there are some varieties that remain the most popular, useful, and interesting. Some of our favorites include:
Click on the title of any variety to learn more about it’s unique properties.
- Angelica Root
- Carrot Seed
- Cistus (Labdanum), Spain
- Clary Sage
- Douglas Fir
- Geranium Bourbon, Madagascar
- German Chamomile, Bulgaria
- Helichrysum Italicum
- Labrador Tea
- Lavandula Angustifolia, Bulgaria
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Balm, Bulgaria
- Neroli (Orange Blossom)
- Roman Chamomile
- Rose Damascena, Bulgaria
- Rosemary Verbenone
- White Sage
- Witch Hazel
How to Use Hydrosols
The gentle properties of Hydrosol make it an extremely versatile ingredient for skin and hair care. Here are some of the most popular uses for Hydrosol.
- Facial Toner: Hydrosols may be used as-is or blended with other ingredients, like Apple Cider Vinegar, Dead Sea Salt, or herbal teas to make facial toners.
- Creams and Lotions: Hydrosols make an excellent substitute for water in emulsion formulas such as lotions and creams. Try replacing all or a portion of the water in your formula with your favorite Hydrosol.
- Skin Care Masks: Use your favorite Hydrosol as a wetting agent in your next fresh mask recipe. A simple clay facial can be made with just two ingredients, Cosmetic Clay and Hydrosol.
- Cleansers: Hydrosols can be used to wet dry or powdered cleansers such as washing grains. They can also be used in place of water for making cream or foaming cleansers.
- Hair Spritzers & Sprays: Sweet and floral scented Hydrosols, such as Neroli or Rose, make excellent bases for water-based hair care products like curl gel, hair spray, and leave-in conditioner.
- Foaming Soaps: Liquid soaps, like Castile Soap, often need to be diluted before use in a foaming dispenser. Using Hydrosol for dilution is a wonderful way to incorporate gentle herbal properties into liquid soap.
- Body Spray: Try starting your body spray blends off with a base of Hydrosol instead of water. The natural aroma and gentle herbal benefits of Hydrosol are a great way to enhance an otherwise simple product.
How do you like to use Hydrosols in your own handmade products? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments below.