Most people have heard of essential oils, but when we bring up the topic of hydrosols we are often met with confused yet intrigued faces. So we thought it was time to remove the mystery and start sharing all the amazing benefits of one of nature’s best kept secrets.
Hydrosols are simply the aromatic water that remains after steam-distilling botanical matter. When we distil essential oils, pressurised steam passes through the plants to extract the oils. When the steam and oil are condensed, the essential oil is separated from the water mixture and the water-based product left is hydrosol.
Hydrosols are quite often referred to as “floral waters” and carry many of the same therapeutic properties as the essential oil produced from the same plant. They are milder than their oil counterparts, can generally be applied directly to the skin, have an earthier, herbaceous tone to their aroma and are usually safe to use on children. These are some of our favourite ways to use them.
- All Natural First Aid
Hydrosols should be a staple in any all natural first aid kit. Lavender hydrosol contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and analgesic properties, making it beneficial to use on cuts and scrapes. It’s also great at calming itchy, irritated rashes and will take the sting out of those annoying bug bites. It is also great for soothing sunburns and you can check out our recipe for Sunburn Soother Gel here. German chamomile hydrosol is also great at calming itchy and irritated skin, while its strong antibacterial qualities give it an extra kick for disinfecting and healing scrapes and cuts (especially for kids).
One of the major differences between essential oils and hydrosols is that hydrosols are safe to use around babies and young children while essential oils should be used with caution and be heavily diluted. Lavender and German chamomile hydrosols are two of our favourite choices when it comes to the little ones. Lavender hydrosol is a great sleepy time spray and can be added to bath water to help relax baby and soothe diaper rash. German chamomile makes a great spray to apply directly to diaper rash during changing.
- Facial Toners
Essential oils can be irritating to use around the eyes and face, but hydrosols make great facial toners. They can also help with dry or oily skin (depending on which hydrosol you choose). One of our go to’s is rose hydrosol which has been used as a luxurious skin toner for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. It helps restore moisture, making it perfect for healing dry skin and is especially beneficial for mature, aging skin types.
- Linen Sprays
- Body Spray
Rose hydrosol is known to be a hormone balancer and can promote emotional balance and a sense of wellbeing. Its antispasmodic properties can also be useful for combating PMS symptoms such as cramps. But any hydrosol can be used as a body spray, you don’t necessarily need to pick one with the best therapeutic qualities. Choosing a hydrosol based on smell is also a great alternative to chemical filled, over the counter body sprays.
A couple of tablespoons of hydrosols can turn a normal bath into a relaxing, aromatic time out. Since hydrosols are water soluble, they are the perfect all natural addition to any good soak. Some of our favourites include lavender, rose and ylang ylang.
Shelf Life & Storage of Your Hydrosols
Since hydrosols are water-based, special care must be taken so they do not grow mould or become contaminated. We recommend storing your hydrosols in the refrigerator and always make sure that the lid is closed tightly. Also, make sure the spray nozzle doesn’t come into contact with anything as this can cause contamination. With proper care and storage your hydrosols can last 1-2 years.
Hopefully, we have taken away the mystery of hydrosols and inspired you to give them a try. One of the great benefits of hydrosols is the variety of ways they can be incorporated into your daily life and this is just the first of many articles we hope to write highlighting their uses. So share your hydrosol stories / questions in the comments below. We would love to hear your favourite way to use them and will be here to answer all of your questions.
My Pure Earth