What’s A Hydrosol? Using These Skin Hydration Heroes
Hydrosols are often called floral waters, or, in Victorian times, toilette water. But what’s in a name? A hydrosol by any other name, they are still key players in my skincare regimen, and here’s why they should be in yours!
What are hydrosols?
Hydrosols are co-products of essential oil distillation. In the distilling process, the plant material is captured in steam, and goes through a pipe to cool. As it cools, essential oil rises to the top, and the plant water, or hydrosol, separates.
In recent years, with the increased awareness of the benefits of essential oils, and the demand for them, producers have tossed aside hydrosols as an unwanted by-product. But if you look back in history, you’ll find a much more common occurrence of people distilling herbs and flowers for the hydrosol specifically.
Now, science has shown us that this distillate carries much of the same properties and compounds as their essential oil counterparts, plus some that you cannot capture in an essential oil.
Plus, they are soluble in water, which is an advantage essential oils do not have, and makes a hydrosol perfect for aqueous, or water-based applications.
Also, they contain plant compounds that maintain their bio-active properties and are diluted to be safe in almost every application.
You can distill almost any type of herb or flower into a flower water. Think of any steam-distilled essential oil, and you’ve got a hydrosol that matches. My favorites, hands down, are rose, lavender, and orange flower.
Hydrosols are making a comeback, and for very good reason. Here are 5 ways you can use them and why they are so essential in a natural skincare routine.
5 Ways to Use A Hydrosol or Two in Your Skincare
Hydrosols make great toners. I use my rosewater facial mist after cleansing to shrink my pores, restore skin’s pH, and boost my hydration. They have great anti-inflammatory properties, are rich in antioxidants, and help balance skin’s sebum. So if you have dry or oily skin, they work equally well to bring the oil production back up or down to a healthy level. I also love the skin soothing properties. I have struggled with roseacea, and have noticed that rose and lavender water has reduced the redness and inflammation.
Face Masks & Treatments
I am very much a DIY skin-food junkie. It’s how I got started in professional skincare formulating. Whatever mask or facial steam I may be doing, floral waters are my go-to water-based part of my recipe. My favorite uses here are mixing 1:1 with my rose moroccan clay mask, and as part of my steam treatment for my at-home facial.
Make-up Setting Spray
Hydrosols are a great finish to your makeup and a light spritz sets makeup and gives you a hydrated and dewy look and feel. I leave mine in my desk for a mid-day thirst-quencher for my skin.
Ahhhh… doesn’t that word just get you excited? I use hydrosols in aromatherapy in all those places I can’t or don’t want to use essential oils.
For example, I’ll spritz some lavender water on my pillow for relaxation. It makes a great all-around linen spray for towels, sheets, etc. You can use floral waters to freshen your car, put in a humidifier, or even cook with. (In victorian times, rose flavored food was all the rage!)
Using Your Hydrosol
Floral waters are very delicate, and to keep them bio-active and fresh, you have to store them properly. I recommend glass containers for long terms storage, and keeping them in a cool, dark place.
When you use them on your face as a moisturizer, make sure to seal them in with a protectant, such as a facial oil, cream, or serum. If you don’t provide a barrier to keep the moisture in, the hydration meant for your skin will evaporate into the air, and can even take some of your skin’s moisture with it. Personally, I always pair my rosewater with my Rejuvenate Facial Serum. This has been the most natural, gentle, and simply effective moisturizing system I’ve used.
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