When reading about essential oils for skin care or researching recipes with essential oils, you’ll often come across the term ‘hydrosols’. Maybe you thought you’d look into what are hydrosols but…you forgot? It happens.
Learning about what are hydrosols and what they are used for is a great way to ramp up your aromatherapy experience without the additional cost. Let’s dive right into what are hydrosols and how they related to but different from essential oils.
We’ll also talk about are hydrosols used for, benefits of hydrosols, and of course, where to buy hydrosols.
What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols are also called floral waters, which is very appropriate given their method of extraction. A hydrosol is a byproduct that is produced during the essential oil steam distillation process.
To extract essential oils via steam distillation, the plant parts are placed in a container with water and heated under pressure. The exact plant part that is used depends on the plant itself. Some essential oils such as lavender, rose and jasmine are extracted from the flowers of the plant. Others, such as cinnamon, rosemary, and eucalyptus, use the leaves or bark. Citrus oils such as grapefruit, bergamot, and lemon, are extracted from the rind of the fruit.
When the plant parts and water are heated under pressure, two things happen. The oils get extracted from the plant parts and the water gets converted to steam.
During the steaming process, the volatile molecules that evaporate more easily are carried upwards by the steam. This steam and molecule mixture is transported over to a specially designed condensing chamber. Here, the steam converts back into water. When this happens, the oil floats to the top just like any other oil floats on water. This oil is the essential oil that has just been extracted and the water that is left behind is the hydrosol.
The water that is left behind, or the hydrosol, is not just plain water. It contains the water-soluble portions of the plant’s volatile ingredients. These are the molecules that did not get dissipated with the essential oil.
Hydrosols contain the properties of the plant that was used. Some hydrosols may contain trace amounts of essential oil residue in it and that’s okay. Today distilling practices are becoming more advanced, enabling manufacturers to make a near-perfect separation.
So are hydrosols and essential oils the same thing? No, there is a slight difference.
Hydrosols vs. Essential Oils
Essentials oils and hydrosols are derivatives of the same extraction process using the same plant materials. The end product of the process results in a hydrosol and an essential oil. Both of these contain the same therapeutic properties as the plant that was used as the base material. However, although they both have the same properties, there is a difference between the two products.
The hydrosol that is obtained from the steam distillation is essentially a type of water that has therapeutic properties. It may take on the color of the herb or plant that was used, and some may contain trace amounts of essential oil.
Hydrosols are kinder and gentler to the skin. You can use a hydrosol directly on your skin without any risk of adverse reaction or irritation.
The essential oil that is obtained during the same process is a highly concentrated end product. It is more effective for healing purposes but the oil cannot be applied directly to the skin. Essential oils must always be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
Unlike essential oils, hydrosols can be diluted in water. This makes it easier to add hydrosols to any water-based beauty product for skin application. Hydrosols are a popular addition in a variety of skincare products including creams, skin cleansers, facial masks, facial toners, lotions.
This also makes them the preferred alternative when making aromatic air freshener sprays. They can also be used as a mild, natural fragrance when you are looking for something that is a little cheaper than essential oils
Because hydrosols are also less likely to stain fabric, they can also safely be used to scent your homemade fabric spray.
What Are Hydrosols Used For?
What are hydrosols used for?
Let me count the ways…
After-Shower Mist – Spritzing a hydrosol body mist all over your body after a shower feels super refreshing. The scent will last longer as your open pores absorb more of the mist.
Mild Daytime Perfume – What’s great about hydrosols is that they can be spritzed directly onto your skin. Spritzing a little on your inner wrists and behind your ears during the day time is refreshing without being overpowering. Leave the heavy perfumes for evenings out. Neroli Hydrosol is a popular choice to use as a perfume because of its soft, floral aroma, which smells good and also offers great support for anxiety.
Post-Sun Skin Hydrator – Lightly misting your body with Lavender Hydrosol will hydrate and cool your skin down instantly
Layer With Your Daily Moisturizer – Spray a hydrosol body mist lightly all over after applying unscented moisturizer. The hydrosol will lock in the refreshing aroma and help hydrate the skin more deeply.
Fragrance Spray For Your Hair – Spraying a hydrosol mist lightly on your hair will leave it feeling hydrated while also giving it a light fragrance.
Calming Spray – Spraying the mist of lavender hydrosol in your room and on your body can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Mood Booster – Rose, Lavender, and Melissa Hydrosols bring comfort and calm after a long, hectic day. Spray any of these hydrosols directly onto your skin, clothes, pillows, or linens to help freshen scent and give you a relaxing whiff.
Before & After a Workout – Spray any hydrosol under the arms and other areas to prevent that sweaty odor that’s inevitable after a workout.
Scent Personalized Notes – A light spray of hydrosol on a letter or a Thank You note lets your recipients that they are extra special.
Personalize Gifts – Give your gifts a personal touch by spraying the wrapping paper with a quick spray of hydrosol.
Room Freshener – Spray the mist in your bedroom, living room, bathroom, or any other space to eliminate stale odor and refresh the air.
Linen Spray – Lavender and Roman Chamomile Hydrosols make fantastic linen sprays, especially for bedroom linen. In addition to smelling wonderful, both of these hydrosols are soothing and relaxing. Spray generously on your pillow and comforter to help you unwind and relax for a great night’s sleep.
Closet Spray – Spray your closet regularly with your favorite hydrosol to keep your clothes and closet smelling wonderful all the time. Although hydrosols don’t stain clothes, it’s best to avoid spraying directly on delicate fabrics.
Carpet & Upholstery Freshener – Use Lavender or Peppermint Hydrosol as a carpet and upholstery spray to lift up the freshness in the room. Both of these are effective disinfectants too.
Car Freshener – Spray Peppermint Hydrosol in the car when you need an instant pick-me-up while driving.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.