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by Kinga Sümegi
January 27, 2021
All about hydrosols
Do you know what hydrosols are? In the 21st century, the word itself rings a bell for everyone, because we are living in an era where there is an ever-growing demand for organic materials and products, which is a tendency our society should nurture and be proud of. But what exactly are hydrosols, how are they produced and why are they good for you? Read on and find out!
Most probably you have heard the term “hydrosol” before, but what exactly is it? A simplified definition could be that a hydrosol is the water part that is left behind after extracting an essential oil from a plant through water/steam distillation. At Glowing Orchid Organics, we use Rosemary, Lavender, Chamomile, Peppermint and Neroli hydrosols, and in this blog post we aim to show you exactly what these floral waters are, how they're made, and how to use them for your body’s benefit.
What is a hydrosol?
Hydrosols are frequently called "floral waters." This is because they are produced by distilling fresh plant materials like flowers, leaves, fruits, etc. When distilling a plant, either through water or steam distillation, producers are generally left with two end-products: the essential oil, which contains the plant’s oil-soluble constituents, and condensate water, with all the water-soluble constituents of the plant as well as microscopic drops of the essential oil. This condensate water is what is called the plant hydrosol.
As a result of the similar manufacturing procedure, hydrosols and essential oils have very similar therapeutic properties. However, there is an important difference between the two, which is that hydrosols are much less concentrated. Their scents are a lot softer and their effects are less intense when compared to those of essential oils. Since they contain a considerable amount of water, these products are also very gentle and can be applied directly from the bottle to the skin without dilution. They are generally safe to use on the skin of children or even on pets, thanks to their less intense properties.
How are hydrosols produced?
Most hydrosols are made by steam distillation. In steam distillation, plant material rich in extracts (leaves, buds, etc.) is placed into a steam distillery. The distilling procedure is then started by injecting hot steam into the steam distillery, which makes the plants release their botanical extracts. The rising steam then mixes with these extracts and carries them upwards. When the distillate reaches the cooler roof of the distillery, it quickly condenses, and the resulting liquid runs down a long tube into a separate tank.
This tank is where the essential oil and floral water is then collected. Due to its chemical properties and molecular weight, the oil, which contains the most concentrated oil-soluble extracts, floats to the surface and can be skimmed off to obtain the essential oil, while the remaining water part is also poured into bottles to produce hydrosol.
What should you look for when purchasing a hydrosol?
Not all hydrosols are manufactured the same way. There are a lot of profit-oriented companies who mix essential oils with water and sell them as false hydrosols. To make sure you are buying a real hydrosol from environmentally friendly sources, make sure to carefully read the ingredients label before you purchase it.
We collected what you should look for when choosing a hydrosol:
If you want to know more about how to spot a fake hydrosol, we recommend reading this article.
What are the benefits of the plants used in our hydrosols?
The number of plants you can use to make hydrosols is nearly infinite, basically any plant with a distinct scent is suitable for making hydrosols. So, in order to keep this blogpost at a digestible length, here we only listed the benefits of the ones you will find on our ingredient-lists. As we mentioned before, at Glowing Orchid Organics we use Rosemary, Lavender, Chamomile, Peppermint and Neroli hydrosols in our products.
Rosemary: The rosemary hydrosol has antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports your skin to remain healthy and thanks to its skin rejuvenating effect, it helps to heal older scars. Its beneficial effects start in the middle-layer of the skin and they sooth and heal, working from the inside out. Rosemary hydrosol can also help in treating irritations and roughness, and it is good against pain. It is a very beneficial base for soaps, lotions, facial mists or creams.
Lavender: This widely known and used herb with its distinct scent makes a wonderful, light-smelling hydrosol. It is a perfect solution for cooling and soothing irritated skin (especially in case of bug bites) and can help the healing process of your skin after minor cuts or burns. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is great for reducing redness. Also, its natural scent is undoubtedly extremely relaxing which is why it is great to apply it to your sheets before going to bed. Its use is suitable for all skin types.
Chamomile: Chamomile is cicatrisant, which means it helps the regeneration process of skin cells. It can be used to clean and soothe the skin after cuts or other minor injuries. Thanks to its anti-fungal properties, it can help you maintain the health of the skin on your feet. Chamomile also has relaxing and emotionally restorative properties and is excellent for relieving minor allergic reactions.
Peppermint: Peppermint hydrosol is useful for heartburn, bloat, colic and other digestive issues. It is a relief to those suffering with Crohn's disease or colitis. A peppermint hydrosol treatment will do wonders for bad breath or acneic skin by having detoxifying effects on both the liver and the colon."
Neroli: Neroli is a product of the bitter orange tree which is widely used for a variety of different issues. Its appealing scent has made it a popular ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics, but research has also shown that it has numerous benefits beyond just having a nice smell. It lowers blood pressure, it is great for skincare, for reducing stress and against the symptoms of menopause. It also has anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.
How to incorporate hydrosols in your beauty routine?
If you do not use hydrosols as an ingredient of a given product, but purely on their own, you have a wide range of possible uses to discover and exploit. As they are very gentle to the skin, hydrosols can be used multiple times a day, and you do not have to worry about any unexpected negative side-effects.
We collected a few ways you can incorporate a floral water into your beauty routine:
Other uses of hydrosols
Hydrosols are not restricted to the world of beauty and skincare, and they can help to fill your life with lovely scents at a relatively low cost. Here are some ways you can use hydrosols around the house on a daily basis, in order to make nice floral scents an evidence in your home.
Make your own hydrosol at home!
Although at first blink it might seem difficult to make hydrosols, in reality it is actually rather simple process, and anyone can give it a try. You will not need anything special other than fragrant plant parts, and a few other things that can be found in every household. In this article you can read a step-by-step guide about how to make your own hydrosol easily, without having to worry about burning your house down. If you have some fragrant flowers growing in your garden, you can actually make it a 100% homemade product. Now, how cool is that?
Essential oil vs. hydrosol
Essential oils are extremely concentrated which is why it is important not to be a total beginner at aromatherapy when you start using them. Keep it in mind that essential oils are very powerful. They do have considerable advantages, but the amount of essential oil you use does matter, and if you do not pay attention to the doses, these products can easily have unexpected negative side-effects such as irritation, burning, asthma attacks and headaches.
Hydrosols, on the other hand, cannot be overdosed which is why they are an easier and safer way to take your first steps in the world of aromatherapy. It is also why they are often recommended when you first think of experimenting with the numerous beneficial effects of essential oils. The fact that they are less concentrated makes them a lot safer for home and non-professional use, but it is not rare that even aromatherapy professionals choose hydrosols as the primary product in their treatments. Another benefit of hydrosols that we should not overlook is that they are a lot cheaper than essential oils, which is why they make the world of aromatherapy accessible for a much wider range of the population.
Hydrosols to every household!
If you have not been using hydrosols so far, it is about time you gave them a try. It is an experience worth trying, and there is no doubt that sooner or later you will become a regular user. Floral waters are easy to get “addicted” to, but fortunately you do not have to worry about going bankrupt because of the excessive use of hydrosols. Choose a scent and dive into this floral experience that will revolutionize everyday life in your household!
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