by Paula Harris
also known as floral waters and hydrolats, are the by-products
of the steam distillation of essential oils. The hydrosols contain
small quantities of the essential oils themselves, as well as
water-soluble components of the plants that would otherwise be
lost in the distillation process.
differ from many of the "face sprays" and "spritzers" available
in shops (which also occasionally call themselves floral waters)
which are often a simple mix of water and essential oil, sometimes
with a little food colouring added to make it too "authentic".
have a very subtle energy, and are therefore a useful addition
and complement to essential oil-based therapy where a gentle approach
is desired. Traditionally hydrosols are most commonly used for
skin care, but they are also useful for eye inflammation and infection,
and can be taken internally.
recently, the most readily available hydrosols were rose, lavender,
chamomile and neroli (orange flower). But over the last few years
more and more possibilities have been explored, as people realize
that if it can be distilled, there can be a hydrosol.
Properties And Uses Of Hydrosols
- Chamomile, Roman - soothing; anti-inflammatory; relieves
stress; a compress for migraines; relieves nappy-rash; suitable
for sensitive, inflamed or dry skin; sunburn; excellent for
- Lavender - soothing; gentle; balancing; antiseptic;
suitable for all skin types; eczema; razor-burn; healing for
burnt skin (including sunburn)
- cleansing; anti-fungal; antiseptic mouthwash
- hot flashes; a compress to relieve pain of shingles; suitable
for oily skin
- calming; balancing; hydrating; rejuvenating; uplifting;
anti-depressant; relieves stress; mildly astringent; suitable
for all skin types
- Peppermint - refreshing; deodorizing; cooling; antibacterial;
mouthwash; clears sinus congestion; excellent as a facial
and body spray in summer
- Rose -
refreshing; soothing; anti-inflammatory; regenerative; rehydrating;
a gargle for sore or inflamed throats; suitable for sensitive
or dry skin; soothes irritated eyes
- Rose Geranium
- balancing; antidepressant; hot flashes; suitable for oily
or dry skin
- Rosemary - refreshing; stimulating; razor-burn; suitable
for congested skin
- Tea Tree
- stimulating; antiseptic; athlete’s foot; acne
Exploring The Possibilities
are excellent for using within a skin care regime. In addition
to being completely natural, they are gentler than many commercial
skin toners. They can also be combined with sun-dried clays to
make natural face masks, enhancing the properties of the clay.
During the long, hot summer days or when traveling, they can be
used as a facial spray to revitalize and hydrate the skin, or
to set makeup.
to limit their use simply to skin care is doing an injustice to
these often overlooked healing tools.
like the essential oils themselves, hydrosols can be used in the
bath, in compresses, for facial steaming and as room sprays. And
like essential oils, that can be blended together to create synergies.
can also be added to carrier oils, along with essential oils,
to heighten the essential oils’ therapeutic value. For instance,
adding a little lavender hydrosol to a massage blend containing
lavender essential oil will enhance the lavender, and essentially
make the blend "complete" by utilizing both the water-soluble
and oil-soluble components of the lavender.
internal use of hydrosols is still being explored, and should
be considered cautiously. But studies do show that, for example,
taking controlled doses of chamomile hydrosol orally can ease
Purchasing And Storage
hydrosols should be colourless, or at most contain only a light
sheen. If you pick up a bottle of neroli water and it is decidedly
orange, put it back down.
remember that not all hydrosols have a pleasant aroma, particularly
those obtained from herbs.
hydrosols are all natural, they contain no preservatives and therefore
deteriorate over time. The usual lifespan of a hydrosol is a year,
and they are best stored in the refrigerator.