Hydrosols / Floral Waters
Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, flower waters, or plant waters, are aromatic water byproducts produced during the steam distillation or hydro-distillation of plant materials such as flowers, herbs, or fruits. This process is commonly used to extract essential oils, but it also yields a water-soluble product known as a hydrosol.
Here's how the process typically works:
Steam Distillation: Steam is passed through plant material, causing the essential oil within the plant's glands to evaporate. The steam carries these volatile oil molecules upward, and they are then condensed back into liquid form.
Separation: The resulting liquid is a combination of essential oil and water. After the distillation process, the essential oil is separated from the water, leaving the aromatic water, which is the hydrosol.
Hydrosols have a milder aroma compared to their corresponding essential oils but still carry the essence and therapeutic properties of the plant. They are typically more gentle and can be used in a variety of applications. Some common uses of hydrosols include:
Skincare: Many hydrosols have soothing and hydrating properties, making them suitable for use in skincare. They can be used as facial toners, spritzers, or added to skincare formulations.
Aromatherapy: Hydrosols can be used as a more subtle alternative to essential oils in aromatherapy. They are often sprayed in the air, on linens, or used in diffusers.
Hair Care: Certain hydrosols can be beneficial for the hair. They can be used as a hair mist or added to hair care products for their fragrance and potential hair-nourishing properties.
Culinary Uses: Some hydrosols, particularly those derived from edible plants like rose or citrus, can be used in cooking and beverages to add a hint of flavor.
First Aid: Certain hydrosols, like chamomile or lavender, may have mild antiseptic properties and can be used topically for minor skin irritations.
It's important to note that the quality of hydrosols can vary, and it's advisable to choose products that are produced through a reputable distillation process. Also, since hydrosols contain water, they have a limited shelf life compared to essential oils and may require refrigeration to prolong their freshness. As with any new product, it's recommended to perform a patch test to check for potential sensitivities.