I like to think of myself as up to date about skincare ingredients and products, but somehow hydrosols were off my radar until a few months ago. Now I am a devotee of this skincare product and am happy to recommend their use to other estheticians and clients.
What Is A Hydrosol?
When plants are steam distilled for their essential oils, this process will release several compounds – some of which are soluble in water and will therefore end up in the hydrosol at the end of the process. Hydrosols contain the water from the distillation process as well as the herbal extracts from the plant. The essential oil droplets will float on top of this distillate and these tiny quantities are then removed to be sold.
Keep in mind that hydrosols are not simply essential oils added to water. Hydrosols contain all the properties of the essential oil, just highly diluted which makes them much more gentle. Hydrosols can also be used directly on the skin, unlike essential oils that should never to applied directly to the skin. That’s what makes hydrosols so versatile and wonderful – they can provide your skin with the all the benefits of essential oils without any fear of irritation and negative reaction.
Be sure you trust your supplier when buying hydrosols since they can be contaminated or diluted with alcohol.
You could, of course, make your own hydrosol if you were so inclined.
How To Use A Hydrosol
Just as essential oils have different properties so do hydrosols. The properties of the hydrosol are the same as the plant or essential oil they came from, just much more gentle so they can be used even on sensitive, irritated skin. I work with clients who are undergoing chemotherapy and have very sensitive, compromised skin; I can use a hydrosol on the skin of such a client but not an essential oil.
Hydrosols can be used in a number of ways: You can
- use them like a toner – apply to a cotton pad and swipe across the face.
- add them to a clay mask (or any mask) instead of water.
- use in your bath
- spray on your body like a body spray
- use as a natural room or linen freshener/perfume
- spray on your skin to cool down
- after shaving spray or swipe on skin to soothe
- spray to calm irritated skin
Personally I use hydrosols during facials just like I would toner and I add them to the masks I create for clients at the end of a facial. But the sky’s the limit – there are a multitude of ways to use hydrosols both for your skin and for your home.