Although many people can tell you what an essential oil is not so many people know about hydrosols and floral waters.
Amongst people who have heard of these products there is often confusion. Are they the same or are they different? And if they are different how are they different?
Well they ARE different. Floral waters is NOT just an old fashioned name for hydrosol.
Hydrosols are a by product of the steam distillation process of essential oils. When an essential oil is extracted from plant matter by steam distillation, not all the aromatic molecules are made into essential oil. There are some left over and they don’t just disappear into the ether or go nowhere. They stay held in the steam that is used in the process. Once the steam cools and turns back into water, it still carries those left over aromatic molecules with it. The fragrance of the ‘hydrosol’ as it is now called is often more full, rounded and complete than the essential oil would ever be, but it is also far more soft and gentle. Hydrosols are completely natural and carry similar benefits as their essential oil counterparts.
A floral water, by comparison is usually where essential oils have been broken down into minute particles and dispersed through water, fragrancing it. Floral waters may also have a wonderful fragrance. However, they quite often have additional chemicals added to them as a preservative (often PEG) or solubiliser. So if you are looking for a completely natural skin care product make sure you check the labelling. Our rose facial mist and neroli facial mist are hydrosols produced from 100% organic material – the healthiest choice for you, your family and the environment
What are hydrosols and floral waters useful for?
Hydrosols and floral waters are awesome for refreshing – in our household we go through quite a few spray mist bottles of hydrosol every summer because it stands on the bench top and one or other of us is constantly reaching for (particularly on those long, intensely humid summer days, where it seems the air doesn’t move) a quick refreshing spritz.
Hydrosols are perfectly safe to use with children and infants, where many essential oils are not recommended. Because they are so gentle you can add them to baby’s bath water or use them directly on to their body to cool. They are a great way to cool kids down.
Hydrosols make an excellent aftersun treatment – they are cooling and soothing.
Hydrosols can be used to naturally hydrate and tone skin. You may like to use a hydrosol before moisturising just to soften and hydrate your skin.