How do you get a hydrosol?
The hydrosol is obtained by a process called distillation. In the tank of a still, steam crosses the plants or flowers to be distilled, takes on perfume and essential oil, condenses while cooling in a serpentine, and passes into a liquid state. This liquid settles in an essence where, by difference in density, the essence (the oily phase) separates from the hydrosol (the aqueous phase). The oily phase will give the essential oil, much more concentrated in active ingredients than the hydrosol.
The hydrosol is therefore distilled water obtained by the water vapor of flowers (rose, cornflower, etc.) or aromatic plants (thyme, mint, lavender, etc.). It is also called “floral water” when the part of the distilled plant is a flower.
Hydrolats contain the energy information of the plant, because the distillation releases the most subtle elements of the plant, its essence. Each hydrosol has its particularity, by its composition and its “vibrations”.
How to use it?
Hydrolats are sometimes thrown away by essential oil producers, even though they have many advantages! Already, their use is risk-free and has almost no contraindications, unlike essential oils. They are better tolerated by the epidermis, which also makes them interesting in cosmetic or eye care: no risk of allergy or skin reaction.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, babies, children, the elderly or people with sensitive skin, for whom the use of essential oils is not recommended, can find good allies in hydrosols. There are no contraindications, with the exception of plant hydrosols containing phenols and/or aromatic aldehydes (risk of epilepsy, irritation of the liver, kidneys, intestines): it is the case of cinnamon, savory, cloves and compact oregano. Ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice if you are taking them orally, to benefit from their medicinal properties without risk.
Hydrolats can be used in different ways: orally (1 to 3 teaspoons per day pure or diluted in water), cutaneous (sprayed on the skin, as a compress, in bath water, in footbath), or mouthwash (pure).
For the skin
Hydrosols are used in misting as “scented waters”, in case of perspiration (peppermint hydrosol) or for the face, to make cleansing, purifying lotions (true lavender hydrosols, thyme) or toning (geranium rosat hydrosols). , damask rose). They can also soothe sunburn (hydrosols of lavender, chamomile) or rosacea (hydrosols of Italian helichrysum, cistus). Each hydrosol has its own pH, which is important to know if you use it as cosmetic care, in order to adapt it to your skin type (knowing that the pH of the skin is 5.5 to 6). For example, lavender hydrosol (pH of 3.9) is indicated for oily, acne-prone skin. Witch hazel hydrosol (pH 6.8)3 is the ally of sensitive skin, prone to redness. These values may change slightly depending on the brands (the pH is sometimes indicated on the bottle or on the manufacturer’s website). To stabilize the pH, some manufacturers add citric acid: biodegradable and organic compatible, it can be of natural origin (from lemon) or synthetic (origin not indicated in the composition).
As a precaution, if you have sensitive or allergy-prone skin, beware of allergenic components, such as limonene and linalool, which are part of the list of 26 allergens established by European regulations: they must be indicated on the list of ingredients. If in doubt, do a test with two drops of the hydrosol in the crook of the elbow and observe the reaction 24 hours after application.
The hydrosol represents the quintessence of the plant: barely 0.1% of the active ingredients of the latter and its aromatic molecules. It is therefore softer than an essential oil and well suited to decongest eyelids, soothe an irritated eye (too much computer, too chlorinated swimming pool). Try cornflower or Roman chamomile hydrosol (irritated eyes, conjunctivitis, dark circles), myrtle (puffy eyes) or noble laurel (watery eyes).
In hair care
Hydrosols can be incorporated into your shampoo, conditioner or sprayed pure on your hair to soothe an irritated scalp (lime blossom hydrosols, lavender), stimulate hair growth (Atlas cedar hydrosols, nettle , rosemary cineole), eliminate dandruff (tea tree hydrosols, witch hazel, bourbon geranium, patchouli), lighten hair (German chamomile hydrosol) or to facilitate detangling (rosemary hydrosol spray after shampooing).
In the bath
Miscible in water (unlike essential oils), you can put them in your bath to relax, soothe nervous tension, relieve stress, fatigue and promote sleep: opt for hydrosols of true lavender, flower of orange blossom or Roman chamomile (1 to 3 teaspoons in bath water, from 1 year).
In case of canker sores, use noble laurel or tea tree hydrosol, and in case of bad breath, peppermint or myrtle hydrosol.
In food use
Lemon balm, orange blossom, rose, lavender or mint hydrosols can be used to flavor a cake, pancakes or a brioche, flavor a drink (a teaspoon of chamomile hydrosol in a glass of hot or cold water soothes anxiety) or bring flavor to a dish (melissa hydrosol to flavor vegetables, lemon for a salad, etc.).
Beware of non-pure hydrosols
The hydrosol is sometimes mixed with other ingredients, such as a synthetic perfume, an aroma, alcohol or a preservative. If the composition displays several ingredients, it is not a hydrosol. Check on the label that it is a pure, 100% natural, undiluted and unpasteurized hydrosol. Prefer it of organic quality (to be sure of the quality of the distillation water and the distilled plants) and sufficiently concentrated (extracted from the first 8/9 liters of distillation water), with at least 1 kilo of plant for obtain 1 liter of hydrosol.
A tip to know if your hydrosol is pure or contains synthetic aromas: if, when you open the bottle, you smell a very powerful floral scent, there is little chance that your hydrosol is pure (a synthetic perfume or a few drops of essential oil from the same plant have surely been added). Indeed, the hydrosol has a specific smell, quite sweet, very different from that of the flowers from which it comes.
Some hydrosols are diluted with undistilled water, others are derived from essential oils retransformed by dilution in alcohol, then in water. Imported hydrosols are even made from artificial essence! Opt for hydrosols whose quality is certified (see our selection).
How to store your hydrosols?
Hydrosols keep for a shorter time than essential oils because of their high concentration of water, which makes them more fragile. A hydrosol is quickly contaminated if it is not stored away from heat and light. Once opened, it can only be kept for six months (less if you notice a change in appearance or smell) in the refrigerator (one month for ocular use).
To extend the life of hydrosols, some manufacturers add preservatives, such as benzyl alcohol (Benzyl alcohol), dehydroacetic acid (Dehydroacetic acid), potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (the latter two are often combined ). Although they have a maximum concentration threshold or restrictions depending on their nature, these synthetic preservatives are not without risk for health and the environment. Prefer a hydrosol without preservatives or with a natural preservative, such as radish ferment, appreciated for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.