How to Use Hydrosols: Plus Hydrosol Recipes for Skin, Face and Hair
Hydrosols are a wonderful way to add the benefits of plants to your natural skin care and beauty routine. Learn how to use hydrosols for skin, face and hair and explore my collection of unique hydrosol recipes to craft plant based toners, lotions and soaps.
Hydrosols are essentially flower waters. You may be most familiar with rose water, which is created using the same process. Like rose water or rose hydrosol, there are also other flower waters or hydrosols made from plants, flowers and herbs other than simply roses! Similarly to rose water, you can use hydrosols for your skin and face. However, there are many other ways to use hydrosols. Discover more about hydrosols and how to use hydrosols for skin, face and hair. You’ll also learn how to incorporate hydrosols into your own unique hydrosol recipes for natural skin care with hydrosol recipes for toner, lotion and soap.
What Are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols, sometimes called floral waters, are similar to essential oils, but they are less concentrated. Like essential oils, they are made by distilling the flowers, fruits, or fresh leaves from plants. They typically smell similar to the essential oil from the same plant, but they have a lighter, more subtle note. Their scent can be a little different because they are made from the water soluble parts of the plant and not the oil.
Hydrosols are the lesser known cousins to essential oils. They are made in a similar way and retain most of the same properties and a lighter scent, but they are water based and have a lighter scent.
Hydrosols are water based, so they can be used in water based recipes without using an emulsifier. Since they are milder than essential oils, they are generally well tolerated by children, pets and the elderly who may not be able to use the essential oil counterpart.
Hydrosols can be used in most recipes in place of water. They have their own unique properties to enhance your recipes. Hydrosols are used for face masks, hair care, facial toners, body sprays and room sprays, such as this sage room spray recipe.
Hydrosols can be used in many types of hydrosol recipes. They are often used in recipes for facial toners, for aromatherapy, to make an air freshener spray, or in a perfume recipe. They can also be used in place of water in your favorite skin care or cleaning recipe. I like to use hydrosol in place of the water when mixing up a dry face mask recipe, such as this seaweed face mask. They can also be used in these other DIY clay mask recipes.
What is the Difference Between Essential Oil and Hydrosol?
While both essential oils and hydrosols are made through steam distillation, there is a difference between the two products. During steam distillation, water vapor heats the plant material. The steam is then rapidly cooled so it condensed into a liquid.
The concentrated oil is then separated to create an essential oil. The water that is leftover is the hydrosol. Hydrosols are 98 to 99 percent water and only 1 to 2 percent plant matter.
Essential oils have a shelf life from three to eight years, depending on the oil. Hydrosols, however, only have a shelf life of 8 to 18 months. They should be stored in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.
Are Hydrosols Good for Skin?
Yes, hydrosols are good for the skin. They have mild benefits compared to essential oils, however. The benefits of hydrosols for the skin depends on which plant or plants it’s made from, but they can be moisturizing, toning and soothing.
How Do You Store Hydrosols?
Since hydrosols are water based, they should be stored in the refrigerator after opening.
Why Use Hydrosols?
Since hydrosols aren’t as concentrated as essential oils, they are generally considered safer for children, pets, the elderly and for pregnant women. Always check with your doctor or an aromatherapist before using hydrosols on anyone who fits into these categories.
Since hydrosols are water based, you can use them for their benefits in a water based recipe without using a carrier oil and an emulsifier and preservative.
How to Use Hydrosols for Face
Facial toners are perhaps the most common way to use a hydrosol. Hydrosols are gentle enough to use on your facial skin without diluting them. You can use a single hydrosol without diluting it or adding any other ingredients. You can spray it directly on your face or place it on a cotton ball and wipe your face with it. Rose, helichrysum, lavender and calendula hydrosols are all excellent for the skin.
Acne Prone Skin
How to Use Hydrosols for Skin
For minor cuts, wash them and use lavandin or neroli to promote healing.
Soothe Itchy Skin
For quick relief from itchy skin, try peppermint hydrosol. The cooling feeling will help calm itching. Lavandin, calendula and chamomile are also good for itchy skin. This DIY hand mask for dry skin is made using rose hydrosol. It’s a great way to soothe dry skin and calm itching.
Minor Burns (Including Sunburns)
If you have a minor burn or a sunburn, essential oils can be too strong. Hydrosols are gentler and provide quick relief. The coolness of the hydrosol from the fridge will feel great on burned skin. For sunburns and minor skin burns, try lavandin, rose or chamomile. You can find a great hydrosol recipe for a homemade sunburn spray here.
Peppermint hydrosol is cooling, so it’s a good spray for cooling the body. You can use it during the summer, after exercising or for hot flashes. This cooling muscle spray recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs is made using a combination of peppermint hydrosol, herbs, witch hazel and rosemary essential oil.
For red skin or minor skin irritations, try using lavandin, rose, or chamomile. These are generally safe for children who are too young for the essential oil.
Deter Biting Insects
Hydrosols are also a wonderful natural alternative to repel mosquitos and other biting insects. You can use either catnip or peppermint hydrosol with a blend of essential oils to create a simple insect repellent spray recipe using all natural ingredients.
How to Use Hydrosols for Hair
Can you use hydrosols for your hair? Absolutely! Hydrosols are wonderful for hair. Use rose or lavandin hydrosol to spray dry or damaged hair. Or try this easy DIY hair detangler made with jojoba oil, essential oils and the hydrosol of your choice. You can also incorporate rose hydrosol into a DIY sea salt spray for hair.
How to Use Hydrosols for Aromatherapy
Some essential oils can’t be diffused around pets or young children, but their hydrosol counterparts are often well tolerated. Hydrosols have the same effect for aromatherapy as essential oils. Spray the hydrosol on your skin or on pillows for aromatherapy benefits. You can find five aromatherapy mood sprays here. They are made using a blend of essential oils and hydrosols along with a solubilizer to hold everything together so the oils and water don’t separate.
You can also use hydrols as aromatherapy for sleep. Spray the underside of your pillow with lavandin, rose or chamomile to promote a good night’s sleep. This can also be used near babies or children, but spray it further away from the pillow that they are using to sleep on.
Hydrosol Recipes for Skin & Face
How to Use Hydrosols in Cold Process Soap
You can use hydrosols in cold process soap in lieu of the water called for in the recipe. My favorite hydrosol soap recipe you can try is my natural calendula soap recipe made with calendula hydrosol. This natural calendula hydrosol soap recipe is handcrafted with skin nourishing ingredients that promote skin health. Calendula hydrosol, calendula powder and chia seed oil are key ingredients for healthy looking skin. While natural shredded loofah is also included for its gentle exfoliation.
Hydrosol Toner Recipes
It’s easy to create a hydrosol toner recipe. If you’d like to make a rose water toner, you can create this DIY rosewater toner using rose hydrosol. I also have a recipe for a moisturizing facial toner recipe for dry skin relief and maturing skin. It’s made with skin soothing calendula hydrosol and rooibos tea.
You can also make a clarifying facial toner for acne prone skin. Formulated using a willow bark decoction, which naturally contains acne fighting salicylic acid, and lavender or rose hydrosol, this freshly scented toner also helps to soothe skin inflammation. You can find this hydrosol toner recipe, along with other natural skin care recipes for natural beauty, in the Botanical Skin Care Recipe book.
Hydrosol Lotion Recipes
Another great way to use hydrosols for skin and face is to incorporate them into hydrosol lotion recipes. Here are some of my favorite hydrosol recipes on how to use hydrosols to make homemade lotions and creams.
- Rose Body Cream Recipe with Rose Hydrosol
- Anti-Aging Night Cream Recipe with Rose Hydrosol
- Whipped Cucumber Hand Cream Recipe with Cucumber Hydrosol
- Cucumber Eye Cream Recipe with Cucumber Hydrosol
- DIY Firming Under Eye Cream with Rose Hydrosol
Mountain Rose Herbs Hydrosols
I use hydrosols for all of the above uses. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs because they have such a large selection. Following are the hydrosols they have available for purchase, along with the benefits of hydrosols for skin.
Blood orange hydrosol has an uplifting citrus scent It makes a great facial toner or use for aromatherapy.
Calendula hydrosol is soothing for irritated or sensitive skin. It has a sweet and floral scent.
Catnip hydrosol smells faintly of mint. It’s relaxing and comforting.
Chamomile hydrosol is often used for calming the mind. It’s often used for minor skin irritations.
Clary sage has a floral scent. It’s often used for balance for women.
Cucumber hydrosol has a light scent, so it’s often used in perfume. It’s also moisturizing for the skin.
Douglas fir hydrosol has a woodsy aroma. It’s considered grounding and makes a great base note.
Eucalyptus hydrosol is uplifting and cleansing. It can help with minor skin irritations.
Frankincense hydrosol is often used before prayer or meditation. It also supports skin health.
Ginger hydrosol is stimulating. It’s often used in place of water in lotions and creams.
Helichrysum hydrosol has a slightly sweet floral aroma. It’s often used for mature skin, but it’s good for all skin types.
Lavandin hydrosol is calming like the essential oil. It’s gentle and well tolerated by most skin types.
Lemon balm hydrosol is said to be calming. It has a mellow and slightly sweet scent.
Lemon thyme hydrosol has a light and refreshing scent. It’s often used as a room spray.
Lemon Verbena hydrosol has a refreshing scent that smells like citrus and greenery. It helps promote relaxation and is often used in cleaning recipes.
Lime hydrosol has a fun citrus scent. It’s often used in cleaning recipes and in skin care.
Neroli hydrosol is made from orange blossoms. It has a floral scent that’s often used for perfume. It also makes a good facial toner.
Peppermint essential oil is refreshing and rejuvenating. It’s often used to cool the body or as a toner. It can also be used in an aroma spray.
Rose Geranium hydrosol has a sweet floral scent. It’s uplifting and can help promote skin health.
White Rose hydrosol has a lovely delicate rose scent. It’s often used for dry or mature skin.
Rose Geranium hydrosol has a sweet floral scent. It’s uplifting and often used for skin care recipes.
Rosemary hydrosol has a bright and spicy scent. It’s often used as a skin toner or on the hair to promote growth.
Sage hydrosol smells like the herb. It’s a great natural astringent and is often used in toners and natural deodorants.
Spearmint hydrosol smells similar to the essential oil but with a more delicate fragrance. It’s often used for calming the body and for skin irritations.
St. John’s wort hydrosol is often used in soaps and lotions. It’s good for cleaning the skin and reducing blemishes.
Sweetgrass hydrosol smells like vanilla and honey. It’s uplifting and often used in rom sprays.
Tulsi hydrosol isn’t well known. It has a spicy herbal scent. It works as a toning spray or use for grounding in a body spray.
Turmeric hydrosol has an earthy scent. It can be used in face masks in place of water.
White sage hydrosol has a subtle scent, and it’s milder than the herb It’s used for creating energy.
Ylang ylang hydrosol has a light floral scent and has an earthy scent. It’s often used in lotions and shampoos.
How to Make Hydrosols at Home
In addition to buying hydrosols, you can also learn how to make hydrosols at home. There are a lot of tutorials on how to make hydrosols at home. The best instructional course I’ve found on how to make hydrosols, however, is within the Botanical Skin Care Course offered by The Herbal Academy. In addition to learning how to make herbal and floral hydrosols, this informational course also covers other herbal preparations for making natural skin care products, offers research on the relation between nutrition and your skin, and provides over 200 recipes to craft at home. You can read my review of the Botanical Skin Care Course here.
Have you tried one of my hydrosol recipes? Or do you have other creative ways on how to use hydrosols? I’d love to see you’ve made using hydrosols! Simply use the hashtag #soapdelishowoff on your Instagram posts so I can see your own unique creations.
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