I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Hydrosol
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
This weekend I made a beautiful, fragrant foaming facewash for a colleague of mine, and when I pulled out the Neroli floral water that combines with organic liquid Castile soap and other skin-nourishing ingredients to make foam in the bottle, I was reminded why Neroli floral water is so damn expensive. This stuff is basically liquid gold, but there probably isn't an ingredient or a product that is less discussed on beauty blogs. So here we go - what is a floral water, and what do you do with it?
Floral Water, AKA Hydrosol
You may have heard hydrosols referred to on our blog or seen them as an ingredient in some of our natural skin care offerings like My Poker Face toning facial mist. When we refer to a hydrosol, we're talking about floral water! Floral waters, a by-product from the same steam distillation process that produces essential oils, have a fresh, delicate scent, but then again, so does Dove. So, there's a lot more to floral waters than just their beautiful smell. Because they come from the same aromatic plants used to make essential oil - plants like lavender, rose (a common treatment in Ayurveda), sandalwood, orange blossom (neroli), cedar and others - they contain some of the same active ingredients and properties as essential oils, as well as minerals, flavanoids and aromatic compounds.
Benefits of Floral Water
While some floral waters can be used for teas, salad dressings and other culinary purposes, they are pretty much universally wonderful for your skin, making them a no-brainer for use in homemade skin care products like natural skin lotions, creams, shampoos and toners. Some of the properties of hydrosols include:
Toning and tightening pores
Soothing sunburn, rashes and irritated skin
You can pour a floral water into a spray bottle and mist it straight onto your face and body! It's super refreshing, has a subtle scent and is light-years better for you in every way than the highly fake, alcohol-laden body mist that is so often a beach bag staple.
The Best Floral Water For You
If you've ever poured witch hazel onto a cotton ball to refresh your skin or heal a pimple, you already know that this particular hydrosol is astringent - made more so by the alcohol usually found in it. But other floral waters do their thing, too. Here are some of the best choices...
For oily skin: Witch hazel, lavender
For dry skin: Neroli, rose
For enlarged pores: Witch hazel, sandalwood
For rosacea: Chamomile
For tired eyes: Cornflower
When Floral Waters Go Bad
Not all floral waters contain the same ingredients. Depending on whether a chemical preservative has been used, and what plants they were originally distilled from, hydrosols can be highly perishable, which means their smell can dissipate very quickly and even 'go bad', where the hydrosol becomes faintly brownish in colour. So, should you pour the costly bottle straight down the drain? Unless it smells very bad, such a drastic step is not necessary! Add the floral water into your next bath or use it to dilute a thick shampoo or pump hand-soap. Even if you are a rock star already using detergent-free liquid soap and shampoo, the soap itself will halt the degradation of the hydrosol until you can use the product.
As usual, an ounce of prevention is the best way to go - so, store your floral water in a cool, dark place or even in the refrigerator, which makes a spritz of it that much more refreshing when the hot weather hits!