Hydrolats, also known as flower or floral waters, are a wonderful and natural alternative to commercially bought skin care products.
Hydrolats are created from the water that is collected when plants are steam distilled.
The process of steam distillation works like this: Steam is passed through the plant material where it collects many of the plant’s volatile aromatic compounds. Some of these compounds dissolve in water and some don’t. The steam is then cooled by passing through a condenser and returns to a water-oily mix.
The water contains the water-loving compounds, and the oil contains the other materials. These quickly separate out into the essential oil (which nearly always floats on the surface), and can be drawn off, and a water product. This is the hydrolat.
Hydrolats can be as useful as essential oils in terms of their therapeutic value. They tend to have a delicate nature and a light aroma, and often they do not smell like the oil or plant with which they are associated.
Certainly they are gentler and safer than essential oils, and have application where there is great sensitivity, for example with babies, young children, and the elderly, and also with animals. They do not require dilution and can be applied directly to the skin.
Sometimes you will find hydrolats in shops and chemists that have had preservatives added or alcohol. Be aware of this, because they may not be as suitable for therapeutic use. Rose water is a good example of this.
Hydrolats are very versatile and can be utilised in many different ways. Below are some examples
- As a facial toners for all skin types
- As a body spritzer
- As a component of face packs (mix with therapeutic clay)
- Hydrate and moisturise skin
- Soothe sunburn or irritated skin
- Cleaning and treating cuts and grazes
- Cool the effects of hot flushes
- To ‘set’ make-up
- As a freshener for clothes or bed linen
- To make soothing eye pads
- To make “wet wipes” for hands, faces and baby’s bottoms (simply mist a tissue)
Hydrolats and Skin Types
Hydrolats make wonderful natural facial toners. They have a pH value of between about 4 and 6 (depending on the plant), which is perfect for skin care. Create your own natural face toner by mixing your own blend appropriate for your skin type.
Dry Skin – Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Chamomile
Mature / Dehydrated skin – Rose, Frankincense and Helichrysum
Oily skin – Juniper, Geranium Neroli, Cypress
Wrinkled, Mature – Rosemary, Lavender, Rose
Scars, skin conditions – Rosemary, Lavender, Rose
Broken capillaries – Cypress, Rock rose, Geranium
Redness – Cypress, German chamomile
For problematic skin, (spots, blemishes etc.) and wounds then a mixture of TeaTree, Rosalina and Lavender are good
For cold sores, chickenpox or shingles use a mixture of Melissa, Tea Tree and Chamomile.
So instead of using artificially produced skincare products laden with chemicals why not try these natural products as an alternative.