Hydrosol 101 - Everyday Essentials

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Essential Oil Glossary: Hydrosols

Hydrosol 101

What is a Hydrosol?

Very simply, a hydrosol is the water that is distilled with an essential oil. When the steam from the distilled water passes through the plant material, it takes with it the volatile oils from the plant. The two travel through the tube at the top of the steam vessel (typically copper) and down through the condensing tube. Once the water and oil have separated, the essential oil is siphoned off the top and what you have left is the hydrosol.

A  hydrosol, according to Suzanne Catty,  is a chemistry term meaning “water solution.” They are also known by a variety of other names:

  • hydrolats
  • hydrolates
  • floral waters
  • plant waters

Catty goes on to say it is important to note that hydrosols are NOT simply distilled water with essential oils added to them. In this case, the two do not mix. Some of the water-soluble plant oils will combine with the water and impart therapeutic properties. This creates a much gentler, more diluted product which is generally safer to use than an essential oil.

How can I use a Hydrosol?

We use hydrosols in a variety of ways. They are essentially safe for anyone to use. They can be used undiluted on skin, children, and most pets. You can use them in DIY products (like lotions) or spray on your skin as a toner.

With few cautions and little to no contraindications, these truly are a perfect first-use item if you are a beginning aromatherapy enthusiast. That’s not to say there aren’t a few rules to follow. Two excellent reference books are:

  1. Hydrosols: The next aromatherapy by Suzanne Catty
  2. Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy by Len and Shirley Price

Hydrosols need to be stored properly. Preferably in a cool, dark environment (like a refrigerator) and checked often for any cloudiness or mold if they do not contain preservatives.  However, since hydrosols are relatively inexpensive, it’s more economical to use them up and buy new ones when you need them.

Which hydrosols does Plant Therapy offer?

As of January 2018, Plant Therapy’s line of hydrosols includes:


36 thoughts on “Hydrosol 101”

  • I like to have spry ones like perfume, but with essential oil. I am going to make a DIY perfume with some essential oils which bought and gonna bye again from you. so, I have 3 question in this regards. I do appreciate if you could answer my question precisely and clarifying, coz I cannot trust to what are spreed on the internet everywhere:
    1- I know this is based on personal taste, but form point of you as professional, what blend of essential oils you most recommended for perfume spraying?
    2- What base liquid shroud I use as base? water? alcohol (how present, industrial or medical ones?)? or even whisky?
    3- Can I spray your Hydrosols on my cloths like perfume? can I use theses as based oil for my DIY perfume?

    1. Hi Dani! You ask some excellent questions and I’ll try to cover all of them. When it comes to creating a perfume blend, you’re right, it is very personal. But there are some general guidelines you can follow to make it a success. For starters, it’s a good idea to have a mix of top, middle and base notes (you can find a full list here). It will offer your blend more complexity and you’ll get to experience different scents as it evaporates. Most woods are base notes, florals middle notes and citruses top notes. Depending on what oils you’re using, you can adjust the ratios to make your blend speak to you (floral heavy, rich and woodsy, sweet and citrus, etc). As for the liquid, we recommend Everclear as it’s a high enough proof to both emulsify and preserve your essential oils. We find rubbing alcohol to have an overpowering aroma and whiskey won’t have a high enough alcohol content (not to mention, it might discolor clothing). And for your last question, you can absolutely spray hydrosols on your clothing. Just keep in mind that the scent is mild and can dissipate fairly quickly.

  • Hi . I purchased hydrosol and the person said to mix ith with 5 parts of water before using. I am doubtful if i should be doing that. Can you please guide me.

    1. Diluting hydrosols isn’t necessary. Sometimes I mix hydrosol in water to stretch it out so I’m not using so much. It really just depends on the use. 🙂

  • Thanks for the great description & explanation of hydrosols! I’m excited to try one (or most probably more)!

  • Can hydrosols be mixed with eos? I made an eo mix for my nephews acne and was thinking of mixing it with the helichrysum hydrosol.

    1. Christy, we do not recommend that because hydrosols are water-based and will not emulsify the essential oils. We suggest using your blend with a carrier oil instead 🙂

  • Plant Therapy thanks so much for posting/sharing this blog. I was asking the CS ladies a million questions earlier to learn what they are for and how to use them.

  • According to the article, hydrosols can be consumed. I can think of issues for which you might use hydrosols orally, but What would be a situation when one would actually consume them?

    1. Unfortunately this is not an area our aromatherapists are trained in, so we cannot accurately answer this question with complete certainty. You can reach out to us via [email protected] for more information if you’d like.

  • How do you mix more than one hydrosol together? In a separate spray bottle/roller bottle? I’m making a batch for my toddlers eczema.

    1. JoAnna, I couldn’t agree more! Rose Hydrosol is something I always have on hand; it’s one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing!

  • They are so diluted I can’t even smell anything. Peppermint one smells “off” definitely not minty at all. Very disappointed to say the least! Waste of money…

    1. Hi Dee! The hydrosols are not diluted, they are they by-product of the steam distillation process. They have many of the same qualities of the essential oil, but are gentler and safe for children, elderly and most pets. Unfortunately some do not smell the same as their counterpart the essential oil. If you are not satisfied, please email [email protected] and they will be happy to help you with a return.

    1. We don’t have formal training with essential oils and pets. However, a wonderful resource is “Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals” by Kristen Leigh Bell. She has many tips & tricks (plus good sound advice) on how to incorporate aromatherapy with your pets. We also know of a great Facebook group called Animal Aromatherapy (here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595932084001505/) which is run by someone with the proper training necessary to answer these questions!

  • What are the expiry or shelf lives of all your synergies… including kid safe ones?
    What are the expiry for all your hydrosols?

    Which synergies are safe to use postpartum while nursing?

    Which blend would you recommend for postpartum slimmin weightloss, and also safe for use during nursing/breastfeeding?
    Im preparing a long list to place order with you and need these information to decide.

    Hope to hear a detailed.reply from you soon

    Thank you

  • I have been mind-boggled just learning about essential oils. I am excited you’re carrying hydrosols because you and others say it’s exciting. Now to understand when and how to use them vs when and how to use essential oils. They sound great. Have I wasted money on oils when hydrosols would be a better choice? These are the questions running through the vast recesses of my mind. I look forward to continued learning and becoming un-boggled. 🙂

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