Ask Our Experts: Hydrosols - Plant Therapy Blog

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Ask Our Experts: Hydrosols

plant therapy hydrosolsSo…what is a hydrosol?

Kristie Cannon Newman says:

This is going to sound dumb, but what exactly is a hydrosol and what is it used for?”

 

Jessica Cobb, Certified Aromatherapist and Content Manager

Thanks Kristie, and don’t worry, there are no dumb questions! Hydrosols can sometimes be a bit of a mystery, but we’re here to clear that up today.

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.” Hydrosols are also known by a variety of other names:

  • hydrolats
  • hydrolates
  • floral waters or
  • 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.

Why do I need hydrosols?

Pris Palin wants to know:

Why do I need hydrosols?”

 

Jessica Cobb, Certified Aromatherapist and Content Manager

There are tons of unexpected ways to use hydrosols. They have the benefit of being essentially safe for anyone to use. They can be used undiluted on the skin for adults, children, pregnant and nursing women,  the elderly, and even most pets. You can use them in DIY products (like lotions), or spray on your skin as a toner. You can even mix them together!

With almost no cautions, hydrosols truly are a perfect first-use item if you’re a beginning aromatherapy user. 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 do need to be stored properly. A cool, dark environment (like a refrigerator) is best, and make sure to check them often for any cloudiness or mold.

Since hydrosols contain no preservatives, they have relatively short shelf lives of between 6 months to 2  years. However, since hydrosols are relatively inexpensive, it’s more economical to use them up and buy new ones when you need them than to save them for special uses.

Plus, you can blend them, just like you would blend essential oils, to get the best benefits of multiple different types!

Let’s say you love misting your pillow with Lavender Hydrosol before going to bed to help you get great sleep. That great, but try adding a bit of Chamomile Hydrosol and see how well they work together! They both have incredibly relaxing properties and sweet floral aromas, but the mixture of them together creates a brand new aroma to fall asleep to.

A great hydrosol blend of that helps control breakouts and skin blemishes is a mix of 2 ounces of Tea Tree Hydrosol with 1 ounce of Rose Hydrosol. Just give your face a spritz before bed after you wash it, then follow it up with a dab of Jojoba Carrier Oil as a moisturizer.

You can read more about blending hydrosols in this great blog post.

Rose Hydrosol: How to use it!

Pink rose petals spilling out of a stillLelia Hayden asked:

Can I just spray my Rose hydrosol directly on my face if my eyes are closed? Is that okay? Also, can I spray the Rose on my son’s skin (not face)?”

 

Tyler Hagan, Certified Aromatherapist & SEOR Admin

Thanks SO much for your question, Lelia! Rose hydrosol is gentle enough to use directly on the face and is a customer favorite as a facial cleanser. Rose hydrosol is also a great option for your little one as it is gentle and calming. You could pair it with our Lavender hydrosol as a bed spritz to help promote relaxation, or directly on his skin paired with a relaxing massage.

Best uses for Melissa Hydrosols?

Laura Gordon wants to know:

“What are the best uses for Melissa hydrosol?”

 

Kristin Lail, Certified Aromatherapist and SEOR Admin

This is a wonderfully calming and uplifting hydrosol that can be sprayed directly on the skin or clothing of adults, kiddos or even babies.  During times of stress, the hydrosol can be used as a room or linen spray to create a calming and peaceful environment.

In addition to being an excellent choice for soothing the spirit, this hydrosol is a powerhouse at soothing skin irritation.  I have found it to be particularly helpful during the summer months when the kiddos manage to get into poison oak. Just a spritz or two as needed through the day and it’s looking better in no time! It also works well for other irritations as well such as soothing dry, itchy skin and as a toner for blemish prone skin.

We hope you loved talking about hydrosols as much as we love using them! To learn even more, make sure to join our Safe Essential Oils Facebook group. Tell Tyler, one of your Plant Therapy certified aromatherapists and your SEOR admin, hi from the Plant Therapy blog!

108 thoughts on “Ask Our Experts: Hydrosols”

  1. At first I wasn’t enthralled by hydrosols, but I found the heli hydro takes away itching even better than lavender. I will always have at least that hydro in my fridge.

  2. I love my hydrosols! I use my tea tree hydrosol as a toner for my face morning and night, and my skin looks great! I also use Melissa and Rose as a pillow spray. I need Roman Chamomile next!

  3. Thank you for this post!! I’ve been seeing a lot of people using hydrosols and I’ve been very curious what they are, how they differ from oils and how to use them!

  4. I have had the rose hydrosol for a bit…2 actually and I’ve never thought about using it for a bed spray. Now I want to order a few more after reading this blog. I want to try the lavender and the tea tree one…especially for the summer months ahead. Great gift ideas too!! Super excited to add to my arsenal of must haves!!

  5. I have incorporated hydrosols into my every day routine, and now I don’t know how I lived without them! I use them on my hair, face, sunburns, scrapes, everything! I’ll never go without them now.

  6. I love the hydrosols!! I have tried Tea Tree, Melissa, and Helichrysum. Our favorite is Helichrysum! I want to try Rose and Lavender next.

  7. I have all but one of these hydrosols, Melissa, and I must admit that I’ve come to love the two that I didn’t care for at first, Rose and Helichrysum. Now I use them almost daily, for helping keep skin irritations away. Still trying to love the Lavender, because it smell so different from the oil, but I know I’ll get there. And if not, that’s okay. I’ll still use it for its benefits to the skin.

  8. I’d like to incorporate more hydrosols in my arsenal. I bought the chamomile to soothe my daughter’s skin irritation, but she didn’t like the smell and hasn’t let me use it again. Maybe I’ll have better luck with some other scents.

  9. I burned my knuckle a few days ago. I immediately rinsed it under cool water, patted dry, & sprayed with lavender AND peppermint hydrosols. It hasn’t hurt ONCE! Love hydrosols!

  10. This is a great follow-up to the last post I just read which was about using hydrosols for infant & toddler massage. I might just have to purchase one of each…I can’t decide between them!

  11. I think this is such a great idea to use for a body spritzer! Something light to freshen you up halfway through the day!!!

  12. I have chamomile hydrosol and it has been great using it on my babe. On irritated skin, teething, and spraying it before bed. I’m not a big fan of the smell, but really want to try Rose. Florals are my jam.

  13. I have been researching these as I would love to have a few decisions for when we go on vacation. Having everything in one section is amazing. I will be adding some of these to my wish list. Thanks for always being so instructive with your products.

  14. I need to start adding hydrosols to my items. Just for the skin care aspect is reason enough for me to invest in them. Great informative post.

    1. I just bought my first Hydrosol! Rose! It smells delicious. I sprayed my linens. Then, I sprayed my face! Lovely.

  15. What useful information! I plan to add Rose Hydrosol to my next order. Thank you PT for sharing the information with us!

  16. Great article on the uses of hydrosols. I have rose and tea tree, but after reading this I realized I need a few others as well.

  17. Love using hydrosols on my skin to help retain moisture and during summer to keep cool. Melissa, lavender and Helichrysum are favourites.

  18. I have loved the hydrosols I have tried. I can’t wait to see if PT carries more in the future or brings back some that have left the site. We use rose almost every day.

  19. Love using Rose Hydrosol as a linen spray and facial toner! It has the best aroma! I’m looking forward to trying tea tree and peppermint next!

  20. Thanks for this post! I have been confused about hydrosols for a while. These sound lovely- I definitely want to try the lavender one as a pillow spray.

  21. I used chamomile hydrosol when my daughter had allergies/pink eye. I put a little on a wet rag, then I had her close her eyes and laid the rag over them. She said they felt less itchy after doing this.

  22. I have just ordered a bunch of hydrosols and can’t wait to use them! I especially love that they are safe to use on babies.

  23. Have just started dabbling in hydrosols. Helichrysum has been a great facial toner, and Tea Tree and Helichrysm have both been great for the itchies. The only downside is that they need to be refrigerated, but I can live with it.

  24. Hydrosols are some of my favorite PT products. Tea Tree and Melissa are my favorite; but am definitely going to buy every one. So many uses, so many good benefits and so gentle on my skin.

  25. I love this post!

    I’ve been humming and hawwing over PT’s hydrosols lately (or, rather, about which one I want) and this blog (along with the comments) gave me a little more insight … Albeit an even greater urge to own them all!
    Rose, Lavender, Tea Tree, Melissa, Helichrysum (my
    5 preferences) — how ever will I decide which ones to buy?
    Considering Helichrysum is my second favourite EO (next to Lavender) I was thrilled to learn it came in a Hydrosol, and even more thrilled to see how loved it is by others.
    I’ve been using a [Helichrysum] roll-on for my maturing under-eyes for some time now and just love the affects it has on my skin — so I’m wondering if Helichrysum Hydrosol would have similar benefits to the rest of my face.

    The question is: would it be suitable for my problematic, blemish-prone, sensitive, and oily skin? And if not, which ones would be recommended for such?
    … (I figure Tea Tree is a no-brainer; but I’d like to offer my skin an alternative for days when it needs a little more soothing.)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  26. Lavender hydrosol stinks but it really works! I was sunburned and sprayed it on my sunburn and it felt so good and was an instant relief.

  27. Id never heard of hydrosols until I saw them on plant therapy. I may buy a couple as a baby shower gift for my friend and the rose one as a toner for my face.

  28. I bought my first hydrosol about 3 months ago– now I have 4 different varieties and I use them every single day! I don’t know what I did without them!

  29. I currently have Melissa and rose hydrosol and I use them 3 to 4 times a day on my face. It feels so nice and makes my skin so smooth. I’m a little obsessed lol saving up to get ALL THE HYDROSOLS!!!

  30. Why is Peppermint hydrosol not good for sunburn? When I think of peppermint, Iv thg think of it being soothing. Why is this not the csse?

    1. Peppermint does have a cooling effect, but it doesn’t have the same skin-rejuvenating properties as Lavender.

  31. I’m so glad you posted this. I have never ordered hydrosols before because I didn’t know anything about them. I’m ordering some today- so excited to try them.

  32. Very helpful article. I just purchased my first hydrosol (rose) and now I’m ready to start using it per the suggestions here. Thanks!

  33. I LOVE rose hydrosol as a facial toner, a hair detangler and as a relaxing spray. A really lovely gentle and relaxing fragrance. It feels like a real treat when I use it. Love it!

  34. This is super helpful and informative! I didn’t even know what hydrosols were until reading this! Is there a type of hydrosol that can be used for hair growth?

  35. Thank you for clarifying if hydrosols can be blended. I once asked but was told blending hydrosols is not recommended.

  36. Thanks so much for the information! I’ve just recently gotten into using hydrosols and love them. I have three kids under three so hydrosols have been a great alternative to EOs for so many things.

  37. This was a great read! I never really understood what a Hydrosol was until this. Now I feel like I need to buy them all… lol! Thanks PT!

  38. I love all of the hydrosols but I think the best endorsement I can offer is this: my 19 year old Son swears by them. Bug bites, sunburn, allergy eyes, scraped knuckles from working on the car, and most recently, a canker sore inside his lip – he comes right to the fridge for a hydrosol. Helichrysum is his go-to!

    1. Hi Lisa! Hydrosols are aromatic waters that are left over after the distillation process.

      During distillation, steam passes through the plant material. This steam releases the oil from the plant and both steam and oil pass through a cooling condenser. This allows the steam to turn back into water, which is collected in a flask. The oil is siphoned and the liquid that is left is a hydrosol.

      Because of this, making your own hydrosol wouldn’t be the most simple task.

  39. Thank you for this article. It has helped me understand hydrosols better. I look forward to reading the articles mentioned.

  40. Hydrosols are some of my favorite products that Plant Therapy carries. I love how gentle they are, and how well they help with different skin issues: from cuts and scrapes, to bug bites and acne. Love, love, love hydrosols!!

  41. I can’t wait to try these hydrosols. Lots of people are commenting on the Rose scent. I’m not a big rose fan, but I may have to try it after all the good reviews of it.

  42. I love and use Helichrysum Hydrosol every day. I’ve had an angry, dry patch of skin that for months wouldn’t clear up, but started improving after the first use of the Helichrysum Hydrosol. Now it’s completely gone!

  43. So glad I read this. I have cats and am leery about wearing EO’s topically when I’m around them. I rarely diffuse because I’m afraid they might get liver toxicity. I knew hydrosols were safe for cats but didn’t realize they could be used so many ways. I’m definitely going to order some!

  44. I had the chance to use my Melissa Hydrosol within a few hours of receiving it when my dog got a foxtail in her paw. A few spritzes on her face and body allowed her to remain calm enough for me to remove her foxtail. I am so grateful for that!

  45. I’ve never really heard of hydrosols until I saw them on the Plant Therapy site to buy oils. Thank you for sharing this information about them. I think I might want to buy some to use as a facial toner.

  46. I’ve never tried hydrosols but now I really want to! Any insight into why they take on a different scent that their oils do?

    1. Hydrosols lack the same constituents in the same quantities as essential oils. The constituents that make up the oil are what give its aroma. Without the same levels, they smell differently. It’s also what makes hydrosols so special, because they aren’t as potent, they are gentle enough to use on most of our furry friends, our young kiddos, and ourselves.

  47. Definitely will be one of my next purchases! I am having a hard time choosing which one i want! They all sound amazing.

  48. I love the idea of combining hydrosols! I have heard heavy metal contamination may be a concern for hydrosols, do you have any insight on that?

  49. I love this! I can’t wait to try some Hydrosols! I feel like they are the perfect thing to introduce people to eo’s too! Thank you for this info!

  50. I LOVE the smell of the rose hydrosol. It smells amazing! The hydrosol I use most is the helichrysum. I use that on all owies for myself and my kids. I also recently purchased lavender, peppermint and melissa. This post is helpful to figure out how to best use them.

  51. I like the intro to the post. It reminds me of some of the scenes in Tykwer’s “Das Parfum” / “Perfume.” (of course, the book is even better!)
    Can’t wait to try out the Melissa. Want to try it in a toner as well as for its calming effects

  52. i have heard people saying that they spray hydrosol to their eyes. for red eyes or such. is it a safe practice?

  53. Thank you for the information on hydrosols. I plan to add some to my next order, and this post gives me lots of information about how to use them.

  54. I love using PT hydrosols! Helichrysum is my favourite to use as a toner. Thank you for this great blog post.

  55. I currently have Rose, Lavender, Tea Tree, and Chamomile. They will always be staples in our cupboard! My niece ran up to me asking for her “boo boo spray” (lavender hydro) and said it was “all better” after the first spritz!

  56. I usually mix my Lavender essential oil with aloe after sun exposure but after this (and other comments) I’ll be adding Lavender Hydrosol to my shopping list!

  57. I use hydrosols for everything. Skin hydration, hair refresher, skin irritation, allergies, light scent. Rose is probably my favorite!

  58. I looooove my hydrosols! We use rose for my girls hair! Lavender for ouchies and sore bottoms. Helichrysum for face toner. And I just got a Melissa to try!!! I didn’t know what these were before PT and I can’t imagine ever living without them!!!

  59. Bought the tea tree hydrosol and my daughter uses it daily. Can’t wait to give some of the other a try especially the lavender.

  60. I simply adore hydrosols. I love them. Rose and Tea Tree are my favorites to use as toner. But I have almost the whole PT hydrosol line. So gentle but so effective.

  61. This post is great, I have helichrysim hydrosol and rarely use it so havent bought more I need to start using them more and this post has me inspired to do that

  62. I’ve been using the Rose Hydrosol as a hair product! Apply a light mist to dry hair, scrunch a little, sometimes I add a sea salt/beachy hair product as well = soft, touchable, wavy hair…that I don’t have to apply heat to.

  63. When ever anyone ever asks me about diaper rashes I always inform them about hydrosols . These literally soothe a diaper rash instantly. Once my son was old enough to put two and two together he would not let me go a changing session without his spray. Every new mom needs a bottle.

  64. I’m anxious to get my first hydrosol! I’ll be ordering it during CAM!! Definitely want a lavender one for sunburns!

  65. I got the rose hydrosol for Christmas and I use it mostly for a facial toner. But I’d like to try to use in different ways as well. Especially since the shelf life is relatively shorter. I also appreciate Tyler’s “There’s no stupid questions” remark. Haha, bc I feel like I always have stupid questions!

  66. Thanks for the information. I have bought a few but was unsure how to use them, this has given me some ideas.

  67. So glad to learn about hydrosols! I’ve heard others talking about them online but didnt know what they were or how to use them.

  68. Gotta admit.l, I have many PT Hydrosol. I use them periodically but not necessarily love them. The smell of Helichrysum and Melissa leave much to be desired, granted the Helichrysum is preferred by my kid for minor skin irritation. The Rose Hydrosol is a wonderful spritz I use on my face and body.

  69. I’ve been very curious about hydrosols and how to use them since starting to get into EOs. I look forward to ordering my first one once I get back from vacation!

  70. Just received my first Hydrosol this week, so this post is especially timely. Thank you for the great info! Looking forward to using it (I ordered lavender).

  71. We love hydrosols! Especially the rose, it’s great in my kiddos hair. I love that they are safe for the whole family, so I can use them in every room, any time I need to, and there’s no need to worry!

  72. Thank you for all the great information about hydrosols! I love the rose hydrosol for my hair and helichrysum as a toner for my face.

  73. This was such a great post. I have been wondering what hydrosols are! Thank you for explaining about this wonderful product!

  74. Love using Rose Hydrosol in my hair and my daughter’s hair before combing or to refresh our curls. I just tried yesterday Lavender Hydrosol on a small sunburn patch on my arm. It is all better. Definitely want to use and learn more about Hydrosols. Thank you for the references in this blog post. Melissa Hydrosol is on the wishlist

  75. I used peppermint hydrosol last night to cool my little guy with a fever. I had Roman Chamomile hydrosol too but didn’t think about using that one. He said it did help cool him down.

  76. I love the Melissa and Rose hydrosol for my face for toner. I use the chamomile as a bed and pillow spray to fall asleep to. I also use a spritz or two of chamomile on my son’s rear end if it’s a little red. Super helpful. I love that your line is organic.

  77. I just picked up my first hydrosol – chamomile – it’s so soothing. I love that it’s safe for the whole family!

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