How To Use Hydrosols

Hydrolats, or hydrosols, are flower or floral waters. They are the waters collected when plants are steam-distilled to gather their natural oils so they offer similar properties to the essential oils themselves, but on a more gentle level. Raw plant materials consisting of flowers, leaves, bark, wood, seeds or peel are put in a distillation apparatus over water, and as the water is heated the steam passes through the plant material. The vapours flow through a coil where they condense to a liquid, and this liquid is called as a hydrolat. Well known hydrolats include rose water, lavender water, lemon balm and orange blossom water, which have got a range of aromatherapy uses. Some hydrolats are also used in cosmetics.

The mildness of hydrolats makes them perfect for those with sensitive skin, the elderly, children or people experiencing a debilitating illness. Orange flower (neroli) and rose hydrolats are even safe for use on women before, during and after pregnancy. Good quality hydrolats are 100% pure with no additives, colours or preservatives. Hydrolats must be stored correctly however, because they are delicate when compared to essential oils due to their lack of antibacterial properties.

Hydrolats should be stored in aluminium or glass bottles and away from sources of direct sunlight. Leaving bottles of hydrolats half full for a length of time can cause deterioration due to oxidation, so it is best to transfer the liquid into a smaller bottle. When transferring it is important not to let unsterilized items like your fingers touch the content. They can be kept in the fridge, which has been claimed to maximise their shelf life, but wherever they are stored you should keep a note of when you opened your hydrolats so you will know when they will expire.

Hydrolats are seen by many people as worth their complex storing process. Hydrolats are 100% natural and are widely used for mild therapeutic skincare. Hydrolats can be combined with creams, lotions, Aloe Vera and clay, or they can also be used on their own for cleansing and skin toning.

Chamomile is said to have a calming effect on mind and body, lavender has relaxing properties, lemon balm restores skin appearance and tone, peppermint is energising and rosemary has been worshipped since Pagan times so is perfect for meditation.

Another advantage which hydrolats offer is that they are considered antiallergenic. Because they are milder than essential oils they provide an effective way of soothing allergic reactions. Geranium is calming for eczema-type skin as it provides anti-inflammatory properties and promotes healing. Geranium hydrolats can be used by adding 30ml to 100ml of non perfumed and uncoloured hand cream. A little peppermint hydrolat added in can relieve itching. Lavender hydrolat can also soothe damaged or fragile skin and relieve inflammation if suffering from an allergic reaction. It can be sprayed over dermatitis and heat rashes for a calming effect.

Hydrolats can also be used as a room spray or cooling body spray if transferred to an atomiser bottle. They can also be blended in with lotions and creams for moisturising skin care or used in the bath for a calming effect. Hydrolats such as rose or neroli can also be used as a scented linen spray.

With a huge range of soothing properties and fragrances and a diverse way of application, it’s hard not to see the benefits which hydrolats offer.

Visit Base Formula for a huge range of organic hydrolats, essential oils and cosmetic bases. Their trained aromatherapists also offer more information on hydrolats and aromatherapy, including news, techniques and training courses.

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