Essential oils are the first thing that crosses people’s mind, when it comes to aromatherapy. They are potent and therapeutic, said to promote overall well-being, aid relaxation, lift depression, heal illnesses – basically they sound like magical elixirs offering a myriad of beneficial properties. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy essential oils, I really do (especially the combination of Bergamot and Geranium).
The distillation of essential oils was dated back to as far back as the 10th century and got famous in Europe by the 12th century.
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Essential oils are usually extracted by a steam distillation process, in which steam vaporized the aromatic compounds in the plant material, which was then passed through the cooling chamber to be condensed back to liquid form. This resulting liquid will then be separated into essential oil and hydrosol (commonly termed as ‘floral water’). Essential oil contains oil-soluble aromatic compounds while the hydrosol contains water-soluble aromatic compounds (aka nutrients), and small amount of water-soluble essential oil.
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However, focus has been on the essential oils and hydrosol has been considered as a by-product with little use. As there is strong demand for essential oils as they are deemed as precious, some distillers resorted to distilling hydrosol after separating essential oil from the hydrosol, a second time, to extract any remaining essential oil in the hydrosol.
Truth is, both essential oils and hydrosols have their respective benefits. Compared to the high concentration of essential oils, which require most essential oils to be diluted in a carrier oil for tropical application, hydrosols are much safer and gentler to use.
- Hydrosol can be used in DIY masks – it can replace distilled water when mixing wash off mask as well as soaking sheet masks (compressed/gauze) with hydrosol and use it in place of commercial sheet masks. There is so much room for creativity here! I am always mixing up two or even three different hydrosols for one sheet mask.. just to reap all the benefits.
- Mix in 30ml of hydrosol in 1 litre of water to drink daily, for a period of 21 days and stop for 7 days to complete a cycle. One hydrosol that I enjoy consuming is Ginger Hydrosol . Some benefits of Ginger Hydrosol includes promoting blood circulation, liver detox as well as reducing age spots, reduce menstrual cramps.
- Replacing commercial eye drops with German Chamomile Hydrosol – Definitely a life saver especially during dry eyes with contact lenses. You know how contact lenses dry your eyes terribly and you can only choose from the limited choices of contact lens safe eye drops?
- Some hydrosols work well as a mouthwash, such as Tea Tree and Peppermint Hydrosols due to their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
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Types of Hydrosol
There are various different kinds of hydrosols and their benefits and smells vary differently. The weather, the area where the plant was cultivated in also play a part in the smell of the hydrosols. Hence, it is possible for batches of the same hydrosol to have slightly different aroma.
- Rose Hydrosol: Usually termed as rose water, this should be the most recognised hydrosol in the beauty industry. Moisturising with abundant Vitamin C, it helps to restore the vitality and make skin supple and soft. Here is one Youtube video showing how you can make rose hydrosol here.
- German Chamomile Hydrosol: Cooling, soothing and healing in nature, it helps to calm irritated skin, sensitive skin as well as eczema-prone skin. It is also one of the few hydrosols that can be used as an eye wash.
- Ginger Hydrosol: Promote blood circulation, liver detox, reducing menstrual cramps are some of its many benefits. After using it as a sheet mask, there is visible whitening and brightening effects.
- Rosemary Hydrosol: Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature, it deep cleanse pores, surfacing and reducing whiteheads and blackheads. It also helps to tighten and close those pores after cleansing.
- Tea Tree Hydrosol: Tea Tree Oil has been highly raved for its antibacterial properties and how it fight off pimples. Likewise, Tea Tree Hydrosol also provide such benefits and double up as a mouthwash, fighting against bad breath.
Have you used hydrosols before? If not, would you give it a try?
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