As someone with skin that dehydrates easily, I’m always looking for ways to add more lightweight hydration to my skincare routine. Yes, I know I can just grab pretty much any face mist off the shelf, but I also like discovering new things and packing as much extra benefit into every step as I can.
This is why I’ve fallen in love with hydrosols. Hydrosols have been around in the “natural beauty and wellness” spheres for a long time, but I’ve only discovered how useful they can be in the past year.
So today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about hydrosols, and tell you why you should try them out for yourself!
Hydrosols have been around in the “natural beauty and wellness” spheres for a long time, but I’ve only discovered how useful they can be in the past year.
What Is a Hydrosol?
Hydrosols are sometimes called hydrolates, but as far as I can tell, the terms are interchangeable. Some people also call them “flower waters” because they’re created through distilling flowers, stems, leaves, and plant matter.
Basically, a hydrosol is the water that’s left over from the essential oil distillation process. Essential oils are created by using water or steam distillation to capture the concentrated droplets that contain the plant’s “essence,” aka all of the compounds that give a plant its characteristic scent, flavor, and benefits.
At the end of the distillation process, you’re also left with a significant amount of water that contains tiny drops of the essential oil and the water-soluble parts of the plant that didn’t make it into the essential oil. For a long time, this water was considered waste! Thankfully now we know better.
TL;DR—Hydrosols are the water-based counterparts of essential oils. They come from the same distillation process, but they’re nowhere near as concentrated as the oils.
What Are Hydrosols Good For?
Essential oils are great for aromatherapy, and they can be an excellent fragrant addition to certain beauty products. However, because they’re so highly concentrated, they have to be diluted in a carrier oil to be used safely. They’re also more likely to cause skin irritation because of how strong they often are.
Hydrosols are far gentler and don’t have to be diluted any further than they already are. This means that they’re better options for people who want the benefits of a particular botanical blend but have skin sensitivities or don’t want to apply oils directly to their skin.
Did you know that you can also consume hydrosols? Some people use them to flavor food and drinks. Of course, it’s important to ensure that the hydrosol you’re purchasing is intended for consumption, but they’re a great way to add subtle, natural flavor to your kitchen adventures.
Most commonly, hydrosols are used as hydrating facial toners. Their natural scent is much lighter than their oil counterparts, but they’re often infused with just as many skin-loving benefits.
Why Do I Need Hydrosols in My Beauty Routine?
Much like essential oils, hydrosols can have soothing, hydrating, calming, or antiseptic properties. While they’re not a replacement for other workhorse ingredients in your skincare regimen, they can definitely play a supporting role!
The type of benefits you’ll get from a hydrosol will largely depend on which you choose and your skincare goals.
In general, all hydrolates will provide a refreshing boost of moisture to your skin (and hair!). Particular plant blends can offer additional benefits, so it can be helpful to research which hydrosols are best for your specific skin concerns.
For example, neroli is known for its antiseptic properties, so a hydrolate with neroli might be helpful for acne-prone skin. Chamomile is soothing and anti-inflammatory, so using a chamomile hydrosol could give your skin a little extra redness relief. If you just want a refreshing, fragrant toner, you could use a rose or lavender hydrosol to sandwich additional moisture into your routine.
I’m Here For Hydrolates!
Whether you call them hydrolates, hydrolats, hydrosols, or flower waters, just know we’re all talking about the same thing. These guys are inexpensive, gentle, and potentially just as beneficial as their essential oil counterparts (just with less fuss). Even if you don’t reap any outstanding benefits from the hydrolate on its own, you’ll still get a fragrant moisture boost that will brighten your mood and refresh your skin.
Have you used hydrosols in your beauty routine before? Which are your favorites? Drop them in the comments and tell me what you know because I’m still learning about all the great ways to use them!