Hydrosols are continuing to grow in popularity and are becoming more widely available in commercial stores. Did you know there are imposters in the world of natural hydrosols!? Many people don't realize that some labels can make a product seem natural and skin-safe but it's not that simple! Continue reading below to learn more about what makes a high quality hydrosol, what to look for on labels, and more!
What is Hydrosol?
Hydrosol is most commonly known as the byproduct of the steam distillation process used to make essential oil. At the Secret Garden, we use our Portuguese Copper Distiller to force steam through densely packed lavender plant material. The steam rises and collects a variety of nutrients and minerals from the lavender or other plant material, before it is moved into the condenser. Here, the steam is cooled and condensed back into water which is then collected in a glass container. As the container fills, the essential oil separates from the water and collects at the top. From there, the oil can be collected, leaving behind aromatic distilled lavender water or hydrosol! The same process can be used with a variety of plant materials like fruits, leaves, or flowers to get other types of hydrosols.
Read more about distilling essential oils and our Portuguese Copper Distiller in THIS BLOG POST!
Discover more uses and benefits of hydrosol HERE!
Why Should You Use Hydrosol?
We typically describe hydrosol as a "multipurpose spray" meaning there are a wide variety of uses and benefits. Hydrosol is about 30 times stronger than an herbal tea but less potent than pure essential oils, making it the perfect product to apply directly to your skin, or common household surfaces. Hydrosols typically carry the same (or similar) benefits as the essential oil from the same plant. Click HERE to read more about the benefits of Lavender Hydrosol, or HERE to read about other essential oils and hydrosols!
Check out our favorite recipes using hydrosol HERE!
Not All Hydrosols Are Created Equal!
Hydrosol has a few common aliases including "flower/floral water", "herbal distillate", "hydrolate", "herbal water", or "essential water". In theory, these names can be used interchangeably - but don't always assume products with these labels contain 100% pure, natural hydrosol.
Here are our top 4 tips for purchasing good quality hydrosol:
1. Hydrosol should be the first (or only) ingredient listed! Some companies blend essential oil with water and label it as hydrosol - make sure the product is mostly made up of plant derived hydrosol and not water! Also keep an eye out for dyes and fragrances.
2. Some additives are okay. But do your research on what they are and spot test to make sure your skin isn't sensitive to them. Common additives that are harmless for most people are aloe vera, natural extracts or natural preservatives.
3. Watch out for technical language! Manufacturers are able to find ways to make their product seem like a natural hydrosol solution when it's really an imposter! Language like "floral/herbal water with solubiliser", "infused floral water", or "condensed herbal water" can all be hydrosol fakes in disguise.
4. Beware of alcohol! This might seem like a harmless ingredient but it can dry out skin or damage linen and surfaces! This also applies to products like witch hazel, which often contains alcohol!
The best way to be certain you're purchasing a legitimate quality product is to find a supplier who is transparent about their practices and procedures. It is important do your research! The beauty and wellness industry is notorious for drawing people in with products that don't actually live up to the hype!
Our Secret Garden Hydrosol
At the Secret Garden at Brys Estate, we distill our own essential oils and hydrosol! Our hydrosols (available in lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, and sage) are 100% pure and natural! We carefully store our product in airtight, glass containers and package small quantities as needed, eliminating the need for preservatives. When you purchase any Secret Garden Hydrosol, you don't have to worry about alcohols, dyes, or perfumes! Distilling essential oils and hydrosols is one of our favorite things we do at the Secret Garden and we love to share that process and new insights with our supportive community whenever we can! Questions? Leave them below!