Rose water and hydrolat have long been known in Turkey, but hydrolates (or hydrosols) of other types of dried or fresh flowers and herbs are still (unfairly) not very popular.
The properties of lavender, tea tree, chamomile, calendula hydrolates/waters have as significant benefits as rose water/hydrolat. Unlike flower waters (when a few drops of essential oil are added to water), the hydrolates are much milder and have the same benefits as essential oils, only in a less concentrated form. Therefore, they are safer and can be used more often, but hydrolates and flower waters are essentially the same thing.
Both flower waters and hydrolates are inexpensive and can be made very easily at home. However, it is important to know that if you are making them at home they will have short shelf life (because they are completely natural) and it is best to keep them in the refrigerator and use them within six months.
Hydrolates are usually made with plant parts like leaves and through an ancient method steam distillation. They can be used in a variety of ways, for example they can be put into creams, toners, shampoos or any other type of water-containing cosmetics. You can also refresh yourself with a spritz of hydrolat when you’re feeling hot, stressed or tired. Generally, hydrolates are water-based and perfect for sensitive skin.
Flower water (or floral water) is water that has been scented with essential oils. It can be used for the same purposes as hydrolates. Flower waters are great as a post-tanning treatment for body, or can be sprayed on the face to hydrate the skin. In Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines flower waters are also used as ingredients, mostly in sweet dishes (but also perfect for cocktails, smoothies and many more).
How to make flower water and hydrolat
1. Flower water
They are very easy to make – you just need two things:
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 6 drops Rose Essential Oil (or any other you like)
Mix those ingredients and the flower water ready to use!
The preparation of a hydrolat takes a little more time, but is still a very simple process. Both fresh and dried herbs and flowers can be used to prepare the hydrolat.
What you need
- 1 large stockpot with a lid
- 1 round heat-safe bowl
- 1 brick or flat stone
- Ice (plenty)
- 5 cups of filtered water
- 1/2 cup of dried organic herbs or flowers (or 1 cup of fresh organic herbs or flowers)
- Place the brick or stone in the center of the pot.
- Put a small, heat-safe bowl on the top of the brick/stone.
- Fill the pot with filtered water (it should be up to the level of the brick/stone).
- Place the herbs or flowers on top of the filtered water.
- Place the lid on the large pot upside down. Fill it will ice cubes.
- Put the pot on the stove at medium heat until the water reaches a light boil. Once that is done, turn the heat to low and let it sit for roughly 1 hour.
- Hydrolates are sensitive to light and heat, so they should be put into a dark glass container (it is optional) and in then in the refrigerator (also optional, but it will last longer).
If used daily, rose hydrolat can help moisturize and revitalize the skin. Its antioxidant properties do a lot to restore skin cells (heals scars, and burns) and make it soft and smooth. Vitamin C in rose hydrolat is excellent in the fight against wrinkles. It has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties, so it is very relaxing and helps with stress and tension. Rose hydrolat can be used as a facial toner even on the most sensitive skin.
Known as mentally stimulating, Peppermint hydrolat has a number of therapeutic properties: it may reduce depression and refresh the body and senses. It also has antibacterial, and cooling properties so it will work perfectly as toner for oily and problematic skin. Add some Peppermint hydrolat to your relaxing bath (you can put a couple of drops of Lavender essential oil as Peppermint hydrolat blends exceptionally well with Lavender) and enjoy the strong, fresh scent with a sweet undertone.
Use Lavender hydrolat as air freshener, to add a beautiful scent to your warm bath or even as water for ironing! Like any other hydrolat, Lavender hydrolat can be used in cosmetics as toner (it will help to keep your face clean and provide extra hydration and moisture to dry skin) or hair spray (it will make your hair soft and silky). Note that Lavender hydrosol doesn’t have the same smell as lavender essential oil – it has a light floral note.