Hydrolats, also known as Hydrosols, are waters that are collected when plant materials are steam-distilled to extract their essential oils. They contain tiny amounts of essential oil, along with other water-soluble compounds that give them similar therapeutic properties to essential oils. Unlike essential oils, which are highly concentrated, hydrolats are very gentle and can be safely applied direct to the skin, without the need for dilution.
Pure hydrolats are 100% natural with no artificial additives such as colours, fragrance, dispersants or preservatives. This makes them extremely popular for natural, therapeutic skincare. They are suitable for use on all skin types but are especially helpful for people looking for kind and gentle products suited to sensitive skin – this includes use with children and babies.
Which hydrolats are good for skincare
There are many hydrolats to choose from but some of the most popular are Chamomile, Lavender, Orange Flower, Rose and Witch Hazel. Each has its own therapeutic properties that help with different types of skin or skincare concerns.
- Chamomile can help calm sensitive, dry, itchy and inflamed skin conditions.
- Lavender is excellent for dry, damaged, mature or irritated skin.
- Orange Flower is mildly astringent and can be helpful for combination or oily skin and its regenerative properties are good for ageing skin.
- Rose is wonderful for hydrating and balancing dry, mature and sensitive complexions. It can also help relieve blotchy, red, irritated skin and puffy eyes.
- Witch Hazel’s astringent, anti-inflammatory healing properties are ideal for oily, blemished skin. As a natural antioxidant it can also help reduce free radical damage and fight signs of ageing.
They hydrolats can be used individually or can be combined to enhance their therapeutic effects.
How to use hydrolats
Hydrolats are excellent for gentle cleansing and toning – and unlike many skin toners they are alcohol free which means they won’t dry out and irritate the skin. They can also be used for cleansing wounds and soothing skin problems such as acne, eczema, heat rash, sunburn and insect bites, and can even be mixed with other products such as essential oils, creams, lotions, gels or clays to make your own bespoke skincare blends.
Here are a few ideas:
- Add 1ml of Chamomile hydrolat to 9ml of your regular cream or lotion to help calm and soothe sensitive skin.
- To hydrate and rejuvenate dry or mature skin, mix 5ml of Rose hydrolat with 1 drop of Rose essential oil and use as a toner after cleansing.
- To help balance oily skin mix 5ml of Witch Hazel with 1 drop of Geranium essential oil.
- To combat spots, mix 5ml Witch Hazel with 1 drop of Tea Tree essential oil.
- For an easy hydrating, revitalising face mask, soak a compressed face mask towel in a hydrolat of your choice, apply to the face and relax for 10-15 minutes.
- To soothe tired eyes and reduce puffiness and dark circles, soak cotton pads in Chamomile or Rose hydrolat, place over the eyes and leave for 5-10 minutes.
- Spray Lavender hydrolat directly onto the skin to soothe hot flushes, sunburn, heat rash, insect bites and itching. Also great to use at night to promote more restful sleep!
- Use a light spritz of your favourite hydrolat to help ‘set’ your make-up.
Buying & storing hydrolats
It is important to check that you are buying 100% pure hydrolatsfrom a reputable supplier as some companies add alcohol or preservativeswhich can affect the therapeutic properties. If you buy a pure hydrolat then it should ideally be stored in the fridge (or a cool, dark place) and used within 3 months of opening.