Hydrolats are produced by steam distillation, whereby hydrophilic constituents and minute amounts of essential oil are dissolved or emulsified in the distillation water. This means that there are non-floral hydrolats, such as frankincense (Boswellia spp.) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). Even plants that we only associate with herbalism, like plantain (Plantago major), can produce hydrolats without essential oils.
There are also many floral hydrolats, including rose (Rosa centifolia), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and neroli (Citrus aurantium). Some, like rose, have a fragrance similar to the flowers from which they were distilled. Others, such as lavender, have a very different scent that some people may not find pleasant.
Hydrolats have a broad range of therapeutic properties and can be applied in many ways. They are safer than essential oils and are suitable for use with populations that may be sensitive to strong aromas, such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and many pets.
Caring For Your Hydrosols
Floral waters and hydrolats, being water-based, are susceptible to contamination by mold and bacteria. If you plan to transfer them into a new container, such as when making a perfume spray, it is best to sterilize the container beforehand. The good news is that unlike essential oils, they can be stored in plastic bottles.
It is essential to refrigerate your floral waters and discard them if their scent changes or if the water becomes cloudy. True hydrolats have a short shelf life, which ranges from 6 to 18 months, even when
refrigerated. Therefore, at COSMAFOLIA we only small batch destill in our traditional copper still.
Using Floral Waters
Floral waters are versatile and can be used in personal care products, home fragrances, and even food. Synthetic floral waters are available, but for internal consumption or therapeutic use, pure and natural
floral waters are recommended. Be sure to read labels carefully to avoid added preservatives or synthetic ingredients. Our hydrosols are distilled from our own, pesticide free, grown plants. See our range of small batch distilled hydrosols, for skin, hair, mood or flavoring here.