What is a Hydrosol?
Hydrosols, also known as distillates, hydrolats, or floral waters, are the subtle, and often aromatic waters resulting from slowly distilled plant material.
The Distillation Process
For our size of still, the actual method of performing our distillations has about a 5-7 hour duration depending on the plant, a much slower process compared to more commercialized modes of skin care production. We do both steam-distillation (the plant is held above the water) and hydro-distillation (the plant is submerged in the water) depending on what suits the botanical best.
The still carrying the water and plant material is first slowly heated. As the steam rises, it passes through the plant material in the form of vapor, carrying vital nutrients, plant acids, and suspended particles of essential oil. As this energetic vapor reaches the condenser and cools, through this alchemical process it emerges in the form of an aromatic water (now a Hydrosol) along with its essential oil counterpart. In most cases, the essential oil will rise to the top, leaving the Hydrosol with roughly 0.1% of micro-particles of essential oil.
The Hydrosol is ready to use as a holistic and energetic tool. In addition to it carrying the nutrients and healing benefits from the specific botanical distilled, many believe it also carries the plant's life essence and memory imprint. Each offers its own unique botanical remedy dependent, thus leading to the reference that a Hydrosol is a "hologram of the plant itself" (quote by Jeanne Rose).
Hydrosols in History
Alchemists from all over the world have performed transformational, healing distillations for well over 3,000 years; an artful process we are humbled to participate in and carry forward today. The first stills we know of were created from clay, using the sun and/or fire to heat the still, gently extracting a plant's oils and aromatic waters. Used in healing modalities and cooking, the most prominent Hydrosol in ancient texts has been the use of delicate rose water, which is remarkably still used today! In the 16th century, the design of the copper still was improved, allowing for a more effective process as well as to increase the yield, and by the 18th century, Rose, Orange Blossom, and Geranium Hydrosols were most commonly used to to nourish the skin. When the essential oil industry became more commercialized for their potency and scent offerings, Hydrosols were left on the back burner and slowly became a forgotten gem. Thankfully today, we are seeing Hydrosols return, with a renewed interest in its gentle and effective mist.
How to Use
Hydrosols are incredibly gentle and subtle waters. Contrary to their essential oil counterparts, they have virtually no health contradictions and warnings, and are well-suited for beings of all ages and sensitivities (including babies and pets alike). Wildcare Hydrosols are recommended as a daily facial toner, energetic mist, and play an important role in protecting and nourishing the skin from everyday pollutants. In addition to balancing and tonifying the natural PH of the skin, your Hydrosol may also be used as a holistic and energetic mist for mood, scalp tonic, added to baths, and used in conjunction with our Clay Masks. Hydrosols are precious ancient remedies, and some of natures most pure antioxidants for the skin.
Always remember to store your Hydrosol in a cool, dark place. Direct sunlight can damage their precious molecules. One way to check for this damage is holding it up to a light and confirming it is clear. If a cloud-like apparition is seen, known as a "bloom", it means your Hydrosol has been contaminated by either airborne or direct contact with bacteria. Preservatives aren't needed for Hydrosols as long as this care is followed. For extra cooling skin relief and prolonged shelf life, you may keep it in the refrigerator (this makes a lovely summertime refresher!). We recommend using your Hydrosol within 1 year.