What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosol is a type of water that is made from distilling parts of plants, including fruits and flowers.
Hydrosols are often confused with essential oils. Though they are much similar to essential oils in terms of properties, their concentration is lesser and the fragrance is milder.
Hydrosols are an important ingredient in perfumes, various beauty products, aromatherapy products etc.
Famously known as “flower water”, hydrosols are 100% natural products that should be used in your daily hair care and skincare routine, along with other essential oils, and also for making DIY home-made products.
If you have seen some of my previous videos, you would have heard the term hydrosol.
It is an ingredient I often use for making my homemade beauty products.
Some people have asked me how to make hydrosols.
Though you can find them easily in the market, their purity and authenticity can never be trusted.
Many sell hydrosols using the term “flower water” or “fragrant water”, but “hydrosols” are not just about flowers or fragrance but can be made from any part of a plant.
In this article, I am going to talk about ‘Hydrosols’, how they are manufactured and how you can make your own at home…
Apart from flower water, hydrosols are also known as hydrolates, herbal waters or essential waters.
They have qualities similar to those of essential oils but they are less concentrated and therefore gentle on our skin and hair.
Hydrosol comes from the words:
Hydra=water and sol=solution
Thus, hydrosol is a chemistry term which means “water solution”
Hydrosols are produced from the same steam distillation process which is used to produce essential oils.
How to Make Hydrosols At Home?
First, let’s understand how hydrosols are made using a steam distillation process.
As shown in the diagram, in this process, ¼ of the flask is filled with water and the “plant materials” are placed a bit elevated from water level.
The steam pressure bursts the tiny cells of plant materials that contain the essential oils.
The steam rises carrying essential oil droplets and exits from the pipe at the top.
This pipe then passes through the condenser containing cold water.
This process turns the steam in the pipe into a liquid which will now contain both water and oil.
This aromatic liquid is collected in another container which has 2 exits, one at the top of the container and another one at the bottom.
The essential oils have a lower density than water and thus will float at the surface and get collected from the top exit.
And the remaining water which exits from the bottom outlet is called the hydrosol.
The hydrosols contain molecules of essential oils as well as the water-soluble elements of plants that are not present in the essential oils.
This is how hydrosols are made commercially under professional guidance.
But we can make our own hydrosols at home as well using the same kind of process.
I am going to demonstrate two methods to prepare homemade hydrosols.
You can use these hydrosols in your homemade body lotions, face creams, face wash, toner, hair mists, hair rinse water, body mists, face mists, air fresheners, etc.
First method to make hydrosol
In the first method, I am preparing a spearmint and coriander mixed hydrosol.
I am using my electric steam cooker for this.
If you do not have a steam cooker, you can make using the second method shown in this video later on.
First of all, sterilize all the equipment you are going to use in this process. (I have washed all of them first and then wiped them with a clean cloth, sprayed rubbing alcohol over them and let them get dry for a few minutes.)
Now, fill the bottom-most part with distilled water.
Place the container with holes in the bottom surface on the top.
Fill it with the plant materials. I’m filling it ¼ with a mixture of fresh coriander and spearmint leaves.
(Make sure the plant materials are properly washed first – take montages)
Now place the third container over it and put an empty glass container in it.
Now place this third container over it.
(This will collect the steam distilled hydrosol – show that bowl)
Place the lid upside down like this and once the steam process starts, place ice cubes over it.
Place a flat plate over it on which we can put ice cubes.
Switch on the electric steam cooker and wait for a few minutes.
In between keep checking the ice. If they melt, remove the water and place a new batch.
Now let’s understand what happens here.
In this method, the water will get boiled in this chamber.
And the steam will pass through these tiny holes into the second container, wherein it will burst tiny cells of plant materials which carry the essential oils.
The steam will then rise to the top carrying both the essential oils and hydrosol droplets.
As the steam moves to the top, the ice cubes will convert the steam into liquid form through condensation and the liquid will get collected in this third container (the glass bowl placed in the third container).
As you can see this is the hydrosol we have collected, and the coloured fragrant water at the bottom is the steam infused water.
This is absolutely refreshing…
Now fill this hydrosol into a tinted airtight glass container and the steam infused water into another airtight container.
Label both of them with date and ingredients.
And place them in the refrigerator.
You can use it within a maximum of 10 days if kept in a refrigerator.
At room temperature, you can store it in a tinted glass container and in a cool dark place for a maximum 3-4 days.
Second method for making hydrosols
The second method to make hydrosol is by using utensils available in our kitchen.
I am taking a pressure cooker, you can also take any other utensil with more depth as we need enough space to put 2 glass bowls inside.
Now place a stand like this at the bottom. And fill water in such a way that it doesn’t go beyond the top of the stand.
Now place a flat plate-like this with holes inside and put your plant materials over it.
Now place a stainless steel perforated bowl like this and fill it with plant materials.
I am adding marigold flower petals.
Place a small bowl inverted like this over it. And place another empty glass bowl over it like this. This bowl will collect the steamed hydrosol.
Now cover it with a lid, inverted like this so that you can place ice cubes over it.
Put this on a low heat and keep checking the water level inside as well as the ice condition on the top.
Keep refilling the water inside and fresh ice on the top until the plant materials are completely discoloured.
After a few minutes stop the heat and our homemade hydrosol is ready. 🙂
And this coloured water collected at the bottom is our steam infused marigold water.
In this method, we are boiling the water at the bottom of the cooker, which forms a steam that passes through the plant materials placed inside the perforated bowl/(over the perforated plate) and travels upwards carrying the essence of the plant material.
This steam gets cooled down by the ice cubes placed over the lid, converting the steam into liquid and eventually getting collected in the empty glass container placed over the inverted container.
Now store this the same way I showed earlier.
And Our homemade hydrosol is ready.
Please be careful you keep on checking the water level and replacing the ice part else your batch will get spoiled. It happened to me in my first attempt.
Also, make sure that you keep heating at low flame throughout the process rather than using a high flame as it may burn and destroy the plant materials.
You can prepare your refreshing hydrosols like this with your preferred herbs, plants, flowers, leaves, peels, roots, and stems and use them in making your beauty products.
So try to make your own hydrosol and share your experience in the comment section.
Also if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I will be happy to help.