By Georgie Smith and Sarah Richards.
In the modern-day aromatherapy movement, hydrosols were a typically discarded by-product in the distilling process in favor of the more potent essential oil.
For every few ounces of concentrated, pure essential oil created in distillation, there are also several large jugs worth of ‘essential water.’
That all changed, however, as aromatherapists and professionals began to understand the benefits offered by hydrosols themselves, particularly lavender hydrosol.
The process of steam distillation uses steam and heat to release lavender’s ‘essential’ components.
Why Use Lavender Hydrosol versus Lavender Essential Oil
Less concentrated is a not necessarily a bad thing.
After all the power of essential oils IS that they are so powerful (for instance, they are solvents which means they can dissolve oil-based paints)!
Hydrosols, and in particular lavender hydrosols, work in many (but not all) applications that essential oil does. They just do it in smaller, safer doses.
Because hydrosols are water soluble, they dissolve easily in water-based applications – like baths. Versus essential oils, which will float on top of water, not dissolve. In addition, therapists often will recommend applications of essential oils be applied (sparingly) into a ‘carrier oil’ first to dilute the effects.
Hydrosols, on the other hand, are a simpler, and safer way to venture into using aromatherapy and often recommended as the ‘first choice’ when experimenting with the effects of essential oils. This makes them safer for home and non-professional use and even aromatherapy professionals will often choose hydrosols as the first method in their treatments.
Lavender hydrosol can also be a way to get that “lavender” effect at a greatly reduced price as compared to the essential oil. Hydrosol is diluted by nature, and no need to further water down or mix with other agents.
Ways to Use Lavender Hydrosol
Minor Wound or Abrasion Care
While western medicine hasn’t taken hydrosols very seriously they are reported to have positive impacts on small wounds. Europeans traditionally keep a small bottle of lavender essential oil in their kitchens. Lavender hydrosol can be effective for rinsing, cleaning and promoting healing of skin abrasions and cuts.
Skin Itchiness from Sun or Wind Burns, or Eczema, Dryness and Aging.
A refreshing tonic that soothes skin itchiness. Also works for diaper rash!
Many people use lavender and other hydrosols to create a refreshing skin toner that is rejuvenating and rehydrating. Or add it to your homemade skin care creams for added benefits.
Baths and Showers
Lavender hydrosol can be added to bathwater (like lavender essential oil), with many of the same effects, providing a relaxing floral experience. Or use as a body spritz in the shower!
For General Household Cleaning including Windows
A mild disinfectant, lavender hydrosol is great for all hard surfaces. It is also non-streaking and does a terrific job cleaning windows, glass and computer and TV screens. Some drivers put it in their car’s window washing reservoir so every time they squirt their windshields they get a whiff of lavender and clean glass.
For Washing Fruit and Vegetables
Lavender hydrosol is a perfectly safe product to use on fresh fruit and vegetables.
Keeping Insects at bay
Lavender hydrosol is well-known for discouraging common insects include flies, fruit flies, spiders and ants in common areas like counters, sinks and garbage cans.
Use lavender hydrosol on both indoor and outdoor plants to discourage aphids and mealy bugs in particular.
But our favorite thing about using lavender hydrosol – it smells GREAT. (Obvious we know, but so true!).