What is the difference between essential oils and hydrolates?
Hydrolates are the by-product of the process of steam distillation where essential oils are extracted. Essential oils are the fat-soluble part of the plant, while hydrolates consist of the water-soluble part. Many valuable substances of the plant are retained in hydrolates.
Why are hydrolates so popular?
For a long time, hydrolates were regarded as a waste product. Until it was discovered that they have a similar effect to essential oils and since then, they have becomes increasingly popular. In contrast to essential oils, however, they are a lot milder and therefore perfect for people with sensitive skin, babies and pregnant women. Hydrolates are also suitable for spa treatments.
What can hydrolates be used for?
Hydrolates are often used in the form of sprays for face and body care. They are also popular as deodorant or perfume.
They are often used as air fresheners in rooms. Like essential oils, they can be used in fragrance lamps.
They are often used to flavour dishes. The right ratio of hydrolate and water is important.
They are also used in compresses. Floral water has a refreshingly cooling effect and leaves a pleasant feeling on sunburns, sports injuries or even small wounds.
Why is my hydrolate milky?
Hydrolates can be clear, transparent or milky depending on the method of production. If the consistency is cloudy/milky, it implies that more active ingredients from the original plant have been retained in the hydrolate. Therefore if a hydrolate is milky or cloudy, it is a sign of a high-quality product.
How can you judge the quality of a hydrolate?
The designation "floral water" or "aquraom" usually indicates a true hydrolate, while "aroma water" or "scented water" implies a synthetically manufactured product.
The botanical name of the distilled plant also provides information about the ingredients used. The information on the label usually indicates which parts of the plant were used, such as the flowers, stems, bark etc.
Correct storage is important.
Store at a constant cool temperature
Buy in dark containers only
It is best to put a spray attachment on the bottle to minimise exposing the contents to oxygen