Steam distilled on the farm in the copper still, we hand harvest our lavender flowers early in the morning and process the flowers into oil within a few hours. Once the oil has been extracted the hydrasol (Lavender Flower Water) remains as part of the production, and it has many uses. We distill Folgate Lavandula Angustifolia (English Lavender), which has a sweet more perfume fragrance than our Grosso Lavandula x intermedia which has a more identifiable Lavender fragrance and is a hybrid of English and Portuguese lavender.
What is it?
Lavender Flower Water (Hydrosol) is one of two products resulting from the steam distillation of lavender. It contains a small percentage of essential oils, as well as the water-soluble components of the plant material. It has similar properties as the essential oil but is much gentler and also much safer to use.
It is interesting to note that up until the 18th century in Europe, distillation of plants was done to make hydrosols, and essential oils were considered the by-product. In the 20th century, it was not uncommon for the hydrosol to be considered a waste product in the production of essential oils. Modern distillers and the public are realizing the value and myriad uses of hydrosols and thankfully both are being retained. Some distillers are even distilling for the purposes of hydrosol again!
Appearance and odor:
Many people are surprised that the hydrosol doesn’t smell the same as lavender essential oil. The aroma is more herbal or grassy, with a light floral note. The odor is also not as strong as the essential oil.
Uses and benefits:
Lavender essential oil is extremely versatile, so it's no surprise that the hydrosol has many uses. The benefits include balancing, antiseptic, cooling, relaxing, soothing and uplifting. Lavender tends to adapt to what your body needs, which is why it can be both soothing, and uplifting.
Using Lavender Flower Water hydrosol for skin care.
Lavender hydrosol can be used for all skin types. It is balancing to skin and can be helpful for redness or acne.
Facial cleanser/toner: The hydrosol can be used straight up as a gentle cleanser or a facial toner. Keeping a little in a spray bottle will allow you to spritz some on your face daily. The beauty of hydrosols is that they are gentle enough to be used everyday.
Body Spray: Spritzing your body with hydrosol after a shower will not only give your skin a light scent, but it can be helpful for dry skin.
Make lotions: Making lotions using hydrasol as a natural base.
Sunburn: Since lavender oil has a famous reputation for use with burns, it makes sense that the hydrosol is cooling and soothing to sunburns. Using it in a spritzer bottle makes it easy to apply with a minimum of ouch. Some people mix it with witch hazel when using as a sunburn spray.
As if there weren’t enough skin care uses, there are several ways to use it around the house too.
Linen Spray/Room Spray: Many people use floral waters to gently fragrance their bedsheets or other linens. This is an especially nice use for insomniacs.
It also makes a natural substitute for an air freshener. If you have an ultrasonic diffuser, you could use a little hydrosol instead of water.
Laundry: You can use a little hydrosol in the rinse cycle of your washing machines to lightly freshen your clothes or some even report using it in their irons instead of water. In both cases, I recommend testing first to ensure you don’t damage your clothes (or your iron!). Remember, there is a small percentage of essential oils in there that could cause some spotting.
Cleaning: Many people use this versatile liquid to clean their house with. It seems there is nothing you can’t clean with it, but it is especially noted for cleaning glass, chrome and stainless steel without streaking.
Storage and shelf life:
Store hydrosols in a cool, dark place and you should be able to use it for up to 2 years (if you don’t use it up long before then!). Storing it in a refrigerator will prolong its shelf life.
Safety: Lavender hydrosol is generally considered safe to use. Unlike essential oils, it is gentle enough to use on a daily basis.