WHAT IS HYDROSOL?Hydrosols are the condensate result of steam distillation of plants or flowers produced when creating a natural essential oil. The top floating layer of essential oil is removed and the remaining 90% of the water is considered hydrosol. Most often they are infused with essential oils —which is not the same thing as a true hydrosol. Pure hydrosols will contain some of the same aromatic molecules as essential oils but in a much lower concentration. They are typically clear and colourless and have a light, trace aroma of the original plant or flower.
Essential oil vs HydrosolThough they are made from the same process, hydrosols and essential oils also are comprised of different components. Hydrosols contain constituents from the plant that dissolve in water. Essential oils are the constituents that dissolve in oil. Hydrosol, which contains many of the herbaceous elements of the original plant that essential oils do not, often are considered to have a ‘greener’ aroma than essential oil. Oil tends to have a sweeter aroma than the hydrosol from the same plant which some find more refreshing.
Why Use Hydrosol versus Lavender Essential Oil
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, 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 the 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.
Less concentrated is not necessarily a bad thing.