DIY Hydrosol Recipe & Guide
Many of us who have used essential oils on a regular basis or who have any experience with aromatherapy, will know first hand how potent and concentrated they can be. While the high concentration of phytochemicals, bioactive compounds, vitamins and various other nutrients is important for enabling an essential oil to have such powerful healing properties, they can become a bit too overpowering for regular use.
In fact, overusing certain essential oils can lead to a variety of side-effects (some more harmful than others) because they should be treated like conventional medicines.
Controlled and regulated dosage is very important when using or administering any form medicine -- especially if it’s a particularly potent form of medicine. Even though natural products are generally a lot safer than most conventional medications (and I highly recommend trying the holistic alternative before seeking the aid of conventional treatments), there are still risks involved when using them and caution is always advisable.
That being said, for every natural or holistic product out there -- you’re bound to find a few alternatives: one for every skin type, body type, allergy or issue. In doing research into this, I stumbled upon hydrosols. Specifically because I was looking for a way to utilize the same healing qualities of essential oils -- just in a softer, more mild form.
I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what they are and how they are made further in the article, but essentially they’ve become a standard fixture in my home. They are much lighter and less concentrated than the essential oils I’m used to using. Ultimately it makes them more suitable for regular domestic use -- because they’re mild and already balanced.
If you’re interested in getting into natural products for the first time or would like to try an alternative to the essential oils you’re already using, then I’d highly recommend seeking out a few hydrosols for use in and around your home. They’re light and easy to use -- plus they have a much more floral or ‘green’ note to their scent, so your home can smell fresh and get the healing benefits of an essential oil at the same time.
What Are Hydrosols And How Are They Made?
Basically, hydrosol is a by-product of the extraction process that is used to create essential oils in the first place -- so long as it’s through a water-based or steam distillation method. When the organic components used to create the essential oil are placed in a large vat of boiling water, the steam that is generated by the high heat levels helps to break down the organic matter and extract the components that are needed for the essential oil.
This steam is transferred to a separate chamber where it condenses to form the final product: essential oil. However, many of the plants important water-soluble minerals and other phytochemical compounds remain in the water that is leftover after the extraction process.
This mixture, or distillate, actually contains more nutrients and minerals than the essential oil as well as leftover drops of the essential oil. This means that it’s basically ready-to-use straight out of the distillation vat. It’s incredibly useful as it has tremendous healing abilities and soothing properties, but it’s not as concentrated as conventional essential oils.
They are soft and gentle on the skin and are frequently used for their delightful aromatic qualities. They can be added to a variety of already existing personal, skin and hair care products in order to strengthen their medicinal and aromatic properties. Also to be used in DIY recipes in order to create your own chemical free, holistic products that are safe and easy to use.
A lot of people have started taking note of this and in recent times, hydrosols and essential oils have been steadily gaining more and more popularity due to their effectiveness and safety. Personally, I love the fact that I’m able to experiment as much as I want to when using natural products. The risks to your health are minimal and the results can be quite exciting.
Hydrosols can be made from basically almost any organic material -- the same applies to essential oils. This means that there’s a plethora of options out there for you to choose from and an almost endless variety of combinations and recipes you can try out. Everything from natural shampoos, conditioners and even deodorants (amongst many others) can be made with relative ease, even if you’re a complete beginner! So if you’re interested in getting some inspiration for your own holistic creations, then I highly recommend reading further.
Where To Find Hydrosols
Here! the internet really is your best friend. The truth of the matter is, that shopping for organic or holistic products can be quite challenging and very costly. Shopping at ‘bricks and mortar’ stores is definitely not the most cost-effective way to source your natural products. Stores like this tend to increase their prices in order to make-up for extra costs involved with running the operation such as rent, paying staff etc.
When shopping online, you can find what you’re looking for quickly and at a lower price. This is because there is less hassle involved with maintaining an online operation and they can ultimately afford to offer the same goods at a lower price because of this.
There is no particular store or brand I would recommend in particular when it comes to choosing a hydrosol. They are all basically made in the same way -- so it’s really a matter of pricing and personal preference.
A simple Google search will reveal lists of online stores that would stock and sell various hydrosol distillates. One thing to be sure of though is that the hydrosol was created through the means of steam distillation and that it’s free of chemical contaminants or unwanted additives.
This means that it’s safe for regular use, and you don’t have to worry about contaminating your body with unhealthy and dangerous chemical ingredients that may have serious effects on the quality of your health. Other than that, hydrosols are readily available throughout the year and generally quite inexpensive, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding the right one for you.
Hydrosol DIY Recipe And Guide
If you’re like me, then you’re bound to always try the DIY recipe before buying a ready-made product. I suppose it has something to do with thrill of being able to take a step back and admire your handiwork. Not to mention, the fact that you can save a ton of cash in the long run by doing so.
This recipe is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take too much time to master. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can experiment as much as you like and try different things as you go along. You’re only limited to your imagination when it comes to creating natural products. This recipe is for a peppermint and lemon balm distillation, but feel free to replace these ingredients with whichever you see fit. The sooner you start -- the better! What you will need:
- 1x large, stainless steel pot with a lid
- 1x brick or flat stone
- 3x handful of fresh peppermint leaves
- 3x handful of fresh lemon balm leaves (leaves from a normal lemon tree will work too)
- 1x stainless steel bowl or Pyrex jar
- Some ice blocks
Once you’ve acquired all the ingredients, place the brick or large stone in the center of the pot. Then add some water to the pot, to the point where it’s just below the top of the brick or stone -- the water should not rise above the brick/rock. Now add the organic material to the pot and try to get as much of it directly in the water as possible.
Place the stainless steel bowl or Pyrex jar on top of the brick/flat stone and place the lid on the large steel pot upside down. It’s very important that you remember this -- as it’s a key component to getting the process to work effectively.
Now place the ice on top of the upside-down lid. Turn the heat on and allow the water to reach a gentle simmer. Once that is done, turn the heat to low and let it sit for roughly 30-40 minutes. As the steam rises and hits the cooled lid, it condenses and runs down the lid into the container below. The liquid that gathers in the container is effectively the final product -- the hydrosol.
Once the ice has completely melted, quickly transfer the water to a separate bowl (which you can use to water your plants with) and replace the lid so that you don’t loose any of the extra minerals or chemical compounds contained within. After another 20 minutes, remove the lid and transfer the distillate into a separate container for further storage. This is probably the easiest way for you to make hydrosol at home, but the internet is full of different techniques, methods and recipes. So don’t stop here!
If you’re new to the world of natural products or are looking for an alternative for your current range of essential oils, then I would highly recommend trying out hydrosols. They’re incredibly mild, making them suitable for both internal and external use and contain a wider variety of nutrients and phytochemicals making them more effective than essential oils in treating certain issues.
I prefer using them for aromatic purposes as they not only help to freshen the air, but actively kill the bacteria that lead to foul odors in the first place. Because of their mild nature, hydrosols are equally safe to use on your skin without the risk of irritation.
They work particularly well as natural moisturizers and deodorants and can keep you feeling and smelling fresher for longer. If you’re tired of lathering chemical-based products into your hair and onto your skin -- or even having them in your household, then it’s worth considering making the shift to a more holistic lifestyle. There’s no better time than now, so why wait?