What is the difference between floral water and hydrolates?
Many e-shops use the terms floral waterand hydrosolor hydrolateas synonyms, but you should be careful before buying them because it is not the same thing. There are some similarities between these two products. However, some kinds of floral water cannot be called hydrosol and hydrolates as well as some kinds of hydrosoles are not floral waters at all.
Then what kind of substance the floral water is?
Basically, the floral water is the simplest water with a floral aroma. They are made by mixing water with essential oils or absolutes. As essential oils are infusible in water, various emulsifiers, preservatives, flavour enhancer and other support materials are usually added to the floral water.
The simplest floral water can be made at home by soaking the blossoms of flowers in water. For example, you can use the method of infusion which similar to herbal tea preparation. Unfortunately, herbal infusions are quickly getting sour if there are no essential oil added. The same thing happens to any herbal tea as well.
Theoretically, the process of distillation could be done at home in order to get good quality floral water. However, it requires the special equipment and experience. Usually, such efforts end up at the stage of collecting the boiled water because the essential oils evaporate faster than thedistillate reaches a proper temperature.
What is hydrosol or hydrolate?
Hydrolates (hydrosols) can be made during the process of distillation when essential oils are produced. Essential oils are infusible in water as a result the distillate is getting cool, the essential oils appear on the top and can be separated in the same way as cream is separated from milk. However, a small amount of essential oil (about 0.01 – 0.1%) remains in the distillate and together with the hydrophilic (water-fusible) components form a sustainable suspension called hydrolate or hydrosol.
It means that some hydrolates, such as juniper (Juniperus communis), cedar (Cedrus atlantica Manet) and similar trees, are not floral water but they belong to this category anyway.
However, the hydrolate produced from blossoms of bitter orange tree (Citrus bigaradia Risso, C. aurantium L) can be described as floral water because of its smell and raw ingredients.
However, not all herbs can be used for floral water or hydrolates. For example, plantain does not have any essential oils and cannot give any smell to floral water or hydrolate.
Hydrolates and floral waters made by steam distillation are incredibly versatile, have a great aromatherapy value and are safe to use for children, pregnant women, older people and even pets. The pure substance can be used, or it might be an ingredient of any other cosmetic product. The hydrolates can be used as a sprayer or body moisturiser from dry and hot air. Hydrolates can also be used for making body and face creams.
According to the quality analysis of hs-spmct-tofms (head space-solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry), all products made by the joint-stock company MĖTA contain over 50biologically active substances such as hexanol, 3Z-hexenol, 3E-hexenol, 1.8-cineol, methyl salicylate, and more. These substances give hydrolates an exceptional fragrance of fresh birch leaves, buds and pine needles, it makes skin soft, allow it to breathe, mask the visible defects, protect the it and maintain a good skin condition.
Hydrolates that contains a proper amount of essential oil can be used for 0.5 – 1.5 years.