What are Hydrosols?


By Jade Shutes, New York Institute of Aromatic Studies

Hydrosols, also known as hydrolats, are the aqueous product of distillation and carry the hydrophilic properties (water-soluble components) of the plant in solution as well as microscopic droplets of essential oils in suspension.1 Every liter of hydrosol contains between 0.05 and 0.2 milliliter (less then 1%, typically 0.01 - 0.04%) of dissolved essential oil, depending on the water solubility of the plant’s components and the distillation parameters.2 Hydrosols also contain carboxylic acids, which may explain their observed anti-inflammatory activity.3

Be sure to store all hydrosols in the refrigerator. Average shelf life: 12-24 months.
Hydrosols have numerous benefits for the skin including:
  • Serve as hydrating components in a product, e.g. cream, cleanser, etc.
  • Effective toners
  • Anti-inflammatory, cooling
  • Wound healing
  • Safe for infants and young children in baths (1 tbsp) or spritzers.


  • 1Harmon, A. (2010) Healing Waters: A spotlight on anti-inflammatory hydrolats. International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy 7
  • 2Catty, S. (2001). Hydrosols: The next aromatherapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
  • 3Harris, R. (2006). Aromatic approaches to wound care. International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy, Vol 3:2b, 2006.

Most common hydrosols and their uses

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

German Chamomile
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Cooling
  • Indicated for eczema, psoriasis, rashes, acne and other inflammatory conditions

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)

Clary Sage
  • Astringent
  • Antidepressent
  • PMS
  • Hot Flashes

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • Relaxing
  • Great for children in baths or as a spritzer.
  • Anti-Inflammatory

Neroli/Orange flower (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

Neroli/Orange Flower
  • Stress Relieving
  • All Around Skin Care
  • Astringent

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel
  • Astringent
  • Wound Cleanser
  • Acne
  • Insect Bites
  • Oily Skin

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