DIY: How To Make A Hydrosol
The content was updated for accuracy and relevance on November 19th, 2020
If you’ve been reading through the recipes on our website, you’ve likely noticed that many of them suggest the use of hydrosols. But what is hydrosol and what are hydrosols used for outside of our recipes?
Essentially, a hydrosol is a botanical water. It’s similar to essential oil, but it’s far less concentrated, which makes it ideal for anyone with dry skin or sensitive skin. Not to mention hydrosols also contain water-soluble plant compounds that aren’t found in essential oils.
The great thing about hydrosols? You can DIY at home.
How? Read on to find out all the tips and ingredients you’ll need to make your very own hydrosol!
What Are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols, also known as floral water or hydrolats, are the byproduct of the essential oil distillation process.
They’re made of plant constituents, traces of essential oil and filtered water, which is what gives them their heavenly aroma.
Hydrosols are primarily composed of hydrophilic plant compounds and contain less than .02% of essential oil. Because it’s water-based, you don’t need to dilute them any further before applying.
You can use aromatic as well as non-aromatic plants when creating your homemade hydrosol. But given the choice between the two, why wouldn’t you choose something that smells divine? Some of the most popular hydrosols are made with aromatic plants, including:
There’s plenty of room for creativity. It’s common to add Thyme, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Mints and other types of ingredients for the best possible outcomes.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, hydrosol uses include:
Effective facial toners for skin care
Skincare products: Serve as hydrating components in a product, e.g. cream, cleanser, etc.
Safe for infants and young children in baths (1 tbsp) or spritzers
How Is Hydrosol Made?
A hydrosol is made using steam distillation of various aromatic plant matter.
Plant material is boiled and then simmered, which creates steam. The hot steam passes through plant material and then rises to the top. On it’s way, it passes through ice, which cools it down.
The condensate of this steaming process is then collected. Essential oil floats on the surface and the remaining water is the true hydrosol.
That water is incredibly aromatic and contains many of the very same therapeutic properties of their corresponding essential oil. It can be safely added to your food and drinks or used on your face and hair. This methodology provides a solid middle ground since it's significantly more effective than an herbal tea while still being gentler than an essential oil.
Can True Hydrosol Be Made At Home?
Hydrosols can be store-bought, but we wouldn’t suggest it.
When industrial distillation occurs, it tends to use far more spring water than a typical recipe would call for. As a result, the hydrosol is largely diluted, so much so as to be rendered useless.
It’s more effective to simply make your own hydrosol at home. You get to pick exactly what you want in it! Mix and match as you see fit. Try different combinations until you land on a blend that’s perfect for you.
Hydrosol Recipe: Ingredients You’ll Need
Ready to make your very own DIY hydrosol? Then let’s get cooking!
For starters, you’ll need several ingredients and a few select items. Then, based on your own preference (herbal hydrosol, floral hydrosol, etc), you might want to add a little flare to your recipe.
To that end, gather the following:
Large pot with lid
1 Large heat-safe bowl
1 Smaller heat-safe bowl
5 cups of fresh or dried plant material, such as:
Note: Be sure to check that the bowls and pots are cleaned. Foreign residue and debris could throw off the aromatics of the mixture.
Process For Hydrosols And Essentials Oils
Ready to learn how to make your own hydrosol? For the purpose of today’s recipe, let's use a combination of rose petals, lavender and peppermint. The mixture creates a divine aromatic water and is full of rejuvenating properties that are fantastic for your skin and hair.
After gathering all of the essential items, you can begin:
Step 1 – Place your large heat-safe bowl in the center of the large pot, upside-down. Place the second, smaller bowl on top of the larger bowl. The smaller bowl should be right side-up, on top of the larger bowl. The small bowl will be what collects the hydrosol water.
Step 2 – Arrange the plant material around the sides of the larger bowl (not in the bowl). Cover plant material with water. Water should remain below the top of the larger bowl.
Step 3 – Place the large pot lid upside down to cover the large pot. Fill a large freezer bag with ice, seal and place on top of the lid of the pot.
Step 4 – Boil the water, then gently simmer for 30 minutes. Replace the bag of ice, if it melts.
Step 5 – Remove the pot from the heat, then remove the lid. Carefully lift the smaller bowl out, which now contains your hydrosol. Pour the collected water into a container like our Amber Glass Bottles. Store in the fridge for the longest shelf life, or a cool, dark and dry area.
With this easy-to-follow recipe from Edens Garden, making your own hydrosols is simple. And once you’ve got your aromatic hydrosol bottled, you can use it however you please.
Since it's so easy to do, you're going to want to try a variety of different aromatic plants. Whether it be a rosemary hydrosol, chamomile hydrosol, lemongrass hydrosol, lavender hydrosol, tea tree hydrosol, frankincense hydrosol geranium hydrosol or peppermint hydrosol, get ready to gather your fresh petals and dried herbs to create the essential water of your dreams!
1. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. What are Hydrosols? https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-hydrosols
Leave a comment (Comments will be approved before showing up)
I understand the process and would like to do it myself with improvised materials
Hi Beth! Let us know how it goes if you end up making it 💕
This was AWESOME!! I read a few years ago about how one could make what was essentially small steel to make hydrosols, but when they got into copper tubing and turning it this way and that, I was lost as a ball in high weeds! I decided to try it a few weeks ago and now can’t remember which book it was in and I can’t read every one of my books to find it! Thanks as this seems much more simple!!
Hi Tammy! There’s no need to add hydrosol because this recipe is intended to make hydrosol. If you need further assistance, please reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi. Thank you for the directions. I used 5 cups of rose petals and received about 50ml of hydrsol. Is that correct or did I do something wrong
Hi Dale! Yes, it’s normal for water to seep to the bottom. We recommend composting any remaining plant material and straining the water and using it as tea, in cooking, cocktails, in baths, etc.
I tried this method and was very successful with producing both rosemary and lavender hydrosols. Thank you so much for the article. I have two questions. 1) Should water seep and gather under the bottom bowl during the process? 2) Do you have any suggestions on what to do with the leftover plant matter and water gathered in the bottom? Thanks
Hi Jacquie! The only thing that needs to go in the pot are the two bowls (one large, one small), the plant material and water. Feel free to reach out to our team if you need further assistance with this project! email@example.com
I am interested in making a hydrosol from your essential oils. Do you recommend this method but placing drops in the water around the large bowl?
Hi Amanda! A Pyrex bowl is suitable for this project.
Hi. I’d love to try this but I don’t know what kind of bowls to use for this. I have glass pyrex bowls that are oven safe or microwave safe but they all say not to put then on the stove top. Do you use stoneware, metal or glass bowls when you do this?
Thanks so much.A simple method to take the goodness and scents from my garden and use them for my senses. This will be my project tomorrow.Cheers!
Hi Janet! We offer a few articles with ingredients that we don’t offer – in which case, we recommend purchasing the ingredient from a cosmetic ingredient supplier.
JANET C BROWN
I’d like to know why Hydrosols are added to some recipes- and what do you use if Hydrsol is not available
Deborah: most conventional tea (like in bags) is a by-product of extracting essential oils, so they contain little to none of the volatile compounds. One of the exceptions is the brand Traditional Medicinals, which has the entire herb with the essential oils still in the plant material. It is the brand recommended by my herbalist teacher, for that exact reason, with medicinal-quality herbs in all their tea products. Otherwise you can source from herb suppliers like Mountain Rose and Starwest, they have whole and medicinal-grade herbs and many wild crafted or organic.
Hi Dey! You can increase the batch size, and the yield does vary.
Hi Deborah! The way hydrosols are made creates a more concentrated product than tea. Hydrosols contain a minute amount of essential oil as well, whereas tea generally does not contain any. You can still use teas in place of hydrosols but it will be less effective depending on the use.
Hello. Thanks for the informative and useful article. 2 questions: Can the batch size be enlarged to increase the yield, or are multiple small batches required; is there a standard yield amount (fl oz) or is it variable?
Thanks for the help- Dey
Hello- you state the hydrosols are more effective than herbal tea. Can you explain that please? both contain the plant constituents. Tea is easier to make.
Hi Lori! You may want to try making a hydrosol with peonies as this isn’t something we’ve tried before and as far as we know, there aren’t commercial peony hyrdosols. You may also want to check out “Hydrosols : The Next Aromatherapy” by Suzanne Catty or “375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols” by Jeanne Rose.
I am relatively new to the land of essential oils, soap making and other DIYs, including making
hydrosols. My peony bushes are beautiful this year and I was wondering if a hydrosol could be made from the peony petals. If so, what other DIY uses are there for this hydrosol…would appreciate recipes and/or a book to purchase discussing this. THANKS!
Hi Anne-Marie! We do not have plans of bringing this product back at the moment. Our apologies for any inconvenience.
I bought a Neroli Hydrosol from you a couple of years ago that I enjoyed using. Does this mean you will not be bringing them back again?
Hi Rosemary! We suggest sanitizing your utensils and containers beforehand. You can also use distilled water as opposed to tap water.
May 2, 2023 at 11:22 am
I made this, I used pine needles, mainly because evergreen state. I’m going to try roses again because my blend of roses ended up purple and they smell a little like lilacs.