Flower waters are some of the best natural beauty products you can find. They also come with many health benefits. Flower waters can be used as skin tonics, in baths, as natural perfumes, in homemade beauty products and even to give your bed sheets a delicate fragrance.
Flower waters (also called hydrolat or hydrosol) are byproducts from essential oil production: for example, when lavender essential oil is produced by steam distillation, the process also creates lavender water. Some of the most popular floral waters are rose water, lavender water and orange blossom (neroli) water. Flower waters have many similar qualities to the essential oils from the same plants, but they are gentler and safer to use. A hydrolat also contains some therapeutic properties that are not found in the essential oil from the same plant.
Rosewater is probably the best known of all the flower waters. It is used in cosmetics and in cooking: Middle Eastern cuisine uses a lot of rosewater, and some traditional Indian desserts and sweets contain rosewater.
Rosewater is excellent for the skin. It is a common ingredient in skin tonics but it can also be used as a facial toner on its own. Rosewater is soothing, cooling, antiseptic and gentle, and these properties make it especially good for dry or sensitive skin. Most people like the smell of rosewater and if you like to make your own cosmetics, rosewater is used in many recipes for face creams and hand creams.
The rosewater that is used in cooking is not always necessarily pure rosewater and can contain sweeteners or other artificial additives. It might be better to get yours from an aromatherapy supplier. Unless of course you’re planning to cook with it!
Orange Blossom Water
Orange blossom flower water is a byproduct from the distillation of orange blossoms for neroli essential oil. In aromatherapy, neroli oil is used for its uplifting qualities and to relieve stress and anxiety.
Orange blossom water is widely used in skincare, and just like rosewater, it is a good skin tonic. While rosewater is better for dry or sensitive skin, orange blossom water is better for oily skin. It also has a beautiful scent, and if you dislike heavy perfumes, try neroli water as a natural alternative.
Lavender is one of the best known herbs and it has been used for centuries in its different forms: lavender flowers, lavender water and lavender essential oil.
Sprinkle lavender water on bed sheets to give them a fresh and relaxing scent, or spray onto linens and other textiles before ironing. Lavender water can make a lovely room fragrance and lavender has also been traditionally used as a natural insect repellent. Small lavender pouches can be placed in a cupboard or closet to keep clothes and textiles free from moths. Like rosewater and orange blossom water, lavender water can also be used as a skin toner, especially for oily or combination skin.
Photo: A. Barra (Wikimedia Commons)