Hydrosol – meaning, benefits & uses

Hydrosol – meaning, benefits & uses

Hydrosols are water-based products made from the distillation of fresh flowers, leaves, fruits, and other plant materials prepared through the traditional technique of deg-bhapka method (ark – kalpana) suitable for consumption, application, and inhalation.

The word HYDROSOL is formed from the combination of two words “hydro” meaning water and “sol” meaning solution. Hydrosol meaning as the name explains is a water solution that is prepared using plant material like stems, leaves, fruits and their peels, roots, bark, flower/petals, etc.

Hydrosols may also be called hydrolats, hydrolates, distillates, flower waters, and most commonly floral waters.

Hydrosols may be used in multiple ways in our daily routine and occasional needs : 

  • Nutrition
  • Skin toners
  • Aromatherapy
  • Medicine
  • Food flavor
  • Room Diffusers

Making of Hydrosol

Making of Hydrosol is not a newly devised technique, It is an ancient practice called steam distillation (deg bhapka method). In this the steam distillery is injected with hot steam, which causes the plant parts to open up and release their extracts. The steam mixes with the botanicals, forming a hot herbal distillate that then rises to the top of the distillery. Once it reaches the top, the distillate condenses upon contact with the cool roof and the resulting liquid runs down a tube into a completely different chamber.

This is where the essential oil and water is then collected. The oil and water, despite being collected in one beaker, are naturally separated due to different specific gravity. The oil floats on top of the hydrosol.and is bottled as essential oil, while the water is powerful water soluble nutrition of the herb bottled as hydrosol.

This steam distillery produced a water solution called hydrosol that was used in Food, Skincare, Medicine, Religious rituals, and much more in earlier times.

Benefits of Hydrosol

Medicine – Hydrosols of herbs like Holy basil, ginger, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, etc. are used as medicine to treat respiratory concerns like colds & coughs. Herbs like peppermint, fennel, and carom are used to treat indigestion concerns. Hydrosols are potent and effectively work in the upkeep of body functioning without the need to look for allopathic medication.

Eye toner – Hydrosols like Rose water as eye drops help tone the eyes, and overcome fatigue. It is an eye tonic for all those who spend a long time in front of the screen. It can help clean the eyes & improve their health.

Supplement – Hydrosols are rich in water-soluble nutrients like the Vitamin B & C family. For example, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folacin, folic acid, and much more.

Skin toner/mist – Hydrosols when used as a skin toner or mist can benefit the skin in multiple ways like – Relieve itch concerns, improve the hydration in skin pores, balance the skin pH, soothe inflammation, improve the skin texture and shrink the skin pores.Different hydrosols work for different skin types.

Food – Hydrosols of thyme, oregano, lemongrass, and many more culinary herbs have been used in salads and soups for centuries. Rose or vetiver hydrosols are often used in shakes & smoothies to gain the flavour & make it nutrient-rich. Sweet lime & peppermint are used in lemonade.

Religious rituals – Rose petals & water is used in religious rituals & ceremonies, as a welcome spray at all festive seasons and weddings across the world

Instant Herb Tea - Hydrosols when added to a cup of warm water quickly make up the best nutritious herb tea or say green tea. Simply add a 1-2 tablespoon of hydrosol depending on light/strong preference and enjoy the original flavor with complete therapeutic nutrients with every sip.

True hydrosol vs fake hydrosol

But with different industrial revolutions, cheap and alcohol & paraffin-based fragrances and scented waters have made their way to each of the areas pushing the traditional distilleries to closure.

Hence, the true real hydrosol and essential oil have almost disappeared from the market. 

And the natural market nowadays is majorly flourished with deceiving products with names like floral mist, flower water, plant water, herbal mist, herb water, botanical water, aromatic water, for example – rose water, lavender water, green tea, green apple, etc. It is quite common to see an expensive hydrosol adulterated with distilled water, fragrance & synthetic/preservative.

You may often come across fake hydrosols in the form of face toner or face mist.

At SNAANA, we only make rose water and do not make rose oil. Simply because pure rose oil or say truly steam distilled rose oil is very expensive, comes at a price no less than gold. This is simply because oil yield is too low - meaning, making 1 liter of pure steam distilled rose oil would need tones of roses. Hence, when this pure oil is added to products like creams, face oils etc. it will make the product too difficult to sell. And that's why we see fake or synthetically prepared rose oil so often readily available in the market.

Pure hydrosols are skillfully produced with artistic precision as an important product rather than a side product of distillation. Many plants – herbs do not contain essential oil and are steam distilled only for hydrosols like marigold.

Fact - are steam distilled water containing water soluble herb nutrients made using steam distillation, a traditional technique that requires no use of chemicals or preservatives. So far distillation is the best technique to produce a truly natural highly therapeutic hydrosol.

Why do people not know about Hydrosol or ark in India?

The lack of focus on plant derived – ancient techniques have led to people, especially the new generations not aware of hydrosols. Though in the last decade there is growing desire for natural products, hence hydrosols are making a comeback. Hydrosols are one of the best, pure and efficient sources to act as medicine, health & wellness drink, food flavoring agent, skin care ingredient and much more.

Herb waters are known to ancient Indians with its multiple use popularity in various kingdoms across the millennia. It has been mentioned in different ayurvedic texts for its benefits in skin care and overall health.

Hydrosol vs essential oils

Though hydrosols and essential oils when produced using clean and traditional techniques, are produced through one process called steam/hydro distillation where water and oil both are produced from the plant material used. But each vary in their nature, behavior, and therefore usage.

Hydrosol or say water solution contains the water-soluble nutrients of the herb used in the distillation tank and essential oil contains the volatile oil – oil-soluble nutrients of the herb.

Hydrosols are the lighter version of essential oils. Essential oils are the concentrated – power (pran) of the plant hence should always be used after dilution. Up until the 19th century essential oils were used as antibiotics to treat and prevent various illnesses in the human body. Likewise, hydrosols too were used as medicine, supplements, food nutrition, etc.

In other words, hydrosols are lighter versions of essential oils. True hydrosols prepared from edible herbs are palatable and effective products.

Is hydrosol drinkable?

Yes, hydrosols are steam distilled water of herbs good for eat, apply and inhale purposes. However just make sure to buy an edible hydrosol as the market is full of misleading products. True hydrosols are traditionally prepared drinks that do not even contain preservatives and have a shelf life of more than a year.

Hydrosol vs Toner

Hydrosols make up the best effective toner for the skin. Toners nowadays are synthetically prepared to contain majorly fragrance, synthetic emollients, with little to no hydrosols in them. Rosewater used as skin beautifying aromatic toner in earlier times was indeed a rose hydrosol. The introduction of various chemicals and fragrances to the toners these days has made the skincare industry fall to the lowest standards with margins as the main vision of the players.

Why are Hydrosols important in your skincare routine?

It is nutrient-rich highly therapeutic water and when incorporated into a skincare routine provides the skin surface with the needed nutrients & hydration. It helps in better absorption of face oil/cream which keeps skin soft, smooth & hydrated for the whole day. A skincare routine is incomplete without a hydrosol, a need usually felt by those who use hydrosols in their daily life.

Which hydrosol is best for skin?

Since every skin needs are different, it's best to choose a hydrosol that suits your skin type. Oily skin loves orange, lemongrass, camphor, eucalyptus while dry skin loves vetiver, marigold, chamomile etc. Hydrosols of rose, lavender are universally suitable for all skin types and provide comfort to all concerns be it itch, inflammation, rash or poor hydration.

Can hydrosols be used as a toner?

Yes, hydrosols are the best natural, potent and effective toner helpful in treating & maintaining good skin.

Is hydrosol a toner?

Yes, indeed true hydrosol is the best natural toner for the skin with just no chemicals and preservatives and even no alcohol.

What should you look for in a hydrosol?

Not all hydrosols are created equal. There are a lot of companies that manually blend fragrance oils with water and sell them as false hydrosols. To avoid this, make sure to check the ingredients label every time.

Here’s what to look for in a hydrosol:

  • Make sure “hydrosol” or “steam distilled” is listed in the ingredients.
  • No added colors or dyes
  • If the herb is edible, the hydrosol should be edible too.

Can I mix different hydrosols and create a hydrosol blend to use as face toner?

Yes, depending upon the skin type and aroma that you like, you can create a blend using your choice of hydrosols and give real goodness to your skin in the most cost-effective way. Refer to the table to understand hydrosols and skin types' suitability.

Hydrosol for Hair

Hydrosols are wonderful for hair. When these herb waters are applied on the hair, they penetrate deep inside the scalp nourishing it with nutrients. The non-irritant component of this hydrosol makes excellent add-ons to the shampoos, conditioners, and hair oils.

These herb water act as topical food for scalp and hair length. It helps hair stay hydrated and improves its texture and appearance.

Hydrosols like rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, camphor, eucalyptus, peppermint work very well in strengthening the hair & minimizing its concerns.

Is hydrosol good for hair?

Yes, hydrosols are oil-free tonic for hair. And rosemary hydrosol tops the list with its super nutritional count that works amazing in containing the hair concerns.

Is hydrosol the same as floral water?

No, hydrosol are steam distilled herb water made since centuries also known as ark while floral waters are often fragrance water prepared using fragrance, emulsifier, water and preservative. Therefore true hydrosols are edible while floral waters are not. Always check labels carefully.

Should hydrosols be refrigerated?

It is your choice however hydrosols should always be kept at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

Real hydrosols do not need preservatives to obtain shelf life Hydrosols do not need preservatives for about a year and more when collected & stored in a clean & sterile preferably amber-colored glass container. And this simply is because – all the debris, the matter is left behind and the water collected in the beaker is free of any contamination making it easily stay for more than a year when stored properly.

Hydrosol is a potent complex mixture that contains water-soluble nutrients plus needle-like essential oil dispersed in the water floating on top.

And this makes hydrosols super nutrient-rich tonic water.

Can you drink hydrosol?

Yes, hydrosols made using edible herbs are edible and can be added to soups, salads, milk or shakes, or simply plain water such as green tea and much more.

What are the ingredients of hydrosol?

A true hydrosol is steam-distilled water of the particular herb used to make the hydrosol. For example – Rose hydrosol ingredients are rose petals only.

How are Hydrosols better than Essential oils especially for beginners?

  • Hydrosol is a complete plant in a drop containing both hydrophilic (water-soluble nutrients) and lipophilic (oil molecules - dispersed) in it.
  • Hydrosols are less expensive than essential oil.
  • Hydrosols are not as strong- concentrated as essential oils hence it becomes convenient to deal with them. Gentle hydrosols can be used on individuals with sensitivity concerns.

Hydrosols despite being used extensively in ancient times are not much known in today’s world. Therefore people with some information look for detailed information on the internet like hydrosol uses and benefits, hydrosol for acne, pure hydrosols, Hydrosol examples, Hydrosols Definition, Hydrosol Chemistry, Herbal Hydrosols, Hydrosol vs Toner, Hydrosol Aromatherapy, Hydrosol for Acne, etc.

Here is what you can do to store your hydrosols for a long time. Care is needed especially for chemical & preservative-free products like hydrosols to ensure the hydrosols do not go bad quickly.

  • Store hydrosols in glass bottles/jars
  • Always tight the bottle immediately after each use.
  • Keep the bottle away from sunlight, preferably in a cupboard or refrigerator. Do not freeze it.
  • Keep the bottle in a cool place if you do not want to keep it in a refrigerator.
  • Do not mix anything into the bottle.


If you are allergic to any herb, we suggest you not use its hydrosol too. When using the product for the first time, be it for consumption or application; always test/observe after usage before incorporating it into your daily intake/application routine.

What is the best technique for making hydrosol with essential oils?

The best technique for making hydrosol with essential oil is the traditional steam distillation method. In this method, both hydrosol and essential oil are produced. The newly devised techniques like CO2 or solvent etc. produce only the essential oil and not the hydrosol therefore fake hydrosols are majorly found in the market.

Fact - Beware because often the hydrosols available in the market are fake, made using synthetic fragrance in water with added preservatives.

Best Hydrosol manufacturer & supplier in India

SNAANA is the best hydrosol supplier in India with its own in-house distillery to prepare the real ark using the traditional clean technique. Therefore SNAANA offers more than 15 popular varieties of herb waters to natural savvy consumers.

Back to blog