Presenting you the properties of hydrolates!

Growing interest in natural skin care and natural medicine led both manufacturers and consumers to seek out new solutions. Today, we are more and more mindful of the composition of specific products and the amount of active substances they contain. This is how hydrolates, i.e. gentle cosmetics with short ingredient lists and many uses, have become popular. Learn why you might want to use them.

Published: 2-04-2024

What are hydrolates and how are they made?

If you want to learn what hydrolates are, you should definitely start by learning how they are sourced. A lot is conveyed by the name itself, with the prefix ‘hydro-’ that means ‘water’ in Greek. Words with this prefix usually refer to processes related to it.

For a start, you should know that many plants undergo steam distillation. The following products are obtained as a result:

  • distillation water,
  • essential oil.

The former is known as a natural hydrolate for the face and hair, commonly referred to as floral water (e.g. rose water). Essential oils, on the other hand, are concentrated, powerful ingredients that should be used very carefully, especially on sensitive skin.

For a long time, hydrolates were considered a by-product of the distillation process, as manufacturers solely focussed on extracting the essential oil from the plant. However, in time, they recognised the properties of hydrolates, which contain valuable plant substances dissolved in water.Some of them even have properties that essential oils do not.

Moisturising hydrolates are usually transparent, although their colour may depend on the plant from which they are derived. They are also characterised by a subtle pleasant fragrance and a pH similar to that of human skin. This makes them suitable for skin toning, namely restoring the proper pH of the skin.

Read also: cosmetic composition.

What are hydrolates used for?

Surprisingly, hydrolates have a multitude of uses. This is why cosmetics manufacturers are increasingly focusing on obtaining them. They are no longer just a by-products of the extracted essential oils. This fact can influence their composition, price and production methods.

How are natural cosmetics made? Production of hydrolates involves a range of studies, assays and tests, and ends with obtaining required safety certificates, creating packaging and legal marketing of the product. Therefore, it is worth to choose trusted manufacturers that ensure each of the production stages is performed properly.

Today, hydrolates for the hair and face are most popular, which serve such purposes as:

  • skin cleansing,
  • body moisturisation,
  • face and hair refreshment,
  • support of daily skin care and make-up removal,
  • replacing products with stronger effects, such as toners.

With their diverse properties, hydrolates work well as body and hair mists, rinses, toners as well as a bases or additives to other cosmetics such as serums and cleansing masks.


Heather hydrolate

Properties of hydrolates. There are more of them than you think!

If you are wondering how to use hydrolates, remember their effects differ from those of essential oils. Although both substances are extracted from the same plant, the content of active ingredients in both products makes their properties different.

  • Essential oils are used, among others, in aromatherapy and the treatment of various conditions related to the digestive or respiratory system, skin lesions or infections. They can also be added to beauty products (read about cosmetic intermediates). Before you use them, make sure to get reliable and detailed information on how they work and consult a specialist. Otherwise, you might hurt yourself!
  • Hydrolates, based mostly on water, are much gentler, which makes them great for sensitive skin prone to irritation and allergies. These gentle cosmetics can be used even in the eye area. Although it is recommended to try the product on a small area of the body before you start using it extensively on your body, there is little risk of any harm.

Depending on the type of product, the properties of hydrolates include:

  • anti-inflammatory and soothing effects, sometimes also anti-bacterial effects,
  • support against dandruff and other scalp problems,
  • moisturisation and refreshment of the face, hair and even the entire body, especially on hot days,
  • reduction of irritation and discolourations,
  • enhanced wound healing,
  • anti-oxidating, cleansing and firming effects,
  • strengthening of hair prone to damage and loss.

Before you make a purchase, think about the desired effect and choose plant extracts with similar effects. For example, linden and camomile demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties, while rose hydrolate is perfect for daily care and hydration.

Classification and types of hydrolates

Hydrolates are mainly classified by use, which this means you will most often find hydrolates for hair and face, which may include, for example, hydrolates for acne-prone skin. Some people also classify them by their properties. Then, hydrolates may be divided into moisturising, cleansing and anti-inflammatory hydrolates. Some of them can be used everyday, while others can only be used for specific indications. However, it is worth to note one more aspect that is particularly important for those with sensitive skin.

Ingredients for the production of natural cosmetics must be specified in the composition of individual products. Some hydrolates contain only water and plant extract – these natural products may be characterised by a slightly higher price, and their manufacturers ensure proper storage of the product, which has a shorter shelf life than its counterparts with added preservatives. Preservatives extend the shelf life of hydrolates but can significantly reduce the quality of the product and cause allergic reactions. It all depends on the substances used.

Hair hydrolates

Hair hydrolates are aimed at:

  • reducing hair dryness (rose, calendula), greasiness (yarrow) and loss (rosemary),
  • helping fight dandruff (sage, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, thyme),
  • cleansing the scalp (sage, mint),
  • reducing inflammation (lemon balm, helichrysum, camomile, calendula, nutmeg),
  • soothing irritations (lemon balm, aloe vera).

The products can be applied both on the hair and scalp, while massaging it. They will immediately make you feel refreshed. Depending on the plant and the desired effect, long-term effects can be seen after a few days or weeks of regular use.

Elderflower hydrolate

How to choose a hydrolate for your skin type?

If you are looking for a hydrolate to treat acne or other skin problems, it is best to consult your decision with a dermatologist. Every skin is different and requires individual care – and plants, while offering great potential, can also have adverse effects. If you decide to try the product alone, remember to always test the product on a small patch of skin and watch for any side effects. You should also read about the properties of various facial hydrolates below.

Hydrolates for acne-prone skin

Cosmetics recommended for acne-prone skin are aimed at soothing irritations and cleansing the skin. This is a perfect task for camomile, helichrysum, cistus and linden hydrolates. However, apply them with caution and stop using the product if you notice any alarming symptoms.

Hydrolates for oily skin

If you struggle with oily skin, try to find for sebum-regulating substances. You may find soothing, cleansing and anti-bacterial hydrolates particularly useful. Try bitter orange flower, lavender or rose water.

Hydrolates for dry skin

Dry skin requires hydration, from the inside and out. You will need products with hydrating and anti-oxidant properties such as rose, linden or witch hazel hydrolates. They support the absorption of active ingredients deep into the skin, which is why you might try using them together with other cosmetics.

Hydrolates for combination skin

In certain cases, it may be difficult to determine your skin type and its needs on your own. In such a situation, you might want to consider consulting a specialist. If you already want to support your skin, opt for all-purpose moisturising hydrolates, preferably rose or aloe vera water. Neutral camomile or lemon balm waters will also work well.

How to use hydrolates for best results?

The use of individual hydrolates may vary because of the active ingredients they contain and your desired effects. Consider the following tips to achieve best results.

  1. Always pay attention to the composition of the product and choose reliable brands that use raw materials supplied by trusted manufacturers. As an international manufacturer, PCC Group is known for offering safe ingredients and biodegradable materials compliant with European standards.
  2. Use cosmetics as intended and choose those recommended by specialists for your skin problems.
  3. When using hydrolate on your hair, don’t forget about your scalp.
  4. Facial and body hydrolates will give you instant relief during hot weather but you will have to wait a bit for long-lasting effects. Be patient, observe your skin and use the product regularly.
  5. Make sure that the hydrolate can be combined with your other cosmetics. Sometimes, their combination may lead to undesirable reactions.

See for yourself that hydrolates are becoming popular for a good reason and incorporate them into your daily skincare routine!

  1. Kalemba-Drod, M., & Cierniak, A. Wpływ róż na zdrowie–farmakologiczne i biochemiczne działanie ekstraktów z płatków Rosa rugosa i Rosa damascena1,
  2. Wawrzyńczak, K., Krajewska, A., Kalemba, D., & i Kosmetyków, I. S. N. Olejki eteryczne i hydrolaty z lawendy wąskolistnej i lawendy pośredniej ‘Grosso’ jako surowce kosmetyczne,
  3. Matulyte, I., Jekabsone, A., Jankauskaite, L., Zavistanaviciute, P., Sakiene, V., Bartkiene, E., ... & Bernatoniene, J. (2020). The essential oil and hydrolats from Myristica fragrans seeds with magnesium aluminometasilicate as excipient: antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activity. Foods, 9(1), 37,

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