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A Simplified Guide to Hydrosols

Has the word hydrosol perked your ear? 

Maybe you have heard it mentioned in the ingredients of a face mist or room spray. Well, it certainly has a place there because hydrosols can freshen up your complexion and your home! 

What does hydrosol mean?

Simply put, a hydrosol is made of plant constituents, traces of essential oil, and water. 

They are wonderfully aromatic, meaning they have a heavenly scent and are truly a gentle version of the therapeutic properties found in essential oils. Since they are water-based there’s no need for dilution.  

Hydrosols have been a popular beauty ingredient and remedy for centuries. Often marketed as floral water or essential oil water. The Best-known hydrosols include rose water, lavender water, and orange blossom water.

Although primarily, any plant can be used to make a hydrosol. But that doesn’t mean all are suited for it. 

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Has the word hydrosol perked your ear? 
Maybe you have heard it mentioned in the ingredients of a face mist or room spray. Well it certainly has a place there, because hydrosols can freshen up your complexion and your home! 
Learn how to make easy hydrosols!

How is hydrosol made?

A hydrosol is made during a steam distillation of plant matter that produces both an essential oil and a hydrosol. 

When it comes to distilling essential oils, hydrosols are essentially (pun intended) a by-product. This occurs as the essential oil is separated from the plant and floats to the top, while essential oil water is underneath. 

Can you make a hydrosol at home?

Yes! You can make a hydrosol with dried herbs or fresh herbs. You can even combine herbs and flowers for a unique blend. 

A good rule of thumb is to double the amount needed to make a hydrosol when using dried herbs. For example, use 3 cups of fresh herbs or 6 cups of dried herbs to make a hydrosol. 

Do you grow an herb garden like me? Then, you can practically make a hydrosol for free since you only need water and a few handfuls of fresh herbs. 

If gardening is just not on your horizon, you can buy organic dried herbs and flowers to make hydrosols, too. Find a short list of the best herbs below! (My natural skincare supply index has a full list of herbals for hydrosols.) 

Related To: How to Make Face Toner

What herbs are best for making hydrosols?

As I mentioned earlier, hydrosols can be made with any plant. But, it’s best to select plants for their therapeutic purposes, aroma, skincare benefits, or cleaning use. Here’s a list of the best herbs I’ve used to make hydrosols at home. 

If you are making a hydrosol for skin care, choose herbs based on your skin type. Don’t know your skin type? Take our quiz! 

What's Your Skin Type? Take our Quiz!

Do you have normal, dry, mature, oily, or combination skin? Take our Skin Type Quiz now to discover yours!

The beauty of a hydrosol is that it can replace distilled water in a lot of homemade recipes for the skin or home.  Learn how to make a hydrosol with this tutorial!

A Dozen Hydrosol Uses

The beauty of a hydrosol is that it can replace distilled water in a lot of homemade recipes for the skin or home. 

Take, for example, a lavender hydrosol; you can use it for various purposes such as better sleep, stopping an itch, disinfecting a surface, calming your skin, or refreshing pillows and bed linens. Quite incredible, don’t you agree?

Did you know you can add a hydrosol directly to your essential oil diffuser without the essential oils or water? Honestly, hydrosols are quick to make, and their versatility is hard-found.

Here’s a list of a dozen hydrosol uses to get you thinking:

  1. Room Spray 
  2. Body Mist
  3. Face Mask
  4. Anti-Itch Spray
  5. Surface Cleaner
  6. Bug Spray
  7. Bath Tonic
  8. Face Steam
  9. First Aid Spray
  10. Linen Mist
  11. Face Toner
  12. Hair Rinse

How long do hydrosols last?

Homemade hydrosols are an infusion of herbal essences and distilled water. They will keep for years if stored in clean bottles and protected from light and heat. Find more tips on how to store hydrosols here

Want to make a hydrosol? Use our step by step instructions to make a hydrosol with herbs fresh or dried!

Creating Herbal Hydrosols At Home

Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to make a hydrosol with fresh or dried herbs from your herb garden. In about 30 minutes, you’ll have yourself a homemade hydrosol to use!



  1. Place a small ramekin upside down in the center of the base of a medium stockpot. 
  2. Then, place a medium glass bowl on top of the ramekin in the stockpot. 
  3. Add six cups of fresh herbs or 12 cups of dried herbs around the ramekin below the glass bowl inside the pot.
  4. Next, add just enough water to the stockpot to cover the herbs, avoiding the glass bowl. (The bowl needs to stay above the water and herbs to “catch” the herbal waters as they condense.)
  5. Now, place the lid of the stockpot upside down so that it is inverted over the pot. 
  6. Add two to four cups of ice on top of the inverted lid. 
  7. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Add more ice to the top of the lid as it melts. 
  8. After simmering, carefully remove the lid, pouring ice water into the sink. Then, using an oven mitt, lift the glass bowl of floral water out of the stockpot and pour it into a glass container using a funnel. 

Related To: Garden Bath Tea

How Does It Work?

Water will steam the plant material, carrying all its herbal goodness from the plant into the air.  This steam will collect on the lid of the pan as it condenses due to the ice cubes.  

Because the lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid, it will drip down into the glass bowl inside the pot.  This liquid becomes a hydrosol!  

Need a visual tutorial? I don’t blame you. Botaneri has a great step-by-step hydrosol tutorial with photos for each step of the instructions above. 


Make a hydrosol with dried herbs or fresh herbs. Combine herbs and flowers for unique blends!

Spend a sunny afternoon with me making herbal hydrosols to use in your natural skin care or cleaning recipes

What kind of hydrosol are you going to make first? Tell me in the comments below! Pin this simplified guide to hydrosols for later and tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share your natural living DIYs.


  1. Hi, I bought a home distillation unit. My hydrosol doesn’t smell like the ones I bought! Might mean the bought ones were fake!?? I didn’t use quality roses or sage though. I wanted to test batch as I just got my unit. Is it better to use fresh and not dried? The rose was fresh and had zero smell!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Cleaner water should only make your hydrosol smell better. Did you use six cups of fresh roses?

  2. Hi! I’m excited to try this “recipe”! Can you estimate how much hydrosol it makes ?? Want to see if it’s with my buying jasmine flowers or if I should just by it the hydrosol.

    Thanks !

    1. lifenreflection says:

      6 cups of fresh herbs or 12 cups of dried herbs make 8 ounces of hydrosol. I only make hydrosols with herbs grown in my garden. Buying 12 cups of dried jasmine flowers to make 8 ounces of hydrosol would be costly.

  3. Rebecca Hermansen says:


    Thank you for this great recipe. I have rosemary bushes and lavendel bushes in the garden that I wish you make hydrosol with. Can I use the stems too? What type of preservative would you recommend to use to keep it safe in the long term?

    Kind regards

    1. lifenreflection says:

      They would make a wonder hydrosol! You can use the stems too. For natural preservative advice search hydrosol at

  4. Hi. I made a steam distillation this summer with fresh lilacs. When it was finished, it smelt nothing like the lilacs. It was more of a dry, hot, burnt smell. Yet there was still a bit of water in the pot, nothing had burnt. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Mostly like it got too hot. Did you add ice?

  5. Dear friend,
    Which water is best for boiling purpose for best results

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Distilled water is best, but filtered water from your fridge or tap works too.

  6. Andrea Shackleton says:

    Can you use lavender that has flowered?

  7. Hi!
    This might be a silly question, but do you know if there would be any use for the water that the herbs were simmering in (if there’s any left)? Would it not also have similar traits as the hydrosol itself?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      You might be able to add a vinegar for cleaning or adding to baking soda in the sink for a good scrub.

      1. Jennifer Williams says:

        I’d imagine it would be great in a bath! That’s what I’m planning on doing , I’ll come back to update if this diy worked for me, I’m hoping we can combine several herbs like rosemary and chamomile, this is what I have on hand, and lemon balm

        1. lifenreflection says:

          What great idea Jennifer!

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