When I explain to my customers how we make our hydrating mists, I usually start by asking them if they know what a hydrosol/plant distillate is. I don't recall anyone ever replying "yes" to this question and I've asked it countless times. So here's the scoop …
Plant distillates are also known as hydrosols and are created by steam distilling plant materials. Hydrosols have similar properties to essential oils but in far less concentration. Plant material is steamed with water in a large copper alembic still. The steam fills the pot and as it rises, causes the glands of the plants to burst and release the oils and essence of the plant into the steam. The oil rises through a condenser and collects in a separate vessel. This is what we know as essential oil. The fragrant water that was steamed with the original plant material is known as a hydrosol or plant distillate. Hydrosols are sometimes the by-product result of essential oil production, but the highest quality hydrosols come from the devoted distillers who, with artist like precision, steam the floral and plant material strictly to produce a hydrosol.
Clinically, the chemical components in the hydrosol are primarily acids, which are hydrophilic (water-loving). As such they acidify the water and happily, bacteria do not live well in acidic environments. This is why acidic liquids such as vinegar make good preservatives for some food items. Acidic environments are astringent and so the hydrosols are useful in skin care products to constrict and contract the tissues. Additionally, their slight acidic nature helps to restore the acid mantle of the skin. With a pH between 5-6, they are perfect for use in facial mists or as part of a lotion or cream.
Certain plant distillates are particularly well suited to topical use on skin. We have carefully chosen the most therapeutic of these plants to incorporate into our formulas. You can read more about the benefits of these specific plant distillates on this page.