This excerpt is from “Flower Power” by Cindy Jones in the November/December 2017 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine, mailed to ASCP members as a benefit of membership. You can sample it online at www.ascpskindeepdigital.com.
In addition to their skin-friendly properties, hydrosols also have aromatherapy properties. You can use them alone or combine different distillates to create your own signature blend. A lavender and rose blend is my favorite, but cucumber and mint is a close second. Here are some distillates and their aromatherapy properties.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for calming the skin. Take care as some people are allergic to chamomile. The distillate can have a somewhat bittersweet aroma.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea). Clary sage has a uniquely sharp, musky aroma, but is very pleasing. It is said to be calming yet stimulating and balances the nerves and hormones. Try spritzing it for hot flashes and congested skin.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Cucumber is cooling and soothing to the skin. The tannins can help tighten skin.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Lavender water is ideal for a spa, primarily due to its relaxing and antianxiety properties. Lavandula angustifolia is the species to use for the most relaxing qualities and is readily available in a distillate. Be sure to check the label for the correct genus and species name. Lavender pairs well with other waters such as rose or rose geranium. It is good for all skin types and can ease sunburned skin.
Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia). A relative of true lavender, lavandin is a nice hydrosol and, for many consumers, is the scent they most associate with lavender. It is great for respiration, acne, toning, and revitalizing.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm has a lovely smell, although very faint. Use lemon balm as a mild nervine to help with stress. It is both a sedative and stimulant, which means it can help calm stress without causing sleepiness.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Mint distillate has a good smell of mint and menthol, and can be a good way to increase alertness. It is antiinflammatory, analgesic, decongestive, and sedative/stimulant. I like to use it midday to clear my mind and emotions during the work day.
Rose (Rosa damascena or other species). Rose distillate is a great way to enjoy the scent of roses without the heavy price tag of rose essential oil. Also known as rose water, the rose distillate has a beautiful floral scent that smells just like roses, much more so than the essential oil. It is cooling, anti-inflammatory, great for dry and mature skin, comforting, and heart-centered. Use it to promote peace and contentment in the spa.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum). Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce stress and support the nervous system. Its fragrance can be very uplifting and can put the mind back on track when it is tired and wandering.