We know that water is an essential for life but how essential is it for you skincare? Over the last few weeks we have talked about Essential fatty acids which are most definitely essential for repair and cell re-structuring. We have also talked about Essential oils – really these are the superfoods of the skincare world in the sense that we can do without them but you really can get some amazing results from using them that you just wouldn’t get if you didn’t! But what about water ? It seems that it is present in a lot of skincare products but do we really need it?
Human skin and indeed the whole body is made of as much as 90% of water and so it makes sense that in order to stay hydrated we do NEED water…..the purer the better. I had the privilege last month of seeing David Wolfe speak in Brisbane and one of his passionate topics is around water and sourcing high energy spring water. He touts this as being the ultimate water source and because of its purity it really is the only type of water that is going to properly hydrate the body at a cellular level. That is because it is encoded at a “DNA” level just as we are, with all the correct information to ensure optimal health. I believe this and can definitely feel the difference in my skin and my body when I am drinking lots (3-4 litres) of clean fresh water daily.
Many cosmetic companies use large amounts of water to create synthetic base creams using petrochemical or mineral based oils and emulsifiers, this gives them a ‘benign’ synthetic base into which to place actives and therefore create a “Skincare” product. Many of these products contain up to 80% water depending on the consistency they desire to create with this Oil/water emulsion. Now please don’t think that this is any different in the Natural or indeed Organic Skincare industries, the bottom line is if you want a cream or a lotion of some kind there MUST be a water phase and an oil phase. I spend many a workshop or seminar teaching people how to ‘reverse engineer’ products and debunk the myth that it is a complex science because it is not. Sorry if I am bursting anyone’s bubble here, no harm intended, just a scholar and a truth seeker on a mission!
The thing is – none of us wants to pay for water – not the kind that comes out of our taps anyway!! I don’t mind paying a bit for some lovely natural Spring water but even so I don’t want it to make up the bulk of my skincare. But stop for a moment…….didn’t I say that the skin is up to 90% water ????? so we must need it right? And we do…….and now the spotlight pans across to next ingredient on our list the HYDROSOLS. What is this strange water I speak of ? Well it is actually a by-product of creating (distilling) essential oils, more often than not it is discarded but over recent years it has become a popular addition to many a skincare line and with good reason.
These Hydrosols or waters are often commonly known by the slang name of ‘ Floral waters’ which would be fine except you can make hydrosols from a lot of different plants, woods, leaves and fruits not just flowers. I just love the way that Aromatherapist Suzanne Catty describes them as “holographic” meaning they contain in the water a complete holograph of the entire plant!!! I talk about this in my blog – what is in ONE is in the WHOLE – the macrocosm in the microcosm so to speak!! The possibilities become endless. As an Aromatherapist, Natural Therapist and lover of Nutrition when you study plants, flowers, foods and begin to realise the power contained in their very molecules, you can maybe begin to understand my excitement at the realisation that in the waters of distillation we have something that is so much more than just water created from steam by the process of distillation but we have something that actually contains some elements of the essence of the plants and flowers, the essential oils, water soluble phyto-nutrients, even the scent!!!!! Very very exciting !
You will also understand now why when someone tells me they “made” a floral water by adding some fragrance to some water that I tend to disagree. Simply because a floral water made this way and introduced into skincare cannot possibly have the effect of a true hydrosol. They have skin healing, soothing , calming and hydrating potential as well as being astringents ( helping to tighten, tone and close pores) , anti-bacterials and anti-inflammatories. Truly I think that this “New Aromatherapy” that Suzanne Catty speaks of is largely untapped as yet.
That being said, many reputable skincare lines ( particularly the Natural and Organic ones) are using hydrosols in their skincare. It makes it easier for the Organic ranges to include a water component when they are creating a cream or lotion and it also makes a beautiful natural toner. I don’t doubt and have seen firsthand the great responses that skin has to these hydrating waters. They are great as :-
- Refreshing spritzers
- Travel sprays for face and hands
- Make-up revitalisers
- Skin cleansers
- Anti-bacterial wipes for skin
And we haven’t even begun to talk about the possibilities with adding them to recipes for food – the Turkish already do this in their popular desserts and teas such as Turkish delight!! YUM!
I also believe that they have potential as auric or energy cleansers and have worked to great effect with the Hydrosols to cleanse my crystals when working on a client with Crystal Vibrational Therapy or even to cleanse my own aura or treatment room before and after seeing clients. I think they are fantastic to have on hand as first aid and I have used them for bites, stings, cuts, wounds, bed sores even a cat’s eye infection !!!!! ( we used chamomile hydrosol and it cleared in a week as opposed to simple saline solution which had done very little).
I think that when people suffer with skin conditions like inflamed acne, cystic acne, eczema or psoriasis there can be a tendency to OVER cleanse the skin or feel the need to wipe it often, or to OVER moisturise depending on the condition. The hydrosols can be a lovely way to cleanse, soften, tone, soothe or hydrate the skin without destroying the PH level of the skin, wiping out the acid mantle, or layering an occlusive ( non breathable layer) on the skin that will eventually dehydrate over time. And mostly ( although I have come across a few strange ones!) they smell beautiful. They are safe gentle and can be used on the most delicate of skins without some of the concerns that come with using their stronger counterparts –the essential oils.
Lavender and Rose would be the most popular/common ones and therefore the easiest to locate and they have endless properties that help with boosting hydration, gently toning, soothing and assisting as a anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory on the skin. But please don’t hesitate to beautiful Neroli/ Orange Blossom which can be fabulous on combination or acne-prone skins, or the ultimately healing Sandalwood ( I believe Australian Sandalwood hydrosol is truly a spiritual healer). Also my newest addition to my bathroom cabinet that is sooo healing for acne skin is the beautiful Fragonia which is much milder than Tea Tree but from the same family and gently anti-bacterial and healing for acne prone skin. I love this one from Paperbark Essential Oil CO. Always check that you can rely on the integrity of the supplier and that other chemicals and things have not been added but they must be very gently filtered and tested for their safety, if they have bugs in them they are not going to be good for your skin. All in all they are a great complement to your natural skincare regime. Spray them on direct or use them on cotton pads or soak a microfiber washer in them to cleanse. Please don’t take them internally unless you can gurantee the quality but other than that go nuts!! We have a complete skin meal now with essential fats from cold pressed oils, ‘superfood’ phyto-nutrients from the fabulous essential oils and now ‘holographic’ waters from the plants and flowers! YUM! Until next skin dinner time!!..