Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Sandalwood and Sage

Late last year I found a new supplier that has a wonderful selection of organic ingredients as well as several hydrosols I have never been able to find before – let alone try. It is exciting to be working my way through their hydrosol catalog (which could very well take the better part of a year). My latest aquaintance has been sandalwood.


Many associate sandalwood
with incense, but it has much to
offer for skin care
Sandalwood – Oil vs Hydrosol
Sandalwood essential oil is suitable for dry, mature and oily skin, offering a balancing and toning effect. As a scent, sandalwood will politely step into the background of a blend, quietly functioning as an 'anchor' and letting everything else in the mix have all the attention. My first whiff of the hydrosol indicated that it is just as 'polite' as its essential oil counterpart. The scent of the hydrosol is not nearly as strong as I would have expected it to be. Admittedly, we are talking about a first impression of a first-time order, so I have nothing to compare it to yet.

Sage essential oil is so powerful
and comes with so many cautions
that I have stayed away from it
Sage – Oil vs Hydrosol
I do not work with the essential oil of sage. My research into the oil left me with such a respect for its potency that I have never even been tempted to try it. (There is a previous posting about sage essential oil with more detail here). The hydrosol, however, has been my constant companion as of late, functioning as a staple ingredient in several skin tonics and skin drenches. Sage hydrosol has a lovely, light scent that can best be described as 'crisp and fresh' (think freshly sliced cucumber). It is almost as 'polite' as sandalwood when blended with other hydrosols. Even as a stand alone, it has a mild, friendly scent.

Sage and Sandalwood - Too Polite?
My first blend of these 2 was a straight up 50/50 mix. I wanted to give each part a decent chance at 'positioning itself' in the blend. Result: as unobtrusive as sage hydrosol is in other mixes, it completely dominates this one. As a skin drench and tonic, the combination is both refreshing and moisturizing, and even feels like it gives a gentle toning effect. However, after a weeks use, I feel a little guilty. As lovely as this mix is to use, it's really not fair to the sandalwood. I can't smell or sense it – at all. I owe it to this precious liquid to give it a chance as a solo ingredient to see how it performs as a skin tonic or mist. Meantime, I will enjoy using the mix as a refreshing summer skin tonic.

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