Everything Has To Count - Especially The Water

One of the advantages of making custom skincare products is having total control and being able to 'make every ingredient count'. 

This allows me to take things to the max and create the ultimate skin-loving luxury in every product I make. 

If you're a little curious, please continue reading while I enthuse about the main and most important ingredient of all – water!

What's So Special About Water

Water is everything – most especially in skin care. Depending on our age, we humans consist of over 55% water (babies are as much as 75% water). We thrive on water – especially our skin.

Did you know that it is the water in a skin care product is – not the oil – that is helping moisturize and hydrate your skin? 

The function of the oil is to help hold on to the water so it can do what it is supposed to do: hydrate. If the water has water-soluble actives, it is also helping deliver those actives where they can do the most good.

(Oils and fats are also carriers of active ingredients, but we'll get into that in when I enthuse about oils).

Water is Number 1

If you check the ingredients label of a cream, lotion, skin tonic, or gel, you will find that water (INCI: Aqua) is almost always listed first. Because it is required by law to list cosmetics ingredients in descending order, the first ingredient listed is what there is most of in that product.

One Better Than That – 99% Of The Time

Now, what if we can do one better than using 'just water' in that skin cream, tonic, lotion, gel or even deodorant? 

We can – with hydrosols. Aside from being purified and steam distilled, a hydrosol contains the water-soluble components (and even some minute oil-soluble ones) from the plants it passed through during the steam distillation process.
Hydrosols carry active ingredients as well as the aromatic signature of the plant they are processed from. 

In short; hydrosols are pure, skin-loving luxury, and it just kicks everything up a notch when they replace water in any cosmetic.

Hydrosols are even fabulous as a stand alone products.

The Mantra

Being able to do 'one better' with every ingredient has become a mantra for me. I do everything I can to replace water with hydrosol (or floral water or infusion) in every product. 99% of the time, I succeed.

What Happens the Remaining 1% of the Time

Sometimes an ingredient has specific requirements. Example: I learned some time ago that trying to make a gel with guar gum and hydrosol instead of guar gum and water was an educational experience. 

I'll spare you the details of how many different attempts were made (if I scoured all my notes from way back when, I could actually tell you, but I'm pretty sure you and I can both live without knowing the exact number). Long story short: guar isn't a fan of direct contact with hydrosols – until after it has been mixed with water.

The Floral Water Option

In some products, I will use a floral water instead of a hydrosol. A floral water is, in short, distilled purified water with added essential oil and a solubiliser (a surfactant to keep the oil and water from separating).

Some of my rinse-out products (hair & body washes) have a floral water base. And even though it isn't 'the real thing', there are instances where using a floral water is preferrable to a hydrosol.

Scents aren't the Same

Not every hydrosol has the same scent as its essential oil counterpart. Lavender hydrosol, for example, has a more earthy and 'dark' aroma as compared to the fresh, clean scent of the essential oil. 

Several of my customers specifically request lavender floral water instead of the hydrosol for this very reason.

Want to Know More about Hydrosols?

If you're curious about how hyrosols are made, find a short description of the steam distillation process for hydrosol in the middle of this post about Rose.