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The use of rosemary in skincare is not new. Ancient Egyptians used it to protect their skin (1) from heat and higher temperatures. Even Avicenna, the father of early modern medicine, has recommended rosemary for the treatment of various skin conditions. However, interest in the use of rosemary hydrosol in cosmetics is relatively new. So, what changed?
Hydrosols used to be treated as a by-product of the essential oil distillation process. With hardly any demand for them, producers would generally dispose of them. However, with rising interest in natural skincare products and sustainable agriculture, demand for hydrosols has gradually increased. And research confirmed that rosemary hydrosol has a lot to offer.
The refreshing scent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity of rosemary hydrosol makes it an excellent choice for oily and acne-prone skin. It can help tone the skin, manage acne, reduce the skin damage caused by UV radiation, and reinvigorate the mind.
The best thing about rosemary hydrosol is that it is very versatile. You can include it in skincare formulas for its remedial action and wonderful scent. Let’s look in detail at what is rosemary hydrosol, its benefits, its uses and where to find it.
Table of Contents
- What is Rosemary Hydrosol?
- How Does It Work
- Rosemary Hydrosol Skin Benefits
- Recommended Usage
- Who Should Use It
- Side Effects
- Where to Buy Rosemary Hydrosol
- How to Store Rosemary Hydrosol
- Rosemary Hydrosol vs Rosemary Water: What’s the Difference?
What is Rosemary Hydrosol?
Rosemary hydrosol, also known as rosemary hydrolat, is refreshing herbaceous floral water obtained through the steam distillation of the rosemary’s (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves (needles) and flowers. As a co-product of the essential oil extraction process, rosemary hydrosol retains many beneficial compounds present in the essential oil. But more importantly, it contains highly water-soluble compounds that can provide skin with a range of benefits.
How Does It Work
New studies show that rosemary hydrosol has a so-called polar volatile component (2). Meaning that hydrosol has most compounds present in the essential oil, but they are differently charged. Many are water-soluble; others are oil soluble and dispersed in the hydrosol as small molecules. This distinct polarisation and smaller molecular size mean that they have a high penetrating power. In some conditions, hydrosol may even work better than essential oils.
Rosemary hydrosol, just like rosemary essential oil, is rich in terpenes such as verbenone, α-terpineol, and eucalyptol (2). Terpenes act as anti-inflammatory agents, suppress microbial growth and are also good for nerves. In addition, they are also excellent antioxidants.
Figure 1 Rosemary hydrosol (Image source: Tomi K, Kitao M, Konishi N, Murakami H, Matsumura Y, Hayashi T. Enantioselective GC–MS analysis of volatile components from rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oils and hydrosols. Bioscience, Biotechnology)
Rosemary Hydrosol Skin Benefits
The cosmetic industry commonly uses rosemary hydrosol for its numerous skin benefits. It is perfect to:
1. Tone the skin
Rosemary hydrosol is also an excellent astringent that can help tighten the skin and protect it from toxins. Furthermore, it can also help with blood circulation, improving the overall skin tone.
2. Manage acne
Studies have tested and found it effective for pathogens (3) like salmonella and E. coli. For skin health, it may mean that it can prevent bacterial overgrowth and suppress the formation of acne.
3. Acts as a penetration enhancer
Terpenes present in rosemary hydrosol can help boost the performance of active ingredients. As an excellent penetration enhancer, terpenes in rosemary hydrosol help increase the amount of active ingredients that can reach deeper layers of the skin (4).
4. May reduce the skin damage caused by UV radiation
Long-term sun exposure is one of the leading causes of photoaging. Research showed that water-soluble rosemary extract could mitigate damage caused by UV radiation by regulating MMP-1 gene transcription, making it a promising agent for mitigating skin photodamage(5).
5. Improve overall skin health
Rosemary hydrosol also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities that can help improve the skin’s overall health. It can fight inflammation, protect skin from oxidative stress and slow down ageing.
6. Reduce anxiety
Apart from all these benefits for the skin, rosemary hydrosols may also help relax nerves and reduce anxiety. According to the research (Kenichi et al.,2016), camphor and borneol found in the rosemary hydrosol may help stimulate the central nervous system, thus reducing anxiety.
The fresh scent, pleasant aroma, and skin-friendly properties make rosemary hydrosol perfect for toiletries and DIY skincare. Include it in:
– Facial toners and cleansers tighten skin and can help calm inflammation, blemishes, and bumps.
– Envigorating mists to add a burst of fragrance.
– Body wash to awaken senses and refresh skin.
– Emulsified Body scrubs enriched with rosemary hydrosol can help stimulate blood circulation and cleanse the skin.
– Body lotions in combination with peppermint for its cooling effect and to improve the skin’s overall tone. Great after a workout!
– Facial masks to cleanse, rebalance and invigorate the skin.
As you can see, rosemary hydrosol has a range of uses. Its mild nature makes it a good option for various products, from toners to emulsions and body wash.
Who Should Use It
All skin types can use rosemary hydrosol. It suits oily and combination skin types, particularly well due to its astringent, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help tighten the skin, and calm inflammation and blemishes.
Hydrosols are much milder than rosemary essential oils and are less likely to cause any side effects. However, just like any other ingredient, they might cause an allergic reaction. The symptoms may include redness, irritation, stinging or burning.
Before you try rosemary hydrosol, do a patch test on a clear patch of skin. Somewhere you can leave it alone for up to 24 hours. If your skin is red, itchy, or you experience a burning sensation, contact your physician or find an allergy specialist. It may be a sign of an infection or allergic reaction.
Where to Buy Rosemary Hydrosol
When it comes to sourcing 100% natural rosemary hydrosol, you can not go wrong with the fresh rosemary hydrosol from NaturallyThinking, which is 100% natural and alcohol and preservative-free.
How to Store Rosemary Hydrosol
Rosemary hydrosol is pretty stable under normal storage conditions. However, to ensure it lasts longer, keep it in a cool room temperature, dark glass bottle and dry environment. Avoid direct sunlight and heat. Correctly stored rosemary hydrosol should last between 6 to 18 months.
Rosemary Hydrosol vs Rosemary Water: What’s the Difference?
Although both rosemary hydrosol and rosemary water share some similarities, they are pretty different products.
Rosemary water is generally produced by steeping rosemary in the water for a prolonged interval or infusing water with a few drops of essential oil and then adding an emulsifier.
Rosemary hydrosol, on the other hand, is the co-product of steam distillation. As such, rosemary hydrosol contains small amounts of essential oils and numerous water-soluble compounds absent in rosemary essential oil.
The astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action of rosemary hydrosol make it a promising, safe and effective natural ingredient. Make rosemary hydrosol a part of your skincare routine today for beautiful, healthy skin.
Can I use rosemary hydrosol as a toner?
Rosemary hydrosol is a natural water-based product gentle enough to use on its own. You can apply it twice a day after the cleansing phase and before using serum or moisturiser. To apply, pour or spray toner onto a cotton pad and gently sweep across the face, neck and chest to remove any excess sebum or residues from the skin.
Is rosemary hydrosol safe for children?
Yes, rosemary hydrosol is safe to use for children as it is gentle and non-irritant. However, it goes without saying before using it carry out a patch test first. Some children might react to rosemary hydrosol. If their skin turns red, itchy, or they experience a burning sensation, contact your physician or find an allergy specialist. It may be a sign of an infection or allergic reaction.
- Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Rosemary): An Ancient Plant with Uses in Personal Healthcare and Cosmetics
- Enantioselective GC–MS analysis of volatile components from rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oils and hydrosols
- Efficacy of various plant hydrosols as natural food sanitisers in reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium on fresh cut carrots and apples
- Natural Terpenes as Penetration Enhancers for Transdermal Drug Delivery
- Photoprotective effect of a water-soluble extract of Rosmarinus officinalis L. against UV-induced matrix metalloproteinase-1 in human dermal fibroblasts and reconstructed skin.