Plant Extracts versus Hydrosols

What are plants extracts and hydrosols?

Written by
Cindy Novack
Published on
May 5, 2023 at 11:11:47 AM PDT May 5, 2023 at 11:11:47 AM PDTth, May 5, 2023 at 11:11:47 AM PDT

Using plant materials and plant products is HUGE in the skin care industry right now! Natural is trending, and so are all the skin-loving benefits! We wanted to break down some of the best two types to add and how to use them! 


What are plant extracts? Plant extracts are the biomolecules extracted from plants. The extraction of biomolecules from medicinal plants is through solvents and other methods of extraction, depending on the plant. Essentially extracts are like plant super juice placed in glycerin so they can be water-soluble. Each extract has its own nourishing properties and has little or no aroma.

How do you use plant extracts? Only a small amount is needed to have a big impact! These extracts are water soluble and are typically used at .5 to 5% of the formula. Botanical extracts make a great addition to lotions, creams, facial serums, sprays, masks, scrubs, and more. Essentially any formula with a water component will work nicely with plant extraction as an addition!


What are hydrosols? Hydrosols are also known as floral waters and are the water product from distillation. Distillation is the process of extracting essential oils and hydrosols from plant material. The essential oils are the oil of the plant, and the hydrosol is the water part. The best feature is they contain the great benefits of their essential oil counterpart but are skin safe and do not need to be diluted before use! They have the smell of the plant, which comes through in many products!

How do you use hydrosols or floral waters? Hydrosols are great to use as is or substitute in any recipe that uses water. Hydrosols can be used directly on the skin without dilution, add a spray top, and you’re ready to use! Use as is for linen or fabric spray, or add to a formula for a fabric spray. Hydrosols can also be used in place of water in skin toners, masks, lotions, creams, shampoos, and other water-soluble cosmetics! You can also diffuse hydrosols by mixing them at a 50/50 ratio with water because they are STRONG!


Here are a few basic recipes to get you started working with Hydrosols and Plant Extracts. There are literally hundreds to thousands of combinations that can be used to really customize these recipes into your own by using and blending hydrosols and extracts.

Skin Toner / Facial Mist

Replace cap with a fine mist sprayer. Enjoy!

Lotion or Cream

8 oz. of Unscented Base

3 ml Plant Extract of Choice

2 ml Fragrance or Essential Oil

Color if desired

Blend all ingredients thoroughly. Let sit for 24 hours and mix again before bottling

Castile Foaming Face Wash

3/4 cup Castile Liquid Soap

1/3 cup Hydrosol of Choice

1/3 cup Distilled Water

1 tsp. Vegetable Glycerin

1/2 tsp. Leucidal Preservative

Mix all ingredients in an 8 oz. foamer bottle. Enjoy!

Sunburn Cooling Gel

2 TBSP Aloe Vera Gel

4 tsp. Vegetable Glycerin

2 TBSP Lavender Hydrosol

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a bottle with a treatment top. Ready to use immediately!

Luxury Facial Serum Base

1 oz. Hydrosol of choice

1/4 tsp. Glycerin

1/4 tsp. Hyaluronic Acid

1-2 ml Plant Extract of choice

3 ml Leucidal Preservative

Mix all ingredients together and allow 24 hours for hyaluronic acid to completely incorportate into gel. Can be used immediately.