Are you stuck in a natural beauty routine rut? Sometimes it’s hard to think outside the box, but there’s no reason to get bored! If you’re tired of spritzing on the same perfume every day, it’s time to get your DIY apron on and customize your own scent. Learning how to make a hydrosol is a great way to take nature up on its offer of a fresh, unique twist on your normal beauty routine. Plus, it’s useful for more than just the wonderful aroma!
What is a hydrosol?
Making a hydrosol (or herbal distillate) may sound complicated, but the process simply requires simmering some fresh herbs or flowers in a pot of water. As the water evaporates into steam, it takes up small amounts of the plant’s essential oils and other lovely organic components with it. When condensed and collected, this steam becomes an aromatic water (aka your new perfume) that contains some of the natural properties of the plants you distilled it from.
When crafting your own hydrosol, you can capture the fragrance of any herbs, flowers, or fruit peels that suit you. It’s the same process as making your own rosewater. Once you have the hydrosol liquid, you can do lots of things with it, like make tea tree toner or add it to a face mist.
And you can also use it to make your own perfume. I used the woodsy and uplifting combination of rosemary, mint, and grapefruit for a new daily mist that’s great for its scent and for your skin.
Rosemary is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal [source], so it not only smells amazing but also works as a disinfectant on your skin and scalp.
Mint is a mental stimulant [source] and has cooling effects [source].
Both rosemary [source] and mint [source] can help stimulate hair growth—if you want to give your scalp a spritz!
Grapefruit is a natural mood lifter [source] and helps even out skin tone.
How to Make Hydrosol Perfume
While these simple, aromatic waters are perfect for light perfumes, they can easily be incorporated into other natural products because of the additional properties picked up from the herbs.
Try distilling rose petals to create a skin toner, lemon peels and thyme to make a cleaner for use around the house, or lavender flowers for a pillow mist that encourages sleep.
Step 1 | Gather supplies
To begin, grab a large stockpot and domed lid, a smaller heatproof bowl (such as a liquid measuring cup), some water, a bag of ice, and the rosemary, mint, and grapefruit peels. You can use fresh or dried herbs; just be sure to buy organic, pesticide-free material whenever possible because you’re using it on your skin.
Step 2 | Arrange everything in a large pot and add water
Place the heatproof bowl in the middle of your pot, arrange the herbs and fruit around it, and pour in your water. Now turn the lid upside down, and place it on top of your pot with the handle directly over the smaller bowl. Put a bag of ice on top of the lid, then bring the water in the pot to a simmer.
Step 3 | Simmer
Simmer the water for about 25 to 30 minutes, replacing the ice periodically when it melts. As the steam rises in the pot, it will condense on the lid and drip down to the handle into the heatproof bowl, bringing aromatic compounds from the herbs along with it!
Step 4 | Collect and cool hydrosol
Once you are finished simmering, remove the pot from the heat, and take out the smaller bowl to let the hydrosol you’ve created cool. Pour the cooled final product into a dark-colored, glass misting bottle, and enjoy your new naturally scented perfume.
Step 5 | Store properly
To keep the hydrosol from spoiling, store it in a cool location away from direct sunlight (the refrigerator is perfect). Your homemade hydrosol should last between 8 and 18 months [source].
Do you know of any interesting ways to use your homemade hydrosol? Let us know in the comments.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Rosemary, Mint, and Grapefruit Hydrosol Perfume
- Stock pot with domed lid
- Heatproof bowl or glass measuring cup
- Large plastic zip-top bag
- 1 small handful of fresh rosemary
- 1 handful of fresh mint
- Peels from 1 grapefruit
- 3–4 cups distilled water
- Ice in a plastic bag
- Arrange a heatproof bowl (such as a glass liquid measuring cup) in the center of a large saucepan or stock pot.
- Place the rosemary, mint, and grapefruit peels in the bottom of the pot around the smaller bowl. Pour the distilled water into the pot.
- Cover with an upside down, domed lid with the handle centered over the smaller bowl, then place the bag of ice on the lid.
- Bring the water to a simmer and let the condensation from the steam drip into the heatproof bowl, replacing the ice as it melts to continue the condensation for about 25–30 minutes.
- When finished, remove the smaller bowl (now filled with your herbal water), and let it cool before transferring to a misting bottle.
- Use generously and store in the refrigerator.
Wondering how to use it?
- Spritz it liberally on clean, dry skin and let it sink in for a minute. Apply skin cream or oil to lock in moisture.
- Use it as a makeup setting spray after applying your makeup in the morning.
- Spritz it on pulse points as a soft, natural perfume.
- Pour some on a cotton ball, and use it remove eye make up at the end of the day.
- Use it in place of water in your favorite face mask recipes.
Hello, I did not quite understand where does the water goes, in the little container in the middle or in the larger bowl with the herbs?
Perfect DIY. This can be used for business perfume and it was amazing because very organic. Thank you, Laura.
Aarushi Singhal says
Hello. Thank you for such an amazing DIY. Can you pleaese tell for how many days can it be stored?