Kalongo Hospital in Uganda is on high alert. Medics are facing the pandemic amid an already precarious healthcare situation, in a country with only 55 intensive care beds.
Hydrolats, natural waters for your wellness
Effective and versatile, hydrolats are perfect to gently take care of your body, prepare facial masks and packs for brittle hair.
During the distillation of a plant or one of its parts, two products are extracted: essential oils, which are fat-soluble compounds, and flavoured waters. Both essential oils and flavoured waters contain the active ingredients of the plant from which they’re extracted. Essential oils and flavoured waters, called hydrolats or hydrosols (floral waters if they’re extracted from a flower), absorb the active ingredients of the plant from which they are extracted. But the levels of active ingredients in hydrolats are lower than in essential oils, which makes them more delicate and particularly suitable for sensitive skin, also because they are preservative-free. The quality and effectiveness of hydrosols depend on multiple factors, such as the temperature of the distillation process, the material of the still, the type of water used to create the steam and the characteristics of the plant. Generally, these compounds are extracted with special and safe processes and the vegetable matter from which they are derived are organically grown. In cosmetics hydrolats are used in a variety of ways:
- as a facial cleaning and toning lotion to be used in the morning before applying a day cream and in the night as a make-up remover;
- as flavoured water to refresh the skin;
- as an ingredient to realise home-made beauty products.
A very versatile hydrolat is the one made with lavender flowers that cleanses irritated skin caused by wind or sun exposure. For its antiseptic properties it is also suitable to treat oily skin. It can be used as a facial toner and men can use it as an alternative to the aftershave.
The flavoured water obtained from chamomile flowers is ideal for those who have red blotches on the face. It helps soothe puffy and tired eyes. It is very delicate, so, in the case of skin redness it is also good for children. It is also one of the main ingredients used to prepare facial packs for sensitive skin like this: combine two tablespoons of green clay with one of chamomile hydrolat and a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well, apply the mixture on your face and let it sit for about ten minutes. Finally rinse with warm water. This pack may also be used to treat damaged hair.
Another effective hydrosol is the one obtained from witch hazel flowers, which has astringent and antiseptic properties and is ideal to treat combination and oily skin. It promotes microcirculation and it is used as an ingredient for anti-cellulite packs. It can also be used as a lotion to strengthen brittle hair and should be applied on the scalp with gentle massage.
A perfect flavoured water for all skin types is the orange blossom hydrosol because it has refreshing and soothing properties, while the hydrolat obtained from rosemary has tonic and stimulating properties and is an excellent ingredient for a revitalizing hair pack. In order to prepare it you just need to dilute two tablespoons of rosemary water in three tablespoons of sweet almond oil; if you want you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil. The scent of rosemary water also acts on the nervous system reducing mental fatigue.
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