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Flower Waters also known as floral waters, are light, aromatic aqua-based fragrances which have been used since antiquity but are now enjoying a massive contemporary revival. Their sheer versatility makes them ideally suited to our modern urban lifestyle where each flower water has a range of specific properties and benefits: for example, a bottle of flower water makes the perfect travel companion since it can be used as a naturally revitalizing skin cleanser / toner, as a light perfume, or simply as a refreshingly cooling spritz for imparting instant moisture to the skin during a long journey.

Today they are produced by saturating pure essential oils in water for a set period of time, which varies according to each oil, to make sure the base has ‘matured’ sufficiently to have become totally infused with a very high level of aromatic constituents. We produce a wide range of unique, hand-made floral waters, which are manufactured in our artisan laboratory in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. All our flower waters are individually made by hand to ensure that all the essential oil components have been broken down entirely and been absorbed into the water: this means the resulting scent is true to that of the essential oil. The scent of a high quality flower water lasts a long time and will also maintain its characteristic ‘true to nature’ fragrance.

We only use natural spring (mineral) water to produce our range of flower waters because all mineral water comes directly from a named underground source that is guaranteed to be protected from pollution. Our spring water contains a consistent mineral composition (containing calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulphates) and has not been chemically treated in any way, so its purity is guaranteed. We do not use distilled water, as this has been stripped of all its valuable mineral traces. All our flower waters are therefore 100% natural since they contain no preservatives or other additives, as well as being entirely alcohol-free. They also have a long shelf life so long as the aqua-spray lid or bottle top are kept firmly closed.

Flower waters can be said to contain the essence of the plant in a very pure and refined manner, but are much less concentrated than the essential oil, so they are safe even for young children. In addition, each flower water has a range of individual properties: for example, lavender water can aid sleeplessness sprayed onto the pillow or help sooth sunburn when applied to the skin; tea tree water makes the perfect all-round, home disinfectant spray ... also used for keeping yoga mats smelling fresh and clean; neroli water helps soothe stress or anxiety when used as a light perfume or room spray; while the fresh-green fragrance of spearmint helps keep travel sickness at bay or can be used as an anti-perspirant spray. Note: Our witch hazel water, popular for its natural bactericidal and astringent qualities, is however produced in a slightly different way: this clear, colourless pure distillate is prepared from recently cut and partially dried twigs of Hammamelis Virginiana with the addition of 14% pure ethyl alcohol.

The latest addition to our range of flower waters is ‘Fragonia Water’, which is totally unique to Aqua Oleum! We make our fragonia water from the essential oil of Agonis Fragrans, a genus native to the South Coast of Western Australia which has much in common with the tea tree species - the fragonia shrub is even commonly known as ‘coarse tea tree’, since it shares so many similarities. The essential oil has a delicious fresh, spicy-sweet aroma, with hints of citrus; the fragrance of the flower water is likewise really lovely! Fragonia flower water makes an excellent gentle cleanser or toner, especially for acne and blemish-prone skin, leaving the face feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Like tea tree, fragonia is beneficial for improving and maintaining a strong immune system. It has powerful bactericidal, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory, analgesic and purifying. Although it is comparable to tea tree in terms of its therapeutic qualities and methods of use, it has a much gentler, milder nature. This makes fragonia water suitable for those with sensitive skin and for children, for whom tea tree can sometimes cause skin irritation. Fragonia water can also used as a natural surface household disinfectant, and makes an excellent antiviral yoga mat spray. Since fragonia also has a pleasing and uplifting aroma, it is well suited to those who don’t like the strongly medicinal smell of tea tree.

Hydrosols also known as hydrolates, are water based solutions, generally created as a by-product when essential oils are produced by steam distilling fresh leaves, twigs, flowers and other plant materials, such as lavender. With similar properties to essential oils, but in a much less concentrated form, hydrosols also share some similarities with ‘infusions’ as they contain other herbal compounds such as minerals, cellulose, flavonoids and organic acids in trace amounts. Hydrosols have a soft scent somewhat similar to the corresponding essential oil, but they can often exhibit a greener, more herbaceous-type note. This comes from the water-soluble constituents in the plant material, including some pigments, that are not present in the essential oil, but which dissolve in the process of distillation.

Aromatic waters are similar to hydrosols, but are produced by water distillation, so constitute a slightly different category. In this case, plant material is immersed in spring water, then gently brought to the boil. This process releases a steam which contains the water-soluble volatile components of the plant material, which once cooled, results in the ‘aromatic water’ of a specific plant, such as chamomile.

Hydrosols and aromatic waters have a shorter shelf life than flower waters and their methods of production can differ in quality at source. Hydrosols are usually acidic and their scent tends to deteriorate over time, gradually becoming weaker and less fragrant.

However, the terms ‘flower water’, ‘floral water’, ‘hydrosol’ and ‘aromatic water’ are often used interchangeably in the marketplace today, although their methods of production and make-up are quite distinct. This is not surprising since, until recently with the growth of the aromatherapy industry, all distillate waters, aromatic waters and flower waters were collectively known simply as 'flower waters' or 'floral waters', and their availability restricted to just a few traditional plants such as lavender, rose and orange blossom.

Hydrosols, aromatic waters and flower waters in most cases can be used for virtually the same purposes therapeutically, and also blend well together. Together they make lovely, personalised skin care products due to their combined aromatherapy properties; they also make pleasing light perfumes, deodorants, facial toners and room fresheners each in their own right. All of these valuable products should kept in well-sealed, dark glass containers, handled with care and stored in a cool, dry place.

It is always important to check the label of any hydrosol or flower water before you buy it, to ensure its contains no chemical additives or preservatives. Some so-called ‘flower waters’ for example, are made 100% from synthetic ingredients, which unfortunately is often the case with the more commercially popular cosmetic products, such as rose water. Note: At Aqua Oleum we only recommend the use of flower waters and hydrosols for external use, not for internal consumption: this is in compliance with British Aromatherapy Association standards.