About Distillates / Hydrosols


High Altitude, small batch distillates from herbs grown on our farm

 Distillates , also called hydrosols are commonly used as room fresheners, skin toners/tonics, body and hair spritzers and as ingredients in skin care products. Our distillates are available both wholesale and retail.  Their slight acidic nature helps restore the acid mantle of your skin. Larger sizes also available.

Herbal Distillates are a seasonal product, contact us for availability or requests. We normally sell our 1 and 2 ounce bottles to consumers with added preservative but larger sizes are available wholesale to formulators without a preservative. Please keep unpreserved distillates in the refrigerator.  Even though distillates come off the still sterile, it is very likely that bacteria and fungus get into the product and affect shelf life. Hydrosols are great to use as is or as an ingredient in toners, lotions, creams and more. Colorado Aromatics uses these in toners, lotions and creams.

Although they go by many other names (floral waters, hydrosols, hydrolates, herbal waters, toilet waters, aqua vitae), I use the word distillate because it represents the process by which these waters are obtained as well as  the alchemy that surround it’s history.  Technically in chemistry, the term hydrosol refers to a suspension of particles in water. These products to in fact fit that definition but so does essential oil added to water so there is alot of confusion.  Much of the process of making and using herbal distillates was documented in Grace Firth’s 1983 book entitled “Secrets of the Still”. Currently, herbalist Jeanne Rose is championing the product.

The science of distillation is based on the fact that different substances vaporize at different temperatures.  Unlike other extraction techniques based on solubility of a compound in either water or oil, distillation will separate components regardless of their solubility. The distillate will contain compounds that vaporize at or below the temperature that water boils. The actually chemical components of distillates have not yet been fully identified, but distillate will contain essential oil compounds as well as organic acids. Compounds with a higher vaporization point will remain behind and will include many of the water soluble plant pigments and flavonoids.

Herbal waters contain the beneficial products of essential oils plus more and in a less concentrated, safer form. Besides aromatic molecules, these distillates contain many of the plant acids making them skin friendly. With a pH between 5-6 they are great to use as facial toners. Cosmetics and toiletries makers are finding many uses for herbal distillates. Use them as part of your aqueous portion of lotions, creams and soaps. They can be used alone as toners or room sprays. Distillates are also used as flavorings and curables.

Because hydrosols are produced at high temperatures and are somewhat acidic, they tend to inhibit bacterial growth. They are not however sterile as many producers claim. They are a fresh product, like milk, and should be refrigerated.

To purchase bulk distillates go here, to purchase small spritzers go here.

We typically distill the following:

Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens Engelm) – a subtle woodsy (masculine) smell. Great used  in an aftershave. Helps with stress.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Lemon balm should have a sweet, light, lemony aroma without being citrusy.  Lemon balm distillate has many skin benefits especially for oily skin, or it can be enjoyed diluted in a drink (but make sure to order it fresh without a preservative for drinking). Melissa is great for rashes and irritated skin.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) Comfrey distillate, although not very aromatic, has many skin benefits. Try spraying it on burned or irritated skin. I’ve had amazing results using it this way.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) This distillate has a potent catnip smell! The herb has a reputation for repelling insects. It should be a great base for formulating insect repellants.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) A pleasant fruity, floral, herby aroma. Clary sage is known for its many curative properties including joint and muscle pain. Also try it as a spray for improving mood or for hot flashes.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) This distillate has a very strong aroma with some essential oil floating on top. Try it for anti-aging formulas. As a drink it may help obesity – again be sure it does not have preservatives in it for ingestion.

Lavender (Lavandula sp) We grow alot of lavender on our farm and I just love this hydrosol. It is a combination of all the different lavenders we have. I keep a small spritzer in my pocket to use throughout the day. Many customers also buy this as well as rose for use on airplanes to hydrate the face.

Rose (Rosa sp) We have put in a variety of roses on our farm that were chosen for their aromatic properties rather than their long stemmed flowers. Rose is great for skin hydration as well as mood. Many people like to use it after a yoga session to restore balance.  This also makes a great ‘little girl’s perfume’ as it is very light.

Mint (Mentha sp) I make this distillate from a variety of mints I grow including chocolate mint. The aroma is very strong and great for the sinuses. This is a great cooling mist for summer.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) Cooling, astringent and hydrating, cucumber is an old standby in skin care. Did you put cucumber slices on your eyes when you were a teen? You can get that same cooling feeling spritzing cucumber distillate on your face.

Also available with special request:  Winter Savory, Calendula, Hyssop Officinalis, Sage, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and possibly others, just ask. Supplies are limited during winter/spring months.