Types of Floral Water for Skin Refreshing

Light floral tonics that cool and refresh the skin have a double role to play.

Firstly, they remove any traces of cleanser that may have been left behind, at the same time helping to tighten the pores which makes them look smaller and more refined. Secondly, they plump up the skin cells with a fine layer of moisture which can be sealed in by applying your day- or night-cream. This helps to keep skin looking fresh and feeling soft for longer.

The gentlest refreshers are essentially water that's been infused with plant extracts. Many commercial toners contain around 70 per cent alcohol which imparts a fresh, tingling sensation to the skin. Although it is good at cutting through oil, alcohol can irritate and dehydrate the skin. There are gentler plant astringents to choose from such as witch hazel and lavender which help to rebalance the activity of the oil-producing glands.

Floral Waters

When essential oils are extracted by a process of distillation from an infusion of flower petals, the left-over liquid is known as floral water. Many make wonderful skin refiners.

Rose water - Although the perfume is somewhat muted, rose water still retains a hint of rose essence as well as many of the petals' skin-softening qualities. Alternatively you can make your own version by suspending a few drops of pure rose otto essential oil in a teaspoon of clear alcohol (such as vodka) and dissolving this in a cup of pre-boiled pure spring water.

Rose water makes a lovely tonic for most skin types, especially those with a tendency towards dryness and sensitivity. It is an invaluĀ­able ingredient for moisturisers, masks and other preparations.

Orange flower water - This sweet-smelling water is left behind when neroli essential oil is extracted from an infusion of orange flower blossoms. Genuine orange flower water is known as a 'hydrolat' and is only available from aromatherapy suppliers. In France orange flower water is diluted with hot water and sweetened with honey to make a soothing bedtime drink. Marie Antoinette is famed for using orange flower water to brighten her sallow complexion.

Make your own by suspending a few drops of pure neroli essential oil in a teaspoon of clear alcohol and then dissolving in a cup of pre-boiled pure spring water.

Orange flower water is slightly more astrinĀ­gent than rose water which makes it a good tonic for oily and dull complexions. It can be added to creams and masks specifically designed for this type of skin.

Lavender flower water - A by-product of the distillation of lavender essential oil, this water was once highly valued as a cologne. Like the essential oil, it has a wonderfully soothing and uplifting aroma. On the skin it brings clarity to sallow, oily and blemished complexions as well as encouraging healing.

Again it makes a superb addition to cosmetic preparations for slightly troubled skin.

Witch hazel - This lotion comes from a small, twisted tree that is native to North America Native American tribes traditionally used decoctions of the bark in poultices to reduce swelling and inflammation. Distilled witch hazel contains the steam-distilled active constituents of the leaves and twigs preserved in alcohol. It is a well-known first-aid remedy for treating cuts, bruises and swelling.

Being astringent and mildly antiseptic, witch hazel makes a good refreshing lotion for treating oily skin and pimples, as well as refining enlarged pores.

You can either use the floral waters singly or in combination as a refresher.

Flower Refresher (for all skin types)

Combine equal amounts of rose water, orange flower water and lavender water and pour into a spritzer bottle or atomiser. (30ml or 2 tablespoons of each makes enough to last up to 1 month ) Spray the face after cleansing.

Lemon Zest Refresher

Leaves oily skin squeaky clean and restores the acid mantle.

  • 570ml (1 pint) boiled pure spring water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable glyercine
  • 2 drops rose and 2 drops camomile essential oils

Add all the ingredients together in a capped bottle, shake well to blend and decant into a spritzer bottle. Spray after cleansing. Keeps fresh for 1 week when chilled.

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