DIY: Your skin will love this hydrosol tonic



craft your own hydrating & aromatic hydrosol tonic. it's worth the effort.

During my course of study of herbalism (an in-the-field course titled “The Ecology of Herbalism,” taught by Peeka Trenkle) I began working on a hydrosol toner to refresh the skin and help promote the recovery of the skin’s protective mantle after cleansing.  As well as preparing the skin for deeper moisturization, I wanted this hydrosol to contain botanicals that would work with the skin’s natural process to encourage balance and normal sebaceous gland activity. We later used this recipe in our early discussions with our chemist, and it essentially became the starting point for our Hydrating & Balancing Hydrosol Face Tonic—which will be ready this August, 2017. Until that time, the team wanted to share our original herbal recipe for this refreshing and uplifting hydrosol tonic—rich in anti-inflammatory, moisturizing agents.

It was fun to make, but was involved (I’m not gonna lie). But if you like a challenge, the artisanal process of making hydrosols is sure to unleash your inner mad scientist. You will also take pride in knowing you crafted skincare that is good for your skin—and that your skin will love.

To learn more about hydrosols see our post titled “From Cosmic to Cosmetic: Hydrosols Offer Many Therapeutic Benefits.”

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The materials you'll need

  • Large pot with a lid, a pot for canning works great for this.
  • Small bowl or container to go inside your pot to collect the hydrosol.
  • Something heat-proof to stand the smaller container on inside the large pot, a jar rack works perfectly for this.  If you don't have one of these try using a heat-proof ramekin instead.
  • Water, distilled or filtered
  • Ice cubes
  • Plant material (see below recipe ingredients)—based on your skin type
  • Bottle(s) for storing your beautiful new hydrosol
  • Mister or spray pump for spraying your hydrosol if you would like; or a cap closure.


(base recipe)

  • 8 oz —filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons (or handful) each dried aromatic herb— Cornflower, Rose, Melissa, Chamomile, Yarrow, Honeysuckle to yield…
  • 4 oz, plus 1 tablespoon— hydrosol (from 1 oz each, distilled plant material above)
  • 1-2 tablespoons— vegetable Glycerine
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon—Aloe Vera gel
  • 20 drops—Lavender or Chamomile essential oil

(added to base for acne/oil skin)

  • 2 tablespoons each plant material to make hydrosol—Clary Sage, Cypress, Rosemary, Rose geranium, Witch Hazel—added to “base recipe”
  • 5 drops—Rosemary essential oil, added to “base recipe”
  • 3 drops—Sage essential oil, added to “base recipe”
  • 2 drops—Tea tree essential oil, added to “base recipe”


  • 5 drops—Grapefruit essential oil, added to “base recipe”
  • 3 drops—Lemongrass essential oil, added to “base recipe”

(added to base for mature skin)

  • 2 tablespoons each plant material to make hydrosol—Neroli, Rose, Sandalwood—added to “base recipe”
  • 5-10 drops—Fennel essential oil, added to “base recipe”
  • OR 5-10 drops—Sandalwood essential oil added to “base recipe”

Directions for making the hydrosol

  • Place the rack or ramekin in the bottom of the large pot and put the small bowl or container on top of the rack/ramekin.
  • Next fill the bottom of the large pot with plant material for desired skin type. You want the plants to reach up to the smaller bowl.  Then fill with water until the plant material is just barely submersed.
  • Finally put the lid to your larger pot upside down on top of the large pot and fill it with ice cubes.
  • Heat this whole set up just enough for the water surrounding the plant material to steam but not boil.  Reduce heat to low and let it work it's magic for 20-30 minutes or so.  We used a clear lid so we could watch the hydrosol condense!
  • The water will steam the plant material carrying all the goodness from the plant into the air.  The steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes on top.  Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid the liquid is directed to drip down into the smaller bowl.  This liquid is your hydrosol.
  • Store your new hydrosol in a dark glass bottle in the refrigerator. The hydrosol will be stable for 6-12 months.

Directions for making the tonic

  • Combine cooled hydrosol(s), glycerine and Aloe Vera gel to 4 ounce sterilized bottle
  • Per your skin type, add essential oil(s) drop by drop; cap with spray dispenser
  • Shake vigorously

To Use

  • Apply after cleansing (morning and night) with a cotton ball or cloth. Saturate cotton, with attention to your T-zone; Wipe gently over cheeks if this is an oily area.
  • OR mist over entire face and neck until your skin is evenly saturated.
  • Allow skin to dry, then follow with your moisturizer
  • For some, the hydrating properties of this hydrosol may be enough; allowing you to skip a moisturizer all together.

All information on NATIVSK/N is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.