This is where we sooth the skin and encourage the pores to start closing. Cold water can do the trick, but I prefer to use hydrosols for this process. They have much to offer the skin and most of them smell wonderful.
Hydrosols are also known as herbal distillates, floral waters, herbal waters, hydrosols, and essential waters. You may be most familiar with Rose Water, which is a hydrosol.
Hydrosols are made through distillation, similar to the way essential oils are made. In fact it is considered by some to be a byproduct of making essential oils. They often retain many of the benefits of the plants they were derived from but are very very gentle in comparison. This gentleness often makes them a great choice for use with small children and pets.
My favourite is Rose Water mixed with Witch Hazel. This makes a lovely smelling, astringing combination that cools, soothes, and tightens the skin. Other hydrosols are good too. It’s really up to you, your skin, and your imagination.
Some hydrosols you might like to try include:
- Calendula – not as nice smelling but great for the skin.
If you plan on making enough for several facials it’s wise to put something in the mix to help preserve it, since hydrosols can be prone to fungal growth if not stored properly. I sometimes use grapefruit seed extract and perhaps a little rosemary essential oil. Of course you can use other essential oils that you prefer. For longer shelf life store this toner in a tightly sealed glass bottle in the fridge!
This can be applied to the skin with a fine spray bottle, cotton pad, small clean cloth. Apply very gently DO NOT SCRUB.
You can also get imaginative with cold herbal teas for this step. Green tea has many benefits including as an antioxidant. Plantain makes a soothing tea for topical use, and so does chickweed. Lavender tea smells wonderful and has benefits to the skin. Have fun with your herbs. Avoid herbs that stain. The problem with teas is that they don’t have much of a shelf life. They must be used fresh. You can make it the night before for use the next morning. Just make sure it’s in a sealed, preferably glass, container. If you store it in the fridge it can last for about 24 hours, but fresh really is best.