Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

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Procédé d'obtention de l'hydrolat de bleuet.

How is cornflower hydrosol made?

Gentle, cornflower hydrosol is tolerated by all skin types and possesses numerous beneficial properties for the skin. This floral water is particularly used to alleviate feelings of discomfort on the skin and eyes. But how is it obtained?

A few words on cornflower.

Belonging to the Asteraceae family, the cornflower (Centaurea cyanus L.) is a wild annual herbaceous plant ranging from 30 to 80 cm in height. The cornflower is described as messicole, as it is commonly found in cereal fields and amidst wheat crops. Originating from Europe, the cornflower spontaneously grows on moderately rich and slightly acidic (rocky) soils, but well exposed to the sun. However, mistakenly considered as an undesirable plant, it is now becoming rare due to the intensive use of herbicides. It is characterised by its delicate sapphire blue flowers that appear from May to July, after which the plant dies.

It exists over 450 species in the genus Centaurea which, not to be confused:

  • The cornflower (Centaurea cyanus L. or Centaurea sativus) which is an annual plant;

  • The mountain cornflower (Centaurea montana) or mountain bluet, which is a hardy and perennial plant.

The cornflower is particularly renowned for its hydrosol (INCI name: Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water), which is widely used in skincare, especially in the composition of eye lotions, due to its proven medicinal and cosmetic indications. Listed in the French Pharmacopoeia, the virtues of the cornflower were first mentioned in the 12th century by Saint Hildegard of Bingen. Indeed, according to the "doctrine of signatures", the cornflower floral water would be a remedy for eye problems (stye, conjunctivitis, irritated eyes...) and would symbolise a view "as clear as a cloudless sky". This is where its name "glasses-breaker" comes from. Antioxidant, soothing, decongestant, anti-inflammatory... the cornflower water provides many other benefits for the skin.

The production stages of cornflower hydrosol.

The aromatic cornflower hydrosol is the result of a low-pressure distillation (less than 0.05 bar) and low-temperature (<100°C) steam distillation of dried flowers harvested in summer. This process involves placing the plant raw materials and purified water in the still, before being directly heated over a heat source. The steam produced feeds the tank containing the plant to be distilled. The stream of steam then passes through the plants, carrying away under the effect of heat the aromatic compounds constituting the essential oils, but also other active water-soluble molecules and low molecular weight molecules which are diluted in the hydrosol. Loaded with various active molecules contained in the plant fibres, this steam is then returned to the liquid state by refrigeration, passing through a coil immersed in cold water. Once condensed, the distillate is collected in the essencier where it settles and separates into two distinct fractions by density difference: the essential oil, usually lighter, floats above the distilled water. Unlike other plants, cornflower does not contain essential oil.

The duration of distillation is tailored to each plant. Yields can also vary depending on the plant. For instance, to produce one litre of cornflower floral water, we use approximately 0.2 kg of dried flowers.

Long misjudged as a by-product of distillation, cornflower hydrosol is then microfiltered before being packaged in tinted and opaque bottles, protecting it from light and oxygen.

The cornflower hydrosol used in our treatments is obtained by distilling the flowering tops harvested in France from organic farming type cultures. Very delicate due to its low essential oil content, the cornflower floral water is then protected from bacterial contaminations with Geogard 221, a mixture composed of dehydroacetic acid (INCI name: Dehydroacetic Acid) and benzyl alcohol (INCI name: Benzyl Alcohol).

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