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How is orange blossom hydrosol produced?

How is orange blossom hydrosol produced?

The orange blossom is derived from the Bitter Orange or Seville Orange tree. This plant has been renowned since the 16th century in perfumery for its fruity and refreshing fragrance, which is easily recognisable. Harvested in summer, its flowers are distilled to produce a hydrosol with multiple cosmetic benefits. As a facial treatment, it is antioxidant and brings radiance to dull and tired complexions. It is also purifying and soothes irritated scalps. Discover in detail the process of obtaining orange blossom hydrosol.

Where does the orange blossom come from?

The orange blossom grows on the Bitter Orange tree (or Bigaradier). The origin of this thorny shrub is somewhat unclear, somewhere between India and China. It was following the Crusades, around the 11th century, that the Bitter Orange tree appeared around the Mediterranean (particularly in Andalusia). Its fruits are edible, but bitter. Its flowers are fragrant and possess soothing, softening and hydrating properties. The orange blossom is used in various ways: as an infusion, as a hydrosol for skin and hair care, or even as a massage oil.

How is orange blossom hydrosol obtained?

Theorange blossom hydrosol is obtained by hydrodistillation, also known as steam distillation. This technique allows for the extraction of two distinct fractions: theessential oil and thehydrosol. It takes place in several stages:

  1. Firstly, the flowers are harvested in the summer and dried.

  2. The dried flowers are mixed with water in a still, then the mixture is heated.

  3. Water vapour is cooled in a condenser and collected in liquid form. Essential oil, less dense than the water used for extraction, floats on the surface. This water is none other than the hydrosol. Originating from the same plant, the two fractions have similar properties, but the hydrosol is less concentrated in active species because the aromatic essences are present in smaller quantities. Therefore, it can be used without contraindications by children and pregnant women, unlike the essential oil.

What are the cosmetic benefits of orange blossom hydrosol?

When applied topically, orange blossom hydrosol possesses soothing, refreshing and regenerative properties. It promotes cellular renewal and thus combats dull complexion. Rich in flavonoids, it has antioxidant properties to effectively combat free radicals, highly reactive molecules that cause premature skin ageing.

When applied to the hair, it soothes and purifies irritated scalps. In terms of nails, the orange blossom hydrosol reduces their discolouration and provides the necessary hydration to maintain their health.

Furthermore, orange blossom hydrosol is renowned for its floral and fresh fragrance, which imparts a pleasant scent to cosmetic formulas.

How to preserve orange blossom hydrosol?

Free from preservatives and made from dried flowers, hydrosols are sensitive to light, oxidation, and heat. Therefore, it is important to store them in an opaque bottle, in a dry place away from light and heat. Hydrosols can be kept for about 6 months after opening.

Sources

  • FARAMARZI M. A. & al. GC/MS Analysis of Citrus aurantium L. hydrolate and its comparison with the commercial samples. International Journal of Production Research (2004).

  • HEO M. T. & al. Biological screening of 100 plant extracts for cosmetic use (II): anti-oxidative activity and free radical scavenging activity. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2008).

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