My Favorite Facial Toner Is…Frankincense Hydrosol

Save 15% off Frankincense Hydrosol thru Thur Oct 13th.

If you are reading this post, you probably already understand the value of using botanicals for health, beauty, and hopefully, ritual practice. Today we’re digging into one of my favorite facial toners: frankincense hydrosol.

For thousands of years frankincense has been a mainstay in temples, synagogues and churches alike, being used in sacred ceremony and temple offerings. Personally I place frankincense, known for its astringent yet highly nourishing properties, in the “best of” category for skin care. The hydrosol, alone or in combination with other skin-loving essential waters like rose water, is a dream toner or hydrating mist. it’s got all the beneficial properties of the essential oil, but in a form gentle enough to apply as often as you wish (like hourly).

But first let’s talk a second about essential oils. They are STRONG, ok?   We all know this, right? I include this reminder because, just yesterday, I had a friend come over wanting cardamom oil. I didn’t ask why, because I’m not a nosy alchemist, I just bottled it up. No sooner did I give it to her than I look over and she’s squirting it on her face. As I’m agog, thinking things like “what?” and “why?” and “wait!” before my mouth can actually make the words, she says “wow, this stuff is intense!” Yeah, it’s intense. So, even though they are sweet and lovely little plants, bound round with images of health and kindness, essential oils are extremely concentrated and rarely need to (or should be) applied undiluted -especially on supremely delicate skin and in the presence of mucous membranes like the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

floracopeia-hydrosol-frankincense-carteriiEnter hydrosols, the much gentler, aqueous component of steam distilled botanical material. In the case of frankincense, we are talking about the resinous tears plucked from cuts made in the bark of the Boswellia tree, found in the rocky remote regions of Africa and the Middle East.   Like the beloved essential oil, frankincense, also known as olibanum, is pleasantly balsamic and clean in its aromatic profile. It’s also evocative of meditative and serene states, regardless of your spiritual predisposition. As an experiment, try this out: close eyes. Deep belly breath – three times. Frankincense hydrosol in hand, spritz the face, being sure to not miss the third eye, and hold the breath (you will automatically do this – everyone hold their breath when being doused, but for the love of God, try not to squint – defeats the purpose!). See, you’ve already performed a ritual on your face, while giving it love and nourishment and hydration. Isn’t ceremony fun?

You will FEEL the effects of this particular hydrosol immediately. Your skin will be screaming YES, YES! But for all of us who want to geek out on chemistry, here’s the lowdown on what it’s actually doing for your grateful skin:

Frankincense Hydrosol properties:

Chemically complex, frankincense contains more than 200 molecular compounds. The resin, which functions as the immune system of the tree, is used to derive the essential oil and hydrosol, imparting those same immune-enhancing properties which speed healing and reduce inflammation and redness. The hydrosol imparts a fine, silky feel to skin. It is diuretic and therefore tonifying and lifting, yet the hydrating qualities do not dry the skin. Like all hydrosols, it is acidic and antiseptic. Its cytophylactic action means that it encourages regeneration of healthy skin cells and it is therefore a must for dry, aging, or wrinkled skin.

If you have ever wanted to blend your own skin care products, but aren’t sure of dilution, hydrosols are the place to start. They are always the right dilution, and are always divine for humans of any age. Enjoy your newly dew-kissed skin!

Floracopeia has two kinds of frankincense hydrosol:
Frankincense Carterii Hydrosol for $12
Frankincense Frereana Hydrosol for $10

Test them both out and see which you like better.

A note about hydrosols: they are water-based, that is, they are whatever fluid remained and separated from the oil and crushed plant material during distillation. This being the case, they are subject to bacterial growth and contamination. The way to make sure you are bringing health to your skin is to

1. Buy your hydrosols from a reputable source.

2. Refrigerate them when possible, or use quickly.

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