Orange flower water (citrus aurantium amara) is calming when added to bath water or toners. Because it contains only the bare “essence” of the essential oil, it is safe to use directly on the skin without further dilution.
It’s tempting to think that orange flower water is made from the blossoms of the orange tree. However, orange flower water is a byproduct of steam distillation to obtain the essential oil, which is made from the leaves, pulp, peel, seeds and bark of the tree. The oil produced is known as neroli essential oil. Certain fractions of this oil are separated by exploiting their hydrophilic qualities, which means they are soluble in water. The result is orange flower water, although the term used in herbalism and aromatherapy to refer to this substance is flower hydrosol.
Because orange flower water contains hydrophilic properties, it acts as a natural surfactant and emulsifier to enhance the application of skin lotions and other cosmetics. The hydrosol is also valued for its light scent, which blends well.