Flower Power Toner
I saw Queen of Hungary Water, also known as Hungary Water, mentioned in a book I was reading. Decided to look the stuff up and see what all the fuss was about. The exact date of the invention of Hungary Water is lost to history. It is equally unclear who created it. Some say that a monk-recluse who first gave it to The Queen of Hungary, though most likely it was made by a court alchemist. The oldest surviving recipes call for distilling fresh rosemary flowers (and possibly thyme) with strong brandy, while later formulations contain lavender, mint, sage, marjoram, cistus, orange blossom and lemon.
The legend takes it further – how this stuff made a 70 year old Queen look so good again that a man many years her junior proposed marriage.
Other legends have it that early gypsies formulated it and claimed it to be a panacea. It has been claimed to be the first herbal product ever marketed.
So, the original Hungary Water was made with alcohol and rosemary flowers (and most likely thyme), then the formula appears to have morphed into containing rosemary, thyme as well as citrus (all therapeutic, not just good-smelling!). Then, whether it was Gypsies or an herbalist who decided to use vinegar, a whole new dimension was explored there.
Taking a look around the internet, one can find versions of Hungary Water in perfume/cologne format that would blow the heck out of a $100 bill – some of them not even leaving you a couple bucks for your buyer’s remorse soothing after-spending treat… LOL 🙂 Others are vinegar-based herbal delights that are very affordable.
The recipes that turned up in my research were interesting and varied – ranging from essential oils blended into vodka or commercially made witch hazel to herbs (fresh, dried or both) steeped in apple cider vinegar for a time, then blended with aloe, rosewater (or other hydrosol, such as orange blossom) or commercially made witch hazel.
Because I love fermented and cultured stuff, I decided to try one of the recipes that used apple cider vinegar as the base. I made it, of course, taking my usual deviations from the recipe (no recipe is safe). I used it and LOVED it. The vinegar scent was there, but not excessive. Once it dried, the floral scent was all that was left. However, my husband isn’t a vinegar fan and has mentioned it a couple of times.
So, for my next attempt, I used all my chosen flowers herbs and steeped them in rum. My rosemary plant was blooming and I wanted to get at least a few of those blossoms into the mix. I didn’t have the heart to steal them all from the bees, though.
It is a wonderful toner/astringent for the face. Most of the herbs are easy enough to find – especially if you shop at Mountain Rose Herbs! While the initial amount paid for all the supplies may seem high, this stuff goes a long, long way and I can’t help but believe it to be quite a lot less expensive and much healthier than even the cheapest commercial toner – it’s chemical free, too!
I noticed the tone and condition of my skin improving after just a couple of weeks using this nightly. On the days I use it both morning and night (I hate to admit it, but I don’t tend to my skin THAT often!), my pores seem to get even smaller and tighter.
April 5, 2015