Roses are the official flower of Valentine’s Day. In a bouquet or fragrance, roses are a no-fail gift. But roses are more, much more. Rose based skin and hair care formulations have been used for centuries in all parts of the world. According to beauty lore, it was a 12th century Persian princess who discovered the soothing benefits of rose oil. Jump forward a few centuries where the famed herbalist Thomas Culpepper recommended rose extract for both heart disease and acne. Modern science has been able to show that rose oil and extracts have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. But wait, there’s more. Just smelling rose oil can reduce blood pressure.
Turning Roses into Beauty Aids
Roses offer a whole pharmacy in every petal but you can’t just chop up a few petals and mix them into a soap or lotion. Like all other floral, roses need to hydrolyzed into essential oil and water. Here’s how it works:
The flowers are steamed in a glass bell over boiling water. The steam is captured and cooled in a second container. The oil is collected in one jar and the floral water in another. This is not a DIY project. Both floral waters and essential oils are available online and in well-stocked health food stores. Rose waters can be used as a toner to freshen the skin, in an eye compress to relieve under eye swelling, or added to bath water to soften winter dry skin. Floral waters tend to be extremely fragile. They need to be stored in dark bottles in a cool dry place. If they become cloudy or smell funky, they should be discarded.
Genuine rose oil is one of the most expensive ingredients in a skin and hair care products. It takes 30,000 rose petals to make a single ounce of rose oil. Fortuneately you need to use only about 20 drops in an eight ounce beauty product. You can add rose oil to an existing cleanser or moisturizer to boosts its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Buy very small quantities ( eg 1/8 ounce) and make sure your rose oil is from a certified, organic suppliers like Eden Botanicals.
DIY Rose Water Beauty Favorite
There is certainly no shortage of beauty products in the stores or online, but I still love to make my own. Here is one of my favs using rose water adapted from vintage Gaylord Hauser recipes.
Rose Water Skin Freshener
Ingredients: 3/4 cup rosewater, 1/4 cup witch hazel, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon glycerin, 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Directions: Mix all ingredients i a glass bottle with a tight cap. After washing your face, dab on with a cotton ball. beautifully refreshing on all skin types