Discover rose water benefits and its uses to enhance your beauty and self-care routine.
I’ve been obsessed with rose water ever since I travelled to Morocco years ago to enjoy a fabulous hammam, followed by a drink full of rose petals, leaving me with a well hydrated skin.
Due to its numerous glow-enhancing skin and health benefits, rose water has become a staple in my beauty and wellness routine.
Aside from being known as the scent of love, stay tuned to find out what rose water is made of, 11 reasons to use rose water for skin and health, what skin types it works for, how to integrate it in your beauty routine, and answers to some of your frequently asked questions!
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What is rose water?
Rose water is a liquid called hydrosol or distillate made from water and rose petals. The luxurious floral water is created by distilling rose petals with steam. Making 1 litre of rose water requires between 600 to 700 flowers.
Rose water has a mild natural fragrance with a sweet scent, and it is sometimes used as an alternative to synthetically filled perfumes.
The floral water origins could be traced back thousands of years to the Persian Empire now known as Iran, and it was called golāb with “gul” meaning rose and “ab” meaning water.
Three varieties of rose flowers are primarily cultivated for different commercial products: Rosa Centifolia, Rosa Damascena and Rosa Gallica. All have nearly similar beauty and therapeutic effects. Derivative products coming from these roses are used in cosmetics, medicine, and the food industry.
Aside from rose water, other products obtained from rose flowers include:
- Rose essential oil or rose oil
- Dried flowers
- Rose concrete
- Rose absolute
Rose essential oil is one of the most expensive ones in the world. Bulgaria, Turkey, and Morocco are the main producers of rose essential oil and other rose flower by-products in the global markets.
Ecuador, Greece, Lebanon, Iran, India and its neighbouring countries also produce rose flower derived products.
Depending on the distillation process, rose water contains between 10 and 50 percent rose oil. Some of the benefits of rose water for your skin and health include:
Benefits of rosewater for your skin and health
1. Balances skin’s natural oils
Rose water helps to gently cleanse, clarify and balance your skin’s sebum production. The floral water leaves you with tightened pores and a clean and luminous base for other nutrients as part of your skincare routine.
2. Soothes skin irritation
Rose water anti-inflammatory effects help calm inflamed skin caused by irritating products or mild skin flare ups experienced by people with eczema or rosacea.
3. Supports wound healing
Rose water antiseptic and antimicrobial effects are useful in accelerating skin wound healing in cuts, burns, and tender scars. These properties can help you keep cuts and burns clean as a way to ward off potential infection.
4. Has antiseptic and pain-relieving properties
Rose water helps prevent and treat infections, thanks to its powerful antiseptic and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. This is the reason why rose water is often used in conjunction with other ingredients in a variety of natural , traditional , and modern medicinal treatments.
A 2010 study revealed that when rose water was added as an ingredient in the Unayi eye drop to treat inflammatory and allergic conditions of the eyes, its antiseptic and analgesic properties helped in treating conjunctivitis cases.
The Unani eye drop is a polyherbal ophthalmic formulation renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic effect. It is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of a variety of ocular disorders.
5. Is rich in antioxidants
Rose water, particularly Rosa Damascena, exhibits antioxidant properties due to its high content in phenolics that are found in all parts of the plant.
In his study, Mahboubi, M. (2016, January), demonstrated that Rosa Damascena has high antioxidant activity, which may lead to the plant being considered as a great source for the treatment and prevention of many free radical diseases.
6. Has anti-ageing effects
Rose water is present in many beauty products aimed at reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is because rose flowers may have some anti-ageing properties.
When applied topically, rose water will both calm your irritated skin and help improve skin hydration and elasticity for a healthier and more youthful appearance.
7. Reduces skin redness
Rose water tonic and astringent effects help minimise the appearance of flare ups on your skin for a smoother skin texture. Antibacterial properties found in the floral water may contribute to reducing acne breakouts. Rose water anti-inflammatory effects may be helpful in reducing skin redness and inflammation.
8. Calms mild sore throats
Rose water containing fresh rose petals has been used in traditional medicine to calm a mild sore throat.
When travelling to countries such as Greece, Morocco, Iran, or Lebanon, you might be offered a glass of rose water with rose petals as a refreshing agent to help you cool down or soothe any minor throat irritation.
9. Relieves stomach upset
Rose water may act as a gentle laxative for constipation. Drinking rose water has been shown to have positive effects on digestion, and relieve any stomach upset you may be experiencing. It also supports bile secretion, which further contributes to healthy digestion.
10. Relieves headaches
Rose water together with rose essential oil have been used in traditional medicine and aromatherapy to help relieve headaches.
Results from a clinical study revealed that rose water vapour can help alleviate headaches. Another popular alternative in natural home remedies is to press a compress saturated in rose water to the head for 45 minutes for positive results.
11. Boosts mood
Rose water can have strong antidepressant and anti anxiety effects. This is based on a study carried out in 2011 that discovered that the rose petals extract has the ability to help relax the central nervous system in mice.
How to choose your rose water product
From perfumes to cleansers, face masks, moisturisers and facial toners, there is an array of beauty products containing rose water as a key ingredient.
What you need to look for when choosing your rose water product very much depends on how you intend to use the floral water in your beauty and wellness routine.
If you are looking to use rose water as a cleanser, a toner and/or a facial mist, make sure you select a product where rose water is listed as part of the first three ingredients on the packaging. This ensures that you enjoy a product with a higher concentration of pure rose water.
Take time to read the product label to ensure that rose water is also naturally derived and mixed with safe natural and chemical ingredients that will support your health.
If you come across a name on the product ingredients list that you are doubtful about, just do your research. In this case, the shorter the ingredients list the better.
Some rose water cleansers, toners and face mists worth checking out include:
- SUKIN Mist Rose Toner 125ml
- BBB London Rosewater Mist 50ml
- Glossier Soothing Face Mist 95ml
- CAUDALIE Vinoclean Moisturising Toner 200ml
- Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist 60ml
- Chantecaille Pure Rosewater 100 ml (can be used as cleanser/toner/ facial mist)
For your wellness routine, choose 100 percent pure rose water essence that contains NO added ingredients. Basically, invest in rose water that is the steam obtained from the steam distillation of rose petals for optimum results.
What skin type is rose water suitable for?
Rose water is suitable for all skin types! Here is how rose water may work for you based on your skin type and concerns.
Sensitive Skin: Rose water works well for sensitive skin or reactive skin that may develop allergic reactions to many beauty ingredients. As a gentle ingredient, rose water helps soothe and nourish the skin.
Oily Skin: Rose water is suitable for oily skin, as it helps balance the skin’ natural sebum production whilst temporarily tightening pores for a glass skin finish.
Dry Skin: Rose water boosts skin hydration, providing moisture to dry skin when it needs it most.
Combination Skin: Rose water is a great addition to your combination skin beauty routine, as it helps regulate the skin’s natural oils production and helps to hydrate any dry areas.
Frequently asked questions about rose water
1. Does rose water have some side effects?
Rose water is considered to be safe when applied topically or consumed as a drink. However, you may experience a reaction to the rose water if you have an unknown allergy to the floral plant, which contains rose oil. This can include:
- stomach upset
2. Is rose water safe when pregnant?
Rose water is safe to use when pregnant unless you have an allergic reaction to the floral plant, which contains between 10 percent and 50 percent rose oil.
As mentioned above, rose water helps reduce anxiety, encouraging a calm and peaceful state of mind. A 2014 study even suggested that rose oil may help ease anxiety during delivery. More in-depth research is needed to validate such results.
As a general rule, however, many medical experts tend to advise expecting mothers to avoid using essential oils and self-care products containing natural or synthetic fragrances during pregnancy. Please, check with your doctor for further advice.
3. Can you drink rose water?
Yes, you can drink rose water as mentioned earlier. Choose rose water made of pure water and rose petals extract only. Rose water that is used in the beauty industry tends to contain preservatives or additional ingredients to maintain the product safety and efficacy.
4. Which is best, rose water or witch hazel?
Both ingredients are good. Rose water is gentler on the skin and works well on sensitive and mature skin. Witch hazel, when used in limited amounts, may be better suited to treat acne and oily skin in light of its astringent, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.