Did you know Cleopatra was a crazy fan of rose water in all matters? And the current boom in natural skincare puts this beauty remedy that has been used since ancient times to restore and revitalize the skin back again at the forefront of effective products. And with such a pleasing, harmonious scent and rich properties, it’s no surprise that it’s still used for a handful of dermatologist-approved reasons and some DIY hacks. Curious how rose water can benefit your skin?
What is rose water?
Rose water is obtained from the steam distillation of fresh rose petals. The theory behind its use in skincare is that rose water is a rich source of polyphenolic compounds such as flavonoids, tannins, and triterpenoids, which imbue a whole package of benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, soothing, and regenerating. Aside from refreshing and calming the complexion, rose water also acts on aging signs, hydrating and protecting the skin from free radical damage.
Rose water is also believed to contain vitamins, especially vitamin C. However, since the steaming process is known to cause a loss of vitamin content, it is not sure whether or not rose water contains vitamins or how long they are preserved after steaming.
Rose water benefits for skin
Rose water hasn’t remained a skincare staple for centuries just because of its refreshing and revitalizing effects. In fact, when used regularly, it can tackle a variety of skin issues.
Delivers antioxidant protection
Studies suggest that rose water is a potent antioxidant capable of mitigating the damage caused by environmental pollutants, stress, and UV damage thanks to its content of flavonoids. As a matter of fact, it’s thought to be just as effective as vitamin C. Moreover, rose water can protect against photoaging, inhibiting the formation of free radicals, which are the leading cause of premature skin aging and inflammation.
Diminishes fine lines
One of the most widespread uses of rose water in skincare is as an anti-aging treatment. According to studies, rose water has an antioxidant activity upon expression lines and wrinkles and reduces collagen degradation, improving the skin’s elasticity and tone with long use.
Regulates oily skin
“Rosewater balances excess sebum production, doubling down as a clarifier to improve the appearance of pores,” said board-certified dermatologist and founder of Ava MD, Dr. Ava Shamban, for Byrdie. Specifically, rose water contains tannins, which have astringent activities that can bind to skin proteins and reduce the amount of sebum secretion. This means rose water is perfect for oily and combination skin.
Soothes redness and irritation
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, rose water is great at soothing skin and relieving sunburn, dryness, redness, and irritation. Besides, the rose water’s naturally low pH of 5.5 aid in balancing the skin’s pH, reducing chances of breakouts and dehydration. You only have to soak some cotton discs in rose water, place them all over the face, and leave them to act on for 10 minutes. Include this step in your daily beauty routine, and you’ll notice how sensitivities diminish as the skin becomes softer.
People with dry skin often use rose water as a moisturizer. The idea behind this is that sugars found in rose petals add to the calming effects, and the natural oil locks moisture into the skin, helping the complexion stay smoother and hydrated. Also, rose petals are known to contain polysaccharides which play a major role in the skin’s natural ability to retain moisture, aiding in reducing transepidermal water loss and protecting the barrier. Celebs, too, claim the hydrating properties of rose water. Priyanka Chopra is one of them.
Improves acne and rosacea
The healing effects of rose water can also benefit those with acne-prone skin since it can help alleviate swelling and reduce inflammation. Besides, rose water has antibacterial properties, working to eliminate toxins and inhibit the growth of various types of bacteria. In a 2019 clinical study, rosacea (a condition characterized by redness, pimples, and swelling) was significantly improved following the application of rose petals.
Is it safe?
Overall, rose water is considered safe for the skin, and its use is not associated with any major side effects. Most compounds found in rose water are gentle and non-irritating. However, you should avoid using rose water if you’re allergic to it or to flavonoids.
How to apply rose water
Now that you know its benefits, it’s time to learn how to use rose water to get the most out of this natural elixir. Here are the best ways to apply rose water on your face so you can take advantage of its full potential:
One of the most popular uses of rose water in skincare is as a toner. Its astringent and refreshing effects can benefit anyone, helping clear and revitalize the skin, refine pores, hydrate, and soothe. Moisten a cotton ball with rose water and apply it to the entire face. Let it dry, and follow up with the next product of your routine — serum.
As you know, skin preparation is fundamental before makeup. If you apply rose water before makeup, you will get a clean complexion with a moisturized look that will be ready for applying foundation and primer. I suggest spraying the rose water on your face with a spray bottle.
To intensify your moisturizer’s effects, add a few drops of rose water. These drops will provide greater hydration while giving the skin a healthy and hydrated look. And also adds a wonderful scent to your moisturizer.
If your skin is sensitive or easily irritated, rose water’s soothing properties can help mitigate redness and irritation. Fill a spray bottle or atomizer and apply it as a mist. You will immediately feel your skin refreshed and calm.
You can also add a few drops of rose water to your face mask. Or another idea, mix crushed rose petals with turmeric, adding rose water and honey to make a paste-like consistency. Apply to your face and let sit for 15 minutes; rinse with cold water to reveal clearer skin.
How to make homemade rose water
Rosewater is simple to prepare; here’s how you can easily make your rose water at home to intensify your skincare routine:
What you need:
- 1/2 kg of rose petals.
- 1/2 liter of distilled water.
- A pot or pan with a lid
- A container with an airtight seal
Select the petals and make sure they are clean. Add the water to a saucepan, add the petals, and set the pot on high heat. Once it reaches boiling point, lower the heat to a medium temperature. Keep the pot covered, so no steam escapes, as this is where the essential oils are concentrated. Keep boiling for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave it to stand for 1 hour without uncovering the pot because the mixture needs to infuse. Then filter the contents with a strainer into the pot, where you will keep the rose water.
Remember that once the roses have released their essence and properties, you only need the liquid. Store the jar in the fridge when it’s at room temperature. Let it rest until the next day, and it will be ready to use.
Ultimately, the secret to great results is knowing how to use ingredients to get the most out of the efforts you put in. Our skincare dictionary and ingredients cheat list are great places to keep an eye on all skincare ingredients and learn how you can mix them for dramatic results.
Women’s Concepts uses reliable sources, including dermatologists’ insights, clinical trials, and scientific journals, to find accurate information and support all the facts shared in our articles. All statements and claims have clear and legit references. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our sources of information, our process of researching and fact-checking the content, and how our team strives to keep all articles updated, completed, and trustworthy.
- Abidi, Safia & Aamir, Zaidi & Iqbal, Azhar & Mahmood, Zafar. (2019). Assessment of Rose Water and Evaluation of Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties of a Rose Water Based Cream Formulation.
- Abidi, Safia & Shaheen, Najma & Azher, Iqbal & Mahmood, Zafar. (2018). PHOTOPROTECTIVE AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES ALONG WITH PHYTOCHEMICAL INVESTIGATION OF ROSE WATER. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 1000. 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.9(12).1000-08.
- Shin EJ, Han AR, Lee MH, Song YR, Lee KM, Nam TG, Lee P, Lee SY, Lim TG. Extraction conditions for Rosa gallica petal extracts with anti-skin aging activities. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2019 Mar 26;28(5):1439-1446. doi: 10.1007/s10068-019-00596-7. PMID: 31695942; PMCID: PMC6811464.
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- Department of Microbiology, Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan, Antibacterial activity of the rose extract, 2020.
- Brzezinski, Piotr & Martini, Lorenzo. (2019). Rosacea treated with rose petals: a calembour that affords intriguing results. Our Dermatology Online. 10. 393-395. 10.7241/ourd.20194.23.