9 Ways To Use Rose Water For Face, Benefits, + How To Make Your Own
Some skin care products have complex formulas, as they should. Take retinol for example: There are often more than a few ingredients in these products which help to increase their efficacy, stability, and tolerability. Other skin care staples, however, are best kept simple. One example: Rose water.
Here, a bit about the history of this calming product and it’s many benefits.
What is rose water?
Rose water has been used for thousands of years all over the world. Historians speculate the origin of this product to be in Persia (present-day Iran), but rose water plays a significant role in skin care stories worldwide.
Rose water can be made in a few different ways, however Jana Blankenship, product formulator and founder of the natural beauty brand Captain Blankenship once told mbg, "Traditionally, rosewater is made through steam distillation, which results in a rose hydrosol.”
Don’t worry, there is a quick and easy DIY method for this product—more on that in a bit.
Benefits for skin:
As a toner.
If you find yourself in a midday slump, you may consider keeping rose water on your desk, side table, or in your purse. This way you’ll have a refreshing spritz that will not hydrate the skin but also serve as a vehicle for a moment of mindfulness.
Makeup prep and setting spray.
“Rose water may also be found in facial mists to help prep the skin for makeup application or to help freshen up the makeup,” Garshick says. Especially if you’re prone to makeup cracks or flakes, having rosewater on hand will help keep the skin hydrated and thus, preserve your makeup look. You can even use it before your makeup, but be sure to let it soak in before going in with your base products.
News flash: Your scalp is an extension of your face. You should be cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating your scalp often. Rose water can serve as one way to complete that last step with ease.
In addition to hydration, it can be used between washes as a refresher, too. Simply wet the hair (lightly) to bring some spring back to a limp curls or at the scalp to balance out any oily roots.
Maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
Skin health starts with your skin barrier, so anything you can do to keep it healthy is a power move. Rose water is just one of the many ways to support your barrier, but not just because of its hydrating power. “It also has antimicrobial properties and may be helpful for maintaining a healthy skin barrier,” board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D.
As an antioxidant.
“Rose water has antioxidant properties helping to protect against free radical damage which can make it helpful for the skin as well as the hair,” Garshick explains. Think of it as a double layer of protection.
“It contains anthocyanins, polyphenols, and flavonoids, all of which have antioxidant properties,” King explains. While this mist may seem simple, its beneficial properties are seemingly endless.
As a hair mist.
Like Garshick said, antioxidant properties are beneficial for the skin as well as the hair. If you want to protect your strands and give them a hydration boost, rose water will check that box. If you’re out in the sun, swimming in the pool, or struggle with dry strands as is, mist your hair with a rose water to replenish hydration.
Soothe sensitive skin.
Many skin care products are deemed too harsh for sensitive skin, but not rose water. In fact, it can even be used to tame sensitive skin. “Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, it can also be used to reduce redness and inflammation while soothing the skin,” Garshick explains.
Add it to your face mask.
If you have a face mask you love, why not boost its power? You can add rose water to your mask, whether that means mixing it into your cream or clay product, or spraying it on the skin before applying a sheet mask. Rose water works well with other ingredients, King says, making it the perfect addition to any mask you have on hand.
How to make rosewater at home.
Making your own rose water is probably easier than you think. Here’s the how-to:
Gather your ingredients.
First, you have to find your roses. You can either use ½ cup fresh rose petals (which translates roughly to the petals of one large rose) or ¼ cup dried rose petals.
Then, you’ll need 1½ cups of distilled water. If you can’t get your hands on distilled, then filtered water should be fine.
Put your petals and water into a small pan and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when all of the pigment has been drained from the petals. After that, strain your mist into a clean spray bottle of your choosing.
Place it in the fridge.
You’ll want to keep your rosewater in the fridge to keep it fresh. Because this blend is all-natural (i.e.: sans preservatives), you'll want to keep it for only a week at a time. After that, toss the water, wash your bottle, and make another fresh batch.
We have an in-depth rose water DIY story here if you want to learn more.
Rose water is one of those simple pleasures in skin care, with a long history to back it. As you now know, the list of benefits is lengthy, but a few standouts are due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. If you want to make your own, just be sure to toss it after a week. And if you’d rather not take the DIY route, shop one of these clean setting sprays instead.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.