Although we’re always on the hunt for the next big thing in beauty as the next skincare doyenne, some classics never die out. Take the rose. Even though people often think it’s used in beauty products to make them smell nice, it’s your skin’s best friend.

Rose, photo by Sergey Semin

It’s said that the ancient Greeks and Romans used rose petals while bathing. Roses were used in many cultures to make rose water and rose oil for rituals cuisines and medicine. For beauty purposes, the rose or different parts of the rose is made into

  • Rose petals
  • Rose water
  • Rose distillate
  • Rose essential oil
  • Rosehip seed oil

Which can be found in a wide range of products.

Why the rose?

Roses are probably best known as ornamental plants and as the symbol of love. Yet, they have a long history of use in medicine and beauty and even beyond. In the 1600s they were considered to be so valuable, they were often used as a currency and were highly esteemed by the nobles and royalty alike.

In China, a specific rose (Rosa chinensis) has been used in traditional medicine. Nowadays, there are typically 4 varieties of roses used for the production of rose oil and rose water:

  • Rosa damascena
  • Rosa centifolia
  • Rosa gallica
  • Rosa moschata

You probably know about the first, Damask rose. It’s renowned for its fragrance and even used to flavour food. These roses are processed into different forms.

Rose petals

Both the buds and the petals of the rose can be dried and have different uses. They can be eaten, for example with yoghurt, and are beneficial for the digestive system. The dried petals and buds can also be used as ingredients in soaps, toners, lotions, creams, or lip balms.

The rose petals are the basic ingredient for making

Rose water

There are 2 main ways to prepare rose water. You can steep the fresh rose petals in water overnight. The second way is to crush dried rose petals into a powder and then add water.

Rose essential oil

Rose essential oil, often also “rose essence”, “rose distillate”, or just “rose oil”. It’s known as attar of roses and obtained by steam distilling the crushed petals. It takes tens of thousands of rose blossoms to yield 1 ounce of rose essential oil. This is the reason why rose essence is one of the most expensive essential oils.

Rosehip seed oil

Rosehip seed oil is not obtained from the rose blossoms. When the petals fall, the seeds mature and turn not rosehips. Rosehip seed oil is extracted by pressing the rosehips. The rosehips are the most nutrient-filled part of the plant.

The rose is far more than just an ornamental plant and provides more good than just a fine fragrance. Discover why it’s likened to something like a beauty magic potion.

Treating minor skin injuries

The rose has antiviral and antibacterial properties so that it can accelerate the recovery time of minor wounds. If you’re prone to blemishes and zits, look for rose-based skincare products. It will on the one hand prevent further breakouts and on the other address redness.


The rose is known to be calming, cooling anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce redness or swollen spots on your skin so that it’s an often-used ingredient for calming and soothing skincare products. Interestingly, it can improve the skin’s appearance and texture, so that it can help with issues caused by rosacea and eczema.

Protecting the moisture barrier

Even if you often hear how rose-based products are a relief for those with dry or mature skin, they are beneficial for all of us. The natural oils present in the rose help lock in moisture into the skin providing relief for dry and dehydrated skin. This will help protect your skin’s moisture barrier and it a smoother and fresher appearance.

Free-radical scavenging

Roses are probably best known for their powerful antioxidant properties. We all know that antioxidants are good for the skin and health in general. The antioxidants found in roses help to strengthen skin cells, which in turn, can help regenerate skin tissues. They also neutralise free radicals which can cause oxidative stress, leading to disrupted collagen production and damaged elastic fibers. This again results in premature signs of ageing such as wrinkles or sagging skin.


Not only is the rose choke-full with antioxidants, but it also contains vitamin A, C, D, and E, and essential fatty acids. These are all elements well known for plumping up the skin, treating fine lines and wrinkles, and other visible signs of ageing.

Of course, you can also use rose water and rose-based hair products to reap the same benefits for your hair.

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