The rose is undeniably one of nature’s most beautiful blooms. And as much as it’s beloved for its pleasing aroma, richly colorful appearance and romantic significance it also happens to have potent beauty-boosting and anti-aging benefits. Over-50 beauty influencers and skin experts have taken to social media apps like TikTok to share one of the best ways they’ve found to uncover the flower’s fountain of youth — using water extracted from its petals, also known as rosewater. And, you can easily follow suit and make your own rosewater at home using fresh petals and a little distilled water or find the water in stores for less.
What is rosewater?
Rosewater is a liquid extracted from steam-distilling the petals of organic roses. It has a lovely floral scent and contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it a perfect tonic for soothing skin irritation, says natural beauty expert Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty from the Garden. And it’s not just a new anti-aging hack, the nutrient-packed water has been used to reverse aging skin and hair woes for centuries. In fact, Cleopatra is known to have bathed in rosewater to keep her skin dewy, supple and glowing and herself smelling, well, like roses.
The anti-aging benefits of rosewater
According to Cox, the water is loaded with antiseptic and antibacterial agents that gently cleanse skin to remove pore-clogging bacteria and oil, while also balancing skin’s pH level so the complexion stays looking flawless. Plus, its has diuretic properties that when uses topically flush bloat-causing trapped fluids that pool in hands, feet, underneath eyes and the face.
Additionally, rosewater can be used as a natural fragrance alternative to harsh perfumes for those who are sensitive to synthetic scents. An added perk of the water’s sweet aroma? It eases stress and anxiety, bringing on feelings of calm—fast.
How to make rosewater at home
The easiest way to get the benefits of rosewater is to try a store-bought tonic like Heritage Store Rosewater (Buy on Amazon, $10.49). But, if you’re lucky enough to have some pesticide-free, organic roses at your disposal (either from the local farmers market or a friendly neighbor), making your own rosewater is a nice alternative: it requires the use of just two ingredients and takes 30 minutes or less. Just follow this simple recipe:
- Rinse ½ cup of fresh petals from organic roses from the farmer’s market or yours or a neighbor’s garden (which are free of pesticides).
- Heat 1 cup of distilled water in a saucepan to 180°F, then stir in petals. Turn off heat, cover the saucepan with a lid and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Strain out petals, let the water cool and pour into a jar or spray bottle. Freshly made rosewater will last for about one week when store in the refrigerator.
How to use rosewater to turn back the clock
Here, a few easy DIY treatments that are sure to leave you looking gorgeous in a flash.
Repair brittle hair with a rosewater leave-in conditioner
When hair is looking and feeling straw-like, it’s simple to reverse damage and strength strands with rosewater.
How it works: Moisturizing compounds and antioxidants in the water penetrate the hair shaft to nix brittleness, repairing strands strands from the inside-out.
To do: In a bowl, mix 1 cup of water and 2 Tbs. each of rosewater, aloe vera gel (its saponins help mend damage) and glycerin (it hydrates), then pour into a spray bottle. Mist all over clean, damp hair and let absorb. Use once a day; store leftovers in the fridge for one week.
Soothe rashy skin with a toner
Whether you have sensitive skin, rosacea or just get an occasional random rash that forms on your face, rosewater can help! Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, its moisturizing oils further soothe and speed healing and its antioxidants help fortify skin’s outermost layer to prevent future rashes and stop rosacea flareups from forming.
To do: Dip a cotton pad in rosewater and swipe onto a clean, dry face (or areas on the body with rashy skin) twice a day to see rash-free skin in one week.
Rehydrate dry skin with a facial spray
If your skin tends to be on the drier side, rosewater will be your complexion’s new BFF. “Rosewater’s fatty acids lock in moisture,” says aesthetician Ildi Pekar, and they sink deeply into skin’s many layers to keep skin hydrated.
To up the moisturizing benefits, Pekar advises mixing it with vitamin E as the “antioxidant-rich humectant deeply penetrates skin to boost hydration and fend off free radicals for a youthful glow.”
To do: In a spray bottle, mix 1⁄2 cup of rosewater and the gel from one vitamin E capsule; refrigerate. Spritz onto a clean face in the morning and during the day for a quick refresher.
Shrink cankles with a rosewater soak
Bothered by swollen ankles that end up making legs that make you appear 10 pounds heavier? Rosewater to the rescue! Anti-inflammatory compounds in the floral water alleviate swelling, while its diuretic properties increase circulation to push out stagnant fluids that pool in ankles. Tip: Use the water cold to constrict dilated blood vessels in feet and ankles which will help eliminate puffiness faster.
To do: Fill a basin with refrigerated rosewater and soak feet and ankles for 5 minutes; rinse skin and pat dry. Bonus: You can also soak hands in the chilled water to ease any swelling or saturate a washcloth with the cold liquid and place on the face for 5 minutes to banish facial bloat and undereye puffiness.
For more on how to make rosewater watch this TikTok from @abienergy22 who shares her grandmother’s rosewater recipe:
For more flower-powered remedies that beautify skin and hair, check out these stories:
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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