Rose water has been used for centuries, and it’s about time the rest of us caught up. With hydrating and soothing abilities, as well as natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial powers, it’s one of those ultimate beauty powerhouses—which would explain why high-end brands like Chantecaille, Fresh, and Korres use it as the base for many of their products. If your budget won’t allow for a fully rose-infused skincare regimen just yet (because hey, all those streaming subscriptions add up), a simple bottle of pure rose water—easily attainable at Whole Foods or other health markets—can still transform your skin, hair, and makeup routine.
Here are some of the best ways to incorporate rose water into your beauty routine.
What is Rose Water?
Rose water is created by steaming rose petals in water. It has been used for centuries in the Middle East as a beauty tool and has a multitude of benefits for hair and skin.
How to Make Rose Water at Home
If you're a domestic queen, you can even make your own rose water—and it's easy!
- Fill a pot with fresh rose petals and cover them with distilled water. The water should only just cover the rose petals. Too much water and your rose oil will be very diluted.
- Cover the pot, turn heat to low and slowly bring it to a boil.
- Turn off heat, keep cover on and let the water come to room temperature.
- Once at room temperature, strain out petals and pour into a clean, sanitized bottle.
Not only are the innumerable benefits of rosewater fascinating; they're also measurable. It's not an "I think it helps" kind of plant—scientific studies have been done on its benefits.
Boost Your Sheet Mask
Are you prepared to take your sheet-mask game way, way up? Or do you just need an extra boost? Take a cotton pad and apply rose water (we love Jurlique's Rosewater Balancing Mist, $42) to your face after cleansing, then lay your serum-soaked sheet mask on top. The rose water will amplify your sheet mask’s hydrating benefits, and the sheet mask will bring the rosewater deeper into your skin, and its soothing properties along with it.
Use As a Toner
Swapping your expensive toner for rose water, like Sisley's Paris Botanical Floral Toning Lotion ($115), might sound like a terrifying prospect, but has the potential to actually be a pretty good idea. Because of its antibacterial properties, the rosewater will soothe irritated, acne-prone skin. "Rosewater helps control excess sebum production, doubling down as a clarifier to improve the appearance of pores," say board-certified dermatologist and founder of Ava MD, Dr. Ava Shamban If your skin isn't irritated, it'll still help hydrate any dry skin. Just pour or spritz some on a cotton pad and sweep it across your face—your skin will feel soothed immediately.
Refresh Your Makeup
Rosewater isn't just beneficial for your skincare routine. Makeup artist Kirin Bhatty says she keeps rose water in a small spray bottle in her kit at all times. A few spritzes can be used to prep skin for makeup, and even to freshen makeup after a long shoot. Bhatty swears by its refreshing, softening, brightening, and toning effects. If you don't feel like dropping a ton of money on a priming spray or refreshing mist, rosewater works wonders. Try using Herbivore Botanicals' Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist ($32).
Reduce Skin Redness
Is redness an issue for you? You might have seen rosewater or rosa damascena listed as a key ingredient on plenty of redness relief products. This is because of its properties as an anti-inflammatory, the same thing that helps reduce acne and irritation. "Rosewater fights inflammation, helping to reduce redness and blotchiness," Shamban explains. If you're having a particularly red day—which unfortunately happens to the best of us—either mist one, like Chantecaille's Pure Rosewater ($59), on your face or use a cotton pad to get rid of unwanted rosiness.
Refresh Your Hair
Add two tablespoons of rose water to a cup of water, then pour it through your strands after shampooing and conditioning for a DIY hair rinse. Your strands will not only feel like you just gave them a quick deep conditioning treatment, but you'll also finish it out smelling faintly of roses. Don't feel like DIYing it? Give Christophe Robin's Instant Volume Hair Mist ($39) a try.
Soothe Razor Burn
Suffering from razor burn on your legs or bikini area? Rose water, because it's a mild astringent and antibacterial, is your friend in this situation. "Rosewater can help calm redness, itching, and irritation," says Shamban. If you're looking for a quick solution for calming razor burns, pour some of Mario Badescu's Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater ($7) on a soft cotton pad, then sweep it over the irritated area—your skin will feel cooled, soft, and smooth.
Hydrate Your Skin
If you suffer from perpetually dry skin even with lotion, adding rose water to your routine could be the answer. After getting out of the shower, spritz a rose water spray, like Glossier's Soothing Face Mist ($15), all over your body. Immediately seal it in with your favorite body lotion while your skin is still damp. Bye, bye dry, flaky skin.
Enhance Your Face Mask
There are few better face mask ingredients than rose, which is why so many masks are made of the stuff. If you're making an at-home mask that calls for a liquid, try using rose water instead of regular water. It'll add an extra level of nourishment, and in the case of some masks, it might make the smell of the ingredients more tolerable. Or, you could just add Fresh's Rose Face Mask ($62) to your routine.
Balance Skin pH
Is your skin a balancing act? Do you have an oil problem some days, and dryness others? Or does it just feel like maybe the pH is off? Rose water is the perfect balancing treatment for skin, as it corrects pH to a natural level and also prevents skin from getting too oily or too dry: "Rosewater is great for your overall pH balance, helping the acid mantle of the skin to perform and operate optimally to fight off bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and other influences trying to get into the skin," says Shamban. If you feel like you can never get it right, or are just having an off day, use Thayers' Rose Petal Facial Toner ($11) instead of overwashing your face.
Boost Your Bath
Adding rose water to your bath will not only ensure you smell amazing afterward, but it'll also soothe your mind and promote relaxation—not to mention leave you smelling like roses. Pour some in a bath, breathe in deeply, and say it with us: ahhh. To take the self-care vibes to new heights, keep a rose water spray (we're fans of Honest's Elevated Hydration Mist, $14), nearby for a mid-bath mood boost.
Boskabady MH, Shafei MN, Saberi Z, Amini S. Pharmacological effects of rosa damascena. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2011;14(4):295-307.