Beauty benefits of rose water and rose oil

Shakespeare wrote about their splendour and Cleopatra was said to have incorporated them into her beauty regime. Known as the Queen of Flowers, it is hard to beat the rose for its perfume and sheer beauty. Of the many varieties of roses grown, it is the Rosa damascena that gives us some of the most wonderful scent. Named after the town of Damascus in Syria, famed for damask silk woven in pink shades to match the flowers, this variety is grown for rosewater throughout the Middle East.

First used in perfumery, pure rose oil is frighteningly expensive as it takes around 110kg (250lb) of petals to produce a single ounce of concentrated essential oil. A labour intensive process, the rose petals must be picked by hand early in the morning before sun rises high in the sky and evaporates the oil.

In addition to rose oil, rosewater is also a by-product of the distillation process that produces the essential oil, although the rosewater commonly available from chemists is more frequently made with synthetic fragrance extracts, not real roses. Genuine rosewater is available from herbal and aromatherapy suppliers and contains up to twenty per cent pure essential oils that are soluble in water and left behind after the distillation process.

The beauty of roses goes beyond their pride of place in the garden. Their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities means that incorporating this fragrant flower into our beauty regimes can also help our complexions bloom. Read on for a few simple beauty benefits of rose water and rose oil to help bring out our inner rose.

Beauty benefits of rose water

Skin Tonic: beauty benefits of rose water and oil for Liz Earle Wellbeing crop

Rosewater is gently astringent, making a useful skin tonic ingredient as it helps prevent the clogging of pores and the formation of pimples and spots. Applying rosewater to the face after steaming can also help reduce redness and blotchiness due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Makeup Saviour:

Many top make-up artists recommend spritzing a super-fine spray onto the face to help ‘set’ make-up and powder in place.

Eye Brightener:

Applying chilled rosewater to the under eye area on dampened cotton wool pads for about ten minutes is a well-known home remedy to help reduce dark circles, and discolouration. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce puffiness.

Hair Rinse:

Using rosewater as a hair rinse can help restore hair’s natural pH level because it is closer to that of hair itself. Adding rosewater to a natural hair rinse after a conditioning treatment and leaving on for five minutes before washing out will help leave hair glossy and smelling delicious.

Beauty and wellbeing benefits of rose oil


One of the key ingredients of rose oil is farnesol, a natural antibacterial agent that prevents the growth of bacteria. So spraying some into our trainers can help ensure our feet still smell of roses – even after an intense workout!


Rose oil can help to gently rehydrate and tone the skin, softening and brightening a tired face.


Aromatherapy has shown that rose oil has mood-uplifting properties and placing a few drops of rose oil into a diffuser by the bedside table before bed can help us to wake up feeling more refreshed and less anxious.

Rose essential oil is also a powerful antioxidant, containing vitamin C to help protect skin cells from damage, including sunburn, and skin ageing oxidative stress.

Beauty and wellbeing benefits of rosehip seed oil

Slow the ticking

Not to be confused with the oil extracted from the petals of the flower, rosehip seed oil (Rosa canina) comes from the fruits which sit behind the rose flower and is one of a handful of vegetable oils to contain pure retinol (vitamin A), shown to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as helping diminish age or sun spots. You can read more about the beauty benefits of rosehip oil here.

Liz Earle Wellbeing Summer 2018 coverFor more health and beauty tips and wellbeing wisdom, subscribe to Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine and get free P&P (UK).

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Rose essential oil is also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect skin cells from damage, including sunburn
  • Using rosewater as a hair rinse can help restore hair’s natural pH level because it is closer to that of hair itself