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Rose as an ingredient has remained in the beauty arsenals of women longer than any other because of its optimal benefits. Made from the steam distillation of rose petals, rose water was used in beauty rituals in ancient Egypt, by Mughal queens in their baths, and the Romans who believed rose petals connected them to Venus, the goddess of love.

And of course, there was Cleopatra who was known for her goat’s milk-and-honey baths infused with rose petals to give her smoother skin. The past few years have seen newer ingredients like Vitamin C, Alpha Arbutin, and Witch Hazel get ahead in the beauty race, with the simple rose water being relegated to the back of the beauty shelf. But with the rise of natural, organic, and traditional ingredients – rose water is in the spotlight once again.

Rose water

Rose water, commonly known as ‘Gulab Jal’ in India is a skincare ingredient that most grandmothers swear by. It is incredibly versatile thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant-rich properties. It helps soothe, tone, and hydrate your skin,” explains Dr Harshna Bijlani, medical head, The AgeLess Clinic & Celebrity Skin Expert. Antioxidants help prevent the damage caused by oxidative stress. It also protects against harmful free radicals and damage caused by UV rays and  pollution to give you a smoother, problem-free skin.

Rose water also comes with antimicrobial properties, which means it’s great for acne-prone and sensitive skin. You can use a good toner or mist with rose petals that’s super-concentrated with rose water, it sinks into your skin without hassle. As a mist, toner, and even serum, it’s performing at its peak strength. 

Among many things, rose water is a great ingredient to use in summers because it not only hydrates but also adds bounce to your skin. “Rose water balances your pH level, which in turn reduces excessive oil production without over-drying, and helps reduce redness and inflammation. It also makes for a great ingredient to mix into your packs,” adds Bijlani. And not just skin, rose water can be used on hair too. Just add a few drops into your shampoo or conditioner for moisturised, healthy hair.

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of rose water is its uplifting fragrance – it’s a mood-changer and stress-reducer. Just spray a little onto your pillow before you sleep, and viola! Deep, undisturbed sleep. Use it as a cleanser too – a few drops of coconut oil mixed with rose water cleanses makeup.

We selected 12 interesting rose water products that will help you find your best skin on the daily.

Where to buy:

Indulgeo Essentials Rose Geranium Witch Hazel Facial Mist/Toner, Rs 900

Forest Essentials Facial Tonic Mist Rosewater Hasayan, Rs 750

Kama Ayurveda Pure Rose Water, Rs 275

Dr. Sheth’s Gulab & Glycolic Toner, Rs 499

Pixi Rose Glow Mist, Rs 1,480

Global Beauty Secrets Indian Rose & Kewda Body Mist, Rs 2,200

RAS Rose Nectar and Body Spritz, Rs 890

Juicy Chemistry 100% Organic Bulgarian Rose Water –Toning Mist, Rs 650

Neemli Naturals Rose & Patchouli Face Toner, Rs 650

Boscia Rosewater Mist With Witch Hazel, Rs 2,350

Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, Rs 1,750

Kal Hans Hydrating Rose Petal Face Mist, Rs 575

All images: Courtesy brands; Juicy Chemistry picture by Sweet & Bitter Blog

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.