Rose as an ingredient has remained in beauty arsenals of women longer than any other because its benefits are just too many to ignore. Rose water, made from the steam distillation of rose petals, was used in beauty rituals in ancient Egypt; by Mughal queens in their baths; and the Romans believed rose petals connected them to Venus, the goddess of love. And of course there was Cleopatra, known for her goat’s-milk-and-honey baths that also included rose petals to give her skin smoothness.
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 in 2019, with the world moving towards more natural practices and organic, traditional ingredients, rose water in once again in the spotlight.
“Rose water, commonly known as ‘Gulab Jal’ is a skincare ingredient most grandmothers swear by. It is incredibly versatile thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant-rich properties. It helps soothe, tone, as well as hydrate your skin,” explains Dr Harshna Bijlani, Medical Head of The AgeLess Clinic & Celebrity Skin Expert. Antioxidants help prevent damage to our skin caused by oxidative stress. Rose water takes care of those harmful free radicals and damage caused by UV rays, pollution, and stress, and gives you smoother, problem-free skin.
Rose water also comes with antimicrobial properties. That mean it’s great for acne-prone and sensitive skin. You can look at using a good toner or a mist with rose petals – super-concentrated with rose water, it sinks into your skin without a hassle. As a mist, toner, and even a serum, it’s performing at its peak strength.
Among many things, rose water is a great ingredient to use in the 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, and bam, moisturised hair that’s healthy too.
Perhaps the most underrated benefit of rose water is its uplifting fragrance – it’s a mood-changer and reduces stress. Just spray a little onto your pillow before you sleep, and viola! Deep, undisturbed sleep. Use its as a cleanser too – a few drops of coconut oil mixed with rose water cleanses your skin of makeup.
We picked out 10 interesting rose water products that will help you find your best skin on the daily.
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All images: Courtesy brands