Top 10 Rose Water Benefits And Uses Explained

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Some call it a magic potion and a culinary treat, while others have called it overhyped and downright pretentious. Rose water is a staple in many kitchens, and some even keep it in their medicine cabinets (although it doesn’t last as long that way). These are 10 rose water benefits and ways to use it. A magic potion or not, this flowery water has many attributes that can be good for the hair, face, skin, and a few of your favorite dishes.

It’s thousands of years old at least, and it is thought to have roots in Ancient Egypt or Persia. Those nations managed to gather so much knowledge, wisdom, and territory, as they certainly earned their place as marvels of antiquity. Though its origin remains somewhat obscure, rose water is still used nowadays in cooking recipes, beauty products, medication, and sacred rituals. 

What Is Rose Water? Rose Water Explained

Glass bottle with rose water

A Bottle of Rose Water

Rose water is the product of steeping rose petals in water, and it is also the byproduct of rose oil production. Steam-distilled rose water is considered to be the best way to manufacture it. Mixing rose oil with distilled water is another way to produce rose water, but it’s considered lesser in quality than the steam-distilled variety.

Culinary and cosmetic rose waters should be the same thing essentially, but not all manufacturers produce 100% rose water. If you plan on using it as an additive for food, it is best to see that it doesn’t say ‘for external use only’. Alternatively, a bottle of rose water made specifically for cooking may be labeled ‘cooking rose water’, ‘culinary rose water’, ‘food grade’, or something close to that.

A good batch of this wondrous water will have a transparent color with just a hint of pink. Some rose water products are a brighter or lit-up pink, and if that’s the color of your substance, there is a good chance that it contains other ingredients. The label should say nothing but roses and water. If you don’t mind additives being part of the formula, there is nothing wrong with using products that are not as pure. It’s all about your wants and needs, and your budget.

The attributes associated with this marvelous water vary. This remains true in cooking as well as beauty and health applications. Some people are more sensitive to the scent or flavor of rose water. Some have skin and hair which are more responsive than others’, in a positive way. We’re talking about flowers and water here, which are two of the most natural things on the planet. There have been cases of adverse reactions though, so if you have sensitive skin, test it for 24 hours as you would any potential allergens.

Top 10 Rose Water Benefits Breakdown

These are 10 benefits of rose water, but this short list is not where it ends. They’re simply some of the most popular and common uses for the substance. Even though there are people who scoff at the relatively simple concoction, rose water is something that has proven itself over time.

Research and clinical trials have been limited, and peer-reviewed results are difficult to come by. That being the case, most of these benefits are anecdotal and traditional in nature. But I don’t feel we should knock anecdotal evidence, traditions, and “old wives’ tales”.

As J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in Lord of the Rings: ‘do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.’

So, what can rose water do for you?

1. Calms And Soothes The Skin

Girl splashing water on her face.

Rose Water is Beneficial For Your Skin

Our skin can sometimes be fussy, red, and inflamed. Using rose water can bring proper pH balance, as it calms and soothes the skin and gets it back in order.  It doesn’t cure anything per se, since it is not medication. However, it does start or continues the natural healing process of the body.

2. Provides Relief From A Sore Throat

Give this ancient remedy a shot when it feels like winter blues itself is living in your throat. Roses might end up helping you a lot more than you think. I actually enjoy it when you get more than you bargained for, and find peace through older methods. It happened to me with lavender on my pillow -- incidentally, lavender is also good for sore throats!

3. Anti-inflammatory Use

Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties. Whether used topically or ingested, it can help the body with its job of bringing infections under control. Better yet, some say it can be instrumental in preventing infections from occurring altogether.

4. Cell Protection -- Antioxidants

Oxygen helps to keep us alive with every intake of breath. However, it’s also a cell killer at the molecular level. In order to help the cells in your body behave as they should, you need to do some maintenance. This is why the antioxidant-rich rose water can come in handy as a cell protector. Antioxidants are produced naturally in the body, but rose water can help the process along.

5. Mood Enhancer, De-stresser

Girl smiling with eyes closed

Rose Water Can Help You Relax

Sometimes, when there is a scent of roses in the air, I can feel my heart skip just a little, especially when I get close and really breathe it in. But it can be more than just a sweet smell. The fragrance of rose water can help to alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression by bringing down the level of stress hormones in the body.

6. Better Digestion, Less Bloating

Consuming rose water can help with the digestive process, and in folk medicine, it is sometimes used as a laxative, more specifically as a stool softener. It increases the flow of bile, soothes pains and aches, and helps the stomach empty with greater ease. Also used for menstrual cramps, pains, and bloating.

7. Lip Plumper, Moisturizer, And Softener

Oftentimes, people use rose water in conjunction with lip balm to serves as a lip plumper, moisturizer, and softener. Lips are a highly sensitive area, which we seldom keep covered. This makes it all the more susceptible to outside influences, bad weather, and other lip-chapping phenomena. Rose water can be the ace up your lips’ sleeve.

8. Makeup Remover

Woman removing makeup from her face

Removes Makeup Naturally

Some makeup removers work really well, but they often contain detergents, alcohols, preservatives, and other ingredients you may not want to come into contact with your skin. Using rose water as a base, you can get rid of makeup in a more natural fashion. It might take longer than with a commercial makeup remover, but it’s a lot easier on the ol’ skin cells.

9. Headache And Migraine Relief

The same mood-enhancing and stress-decreasing properties that rose water possess can be used for headache and migraine relief. A cold compress with this scented water can soothe and calm the nerves, and cool down the affected region. Breathe it in and relax. Again, no hard scientific evidence here, but it is worth trying.

10. Treats Cuts, Wounds, And Scars

On top of everything, rose water also harbors antibacterial properties. It is this facet of this talented water that treats cuts, wounds, and scars. Is it as good as proper plastic surgery? No, probably not. But it is a way to contend with issues that affect the skin. This magical water is an astringent, and it tightens the blood vessels, cleans the pores, and acts as a skin toner of sorts while restoring pH balance.

Rose Water For Your Hair

Back view of woman with curly hair.

Beneficial For Your Hair

Rose water for your hair can reduce scalp dryness, help regulate the scalp’s oil distribution, repair some of the damage caused by-products and the environment. It can also control the amount of dandruff that is on your head, which is oil-related in many cases. As previously mentioned in association with the skin -- the pH level can be brought back to balance with rose water, and it can also be used to counter offensive odors.

You can add it to your shampoo or conditioner bottle. Or, you can make a DIY rose water spray to combat frizz and add fragrance. Rose water has ways of rejuvenating the scalp and roots. These two areas usually need the most attention. Healthy hair growth starts at the roots, and by giving the scalp what it needs, you are setting things up for proper growth to take place.

Rose Water For Your Skin

Back view of woman applying moisturizing lotion to skin.

Beneficial For Your Skin

I mentioned some of the ways to use rose water for your skin in the top 10, but let’s go a bit more in-depth. First off, let’s talk about its uses in treating acne, since this is one of the more common uses for this substance. The same makeup-removing abilities that I mentioned are also what make it a good offense against the formation of acne, by cleaning the skin of excess oil and dirt.

Under-eye swelling and puffiness can also be brought under control by using this flowery water. The very same astringent qualities which make it a good treatment for sores and cuts, also make it appropriate for reducing under-eye issues.

Some concoct a setting spray or face mist out of rose water, and this can be a great natural solution for those who are not interested in commercial products. Aside from the skin-related properties, let’s not forget the sheer fragrance of this water. Spraying some of it on your face in the middle of the day can make all the difference in the world. 

Speaking very generally now: almost anything that you can do which improves the hydration of your skin can be considered a good thing. Our skin cells require a lot of attention. Even though some of our lot in this life is up to genetics, there is still a lot that we can do to make things easier. If your face tends to dry up easily and is prone to breaking out in pimples and rashes, consult with a healthcare professional. There is a chance that rose water could help. You can either use it directly on your skin or combine it with your chosen mask, cream, lotion, etc. 

How To Make Rose Water at Home

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY Rose Water

It’s best that you choose the finest roses to process. Since rose water gets onto us and into us, going organic is recommended. But to be clear, this isn’t a case where you need to be all ‘gung-ho’ about it. Some things that come from the earth are significantly better when they are sourced organically, but roses are not usually placed on that list. Nevertheless -- if organic is your thing then go for it.

The hair, skin, and face can benefit from rose water, but like any other cosmetics products, it is a matter of balance and measure. When used wisely, it can be a neat addition to your beauty routine or kitchen adventures. But if misused, it can cause adverse effects, itchiness, rashes, redness, and discomfort. The very same things we are looking to prevent or aid.

Conclusion

The Bard got it right in Romeo & Juliet. Indeed, even if we call it by any other name, a rose will still smell just as sweet. And, if you should happen to pluck that flower and steep or steam-distill it, that rosey sweetness can carry over to many other products and potential uses.

The hair, skin, and face are part of what makes us look and feel great. Sometimes, all you need is a good hair day to lift your mood and raise your confidence. Likewise, adding just the right ingredient to your dish -- in this case, rose water -- can make you feel great. When someone comments on the food, and you get to tell them there is rose water in it? Awesome.

Rose water is not cheap, but you should invest in a good batch or in high-quality roses to steep on your own. Most of us don’t own steam-distilling equipment, but we do own a kettle. Don’t pass up on an opportunity to explore this substance! Whether bought or prepared DIY-style, it’s an ingredient that possesses the ability to surprise and delight.

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