by Contributing Beauty Editor, Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro
“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
This time of year, most of us are feeling a bit depleted and ready for a reboot. Winter weather, travel, and overindulging in food and drink during the holidays can certainly wreak havoc on our skin, but where does one begin when trying to regain some footing in the self-care realm?
These days, we’re inundated with content that touts miracle cures, influencers using filters and trickery to sell products, gadgets, and treatments that are iffy at best. As an Ayurvedic esthetician, I humbly offer simple, effective, time-tested suggestions in the hopes of helping you navigate the tricky waters of skincare. This month, I’m focusing on the benefits of rose oil, aka Rosa damascena. Hydrating, brightening, calming and rejuvenating, rose oil nurtures skin, hair and lips while its beautiful scent lifts our spirits, reminding us to stop and smell the roses.
Back in the Day
Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, rose oil has a history that goes as far back as the 10th century, when it was distilled by the Persian philosopher Avicenna. There are over 4,828 known species of roses, aka “The Queen of Flowers,” that make up the rose family, and although roses grow everywhere from North America and Europe to Africa, most are originally from Asia. As a matter of fact, fossil evidence shows that roses were first grown on the Asian continent 35 million years ago.
How it’s Made
Thankfully, humans have taken note of the positive benefits of roses and products derived from their petals—most notably, their skin-loving and mood-boosting effects. The delicate process of making rose oil involves distilling immediately after hand-harvesting the flowers, which are plucked before sunrise. It’s no wonder that this precious oil can be a bit pricey, but understanding the process by which it’s produced can help justify those price tags.
How it Helps
In addition to its calming aromatherapy properties, rose oil is anti-inflammatory, brightening, reduces redness, and helps to smooth dry, depleted skin. Ayurvedic physicians have touted the cooling attributes of rose oil for thousands of years, noting its positive effects on digestive and respiratory issues, in addition to its ability to help restore balance, or “sattva,” for all three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). For a deeper dive regarding roses in skincare, check out my article featuring how to make your own rose petal powder here.
Mixing a few drops of rose oil with a carrier like olive, coconut, or sesame, is an easy way to brighten, hydrate, and soothe winter skin. Scroll down for a few rose oil products we love, plus a simple, skin-loving DIY facial recipe.
This truly nourishing blend of oils smooths and helps diminish the look of fine lines, while it replenishes and brings out a radiant glow. With its signature rose scent. Heritage Store's Rose Oil is suitable and beneficial for all skin types.
Experience a trifecta of visible results—brightening, firming, and hydration—with this luxuriously lightweight vitamin C oil. Biossance's oil-soluble, shelf-stable vitamin C is a potent brightener and elasticity booster. Chios crystal oil firms and revitalizes to give skin a youthful bounce back, while squalane locks in much-needed moisture, and Damascus rose petal extract calms and soothes, leaving a soft, natural scent.
No-one is too old or too young for this precious rose oil. Even baby’s skin can enjoy the nurturing and fortifying care provided by Dr. Hauschka's Rose Nurturing Body Oil, which makes it perfect for baby massages. Its particularly balancing composition also soothes during times of stress and exhaustion. This really is an oil for life. Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil contains an oil extract as well as essential oil from the petals of organically cultivated roses.
Enhanced with fractionated coconut oil, Provence Beauty's Rose Multi-Use Oil is an effective lightweight moisturizer for your face, hair, and lips. It quickly absorbs into skin to leave it feeling hydrated, enriched and not greasy, and its abundance of antioxidants from the fractionated coconut oil are especially ideal for hydrating dry, heat or sun damaged hair.
DIY Rejuvenating Rose Mask
1 tsp coconut, sesame, or olive oil
3 drops pure rose oil
pinch of pulverized oatmeal
1/2 tsp honey
Mix all of the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or small bowl, using a fork or whisk until it becomes a thick paste. Add a few extra drops of organic coconut, sesame, or olive oil if the mask is too thick to spread.
Apply the mixture all over your face and décolletage, pour yourself a cup of herbal tea, find a comfortable spot to relax, and let the mask set for 5-8 minutes. Remove it using a warm, wet cloth or soft facial sponges, then spritz rose water before applying any serum or moisturizer.