Rose Water FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About Rose Water

Rose water is an ancient floral remedy that’s making a comeback -- and for good reason!

The incredible medicinal properties of rose water has been well-documented throughout history and the rose is as popular for health and beauty treatments as for decoration and romantic occasions.

If you’re not quite sure what rose water is, or what makes it so unique, read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the fragrant and flavoursome elixir.

Rose - Henrique Ferreira

Image source - Henrique Ferreira

What is rose water?

For centuries rose water has been used in medicine, cooking, cosmetics and religious rituals. The flavoursome and purely natural liquid is made from steeping rose petals in water or through a distillation process. 

What are the health benefits of rose water?

Rose water has numerous health benefits for the human body, besides having a pleasant fragrance and taste.

Its medicinal properties come from being a rich source of Vitamin A, C, D, E and B3. Rose water also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Is rose water good for my skin?

Very much so - primarily thanks to its antioxidants in the form of skin-loving Vitamin E. As a natural astringent rose water works to tighten pores and clear your face of excess oil, leaving your skin with a flawless complexion and healthy glow.

The scented liquid also helps restore your skin’s pH balance, replenish skin cells and soothe inflamed or irritated areas. Vitamin E has long been known to fight wrinkles, which is why you’ll regularly see rose water featured as a predominant ingredient in anti-aging products.

What’s more - rose water fights skin conditions such as eczema and acne, especially when regularly used as a facial wash. Some people use rose water to reduce blemishes and pimples. You can also add a few drops of the floral water to a face mask mixture.

In short - rose water moisturizes, cleanses and revitalizes your skin. Some quick ways to hydrate your skin with the nourishing floral water include adding some of it to your bath water or spraying a rose water mist over your face and body in the morning.

Can I use rose water as a toner?

Using rose water as a facial toner before applying your first layer of foundation or primer is an excellent way to ensure your make-up blends evenly and lasts longer.

This is because rose water tightens pores, controls excess oil and refreshes your skin. To give your pre-make-up face a clear and vibrant glow, simply dab some rose water across your skin with a cloth or use a rose water facial spray.

Is rose water good for my hair?

Rinsing hair with rose water after shampooing will give it a healthy shine and soft texture - not to mention a lovely fragrance! The rose water’s Vitamin E nourishes your scalp by repairing damaged follicles and encouraging growth.

Many beauty specialists suggest mixing rose water with aloe vera or olive oil into a homemade deep-conditioning hair mask. Both Vitamin A and D have been identified as essential for healthy hair growth - and both vitamins can be found in rose water!

Can I use rose water as a body spray?

This is one of the most effective ways to use rose water when you’re pressed for time or just want a quick pick-me-up for your skin. Simply use a facial spray or body mist and lightly spritz the rose water over your face and body.

You can rub the liquid in or let it dry by itself. The result is hydrated, soft and divinely scented skin. Rose water does not stain clothes so don’t worry about getting it on your outfit.


Image Source - Roman Kraft

What other uses are there for rose water?

Some people use rose water as eye drops as it is said to soothe irritation and have a revitalizing effect upon tired eyes. If adding the liquid directly to your eyes, it is essential that you use nothing but pure rose water from a trusted source.

Anything with additives or unclean ingredients can damage your eyes. Always consult a doctor or optician before using anything other than certified eye medicine on your eyes.

Is rose water safe to drink?

Yes - and it’s delicious too! Drinking rose water made from thoroughly washed Damascus petals and clean water can also give you something of a health boost. Apparently, Angelina Jolie enjoys drinking a refreshing cup of rose water after dinner - and in an interview with The Telegraph - reportedly said it was her favourite drink.

Aromatherapists typically recommend it as a natural remedy for sore throat, flu, indigestion, bloating and constipation. Others simply like to include rose water in cocktails, juices or smoothies because of its delicious flavour. 

Which celebrities use rose water?

Cleopatra is believed to have been amongst the first to popularize the use of rose water as a cosmetic. She adored roses and had several extensive beauty and skin care routines to maintain her youthful complexion and striking beauty. 

Michelangelo was also known to mix rose water with his cup of tea each morning in early Renaissance-era Italy.

In more recent times celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Eva Mendes have described rose water as a go-to facial toner and cleanser. The past few years have also seen rose water facial sprays become a favourite product amongst Hollywood beauty stylists. 

Can I use rose water in cooking?

Absolutely - in fact, rose water is traditional to the cuisine of many cultures around the world. You may have tried Turkish Delight, the classic gelatin sweet which often comes covered in either icing or chocolate. This treat derives its unmistakable flavour from rose water.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, it is common to add rose water to tea, jams and cakes. In Japan, meanwhile, rose water is often added to sweet drinks or desserts. You can use the floral water to add a delicious touch to your own salads, yogurts, pastries and cakes.

Can I use rose water as a perfume?

Of course! Many high-end perfume brands already use the heavenly scented floral water in their own fragrances. For example, the Yves Saint Laurent fragrance ‘Paris’ and the Guerlain fragrance ‘Nahema’ both use natural rose water and rose oil to enhance the distinct rose scent in their perfumes.

It is possible to use pure rose water as a perfume too, either by spraying it over your skin or clothes or by dabbing a bit of the liquid on your wrists and around your neck. Many people like to use rose water as a perfume because of its romantic yet subtle scent.

Does rose water help treat acne?

As mentioned above the rose’s skin-loving properties make natural rose water suitable in the treatment of most skin conditions - great regardless of whether you want to ease acne outbreaks or for when you simply want to tighten pores.

Where can I buy rose water?

Pure rose water can be purchased from some food stores including Asian supermarkets or holistic health and beauty stores. You can also buy rose water online, including natural rose water sprays pre-mixed with other skin-loving ingredients.

Can I make my own rose water?

You certainly can - and it’s not difficult, either. First, remove and clean the petals of fresh Damascus roses. Place the petals in a pot of clear water, cover with the pot with a lid and then gently heat it up over your stove without ever letting it boil.

It should only take around 20 minutes for the water to absorb the hue and flavour of the petals. At any point after this you can use a strainer to separate the petals from the liquid, pouring the fresh water into a glass container and leaving in your fridge to cool.

Who discovered rose water?

The ancient Egyptians are said to have been among the first to extract rose water through distillation and are believed to have used it for advanced aromatherapy practises.

Though the Egyptians most likely used rose water in the treatment of wounds and skin conditions, it is highly feasible that the fragrant liquid was added to their perfumes and cosmetics.

Perfume, in particular, formed part of essential hygiene practises throughout the Egyptian empire and the delicate floral scents were among the most prized.

What colour is rose water?

The colour of rose water will reflect the shade of roses used in the distillation or steeping process.

The red or pink Damascus rose is the most common hybrid for making rose water, so the liquid typically has a hint of pink.

Is it possible for rose water to cause an allergic reaction?

Unlike in traditional skin care cosmetics, pure rose water is completely natural which means it is free from harmful chemicals, synthetics, parabens or other preservatives that can cause damage to your skin.

Rose water, on the other hand, is noted for its effects in reducing irritation or inflammation of the skin. Being allergic to rose water is highly uncommon. However, if you find that your skin reacts badly after coming in contact with rose water, then consult a doctor.