Roses are red, water is blue, and when you blend the two together, you get a powerful beauty potion that hydrates, heals, and maintains the skin’s pH balance just for you. In addition to being prime fodder for excellent poetry, rose water dates back centuries to when the Romans dropped petals in their water and wine to further connect to Venus, the goddess of love. Cleopatra, one of the first one-namers, was rumored to take goat’s milk and honey baths with roses or rosechips (the berry-like fruit under the petals that are high in vitamin C, polyphenols, and carotenoids). And even today, rose water has a number of dermatologist-approved health benefits and a few incredible DIY hacks. We chatted with Jennifer Chwalek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City to see how you can add the romantic ingredient to your beauty routine and life in general.
Rose water can calm your skin
“The most important skin benefits of rose water are its anti-inflammatory effects, and its antioxidant effects on free radical damage,” explains Dr. Chwalek. If you suffer from acne or rosacea and are searching for a natural treatment, rose water could help.
Rose water can be used as a mouthwash alternative
Rose water has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory abilities that work to cleanse the mouth. Chwalek points to a study in which herbal mouthwash with rose water extract reduced pain and ulcers in patients suffering from aphthous stomatitis, or canker sores.
Rose water can be added to your bath
You don’t have to be Egyptian royalty to drizzle a few drops into a steamy tub. “A few drops of rose water or oil will leave your skin feeling soft and smelling great,” says Chwalek.
Rose water can be used in the kitchen
“You can cook with rose water!” says Chwalek. The extract is traditional in Middle Eastern food like lamb stew, rice pudding, and salads. It’s also not bad in cocktails. Eater put together a comprehensive list of places (with recipes!) to try rosy libations.
Rose water can (and should!) be added to your laundry
Chwalek recently traveled to India and shared an incredible laundry tip from her experience. “In India, the laundry service would iron my clothes with rose water,” she recalled. “I loved it, all of my clothing would come back smelling of roses.” A few drops alongside an unscented detergent would work, too. Or when you do press your clothes, add it into the water chamber of the iron.
Rose water can be used in DIY face masks
Because of elixir’s healing properties, it’s ideal for calming irritated skin. Here’s Chwalek’s secret recipe: “Mix chickpea flour with sandalwood powder, tumeric, and rose water for the perfect mask. If you want to make an astringent, mix apple cider vinegar with a few drops of rose water.”
Rose water can be added to your hair
“You can also mix a few drops of rose water in with your shampoo or conditioner to help hydrate your hair,” says Chwalek. On top of the hydration, your hair will smell like Valentine’s Day, but like, in a good way.
Rose water can be used to create fragrances
Because rose is so fragrant, rose water can be used as a fragrance base. “The scent is relaxing and intoxicating and the oil can be used in combination with other essential oils to make a beautiful perfume,” says Chwalek.
Rose water can be used as a makeup remover
Add a few drops of coconut oil to rose water and you have the ultimate cleanser. If you struggle with makeup removal, this works great to both remove makeup while still hydrating the skin.
Rose water can be used to destress
Spray a bit of rose water on your pillow and dose off the sleep. The idea is that you’ll relax and wake up feeling totally ready to stop and smell the roses.
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