I’m going to let you in on a little secret. DIY Rosewater is exactly what it sounds like, but the benefits go far beyond the simplicity of its name.
This aqueous floral elixir is jam-packed with numerous antioxidants, so it helps protect your skin from environmental stressors. Rosewater also lessens the appearance of redness (and skin conditions associated with irritation), gives the skin a fresh and revived look, heals cuts, improves mood, and alleviates headaches.
Need more proof that rosewater is amazing? It’s been used since ancient times by the Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians and later the Persians, Arabs, and those of European descent.
Rosewater for skin
While those are all benefits anyone would fancy year-round, summer is one of the best periods to take advantage of this simple yet powerful (and underrated) beauty product. Between the sun, salt water, chlorine, and excessive sweating, you should be armed with a bottle at all times—you can’t overdo the application of rosewater, so mist away!
Of course, not all rosewaters are alike as some are cheap imposters that didn’t involve the distilling process. This is important because it ensures that the product is natural and void of synthetic ingredients.
So to ensure you receive optimal benefits while being conscious of your wallet, here’s how to make your own rosewater so you can keep your skin hydrated, calm, and glowing all summer long.
The key to a good rosewater
Before we get into the two different methods for making rosewater, it’s first important to talk about choosing the correct type of petals.
Considering there are 100-plus different varieties of roses, this may feel overwhelming, but as long as you stick to these basic rules you can’t go wrong.
Choosing your rose petals:
- If you grow your own roses, pick the buds early in the morning as this is the time they are most fragrant.
- If you decide to purchase roses, make sure they are organic and pesticide-free so your rosewater is void of chemicals.
- Another option is to use dried petals from the Damask Rose—again, make sure they are 100 percent pure.
- Once you get comfortable with roses, consider adding in other dry ingredients such as lavender and chamomile. As with rose, both also have a calming sensation on the skin.
How to make your own DIY rosewater
Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Yield: 1.5 liters
There are two ways you can make your own rosewater: simmering or distilling. As the name suggests, the former involves simmering fresh or dried rose petals in water. Note that this method does not have a long shelf life.
You may have heard of the term hydrosol—well that’s exactly what you’ll be producing if you go the distilling route. While it will take a bit more of your time, the product will be more stable, so you won’t have to make it as often.
- Rose petals (¼ dried, ½-¾ cup fresh)
- 1 ½ cups distilled water
- Saucepan with lid
- Several layers of cheesecloth
- Dark (think amber) spray bottle for storage
- Add petals and water to saucepan.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce temperature and allow the mixture to simmer until the petals are almost void of all color—approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool while the lid is still on the saucepan.
- Strain the mixture by pouring it through the layers of cheesecloth and into your bottle. To ensure you don’t lose any product since this can be tricky to do, strain the mixture into a large measuring cup with a pour spout. Store the product in your fridge for several weeks.
- Note this is not the method to choose if you plan on taking your rosewater with you when traveling as it will only last up to a week without refrigeration.
- Rose Petals (1 ½ cups dried, 3-5 cups fresh)
- Distilled water (more on amount in the instructions)
- Large stock pot with lid
- A clean, unused brick or stone
- Metal or heat tolerant bowl
- Dark (think amber) spray bottle for storage
- Place the clean brick in the middle of your pot and set the bowl on top.
- Evenly sprinkle the rose petals around the brick and bowl—not inside.
- Pour enough distilled water over the petals until it reaches the top of the brick.
- To create the distillation process, put the lid of the pot on in an inverted fashion so that the steam can collect at the top and drop into the bowl.
- By placing ice on the lid, the steam will condense more quickly.
- Bring the water to a gentle boil.
- Reducing the heat to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool before removing the lid.
- Pour the rosewater that has been collected in the bowl into your container.
- The hydrosol should last up to six months if stored in the refrigerator.
Other DIY rosewater uses
While misting your face throughout the day will help you beat the heat, protect, and hydrate your skin this summer, here are some additional ways you can utilize your creation.
While you should be wearing SPF on your face and any exposed areas of skin, sometimes a sunburn is inevitable.
Mix equal parts of your rosewater mixture with apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle. Keep it in the fridge for added relief upon application.
Sure, rosewater alone has the aforementioned benefits, you can up the ante by adding 5-8 drops of essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, rose (calming, soothing); sweet orange (antiseptic), geranium (a wonder oil good for all skin types/conditions), or carrot seed or patchouli to defy your age and promote ageless beauty.
As with straight rosewater, you can use this concoction to set your makeup, too.
Are your tresses starting to smell like the sea, sand, sweat, and sun but you don’t have time for a good shampoo? Make a hair mist by mixing one teaspoon of vanilla extract 25-30 drops of various essential oils (effective choices include ylang ylang, rosemary, patchouli, cedarwood, lavender, grapefruit, bergamot) in a 4 ounce dark glass spray bottle.
Top the blend off with rosewater and store in the refrigerator. Shake well before use.
If you love to soak in the tub, make a separate batch of rosewater so you have enough for bath time.
Simply add 1-2 cups to your bath for both hydrating and relaxing spa-like treatment at home. Toss in some Epsom salts to encourage sleep, soothe any aches and pains, and relax muscles.
Countries like Morocco and Turkey love adding rosewater (and orange) to their cuisine and while this may be new to you, don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Add a few drops to your tea, fruit salad, yogurt, pudding, and baked goods prior to baking.
If you’ve never made your own rosewater before, consider experimenting with the simmering method first.
Once you decide to graduate to distilling, make sure you clear your schedule so you don’t rush the process—especially if you’re using real roses—and cause a costly error. Once you start incorporating rosewater into your routine, you’ll quickly realize you can’t do without it regardless of the season!
“What You Should Know About Rosewater,” Medical News Today, December 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320216.php
“Learn More About Rosewater,” Science Direct, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/rose-water
Rebecca Taras has over ten years of editorial and copywriting experience, including serving as an editor for hot digital spaces like Refinery29, PopSugar, Forbes Travel Guides, and Bustle. Along with contributing to print and digital outlets, she currently handles copywriting for some of the biggest brands in the beauty and travel industries.
A Chicagoland native, Taras began her career catering to celebrity clientele as an esthetician at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel before launching her own line of bath and body care products with her previous bath and body care company, Cleansing Queen. Rebecca also created custom in-room amenities for the Sofitel Hotel Chicago, including items featured in a special presentation for the president of AccorHotels upon his visit from France to Chicago. Her efforts were recognized by the Chicago Fashion Foundation, and she received the Style Maker and Rule Breaker award in the Beauty category.
Ultimately, Rebecca’s initiatives evolved into the co-founding of Terminal Getaway airport spas, now located at Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International, Orlando International, and Chicago O’Hare International airports. Though she is no longer involved with Terminal Getaway, her passion for beauty and travel not only persisted over the years but grew.
As Rebecca continued to refine her skincare knowledge, she spent a considerable amount of time as a journalist covering beauty and other topics. Rebecca’s diverse body of knowledge, experience, and an insatiable curiosity for faraway places culminated in Well-Traveled Beauty, an upcoming skincare line and travel website. The company’s initial offerings will be a line of results-driven, travel-friendly beauty products that take the guesswork out of figuring out what to pack.
A global traveler with a passion for Paris, Taras finally decided to live the Parisian way of life on the daily and call the City of Light home.