“What beautiful roses!” The clerk mentioned, as she rang up my groceries.
“Thank you.” I thoughtfully replied.
“Where are you going to put such beauties?”
“Well, I’m actually going to boil/cook them, and then use the resulting water on my face.”
Oh the look of dismay and confusion that followed. Dustin claims that my response required an explanation, but I left it there. Right there. Hey, I had kids and groceries, and kids.
I promise there’s a perfectly good explanation for my answer. And since this time of year is the season for love and flowers, why not discuss a new purpose for the prized rose?
So, why would I subject such beautiful and costly flowers to a lovely heat bath on my stove-top? And why would I use the resulting water on my skin? Friend, the answer is found in one word: rosewater. Let’s talk about this dainty and powerful little word…
What is Rosewater?
Rosewater is simply a flavored water that’s created by distilling the petals of the rose with steam, or steeping the petals in water. The result is a fragrant liquid that boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Thanks to these anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, rosewater has been hailed as an amazing skin spray, toner, and a wonderful addition to lotions and creams. Who wouldn’t want to walk around smelling like a rose field all day?
I’ve been hearing about rosewater for quite some time, and I’ve even used it in a hydrating spray during the summer, but it wasn’t until my spa visit a couple of months ago that I truly began to understand the benefits of using rosewater on the skin. It was that exact spa visit where I also learned about vitamin C serum. See, Honey, good things come from gifting your wife with a spa day (hint hint).
During my facial (yep, remember that facial?) the esthetician used a fragrant product on my face. The aroma of the product was so uplifting and refreshing that I had to ask about it before leaving the room.
As it turns out, the uplifting and soothing product was nothing fancy or complicated, it was simply pure rosewater. Upon further research into the product, I learned that rosewater can be used to make a facial toner, which then got me thinking, Hmmm..I can go to bed each night and go throughout my days smelling like a freshly-picked flower? Of course, I also factored in the important points about rosewater being soothing and hydrating for the skin. My thoughts weren’t all about smelling good in the carline ;).
I’ve been using a homemade toner/astringent for several years now, which consists of just two simple ingredients: apple cider vinegar and water (and sometimes an essential oil). I absolutely love that toner, but the smell, well, not so much. In fact, Dustin knows to stay far away from the bathroom when the toner bottle and cotton ball come out of hiding each night. Oh to be the husband of a do-it-yourself woman. With a new toner option, I decided to abandon my beloved apple cider vinegar toner just for a couple of weeks and try rosewater, which brings me to the end of my story and the recipe for today…
Before I share my simple rosewater toner, I’m sure you’re curious about my skincare results…
I’ve been using my rosewater toner for about two months now (experimenting between homemade rosewater and a store-bought option), and I hate it. Just kidding. Totally kidding. I wouldn’t share a recipe around here that I hate.
Okay, here’s the truth: I haven’t noticed much of a difference between using the apple cider vinegar or rosewater toner. I’ve truly enjoyed both products, and have experienced good results with both toners. From a scent standpoint, I’m enjoying the uplifting scent of rosewater vs. the pungent scent of the apple cider vinegar (which dissipates after a few minutes).
For now, I’m sticking with a rosewater toner, but I may return to apple cider vinegar in the future. The apple cider vinegar toner is much cheaper to make than the rosewater toner, but I’m happy to share that I’ve discovered there’s a pretty simple way to make a do-it-yourself version of rosewater at home. And that, my friend, is what we’re going to do today…boil/cook roses to make rosewater, and then make a facial toner. Who’s excited?!
How to Make Rosewater and Rosewater Facial Toner
Rosewater Facial Toner:
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1/4 cup rosewater homemade or store-bought
- 5 drops rose otto essential oil * or a skin-loving essential oil such as: lavender, bergamot, frankincense, or carrot seed essential oil
- 2 cups rose petals * lightly packed
- 3 cups filtered water or distilled water
- If you'd like to make rosewater: In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the rose petals and water to a boil. The petals will float, so I recommend placing a smaller lid on top of the roses during the heating/cooking process. This will keep the petals submerged in the water. Once the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer (lowest heat possible). Steep the rose petals in the water for about 45 minutes. You can steep the roses for longer, but I recommend turning off the heat and just letting the petals rest in the water versus using the heat.
- After steeping the roses, strain the rosewater from the roses using a bowl and cheesecloth (or a fine mesh sieve). A large coffee filter may also work for this step, although I haven't personally tried this method. Discard the petals. The water can now be used to make a facial toner. To keep the rosewater from spoiling, I freeze my rosewater in 1/4 cup measurements, using freezer-safe mason jars or baggies. This allows me to make several batches of rosewater toner as needed.
*Rose Petal Note: Source roses that are organic and haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. I soak the rose petals in water (just like I do with fruit or lettuce) to remove any dirt or surface substances, and then rinse the rose petals before boiling them. Using a produce spray is another option for washing the petals. If you can’t find organic roses, I’d recommend purchasing store-bought rosewater to make a toner. I first started using my rosewater toner with a store-bought rosewater, and I really enjoyed the product. My goal for this recipe is to give you the option to make rosewater, if desired. Both store-bought rosewater and homemade rosewater (either steamed or distilled, see note below) will work in the facial toner recipe, which is the end goal!
*Rose Otto Essential Oil Note: Rose essential oil is a very precious oil and very costly ($80 for a tiny bottle)!! I purchase Aura Cacia Rose Otto in Jojoba Oil, which is diluted with jojoba oil (which is a great skincare oil) to make this oil more affordable. The oil provides an amazing scent to the homemade rosewater (steeped rosewater isn’t very fragrant). This is a personal choice, but right now I can’t spend $80 for a tiny bottle of 100% undiluted rose otto essential oil, so this is the next best choice for me. If you’re using a store-bought or distilled rosewater, I wouldn’t worry about adding this essential oil, unless you already own it.
Distilled vs. Steeped
My recipe uses a steeping method, which results in a colored rosewater. Technically, store-bought rosewater is distilled, which results in a clear, fragrant rosewater. Steaming doesn’t result in such a fragrant liquid, but I’ve been pleased with the final product so I continue to use this method. If you’d like to distill versus steep your rose petals, I recommend checking out this easy tutorial video.
I’ve used so many market rosewaters that claim to be natural but aren’t so DIYing it sounds like the best bet. Lovely recipe, Kristin. 🙂
Hey Mariyam, I apologize for the delayed comment. There’s been an issue with comments going to spam. Enjoy!!
Can you use colloidal silver to lengthen the shelf life of rose water ?
This is great and I use my rosewater every day. BUT I was wondering why it is a browny colour? I suppose this is natural but it’d be nice for it to be clear.
Because it’s not the traditional method for a hydrosol/floral water. This is like the “cheaters version.”
So if l just make rose water , and l put it in a spray bottle , that lm going to spray on my face and arms l have to throw it out after a week ? why
You can out it in the fridge and it’ll last a little bit longer. But since theres no preservatives in this recipe it can grow bacteria.
I really like it. I have some in the fridge that I’m using; I even put it on 1 of my teens. I froze the rest for a later time. Thanks again for sharing your recipe.
That’s great, Shondell! So glad you love it.
I just tried your recipe with homemade rosewater; will try it out later. Thanks for sharing
YAY! Hope it works out well for you!
Let us know how you like it.
Hi i was wondering if you could use rosewater concentrate instead, if so can how many drops should i use? Thank you
I’m sorry I do not know, I haven’t ever tried that. If you try it let me know how it works for you.
Thanks for a great post!
I was wondering – did you ever try to add aloe vera gel to the toner and how long did it last in the fridge?
Hey Jovana, I haven’t.
How long will the toner last if you leave it unrefrigerated ?
Hey Grace, Just a couple of days.
I want to thank all of you for the questions and ideas. This is my second batch. My first batch went bad, my flowers were old and I pressed them after to get all the liquid out of them. The smell was the smell of old flowers. Not refreshing at all.
So, this time I did better!!
As I was reading I didn’t see 1 question. Once you make the rosewater and put it in your glass containers, do you have to wait until it cools to put a lid on it and put it in the refrigerator?
Just a heads up, bergamot is a sensitizing ingredient and can cause photosensitivity.
Hi, does home made rose water and toner need to be kept refrigerated? Please advise proper storage for both. Thank you!
Hey Jess, Yes, refrigeration is best for the water. And making small batches of the toner is best so you can make as much as needed for a short time.
This was so helpful! Working on my first batch now…. thank God I found your blog!
Yay, Brianna! Enjoy!
It’s a lovely post! Just want to check with you what sort of glycerin can i add into this toner?
And noticing that you put oil with rose petal water, thus the oil would float up all the time and you will need to give it a shake everytime you use them?
Hey Megan, Vegetable glycerin is my choice. If you add the essential oil to the glycerin, give it a swirl, and then add the water it acts as somewhat of an emulsifier. You’ll still need to shake the bottle before use.
Hi! I tried making this recipe and I used store bought pure rose water and witch hazel . I couldn’t stand the smell at all so I added lemon essential oil to it which didn’t last very long. So , I was wondering how I can make the smell of the essential oil last . Thank you !
Hey Shahad, There’s no way to disguise the smell of rose water–it’s a very fragrant ingredient. I don’t think an essential oil would be powerful enough to overpower the scent. I think the best option here is to not use rose water.
I am not sure if you’re still commenting on this but I really wanted to add something. I love this recipe but I also wanted to add the reccomenation of leaving the LID on the pot when steaming the flowers. You lose SOOO much of the rose essence when they steam flys away.
Secondly, I wanted to add the benefit of infusing dried roses in witch hazel which I’ve done and found it’s lasted longer and had a lot of benefit. I do this in addition to the rosewater
Thank you for sharing, Daphne!