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Natural Beauty with Roses


   Roses are beautiful in every way. They are a symbol of love and beauty. Every great love story from Cleopatra and Mark Antony to Beauty and the Beast features this garden bloom. They have been used for their scent throughout history. In ancient Egypt and Rome, rose petals were scattered on floors and in the bath. During the Elizabethan times roses were used to freshen the air and body. Potpourri bowls often featured dried roses, as did “sweet bags” which were worn as a personal sachet. Roses have also been a classic beauty ingredient and their popularity continues today. Roses are one of the largest plant families with a wide variety of scents, color and even flower shapes. Their fragrances set them apart from other plants. It can be the classic beloved old rose scent or a very modern almost fruity one. Roses are also a strong plant that can tolerate a range of growing conditions and soil types. They are happiest in a sunny spot, but some varieties even tolerate some shade.

  Rose petals, Rose hips, Rose water, and Rose oil are all useful cosmetic products on their own and key ingredients in many commercial brands. The scent of roses is believed to relieve stress and calm anxiety. It relaxes both the mind and body.

  Roses are naturally antiseptic, cleansing and astringent. They will also boost your circulation when used in body care products.  The rose hips that appear in the fall are rich in vitamin C and useful in keeping your complexion clean and clear. They also make a refreshing iced or hot tea that will boost your inner beauty.   

  Rose oil is a valuable perfume ingredient but can be expensive. Usually if you find it being sold, it has been diluted with other oils. Roses are not an oil rich plant. It takes over 60, 000 roses to produce an ounce of rose oil. For this reason, rose water and rose hydrosol is often used in creating skin and hair care products.  Saving precious rose oil for perfumes, colognes, and aftershaves.

  If you have roses in your garden, you may already be enjoying them in floral arrangements, or as an edible flower. A classic and very romantic use of the fresh petals is in the bath. Filling your tub full of flowers and petals has become a way relaxing and pampering all your senses. (It is also good for boosting circulation and cleansing your skin.) If you are not growing roses, you can still enjoy them by buying organic local roses. You will want to select roses that have not been sprayed with pesticides or floral preservatives, (you do not want these ingredients to end up in your homemade products.)

  Here are some recipes for you to try at home, Enjoy!





Make your own Rose water

Rose water is a classic beauty product that many of you may remember your grandmother using. Rose water mixed with glycerin was a popular homemade light lotion that could be used all over your body to keep skin hydrated. Rose water is made from steeping fresh rose petals in water and then straining. It should not be confused with a hydrosol which is a scented water produced in distilling rose petals in the production of rose oil. You can also buy rose

water at most grocery and specialty food stores.

Yield: 12 ounces


2-3 cups fresh organic rose petals, removed from the flower heads 

2 cups pure water


Gently wash the rose petals to remove any pests or dirt that may be on them. In a large saucepan place the fresh petals. Cover the petals with water. Gently heat on low heat but do not boil. Simmer the petals for 15 -20 minutes. If you are using a dark colored rose, you will notice the petals begin to fade in color. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely. Strain the water into a clean container and discard the rose petals. To use:  Splash or spray on your skin or use as a base in making creams and lotions.





Victorian Facial Cleansing Powder

This is an extremely gentle cleanser perfect for all skin types. It also makes an elegant gift for any rose lover and turns a lovely shade of lavender pink when used. Besides dried rose petals and lavender buds it also has whole oats which many people use in place of soap in cleansing their skin. If you are using flowers that you did not grow yourself, make sure that they have not been sprayed. Often at farmers markets flowers will be marked organic so you know they are safe to eat or use in body care products. If you are buying dried flowers look for these in teashops, where botanicals are often sold in bulk.

Yield: 3 ounces


1 /2 cu whole oats

1 teaspoon dried lavender buds

1 /4 cup dried rose petals (red and pink petals give the best color)


In a food processor finely grind the oats until you have smooth flour like mixture. Add the flower petals and continue to process until the whole mixture resembles whole grain flour. You may also want to try processing in small batches in a coffee or spice grinder for a finer texture. Pour into a clean, dry, container with a tight-fitting lid. To use:  Combine a teaspoon or two of the powder with some water in the palm of your hand, until you have a smooth paste. Gently massage this mixture into damp skin in a circular motion. Rinse well with warm then cool water. Pat your skin dry and follow up with a light natural oil or your favorite skin moisturizer.



Drying rose petals

Beautiful blooming roses are the highlight of the summer garden and can be planted as a feature or a companion to several other plants. Saving the fresh petals for year-round use is an easy and enjoyable practice. Simply gather your roses. Choose full flower heads that are about to fade or drop their petals. Remove the petals from the flower head and lay them out on a large tray or basket lined with a cotton cloth. Let the petals air dry in a warm spot but out of direct sunlight. Stir the petals twice a day and in a day or two they should be completely dry to the touch. Store in clean jars and to preserve their colors keep in a dark, dry spot. Dried petals can also be chopped using a food processor. The longer you process them the finer the mixture will become. You can use ground rose petals to add to recipes or as a floral confetti to decorate bath products such as bath bombs and salt soaks.



Fresh Rose Toner

Roses are naturally astringent and help remove oil and surface impurities from your skin. Rose water is a classic skin freshener on its own combined with a natural vinegar it helps restore your skin’s healthy acid level and wash away all traces of soap and cleansers from your skin.  Use plain white or apple cider vinegar in this recipe or a favorite herbal one.  Lavender or chamomile would both work well and have antiseptic properties.

Yield: 12 ounces


2 Tablespoons dried rose petals or 1 /4 cup fresh petals

1 /2 cup white or herbal vinegar

1 /2 cup rose water


Mix the rose petals and vinegar and let sit for up 1 to 2 weeks. The longer it sits the stronger it will be. Strain well and stir in the rose water. Pour into a pretty bottle. To use: Spray or dab onto your skin with a clean cotton pad.


Rose Hip Skin Tonic

This is a simple rose-colored infusion made from fresh or dried rose hips. Rose hips are loaded with vitamin C and are a powerful skin tonic for a dull complexion. Dried rose hips and rose hip powder can be found at many natural food stores and make a wonderful addition to teas and fruit smoothies. Women in Scandinavia use rose hip tea to improve their complexions and enhance their natural beauty from the inside out.

Yield: 8 ounces 


1 Tablespoon dried rose hips or rose hip powder

1 cup boiling water

1 Tablespoon witch hazel


In a small ceramic bowl or cup, place the dried rose hips or rose hip powder. Pour the boiling water over the rose hips and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes, then strain the mixture and allow to cool completely. Add the witch hazel and pour into a clean container.  To use: Apply to just washed skin using a clean cotton ball or pad.


Rose Hip Facial Mask

Rose hips are the fruit of the rose and usually harvested in the fall. They are small, orange-red fruits, about the size of a small cherry, and are found just below the rose flower. You can dry your own rose hips or purchase ones at most natural food stores. They are rich in vitamin C and help calm and cleanse your skin. TO make a facial mask, crush the rose hips and mix them together with some rose water or pure water until you have a smooth paste. Spread the mixture on your face and neck and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat your skin dry.



Gallica Rose Bath

Gallicas are the earliest recorded roses grown. These roses are fragrant with the scent of true old rose perfume. The most famous is the Apothecary’s rose (Rosa gallica officinalis), prized for its medicinal properties and bright red color. This rose is unique in that it keeps its fragrance when the petals are dried. Apothecary’s rose was brought to the United States by the Pilgrims and can still be found growing in many gardens today. If you are lucky enough to have this variety growing in your yard, use the fragrant petals to create this indulgent bath. If not, you may substitute another variety of fragrant rose petals. What makes this bath so luxurious is that it affects all the senses. Filling your bath with fresh rose petals is the ultimate self pampering treatment.

Yield:  one bath


1 /4 cup rose water

8 cups fresh rose petals

2-3 drops of rose oil (optional)


Fill the tub with warm water, adding the scented rose water under the running water, you may also add a drop or two of rose oil. When the tub is full, cast the fresh rose petals into the bathwater. Slip inside the petal filled tub and relax. Soak for 20 minutes.



Bubbling Rose Bath Salts

Creating your own bath salts and soaks is a simple and relaxing craft. You simply mix natural salts and dried or fresh herbs, and you have a product that you can use yourself or give as a welcome gift. These salts take a little longer to create but worth it as they are not only relaxing, but they produce bubbles too!

Yield: 48 ounces


1 /2 cup mild liquid soap such as castile

1 tablespoon light oil

1/ 4 cup dried rose petals or 1 /2 cup fresh petals

2 cups Epsom salts

2 cups kosher salt or Himalayan pink salt

2 cups sea salt


Place the natural salts and rose petals in a large bowl. Mix the soap and oil and pour over the salts, stirring well to coat. Spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Let the mixture dry overnight. This can take sometimes up to 24 hours. When your salts are dry to the touch, spoon them into clean jars or containers. To use:  Pour 1 /4 cup of the salts into the bath under running water.


For more recipes and ideas using Roses and other flowers — Look for my workbook: “Beautiful Flowers.”



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