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Smell the Roses

Ah, the beauty of a rose…equally delightful to the eyes and the nose! I love working with this botanical beauty and any time I’m mixing up a batch of my Rose & Calendula Bath Tea or Rose Petals Day Cream, I can’t help but take a sniff of the fragrant rose petals!

Rose & Calendula Bath Tea handmade by Willow & Birch Apothecary

I especially love rose for its classically romantic fragrance and its skin-loving benefits. You’ll find rose hip seed oil (Rosa rubiginosa) in my Rose Petals Day Cream where its abundance of essential fatty acids makes it wonderful for softening and rejuvenating the skin. It’s also perfect for mature skin and for damage from weather exposure like sun, wind, and cold.

Handmade Rose Petals Day Cream face moisturizing cream from Willow & Birch Apothecary

 

Similarly, rose otto (Rosa damascena) essential oil is a precious commodity (it takes approximately 10,000 pounds of rose petals to produce a single pound of oil!), but its potent beauty benefits make it worth every penny. The essential oil is gently astringent and helps to soothe and relieve redness.

Rose essential oil is also beneficial for the scalp, which helps to promote healthy hair. To make a nourishing hair and scalp oil, mix up 2 tablespoons of argan oil or jojoba oil with 15 drops of rose essential oil. Massage the mixture into your hair, beginning at the scalp and working your way down the length of your hair. Cover your hair with a towel and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse out with shampoo and conditioner as usual. You’ll feel like a queen with your gorgeous, silky smooth hair!

The rose is no stranger to the world of beauty and skincare. In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra was said to have bathed in rose water, which is hailed as one of her beauty secrets for soft, supple skin.

The rose also reigned supreme during the Victorian era when it was beloved for its delicate, distinguished fragrance and could be found in everything from perfumes and facial powders to skin creams and soaps.

“We next come to the queen of flowers, the rose […] And well does the perfumer turn that sweetness to account; for he compels the lovely flower to yield its aroma to him in every shape, and he obtains from it an essential oil, a distilled water, a perfumed oil, and a pomade. Even its withered leaves are rendered available to form the ground of sachet-powder, for they retain their scent for a considerable time.”

—Eugene Rimmel, The Book of Perfumes (1867)

If you have roses in your garden, you can also harvest the flowers to use in beauty recipes, like an at-home steam facial. How luxurious!

For your steam facial, start by placing dried rose petals in a heat-proof bowl and bringing a pot of water to just below boiling. Pour the hot water over the petals and steep for 2 minutes while you wash your face with your favorite gentle soap. Position your face over the steam and cover with a light towel. (Take caution to keep enough distance to avoid any steam burns!) Steam for 1 minute at a time, up to 3 minutes total. To finish off your steam facial, splash your face with cool water and apply your favorite moisturizing cream.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy roses? In your garden? As a fragrant bouquet? In your beauty routine? Or maybe all of the above! Let me know in the comments!

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