A beautiful and iconic flower: Rose is a symbol of love and beauty, a beautiful and iconic flower used for thousands of years in food and beauty products. In recent years, many commercially developed skincare lines have incorporated this Wonder ingredient in their skincare lines. From mass distributed skincare lines to specialty and luxury brands, all have been plebisciting its beauty enhancing benefits. A beautiful celebration of its ancestral use, leveraging traditional beliefs combined with recent scientific advances aiming at better understanding its secrets.

From ancient time of Romans and Greek, this iconic flower and its petals was used as a perfume for bathing. It is even being said that Cleopatra was soaking the sails of her boat in rose water to leave behind her a wake perfume. At this time, the Floral Water was more likely to be obtained from the maceration of flowers in hot water being followed by a filtration using fabrics. The first description of the use of a distillation process to obtain Rose Hydrosol ( floral water) is dated from IX century.

From Rose petals to Floral Water: Today, the Rose Floral Waters, also called Hydrosols, are by-products being produced through flower distillation. They consist of the aqueous solution remaining after steam distillation of rose petals and its separation from the supernatant essential oil. From a technical standpoint, during the distillation process, the aromatic compounds from the raw materials being distilled, are channeled through the water steam, condensed and then stored. The resulting products comprise the supernatant (essential oil) and the floral water in which some infinite part of the aromatic plant molecules have been solubilized. From a more theoretical standpoint, the Hydrosols contain the water-soluble fractions from the plant, in average 0,1 to 2% of aromatic molecules. Among the most common compounds are the monoterpens, the sesquiterpens but also some aromatic alcohol such as the 2-phényléthanol. The conditions in which the distillation process is being performed does greatly influence the composition of the floral water which explains why different suppliers will offer products with different composition.

La Rose de Damas: There are 2 major Rose Floral Waters being available globally and being used in the food industry but also in cosmetology, pharmacy and aromatherapy: the Damascena Miller and Rosa Centifolia L. The most commonly used is the Rosa Damascena which is being harvested in Iran. According to historical chronics, a byzantine governor visiting Ghamsar in Iran got seduced by the fragrance of the roses and decided to bring back a few Rose slips to Damas. This is how the Rose became known as the Rosa Damascena. Today, Bulgaria is very famous for its Rose Valley and remains one of the major producer of Damas Rose around the world, ahead of Morocoo, Turkey, India and Iran.

Towards a well-plumped, soothed and regenerated skin: The Rose Floral Water is well-known for its softening, soothing and refreshing benefits. It has become a time-tested beauty remedy traditionally used across generations of women from the ancient times. Today, some skincare brands have further validated its skin benefits confirming perceived hydrating, refreshing and revitalizing effects through consumer in-use tests.

The data available in the literature on the benefits of R.Damascena flower extracts absolute ( essential oil and floral water) are interesting and promising but remain spare, especially when it comes to the specific skin benefits of the floral water. The current evidence does however offer promises through and recently some key skincare players have advanced the understanding of Rose Floral water full range of activity through in-vivo and in-vitro testing demonstrating its purifying, antioxidant properties. Even more compelling are some recent research related to its protective effect of the skin barrier and showing its effects of the stimulation of the regeneration of epidermal keratinocytes and the facilitation of their early differentiation and cohesion.

Not All Floral Waters are the same: It is critical to be careful when selecting a Rose Floral Water and make sure that the product is indeed a real Hydrosol obtained from steam distillation and not the result from a unscrupulous mixture of a few drops of Rose essential oil in water. Check the ingredient list to make sure that it does not list rosa flower oil or rosa essential oil.

A BIO solution: Today, Floral Water are more and more used in the skincare industry for the skincare and well-being benefits described above but also for their BIO profile. In the course of offering BIO skincare solutions, the floral water ( provided it complies to specific BIO guidelines) is highly appreciated to boost the overall bio concentration of certain skincare products favoring as such the achievement of their BIO label.

No wonder, the Rose Floral Water has been a secret of ancestral beauty. A beauty secret for well regenerated, plumped and protected skin but also a beauty secret for well-being.

Reference & Acknowledgments :

  1. Cécile Labadie. Analyse fine et stabilisation des hydrolats de rose et de fleur d’oranger.
  2. The hydrolats- Patrick Pellerin, 2012
  3. Pharmacological effects of Rosa Damescena. Iran J Basic Med Sci V.14(4): July-Aug 2011
  4. Technical and scientific support provided by the Scientific Training Department of Melvita