One of the ingredients that should be in every DIY beauty crafters cupboards is rose water, or another herbal water. Rose water is exactly what it sounds like – roses steeped in water, where the good components of the rose has soaked into the water. The great thing about these herbal waters, or herbal hydrosols, is that they are very versatile. They can be used as such as a face toner, or in a hair rinse. They can also be used in any recipe instead of water, and in that way you will get a lot of benefits from the hydrosol, instead just a filling agent (which water is). According to Livestrong, rose water is a mild antiseptic and is good for all skin types, especially sensitive skin, red and irritated skin as well as acne skin. In this post, I will discuss how you can find quality rose water in the shops, and how to make your own herbal hydrosols.
You might have seen rose water and orange blossom water in shops that specialize in oriental food. Rose water is used in many dishes and desserts in among Middle Eastern food, and if you’re lucky, you can find good quality rose water very cheaply in these shops. The proper commercial rose water is a biproduct of making rose oil, and is produced through steam destillation. However, very many of the rose waters on the market are not actual rose waters, they’re just water with rose aroma added. These waters are basically okay to use in you homemade skin and hair care products, but you won’t get the positive effects of rose mentioned above. The advantage of using “fake” rose water as compared to tap water is that the rose water is distilled and therefore your concoction will last longer, and if you like the smell of rose aroma you will also get that benefit. But if you want to find good quality rose water in the oriental shops, you will have to look a little bit closer. Here’s a few tips on how to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to rose water:
- You want to find a rose water that is transparent in color. Especially if it’s very bright pink, you’re likely to get a product that has additives.
- Look for an ingredient declaration on the bottle. It shouldn’t say anything else than rose water, or water.
- Look for the word distilled on the bottle, that’s another sign that it’s naturally produced and free from synthetic ingredients.
But even though the product you find meets all these requirements, you can still never be 100% sure that it’s pure. If you order rose water online from a shop that specializes in raw material for cosmetics, you can get organic rose water that is free from additives (to five times the price …). It’s also very easy to make your own rose water and other hydrosols. Here’s what you need for the simple method (if you want to make proper distilled water, see this recipe on Mountain Rose Herbs)
- A handfuls of fresh (prefferably) or dried herbs or flowers
- Distilled water
- A glass jar with a lid
- Vodka (optional)
You can use regular tap water to make herbal waters, but then you have to keep it in the fridge and use it within a few days, or freeze it (I like freezing them into ice cube trays, that way you can just take one out each time you need it). For longer lasting rose water, use distilled water. You can find distilled water in the pharmacy, but a much cheaper way is to go to your nearest gas station and buy some car battery water – which in essence is pure distilled water as well! You can add a tablespoon of vodka to the mix to prolong the shelf life, if you like.
If you use fresh flowers, rinse them well before using. Don’t use any roses that have been sprayed with pesticide (this includes roses from the florist’s!).
Take a glass jar and fill add a couple of handfuls of dried or fresh herbs or flowers of your own choice. I chose to use rose petals, lavender bud and orange blossom. You could also try thyme, jasmin, chamomile, peppermint, yarrow or a mixture of several different herbs.
Bring water to a boil and fill the jar up to three quaters. Put a lid on the jar and let stand for a couple of hours up to overnight. Strain and add a tablespoon of vodka if you like. And you’re done! Now all you need to do is go find some recipes that you can use them in.