Rose – everything you need to know about the super skincare ingredient

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Cropped hand holding rose against white background

Rose has been a staple in skincare for thousands of years (Image: Getty)

As I dropped a handful of pale pink roses into my bag, their sweet scent filled my nostrils. Picking roses at a sustainable farm in central Bulgaria, I was having a go at field-to-face farming, and getting to grips with the manufacturing process of one of our favourite beauty ingredients – rose oil.

Hannah in Bulgaria

Hannah visits a rose farm in Bulgaria with beauty brand Lush (Image: Hannah Britt)

“You’re going to need more than that,” my host Anya Dale, of sustainable beauty brand Lush, told me.

You need around three million rose petals (about 4,000kg) to make 1kg of rose essential oil. As they are so fragile, rose petals need to be picked by hand. A skilful farmer (certainly not me) can pick 75-100kg a day, making around 2-2.5g of essential oil.

For this reason, rose oil is expensive, costing £8,000 to £12,000 per kilo.

Yet despite its cost, rose has been a key beauty ingredient for centuries. The ancient Egyptians boiled roses to create healing beauty balms, while the ancient Greeks used the petals to perfume their baths.

Roses in Bulgaria

You need around three million rose petals (about 4,000kg) to make 1kg of rose essential oil (Image: Hannah Britt)

“When it comes to skin benefits, rose oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It tones and soothes the skin and helps to rebalance skin tone, restoring radiance and elasticity. It is also thought to be astringent, reducing the appearance of broken capillaries,” says Anya.

“And in fragrance, rose oil holds a complex profile. It can be used in a very small percentage in the fragrance formula to add depth and richness.

“It also blends well with other essential oils, bringing sweet, sensual accords.”

With the morning sun growing fierce, my rose picking came to an end. Tossing my meagre offering into a cart, my precious petals made their way to the distillery to be turned into oil.

And this summer, rose oil is in hot demand, with a blooming lovely selection of launches.

Here we share our pick of the bunch.

SUPER SKINCARE

Lush Rose Eye Pads

Lush Rose Eye Pads (Image: Lush )

Lush Rose Eye Pads, £3.50, stay fresh for three weeks, can be used once, and can be recycled or composted at home. A soothing treat for tired eyes, they contain aloe, seaweed and rose water.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Micro Serum

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Micro Serum, (Image: Elemis )

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Micro Serum, £90, is a super-hydrating oil-infused serum with rose and red algae. Soothing, packed with antioxidants, barrier strengthening, there is not much it doesn’t do.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydrating Balancing Emulsion

Fresh Rose Deep Hydrating Balancing Emulsion (Image: Fresh )

Fresh Rose Deep Hydrating Balancing Emulsion, £38, contains damask rose, hyaluronic acid, yarrow oil and rose flower oil in a featherlight summer skin moisturiser.

Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner

Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner (Image: Perricone MD )

Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner, £37, combines soothing rosewater with exfoliating AHAs, to gently slough off dull, dead skin cells and revitalise skin tone.

SUMMER SCENTS

Ariana Grande MOD Blush

Ariana Grande MOD Blush (Image: Ariana Grande )

Ariana Grande MOD Blush, £33, is a fruity floral, and is surprisingly complex for a celebrity fragrance with notes of passionfruit, rose and musk.

Fenty Eau de Parfum

Fenty Eau de Parfum (Image: Fenty )

Fenty Eau de Parfum, £115, has sold out several times over, and is now available at Boots. Sweet, spicy and sexy, it combines notes of magnolia, musk, tangerine and Bulgarian rose.

Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Paris

Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Paris (Image: Chanel)

Chanel Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Paris, £84, puts damask rose front and centre, along with lemon, mandarin, pink peppercorn and patchouli in a scent inspired by the morning hustle and bustle of Paris.

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Blush

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Blush (Image: Carolina Herrera )

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Blush, £58, contains upcycled rose oil, ability de adding to its sustainability credentials, alongside bergamot, ylang ylang and vanilla. A fresh, breezy floral.

*Follow Hannah on Instagram @hannahrbritt



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