Roses may be the universal gift of Valentine’s Day, but hint to your significant other that they should swap the traditional bouquet for a moisturizer or cleanser infused with roses and the rich floral fragrance that comes with them.
“The rose is the fleur du jour for skincare, fragrance and anti-aging,” says dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. “It’s so popular currently because it touts aesthetic benefits, smells great and is beautiful.”
Rose-infused products can include any of the following ingredients—rose oil, rosehip seed oil or rose water. All three come from the same source, but provide different benefits to the skin.
Rosehip Seed Oil.
“Rosehip oil is pressed from the seeds of a rose bush,” says dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah of Smarter Skin Dermatology. The essential oil is rich in vitamin A, E and unsaturated fatty acids. “Most of the products I’ve seen that contain rosehip oil are either oils or moisturizers.” Not only does it make dry skin supple, but it’s vitamin A also adds anti-aging properties.
“I recommend rosehip seed oil daily in my practice,” says Dr. Engelman. “I am a huge fan of using oils on the skin for enhanced penetration and hydration. I tell my patients to keep their oil in the shower and apply to the skin while still damp. This helps lock in moisture. Because it’s a dry oil, it gives a non-greasy feel when applied to the skin.”
This essential oil actually comes from the petals of the flower. With an array of vitamins and antioxidants, it has emollient properties similar to rosehip oil. “It also has natural anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr. Engelman. The oil can be used to treat redness, inflammation, and is oftentimes used in spa treatments as aromatherapy.
“Rose water is a by-product of rose oil,” says Dr. Shah. “When they’re making rose essential oil, it’s a distillation process so the oil is separated from the water.” Unlike the oils, rose water has a very thin texture (obviously, it’s water) and so it’s less hydrating. “Similar to rose oil, it has antioxidants and has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial capabilities,” says Dr. Shah. The ingredient is found mostly in cleansers, toners and even an eye makeup remover by Clarins—their Instant Eye Make-Up Remover ($28, clarinsusa.com).
Because it has astringent properties, it can be harsher than the oils. “If your skin is very dry, you might find some of the rosewater products to be harsh,” says Dr. Shah. This rings especially true for the toners.
To try the trend yourself, shop these derm-approved picks below:
Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil ($26, us.weleda.com): “I love this one because it contains rosehip oil, jojoba oil and sweet almond oil,” says Dr. Engelman. “It helps hydrate even the driest skin in a beautiful way.”
Shohba Rosewater Freshening Cloth Singles ($16 for a pack of 20, myshobha.com): “[These] clothes are very gentle, smell amazing and are more like a cleansing cloth than anything else,” says Dr. Shah. They’re our new pick for cleansing on the go.
Badger Damascus Rose Face Oil ($13.99, badgerbalm.com): With vitamins A and C, the lightweight formula treats dry sensitive skin as well as reduces the appearance of fine lines.
Burt’s Bees Rosewater Toner ($11, burtsbees.com): Because the rosewater is blended with aloe vera (and glycerin), it’s gentler than most and still fights the grime.
Blink Brow Bar Pure Rose Water Gel ($40, blinkbrowbar.com): Dr. Engelman hails this product as a great post-treatment product when skin is at its most sensitive. The blend of rose water and aloe vera soothes and hydrates.