Rose Water: The Skincare Ingredient You Can Eat


It’s no secret — I love rose. I love the way it smells, looks, and tastes — yes, tastes! I was first introduced to rose water in Lebanese and Indian cuisine, mostly in desserts like rice pudding and baklava. Then I started seeing it pop up on menus in more unusual places. A chance encounter with a lemon and rose water spritzer while in L.A. last summer got me excited enough to add it to my own pantry, and I’ve found endless ways to incorporate rose water into my diet since.

Rose water is a byproduct of rose oil production. When rose petals are steam distilled, the water that’s left behind after the oil is separated out has a rich rose fragrance and contains the hydrophilic (water loving) components of the plant material, giving the water therapeutic qualities. In skincare, we often refer to this water as a hydrosol, and it is one of the most gentle and refreshing things you can put on your skin. In the case of rose, the water is infused with soothing, moisturizing and regenerative properties. As long as it’s pure and not cut with artificial fragrance, flavors or additives, the rose water in your kitchen doubles as a skincare ingredient.

Cortas Rose Water is an easy and accessible place to start. This Lebanese brand is commonly found at middle eastern grocers, Whole Foods, and other gourmet markets. It’s affordable (a little goes a long way) and pure distilled rose water — no extra ingredients.

Here are 3 ways I use rose water in my kitchen…

  1. Rose water + tea. In the morning I like to enjoy a cup of black tea with a little milk and honey. A dash of rose water makes it extra special. It also pairs well with mint tea.
  2. Rose water + oatmeal. This winter I can’t get enough of steel cut oats. I make a batch at the beginning of the week and reheat each morning. I love topping it with a little cream, honey, pistachios and a drop or two of rose water.
  3. Rose water + smoothie. Rose water compliments most fruit, and my favorite pairing is rose and mango or rose and peach. I dress up a simple smoothie made from plain kefir, frozen mango and cinnamon with rose water.

When adding rose water to food and drink, start with a conservative amount. It can quickly overpower, but just the right amount will enhance flavors in a subtle but sparkling way. While you’re dosing your tea, feel free to splash some of the rose water on your cheeks.

Do you keep rose water in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets? How do you use it?

12 Responses to “Rose Water: The Skincare Ingredient You Can Eat”
  1. Brianna says:

    Right now I only use rose water as a facial spray. I’m currently using one I picked up at Whole Foods, Alteya organic rosewater spray and I absolutely love it.

    Not too long ago, I was at my local all-natural/health store and picked up a bottle of some kind of all-natural rosewater drink. I’m not kidding when I say it was one of the best tasting drinks I’ve ever had! And I cannot remember the brand for the life of me. I’d love recommendations.

  2. Jette says:

    In a number of French recipes, rose water (and also orange blossom water) is used for baking.
    I like to use it in my vinaigrette for light, summery salads that include fruit, along with rasperry vinegar (to take the edge off the vinegar without making it too oily). And it’s great for Eton Mess or pavlova. It’s nice with pistachios, too, whether cakes or macarons – any macarons really – or ice cream!
    You can also soak almonds in it, then chop the almonds and use them along with the rose water, for example for a cake or rice pudding.
    So I bet you could add a little bit when you’re making your own almond milk… Haven’t tried it, but sounds good (as long as you’re not using too much)…

  3. Megan says:

    I love these ideas! I’m a huge fan of lavender-flavored everything (ice cream, scones, etc.), but I never thought to try rosewater! It sounds like it would be mighty nice mixed with a little gin… just saying. haha.

  4. Caroline says:

    I love rose water as a face mist. I find I get less pimples when I use it. I haven’t tried drinking it though. I bet it would make amazing ice cream

  5. Tess says:

    I’ve never been able to get into the scent of rose water, but I can’t say enough good things about Cortas Orange Blossom water. I use in the bath and as an everyday cheap facial spray.

  6. Shampa says:

    I grew up with this rose water. My mom used it for all kinds of bengali dessert recipes. It is the best smelling rose water ever.

  7. Shampa says:

    I grew up with this rose water. My mom used it for all kinds of bengali dessert recipes. I love anything that smells like rose. It is the best smelling rose water ever.

  8. Peony says:

    I have used it in a Pavlova (delicious) and will try some of the great suggestions posted here. I like the smell of rose water but it irritates my skin so unfortunately can’t enjoy the benefit of it as a hydrosol.

  9. Victoria says:

    I use this rosewater brand for summer cocktails. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays with edible flowers then add all the gorgeous and sweet tasting ice cubes to a punch bowl for beautiful effect. One thing to note is a little goes a long way in flavor. Add a teaspoon to coconut rice pudding and sprinkle chopped pistachios and pomegranates for an exotic twist. Yum!

  10. RobinW says:

    Megan, I love lavender, too. Love making lavender cheesecake, cupcakes, lavender in tea. Herbal Revolution sometimes has a divine lavender elixir in their Etsy shop. It’s amazing in Earl Grey tea.
    Rosewater, love it! For years the only toner I have used is Mountain Rose Herbs rose water hydrosol. And this is one of my all time favorite food items to make with rose water:

  11. Renata says:

    Yes I use it all the time, for spritzing my hair and face with it multiple times of the day :) l use exact Cortas one or some other found in asian shops, they are usualy less than 1.5€ a bottle, so no need for shelling out big bucks for brand name toners or rose waters. It works as a make up setting spray too. It’s one of my cheapy little secrets in my green arsenal, and the money saved can be spent on more important things – like make up :)

  12. Hello,
    I’m pretty new to rose oil & rose water, pretty much all essential oils….. I’ve just started gng more natural ( when hubs needs something from the kitchen & can’t find it, he knows he’ll find under my sick). Sorry, anyway…. I’ve looked around for both rose oil & rose water & can’t seem to find it??? Can anyone tell me if they know of any places in the Brandon/ Tampa area?
    Thanks so much!!!!

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