Ingredient Spotlight: Benefits of Rose Oil And Rose Water for Skin

Rose is synonymous with love….but to me, rose is so much more than that! It is vibrant, sexy, enlivening, and even a proven skin savior. You may already know that rose can help decrease anxiety, lower stress levels, and increase confidence—but it also has some amazing benefits for the skin that we’ll discuss below!


Rose is used in many forms in both skincare and aromatherapy.  You are likely most familiar with rose water (hydrosol), but you can also use rose as Rose Absolute, rose essential oil, fresh petals, and rose petal powder. As you can see, the possibilities to nourish skin with rose are endless. My personal favorite to use in skincare formulations is Rose Absolute…but let’s look at all of them!

 rose oil benefits skin

Rose Absolute

Of course, I had to start here! The absolute from Rosa damascena is a gorgeous red color and has the most intoxicating scent. Did you know that it takes 100 roses to create 1 drop of this magical stuff? To me, compared to rose water or rose essential oil, Rose Absolute provides the closest aroma to fresh roses. The aroma is enchanting, but I also love this oil for a few seemingly magical benefits that it has.

Rose Absolute has rejuvenating properties and improves skin texture.

Studies have shown that Rose Absolute improves skin barrier function and reduces transdermal water loss. As we know, a happy skin barrier protecting your hydration is one of the most important keys to glowing skin! This magical ingredient also has some antibacterial properties, which comes in handy for balancing the microbiome in breakout-prone skin. 

Rose Absolute also contains antioxidants which help prevent premature aging stemming from free radical damage. Improving barrier function and hydration are also key functions for rejuvenating skincare. For these reasons, Rose Absolute is the star of our Rose Nourishing Facial Oil, which is one of our top picks for graceful aging!

Rose Absolute has aromatherapeutic benefits of stress reduction and confidence-boosting.

If you’re not on the aromatherapy train yet, you’re missing out! It is a wonderful holistic method of stress reduction and mood-boosting. Studies have shown that inhaling Rose Absolute actually does reduce cortisol levels (most likely because of its citronellol and linalool content), so it’s not just a placebo effect here. And you know what? It works for me! Sniff away if you are feeling tense, stressed or anxious. Rose Absolute has a special place in our Rose & Amyris Grounding Body Oil, which we like to call “functional aromatherapy” because it moisturizes while de-stressing.

Another commonly reported benefit of Rose Absolute in aromatherapy is a confidence boost. It may stem from the same anti-anxiety properties, but rose really does help many people feel good in their skin. Try applying our Rose Nourishing Facial Oil, Rose & Amyris Grounding Body Oil, or Rose + Violet Leaf Body Butter to your skin, inhaling the aroma along the way, to help you feel sexy and beautiful!


Rose & Amyris Grounding Body Oil emulsifying moisturizer


But by now you’re probably already wondering…if all of these benefits come from Rose Absolute, what’s the difference from rose essential oil? Well, in this case, Rose Absolute is better suited for skincare benefits than rose essential oil (in my humble opinion!). Here’s why:

The raw essential oil found in plants, including roses, is made of both water-loving and oil-loving components. Both of these components are beneficial for the skin and work best together. But when the rose petals are distilled to make essential oil and rose water (hydrosol), the water-loving components are infused into the water and becomes rose water (hydrosol), whereas the oil-loving components left behind, which are not water soluble, are what we call rose essential oil. In that sense, rose essential oil is not the full package of what rose can offer us.

Rose Absolute, on the other hand, is extracted using a solvent like CO2 which can extract both the water-loving and oil-loving components— keeping all of the brilliant benefits in one place! Although we’d never pass on anything rose, we favor using Rose Absolute in our Rose Collection for this reason.


Rose water is traditionally distilled from the same rose species as the one Rose Absolute is produced from (Rosa damascena), but you can also find rose water distilled from many different species of rose. Rose water contains a small portion of the complete raw essential oil and will share some similar properties to Rose Absolute for this reason. But, as I explained above, rose water contains only the water-loving components of rose petals. 

So, if it has less of these compounds, what are the benefits of rose water (hydrosol) on its own? There are not as many studies about the benefits of rose water, but the ones that I have found show that rose water also contains antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and has similar stress-relieving properties to Rose Absolute. So if you want the same benefits of Rose Absolute but with a lighter touch or in a non-oily form, rose water is your way to go.

Because the amount of active components that rose water contains are significantly lower than Rose Absolute or rose essential oil, rose water will be much gentler on your skin and nervous system. Its watery consistency is also well-suited for use in finer mists or sprays, so it is often used in facial mists to hydrate and beautify the skin. We use rose water in our Rose Essential Hydration Mist to load up these benefits!


Rose essential hydration toning facial mist for aging and sensitive skin


Want to learn one more way you can use roses? I thought so :). Dried rose petals are so pretty and smell divine! If they were dried properly and are relatively fresh, rose petals should still contain some rose essential oil in them (but very little—remember, it takes about 100 ROSES, not petals, to just make 1 drop of Rose Absolute!). Even so, rose petals are reputed as being rejuvenating, antibacterial, and high in antioxidants.

You might assume that rose petals are just a less effective source for those benefits. But, most interestingly (to me anyways), a Korean study showed that white rose petals (Rosa hybrida) had distinct rejuvenating properties of their own! The study listed the ability of extract made from white rose petals to inhibit aging-related enzymes in the skin. Sign me up, please!  We use rose petals in our Mineral Purifying Mask and Aloe + Rose Clay Complexion Soap, and do a rose petal oil infusion as the base for our Rose + Violet Leaf Body Butter.


Now that you know all about the benefits of rose in your skincare—and what’s not to love?—it’s time to explore the different ways to incorporate it into your daily care. The short answer is: any way you want. Rose Absolute, rose water (hydrosol), and rose petals can all have a place in your routine and really layer up those benefits!

If you’re excited about drenching yourself in rose now (I know I am), here’s where you can find rose ingredients in the Apoterra Rose Collection:

Rose and Amyris Grounding Body Oil - Rose Absolute

Rose Nourishing Facial Oil - Rose Absolute (+ rosehip oil!)

Rose + Violet Leaf Body Butter - Rose Absolute, rose petal oil infusion

Rose Essential Hydration Mist - Rose water

Aloe + Rose Clay Complexion Soap - Rose petals

Mineral Purifying Mask - Rose petals

Let’s get you feeling rosy!



1 comment

All my questions about the benefits for using rose and the difference between the different products were answered.

Kathleen Mathiason November 30, 2023

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