Get into Rosewater- Your Hair, Skin, and Spirit Will Thank You!

Great ancient civilizations such as Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Indus Valley have been harnessing the power of the rose for at least 5,000 years.  While there is not much dispute that chemical-based products have greatly improved some of our health and beauty practices, there is clearly something to be said for the lasting pertinence of natural remedies.

As the worlds oldest beauty secret, rosewater is one of those ancient remedies that has withstood the test of time in the geographies and beyond of the above mentioned civilizations, and is rapidly gaining popularity in the rest of the world.


My initial attraction to rosewater was purely scent related.  I LOVE it.         It makes me feel HAPPY, it makes me feel light, and it makes me feel blessed.  It is unlike any other scent in the world to me. It took some thought to figure out why, and in the end the reason was so obvious.  It is unlike any other scent, because of its constitution and very name- WATER.  Authentic rosewater is in fact just water (enriched by microscopic particles of rose oil and water soluble compounds through the distillation process), and evokes the same positive sensations of hydrotherapy coupled with the magical scent of freshly torn rose petals.   The beautiful and fresh scent is a powerful anti-depressant that soothes the nerves, lifts the mood and eases tension of the body and mind.   The Egyptians (or arguably the Persians) first developed the distillation process to make it as far back as 3500 BC.  For a fascinating summary of the history and cultural aspects of rosewater across the world visit  

 The people of ancient Egypt weren’t just advanced in the field of science and medicine, but equally sophisticated in matters of hygiene and beauty- mainly popularized by Queen Cleopatra.  She is more known for her extravagant beauty rituals (including bathing in rosewater) than for her intelligence and practicality in the political realm, yet at the height of her political career she was the most powerful woman in history.  (See below the details of the most recent and objective biography if you are interested in the untold side of her story and of Alexandrian life before it fell to the Roman Empire)

Besides wanting to feel like a powerful and feminine queen-  there are other properties that make Rosewater a legitimate, multi-purpose beauty essential.

Rosewater is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and is rich in vitamins A, B3, C, and E.  It hydrates and soothes, purifies, detoxifies, stimulates blood circulation beneath the skin, and balances pH levels.  This translates into multifunctional benefits for any type of skin. If it is oily- it regulates oil production. If it is dry, it hydrates- creating a healthy glow for all skin types.   As a toner, it removes skin of impurities and tightens pores, leaving the face looking smooth and fresh.  One of my favorite uses is to set my makeup, or to fix an overly matte look from a zealous application of powder foundation.  

The basic properties that make it great for the skin also benefit the hair and scalp.

For the hair, this translates into stronger, shinier, and softer hair. For the scalp, it soothes irritable skin and relieves dandruff. And best of all, if used regularly it can stimulate hair growth and prevent breakage.  It improves blood circulation beneath the skin, which delivers nutrient supply towards the hair follicles, thereby strengthening them.   The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties promote a healthy scalp which is essential for new hair growth.

As you can see, one simple beauty product can effectively serve so many purposes.                 Regardless of how you choose to use rosewater, it’s difficult to go wrong with the essence of a flower that has influenced the way we think about romance, health, beauty and luxury for thousands of years.

But let’s not forget- the key word is simple:  The list of ingredients in rosewater should not be long…  Stay tuned for my next article to demystify the ingredient lists along with product recommendations.  

As promised- two of my favorite Egypt themed books. Cleopatra a Life is mostly non-fiction.  For balance, Cleopatra's Shadows- A fall of Egypt novel  has a more fictional inspiration :-)