Rose water is not only beautifully fragrant but extremely versatile. It has an extensive range of uses including facial toner, hair perfume, cooling mist, and linen freshener. Rose petals are edible and rosewater has a place in the culinary world as well.
I use rose water to replace some or all of the water in recipes for like soap, hair rinse, and hair detangling spray. (As a side note, it will have little impact on the final color of your soap and will definitely not turn it pink!)
How to Make Your Own Rose Water From Scratch
If you like making DIY beauty products or exotic food recipes and have access to garden-grown roses, you have to try this recipe!
There are two relatively easy ways to make rose water at home:
Simmering vs. Distilling
The easiest and quickest way is by simmering rose petals (dried or fresh) in water. The result is a fragrant, rose-colored water. This method is suited best for recipes and uses that will not sit around very long as it has a limited shelf life.
The distilling method technically makes a hydrosol. It is also quite easy to make, albeit slightly more time-consuming. A rose hydrosol is clear and much more shelf-stable.
Choosing Rose Petals
There are over a hundred different varieties of roses. If you are lucky enough to have roses growing in your garden you can use them to make rose water. If you will be picking your own roses, do so in the early morning when the blossoms are the most fragrant.
You can also purchase roses but they should be from an organic source. It is important to use pesticide-free rose petals so your finished rose water is not full of chemicals.
It’s possible to use dried petals. I like these. They are from the Damask Rose and are very fragrant, as well as edible.
Another option is to use lavender flowers. Follow the directions below for the dried petals and use the lavender water in place of the rose water in the following recipes.
Uses for Rose Water
There are so many ways to use rosewater. Here are some of my favorites.
One thing many people miss after they have made the switch to healthy options in beauty care is the scented aspect of commercial products. Often times those artificial fragrances are the selling point for perfumes, soaps, and shampoos, but they are also one of the more dangerous ingredients used in these products.
Rose water makes a wonderful base for making substitutes for perfumed sprays. Natural shampoo, for example, leaves your hair clean and protects the natural balance of oils in your scalp, but doesn’t leave a lasting perfumed scent. You can make a simple hair perfume to add a touch of a floral scent to your hair. You can also just dab rose water on your wrists and neck for a light hint of perfume.
Hair Perfume: Mix 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract with essential oils in a 4 oz glass spray bottle and fill to the top with rose water. Spritz on your hair as it is drying and style as usual. This is also great for second (or third) day hair. Spritz a bit on to freshen up. Store in the refrigerator. My current favorite combination is:
- 3 drops Patchouli
- 4 drops Ylang Ylang
- 3 drops Rosemary
- 4 drops Cedarwood
- 5 drops Lavender
- 4 drops Grapefruit
- 4 drops Bergamot
Linen Freshener: Make a linen freshener by putting rosewater in a spray bottle. You can also add a couple drops of rose or lavender essential oil. Mist on your sheets before going to bed in the evening.
Another excellent use for rose water is in your skin care routine. Rose water helps balance the skin’s PH, reduces redness and irritation, tightens pores, and helps cool and soothe hot skin.
- Facial Toner: Store rose water in a dark colored glass bottle. Add a drop or 2 of lavender or rose essential oil and apply to your face with a cotton ball after you shower or wash your face.
- Cooling Mist: Store rose water in a dark colored bottle with a fine mist spray top. You can keep it in your purse for on-the-go use or keep it in the refrigerator for extra cooling. Mist on face to cool skin and freshen up.
- Sunburn Relief: Mix equal parts rose water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray onto sunburned skin for relief.
Rose water is also a wonderful mood enhancer. You can mist it on yourself in the same way you use the cooling spray and breathe in the scent to lift your mood. For a calming bath, add 1-2 cups to your bath water.
- In Tea: Add rose water to taste to your herbal tea.
- Flavor Yogurt: Start with a teaspoon of rose water for 1 cup of yogurt and add more to taste.
- Lemonade: Add a splash to your lemonade for a complex flavor enhancer.
How to Make Rose Water Recipe
- ¼ cup dried rose petals (or ½-¾ cup fresh)
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups dried rose petals (or 3-5 cups fresh)
- In a small saucepan, combine the rose petals and water.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the temperature to the lowest setting that still allows the water to simmer.
- Simmer until the color of the rose petals has faded. Mine became almost colorless. This only took about 5-10 minutes.
- Leave the lid on and cool completely.
- Pour the water and petals through a cheesecloth into a dark, clean bottle. You can use a funnel or strain into a measuring bowl with a pour spout and then pour into your dark bottle if needed.
- Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or on the counter for up to one week.
- Place a clean brick (a real brick from a house) in the center of a large stock pot. I used an 8 quart stock pot and an average sized brick.
- Put a metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl on top of the brick.
- Sprinkle the rose petals around the brick making sure not to get any into the bowl.
- Pour water into the pot over the petals until it comes almost to the top of the brick.
- Invert the lid and place it over the stock pot. This will allow the steam to collect and drip down to the center of the lid and eventually drip into the bowl.
- Put ice on the top of the lid to encourage the steam to condense and subsequently drop into the bowl. You can put it directly on the lid and suck the water off with a turkey baster as the ice melts or you can put the ice in a ziplock bag so it is easy to pull off and replace. You want to keep in as much steam as possible because the steam is actually your rosewater.
- Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to the lowest heat possible that still allows the water to simmer.
- Simmer for at least 30 minutes, replacing the ice as it melts.
- Remove the pot from heat and let it cool completely.
- Very carefully lift the lid so that none of your melted ice water falls into the pot.
- Carefully pour the rosewater that has collected in the bowl into your dark bottle.
- This will last much longer at room temperature (up to 6 months, although it doesn’t stick around that long in my house), but you could always store it in the refrigerator to be sure it keeps well.
Have you ever made rose water? What is our favorite way to use it?
Discussion (97 Comments)
Oh man. I can’t wait to try this!
I’ve made rose hydrosol before. It really is so easy. I’ve added it to muffins.
I had no idea making rosewater was so easy. I’ve been buying it from my health food store for a crazy price for way too long. Awesome!
I have really enjoyed your blog, website, emails and social media posts (whew!). I have such a strong desire to be a “Wellness Mama” and provide a healthy and safe environment for my family to thrive in. I work full time (thankfully it is from home) have a one year old and a husband and I am completely fascinated by you and how you manage everything you do! That brings me to my question…if this isn’t too personal…would you ever consider doing an article on a day in your life, or better yet a week in your life? I look at your website and get completely overwhelmed with all the stuff I want to be doing for my family and am not because I am overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I am beyond curious about when and how you incorporate everything that you write about into your life on top of working, being a mother and wife. I would LOVE to see what your schedule looks like and how you manage to get all the home-made cleaning supplies, beauty products, meals and supplements into a day! I would print that out so I could have a starting point to go from. Anyway, if you decide not to do that, just know that what you do and the information that you pass on is appreciated! Thank you!
Rachel, you are doing a great job! No one does it all, and I’m sure you are such am marvelous mama and wife 🙂 I wrote a day-in-the-life post a few years ago, and I’m working on a little update now too! Hope this helps.
This is PERFECT thank you so much!!
I too was wondering the same. I’m sixty one my oldest is fouty one. I justvtook on fostering a two year old and I m amazed I manage to bath. What is it all you young women accomplish so much. Your so amazing. But then I remember in the seventies we made our own yoghurt and I was the local herb and massage therapist. Humm I guess natural has come back into style. I’m just a heck of a lot older. I think I’ll go back to being a drug counselor, its easier. Thank you for sharing you’re knowledge and carrying the torch.
Favorite way to use rose water…
Wow, this is a tricky one!
Definitely in desserts!
Rose petal jam! (great in yogurt) or with a mild sweet farmer cheese like Anari
rose water and mastic “icecream”
rose water with pistachios- in a blender till creamy! (makes a delish spread)
rose water with blanched almonds- also blend until creamy! (stuff this in dates!)
Homemade marzipan– with lots of rosewater!!
Adding it to any baked dessert is also wonderul- in the baking mix or sprinkled ontop of the finnished cake. or just use one of the above pastes to frost a cake.
Or add more nuts to create a nutty /rosewater base for a raw chocolate dessert recipe…
but definitely rose petal tea is the best!
Orange water is also lovely…
oh dear, I think I better stop here!
You missed Turkish Delight 😉
Can we use roses of various colors or is there any significance in using pink/red roses??
About how long is the distilled version shelf stable?
I put organic rose buds in a glass container, cover it with witch hazel and let sit for about 7 days, then i strain out the petals and pour the witch hazel into a dark glass contain. I use it as a toner on my face which is incredible. I always feel bad about throwing the leftover buds away, next time I will add them to soap…never thought of doing that before. Thank you Katie!!
I love this idea. How long is the shelf life for your method? I love witch hazel, and have been looking for a good toner.
Excellent timing, you couldn’t have done better if you had tried.
I was just looking at 100x Washed Rosewater Ghee thinking ‘that ought to be easy enough to make’ (I have this real good sense of humor?). I might just try it though if I can capture some petals before they go too brown this summer.
I have fond memories of my grandmother teaching me how to make rose water as a child (maybe 4 or 6 years old). Infusion rather than distillation though. Ahh, happy days!
Linda. How did grandmother make the infused oil? Thanks! ~Linda S
I wouldn’t get too excited, it was just a simple sun infusion – probably something the girls had done a lot of during the war to add a bit of glamour to otherwise dour lives. Also, I guess, something she judged safe for a 4/5/6 year old kid and her pal from across the street to be trusted with.
We were each given a jam jar and instructed to collect up the prettiest smelling rose petals we could find into the jars until they were full. Once filled we topped the jar up with what should probably have been distilled or filtered water but in reality was just plain old Brighton tap water. We then screwed the lid on and gave the whole lot a jolly good shake. The jar was then placed on the sunniest windowsill we could find for at least a day before straining.
As I recall it, I think I was more impressed with Nan teaching me something else and competing for the ‘smelliest’ petal with my friend than I was with the lightly scented results 🙂
Any suggestions besides a brick? I’d like to make today without trying to locate a single brick. Thank you 🙂
I also wanted to know this.
What is the purpose of the brick anyways?
To keep the bowl inside the large pot from touching the bottom, boiling or getting liquid from the pot into it so you get a clear distillation. In other words, it is just there as a way to raise up the bowl.
Could you place another smaller bowl upside down in the pan and then place the collection bowl on top of that? I DON’T know if the conduction of the bowl will be a problem though….just an idea!
I tried this using a pyrex bowl upside down on the bottom with another bowl on top. As my water simmered the bowl keeping moving around on the bottom of the pan. I had the heat as low as it would go on my simmering eye. After about an hour or so (I waited until the water was gone from the petals) I opened my pot to discover that I only collect about 1/2 cup in my distilled bowl but had about 2 or 3 cups of beautiful pink water UNDER the upside down pyrex bowl! I’m not for sure how concentrated the distilled water is since most of the goodness went underneath the bottom bowl. Just FYI if you decide to try something other than a brick.
I used an upsidedown colander and I haven’t had any issues with it
I didnt like the idea of using a brick. Its going to be steaming right along with everything else, and honestly I dont know how bricks are made. There could be some nasty manufacturing chemical we arent privy to.
I use a ceramic ramikan or a heavy duty glass bowl and make sure they say microwave and dishwasher safe so you know they can take the heat . I dont think she stressed this part (or I missed it) Definitely use DISTILLED water not spring or purified and NEVER tap…
I must warn you though.. Its super addicting! I started with Roses and then I did blood orange, cucumber/key lime, meyer lemon, lavender… And the list goes on.. And they are really good for gifts.. Hope this helped !
Thank you for such a detailed answer. I was wondering how to work the recipe without a brick!
Hi I read that you could use an upside down bowl. Then put your right side up bowl on top of this. Hope this helps.