The Viral TikTok Rose Water Hacks, Explained

On TikTok alone, the #rosewater tag has amassed over 95 million views, with people sharing their favorite beauty hacks and tips featuring rose water. Long before becoming a must-have for beauty enthusiasts, however, rose water has been essential for food recipes, cosmetic routines, and even customs across the Middle East and Latin America. A natural product that dates back more than a thousand years, rose water has risen to online prominence in recent years. 

The product of distilling petals of Damask rose, rose water is used for purposes as varied as freshening up and enhancing flavors. In the Middle East, for instance, rose water is part of hospitality, culinary, and beauty traditions. Meanwhile, in Latin America, it has been a beauty secret passed down from generation to generation. Though traditions and takes on its usage might vary depending on the region and culture, in certain Latin American countries, rose water is also part of therapeutic and spiritual practices. What makes rose water such a powerful product?

Afro Latin curandera (traditional healer) and botanical expert Taylor Córdova tells Teen Vogue, “Roses are most commonly associated with the virtues of romantic love, self-love, and beauty. Although I don’t feel these associations are inaccurate, rose is much more dynamic.”

From cosmetics to fragrances, rose-infused products are favorites in the beauty industry. Board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD points out that “roses have been used in many over-the-counter beauty products such as face masks, drops, and facial oils.” Rose water, in particular, she explains, “is great for the skin,” pointing to its “key ingredients [like] vitamin C, polyphenols, and carotenoids, and [its] great antimicrobial properties.”

Rose water is a multi-purpose product that can be easily incorporated into any beauty routine, board-certified dermatologist Kim Nichols, MD observes. “Rose water [should be] comprised solely of rose petals and water; it is safe to use on all skin types and can fit into almost any skincare regimen.”

Heritage Store Rose Water Spray

Dr. Chimento, for example, recommends rose water for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and calming capabilities, as well as its moisturizing properties. “You can incorporate rose water into your routine easily. You can wash your face with rose water or even add a few drops to your face to hydrate the skin prior to applying your favorite skin care regimen,” she advises.

Alternatively, Dr. Nichols suggests the application of rose water as a spray. She also points out its “natural antioxidant properties” that protect the skin barrier and elaborates on its anti-inflammatory qualities. “Rose water helps to hydrate and soothe redness and irritation for a healthy-looking complexion.” Dr. Nichols adds, “Rose water can be used both morning and night; I typically recommend a few spritzes right after cleansing the skin, as well as whenever you feel your skin needs a quick refresh throughout the day.” Cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos echoes this statement, “I keep a bottle of Mario Badescu spray with rose water on my desk and use it for a little refresh a few times a day. I just love the smell of roses, so it’s also calming in an emotional sense for me!”

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

In addition to the conventional properties attributed to rose water, in some Black, indigenous, and mestizo communities in Latin America, the use of rose water is steeped in tradition and syncretism. To fully benefit from its spiritual and healing attributes, Córdova suggests adding purpose with simple practices. “Add rose water into your skincare routine or beauty ritual. Look into the mirror, take your time, breathe, enjoy the aroma, tell yourself kind things, and smile at yourself. [Additionally] allow rose water to deepen your trust in your own intuition. When you are meditating or looking for clarity on a specific topic, mist yourself and your space with rose water,” she says.

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