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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Nicole Enright

The Art of Making Traditional DIY Distilled Rose Water

Updated: Apr 2

woman holding a tea kettle in kitchen

There's something timeless and almost magical about the fragrance of a rose garden in full bloom. The sweet and soothing aroma of roses is not just a feast for the senses but has also been a beauty and medicinal secret through the ages. Today, we're going back to the essentials to revive the ancient art of making rose water the traditional way.

The Charm of Tradition

Rose water has been a staple in beauty rituals for centuries, used by queens and commoners alike. It's beloved for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to refresh and hydrate the skin. While you can absolutely make rose water by simply adding rose petals to a pot, adding water and bringing to a simmer, you'll get a brown water that has a very short shelf-life. This traditional method will last forever and making it at home, the traditional way, not only connects us to a storied past but ensures a 100% natural concoction without any added chemicals.

Plucking the Petals

Begin your DIY journey by choosing the right roses. Local flower farms that grow their flowers organically and free from pesticides, are perfect for our purpose. If you choose pesticide-free roses, you can ingest this rose water and even use it for culinary uses. For roses that you cannot guarantee origination, I do not recommend using on your skin or ingesting, however you can use this as a room deodorizer.

a red rose over a stainless steel pot


To make rose water, you'll need:

- Freshly-plucked or semi-dried rose petals. Freshly-plucked petals will produce the most potent smelling rose water.

- Water. Tap water is fine, as this process will naturally distill the water.

- A large pot with a domed lid (when flipped over).

- A small heat-safe bowl.

- Ice cubes.

The Process

1. Place the petals in the pot with a heat-safe bowl in the center.

2. Boil water and pour just enough water to cover them, being careful not to get any water in the center bowl. If water gets into the center bowl, simply use a towel to absorb it.

3. Turn the pot lid upside down, so the handle is pointing downwards into the small bowl. This inverted lid will help condense the steam and direct it into the bowl.

water forming in pot lid

4. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Once it's simmering, place ice cubes on top of the inverted lid.

5. As the steam rises, it condenses on the cold lid and drips into the bowl, resulting in pure distilled rose water.

6. Let the process continue for about 30 minutes or until the petals have lost their color.

7. As the ice melts, absorb the water on top of the lid with a towel. Remove the towel with tongs and place aside. Repeat this process until you've produced enough rose water; adding ice, letting it melt, absorbing the water with towel; repeat.

8. Carefully remove the bowl, which contains your homemade rose water, with pot holders.

Bottling the Essence

Allow the rose water to cool completely. Then pour it into a sterilized glass bottle. Store it in your refrigerator to extend its shelf life, however storing at room temperature is fine. This fragrant, clear exlixer can now become a daily part of your skincare ritual. Use it as a toner, a fresh spritz to revive tired skin, or add it to your bath for a luxurious soak.

Final Bloom

Making your own traditional rose water is not just about the end product but about the journey. As you use your homemade rose water, remember that you're not just nourishing your skin but connecting with the heritage of beauty itself. So here's to reviving traditions, embracing natural remedies, and cherishing the sweet, floral whispers of rose water.

woman smiling and holding a spray bottle in the kitchen

Healing Properties of Rose Water:

  1. Soothes Skin Irritations;

  2. Hydrates Skin;

  3. Antioxidant Properties;

  4. Heals cuts, scars and burns;

  5. Enhances Mood;

  6. Reduces Skin Aging;

  7. Reduces Inflammation (it's edible);

  8. Reduces Puffiness under the eyes.

Uses of Rose Water:

1. Facial Toner: Apply to the face after cleansing to tone and refresh the skin;

2. Makeup Remover: Use as a natural makeup remover, especially helpful for sensitive skin;

3. Aftershave: Men and women can use it to soothe the skin after shaving;

4. In Cooking: A flavoring agent in Middle Eastern, Indian and Persian cuisine in dishes like baklava, rice and sweets.

5. Perfume Base: As a base for perfumes due to its subtle floral scent.

6. Hair Care: Rinse hair with rose water to increase shine and vitality.

7. Bath Additive: Add rose water to bathwater for a luxurious, fragrant that can help improve skin health;

8. Relieves Headaches: The cooling effect can help relieve headaches when applied to forehead;

9. Medicinal Uses: Used in Traditional Medicine to soothe sore throats and improve digestion;

10. Air Freshener: Used as a natural air freshener and room deodorizer for a pleasant ambiance.

Always conduct a patch test before applying new products containing rose water to your skin to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction.

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