Rose oil (also known as rose otto or attar of roses) is prized for its rich floral aroma. Many users say the scent evokes the feeling of being in a rose garden.
Derived from steam distillation of rose petals, rose oil is one of the most expensive essential oils. It can take more than 12,000 rose petals to make a 5 ml bottle. Because of the high price and concentration, a little bit of rose oil goes a long way.
Most rose oil is derived from the petals of the damask rose (rosa x damascena), which is grown in Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Syria, Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Iran, and China. Most of the roses used to produce rose oil are grown in Bulgaria.
It is important to differentiate rose oil (or rose otto) from rose absolute, which is primarily used in the fragrance industry.
This article describes the benefits and uses of rose oil, as well as some places you can purchase it. Before using rose oil, be sure to read the precautions at the end of the article.
Rose Oil Benefits and Uses
1. Skin Care
Rose oil is most widely used for skin care and is excellent for dry, sensitive, or mature skin. It can also be used to treat acne and even out skin tone. A wide variety of rose oil skin care products are available, or you can add a few drops of rose oil to products you already use. As with any essential oil, do not apply the oil directly to your skin. Instead, combine rose oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oils) before applying to skin. Also perform a patch test to ensure you aren’t allergic. If you want to make your own rose oil skin care products, some recipes can be found below.
- For treating acne: Combine two drops of rose oil, 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay, and 1 teaspoon of witch hazel. Mix into a paste and apply to your skin. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
- Face serum for mature skin: Combine 1 drop of rose oil, 2 drops of sandalwood oil, 2 drops of frankincense oil, and 1 ounce of a carrier oil (such as jojoba, avocado, or coconut oil) and mix well. Apply nightly after cleaning skin.
- Recipe for anti-aging facial oil: Combine 3 tablespoons of a carrier oil (such as jojoba or argan oil), 5 drops of rose oil, 3 drops of frankincense oil, and 4 drops of lavender oil in a dark glass dropper bottle. Mix well and apply to skin daily.
- Recipe for body scrub: Combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of finely ground pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, and 3 drops of rose oil. Apply to hands, arms, legs, and feet while in the shower or bath.
2. Natural Perfume
Rose oil is prized for its floral aroma, which makes it a natural for use as a perfume. Because of rose oil’s strong concentration, you don’t need to use too much. A dilution of 3% is ideal. The recipe below provides the ideal formula for making a natural perfume.
How To: Use 4 drops of rose oil combined with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil (such as odorless jojoba oil) and apply to pulse points, which located behind the ear, at the bottom of the throat, on the wrists, inside the elbow, and behind the knee.
3. Mood Elevation
Rose oil has a relaxing and calming effect and can be used to lift your mood after a stressful day. It is particularly effective when combined with lavender oil. A 2009 study examined the relaxing effects of rose oil and found that the group exposed to rose oil reported feeling calmer, more relaxed, and less alert than the control group. A 2012 study used rose oil and lavender oil aromatherapy with high-risk postpartum women and had positive results.
How To: Use rose oil in an essential oil diffuser or follow the natural perfume guidelines described above. To achieve greater relaxation, combine rose oil with lavender oil.
4. Reduce Menstrual Cramps
Rose oil is one of several essential oils effective in relieving menstrual cramps. (The other oils are lavender, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, and chamomile). The recommended method is the massage.
How To: Mix 2 to 3 drops of rose oil with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, almond, or coconut oil) and massage on the abdomen.
5. Use on Hair
Rose oil can be used to hydrate hair and keep it smelling fresh. Because of the high cost of rose oil, some users recommend adding a few drops to your deep conditioner. You can also make hair oil using the recipe below.
How To: Combine one drop of rose oil with one tablespoon of argan oil. Mix well and apply to hair, focusing on the tips.
Where to Buy Rose Oil
Many companies produce and sell essential oils and carrier oils. Several of the largest are multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations (such as Young Living and DoTerra) that are considered somewhat controversial.
Here are a few of non-MLM companies (listed in alphabetical order) where you can purchase rose oil or rose oil products. Because rose oil is so expensive (prices for pure rose oil range from $180 to $200), it is worth shopping around to find a quality oil at a good price or to consider purchasing products that incorporate rose oil.
Eden’s Garden: Offering 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils without bases, fillers, or additives, Eden’s Garden offers an unconditional guarantee and sources products from organic growers and distillers as much as possible. Certificates of analysis, specifications, and MSDS are available upon request. You can enroll in the Aroma Notes rewards program to earn points that can be redeemed toward purchases.
Mountain Rose Herbs offers high-quality products and leads the industry in environmental stewardship and commitment to organic agriculture. The company also adheres to strict principles and protocols that ensure fair treatment and compensation for their workers and suppliers and farmers.
Plant Therapy: This family-owned company prides itself on offering high-quality products as well as excellent customer service and fast, free shipping.
Rocky Mountain Oils: Founded in 2004 by a group of wellness enthusiasts, Rocky Mountain Oils is a leading non-MLM purveyor of 100% pure, natural and authentic oils and related products. They also offer a satisfaction guarantee.
Precautions When Using Rose Oil
When using rose oil, be sure to follow these usage and safety guidelines.
- Don’t apply rose oil directly on your skin. Instead, first dilute it with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil). You should also do a patch test to ensure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.
- When diffusing essential oils, limit exposure to 15 to 20 minutes.
- Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
- Keep essential oils away from children.
- Do not ingest essential oils.
Derived from steam distillation of rose petals, rose oil is one of the most expensive essential oils and is prized for its rich floral aroma. Rose oil is mostly used in skin care and to uplift emotions.
Rose oil does not have any specific precautions associated with it, but be sure to follow general safety guidelines for using essential oils. How have you used rose oil? Let us know in the comments.