How to Make Rose Water Toner using fresh Rose Petals
Instructions on how to make rose water toner using fresh rose petals. Use directly on your skin as a natural toner or blend it with oils to create creams and lotions.
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People have used rose water for generations as a natural yet gentle astringent. Probably long before we had commercially produced rose water, the average person would have used this very method to make soothing and cleansing skin toners. It’s just so simple! You apply it with a spray bottle or cotton pad and it helps to cleanse and tighten the skin and to reduce redness and inflammation. It’s also very sensitive and can be used on most skin types making it a great addition to creams and lotions.
True rosewater is made by distillation so this recipe is technically an infusion. However, an infusion of rose petals can provide just as much skin-loving therapy as some of the more expensive products. Rose absolute and rose hydrosol are beautiful skin therapeutic extracts but they can also be pricey. This recipe will give you a sweetly scented natural skin toner that you can make yourself for practically nothing. All you need is rose petals and distilled water.
Make Homemade Rose Water Toner
At the end of the process, rose water should smell softly of roses. If you want even a little of the fragrance to remain then it’s best to start with old-fashioned or wild roses. The more fragrant the roses, the more fragrant your rose water will be. Any organically-grown rose petals will do though. However, do not use rose petals from flowers in bouquets. Flowers sold as ornamentals are in most cases sprayed with insecticides and fungicides that could be harmful.
Another thing to consider is that the color of the rose petals will affect the color of the rose toner. If you use pink or red roses then it will be pink, white roses will result in clear, and orange rose petals create yellow rose water. I personally wouldn’t say that the color means that one is better than the other but I do prefer using pink or red roses.
Use Wild Rose Petals for Beautiful Fragrance
My favorite rose to use for this recipe is any of the wild roses. There are about half a dozen different types but the ones on my doorstep are rosa rugosa (beach rose) and rosa canina (dog rose). When foraging for wild roses, pick the petals direct from the flower, leaving the hip in place. It could already be pollinated and you could return in the autumn to pick them for rose-hip syrup or tea. With garden roses, place your hand over the flower and gently pull all the petals off. They tend to come off fairly easily if the flower has been blooming for a few days.
How to Make Rose Water
To make rosewater, pick about three cups of rose petals. Leave them outside on a tea towel to allow any insects to escape. Give them around half an hour.
Next, put the rose petals into a saucepan. You can fill it up all the way to the top with rose petals if you’d like. Fill the pan with water (preferably distilled) until the petals are just covered. Place a lid on the pan and heat on low until most of the color has faded from the petals. It will take about twenty minutes and whatever you do, keep the water from coming to a simmer. Too much heat can destroy the flower’s beneficial properties and color.
Straining and using Rose Water for Skin
After the petals have paled considerably, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and compost the remaining rose petals. Pour the rose water toner into a sterilized jar, allow it to cool, and then keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. Kept this way, it will keep for about a week.
You can use rose water toner on its own with a cotton pad or as a face mist with a mini spray bottle. It provides immediate freshness, reduces redness and inflammation, and smells lovely. When you use it on a pad you’ll notice that it picks up a lot of grime and make-up too. Afterward, your skin feels squeaky clean and if the rose water is fragrant enough, you can smell roses coming off your skin.
Using Rose Water in Moisturizers
If you’d like the rose water toner to last a lot longer, freeze it into ice cubes and use it within six months. This way, you can preserve that rosy goodness without using preservatives. If you wanted to keep this homemade rose water preserved on the shelf you’d need to use a preservative. Many on the market only work if the product is within a certain pH range though, so you may need to tinker with the recipe to drop the pH down.
You can also preserve homemade rose water in handmade moisturizers and creams. They’ll provide all the benefits of rose water plus the benefits of the oils you use. The preservatives you use in lotion-making will extend its life too. Use homemade rose water in any of these skin cream recipes by just substituting part or all of the water content with rose water. Inspired by this idea? Here are even more rose recipes for you to check out.
I have used this recipe and it is lovely. I also make syrup and the grand kids love it mixed with soda water in summer.
Hello, how can make the toner so that it can last longer than a week. Or is that possible?
You can freeze it for up to six months and defrost a cube when you need more toner.
Hi there :)
can I use normal drinking (boiled) water for making rose water…?
You can, but boiling will not remove impurities such as minerals or tiny physical contaminants — it may not kill all organisms either. Distilled is always best for skincare and a must for making skincare for retail.
I found distilled water at my grocery store in the aisle where the bottled water is, it’s in a gallon size container. Hope that helps.
Hi Melissa, in some places (such as the USA), distilled water is common, as you’ve found. Here in Britain, it’s like hen’s teeth — only available through specialist sellers, usually over the internet.
Thank you very much for the post! I love it!!
Thanks for the post. The recipes look amazing and effective.
Hi there. How much vitamin E and preservative do you use say per oz of rose water?
I was wondering if the roses you use need to be fresh. I already have roses from a bouquet but those are somewhat wilted and I wanted to know if I should just get new roses or if it’s ok to use the old.
Never use roses from supermarket or florist bouquets in skincare or for edible flowers. Unfortunately, they’re sprayed with pesticides and other agents during their growth period. For this recipe you can use fresh or dried food-grade rose petals and/or roses you’ve grown yourself organically.
So great! Very easy to try it. I am so happy when i have my own on my face. I could follow and do it! Thank you for very useful post!
Is there a brand of reusable cotton pads that you recommend? Also, how do you clean them after use?
I made some Rose Water today with the Wild English Roses I have growing in my garden. Who knew I could make my own Rose Water. I would like to make a large amount to last me all year round. The bush only blossoms in June every year. What I made today, I put in ice cube trays to freeze. I would like to use a safe natural preservative in the water so that I could give as gifts at Christmas. You mentioned in an earlier post to use Natural phenethyl alcohol. I have looked on-line for it but can’t find it. Where can I buy this. Thank you!
Hi Linda, any broad-spectrum preservative would work. I use geogard ultra but Leucidal Liquid SF is another one suitable for natural skincare.
I enjoyed your post a lot! However, I’m planning to give this as gifts for a wedding. Hopefully last up to 6 mos. Will Leucidal Liquid be an efficient preservative? If so, what is the measurement? Thanks in advance. Hoping for your reply :)
I would wait and make it just a week or two before the wedding as the color will fade in six month’s time. Yes to a broad spectrum preservative and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. If I make this recipe, and want to send it to my friend as a gift, do I have to add the broad-spectrum preservative to the rose water and that’s it? How long is going to last? Should I keep it refrigerated even after adding broad-spectrum?
Hi Nadia, each preservative is different so please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preservatives typically make water-based products shelf-safe though :)
How do you dehydrate the rose petals? I don’t have a dehydrator, is there another way to do this. Any information would be helpful. Thank you!
When you boil tap qater, you actually concentrate the bad chemicals. Boiling only kills germs in contaminated water. Tap needs to be put through a filter that removes especially fluoride.
Very interesting, I am actually never made homemade cosmetics, but I want to start, does it really work for you?
Good day ma’am. Can i use petal rose bought in flower shops. Can i also use gumamela,ylang-ylang and the like with this procedure.thank you and God bless.
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t use rose petals from the supermarket or florist flowers. Flowers grown for the cut flower industry are sprayed in pesticides and fungicides that are not safe for human consumption or cosmetics.
Can we use the greenhouse roses, and boiled tap water to make the rose water?
Outdoor grown organic roses are the best source of rose petals for skincare. Greenhouse grown (aka supermarket roses) have almost no scent and may be sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and goodness knows what else. Not the best way to start with making natural skin products. Best to use spring water or distilled water too. Tap water has all kinds of impurities and chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, not to mention heavy minerals in some areas.
Can I mix white and red roses together?
Yes, though the infusion won’t be as pink
Thank you for the post it was so helpful but I just wanted to ask, can I pour rose water into my moisturizer? I use the palmers skin success fade milk .
You could, however, it could invite bacterial growth since there wouldn’t be enough preservative in the original lotion to counter the extra water. I’d try it on the go rather than mix it all together in a pot.
Please can You tell me, can I put rose water in freezer for some period? Will it have same effect?Thank You dear.
Interesting question. I’ve not tried before but can’t see why not.
Can I use vitamin E as a preservative?
Vitamin E is not a preservative — it will not kill bacteria or microbes
Hi, can we use this rose water in soaps? May be in melt and pour soap?
Personally I wouldn’t do it. You can use it in cold-process soap but it will likely brown. I wouldn’t advise using any water-liquid in m&p since it will likely seep with the glycerin out of the bars. Imagine wet and sticky soap.
Hi can I leave the rose petals in the rose water toner?
I don’t recommend it — they’ll start breaking down (rotting) without a preservative
I have organic dried wild rose petals. Can I use this? And would be the same amount 3cups? Or less? Thank you
Yes you can — use half the amount of dried rose petals for this recipe.
loved the post, the idea of rose water sounds very refreshing and soothing. Would definitely try it out and recommend it to other. Keep posting such stuff.
can you add a drop or two of essential oil to the rose water? if so what would be a good choice for a fresh spritz / toner for face & neck?
That would make a lovely addition :) Rose Absolute would be an ideal choice, as would Rose-Geranium or Chamomile
What do you mean it will only keep for about a week? Would it be bad to use it after then? Also, if I use red roses will it leave pigments on my skin?
No, it won’t leave your skin pink. After a week the toner may begin to grow mold, especially if it’s left at room temperature. That’s the way things go if you don’t use a preservative.
This can also be used in culinary ways. Substitute this for vanilla, using twice as much as the vanilla that is called for. Great in white cakes especially.
Am so happy to discover this new and amazing tips ? on natural beauty !!
Sorry for my English French girl?.
Could peony be used for this? Nothing beats their smell:)
I’ve never tried it before but don’t see why not. Peony extract is used as an antioxidant – a possible anti-aging compound.
Was just wondering how long rose water will last? If I was to make a large batch would it be safe to store for the winter?
There aren’t any preservatives in this recipe so no it wouldn’t last longer than a month or so (max!) in the fridge. Idea: try freezing it? I haven’t tried it before but it may work!
But if used in body cream, how long can I keep it ? Thank u
If you use a broad spectrum preservative and an antioxidant like vitamin e then it can last much longer. Up to 18 months in some cases but it’s completely down to the preservative you choose.
I was wondering about preservatives. What would be a good natural broad spectrum preservative to use in home-made products?
Thanks. Your blog is amazing. Thank you for your generosity in sharing.
I use geogard ultra but there are others out there too. Leucidal Liquid SF is another one suitable for natural skincare.
I dehydrate the petals and make small batches of the rose water/oil using the dried petals throughout the year
Hi. In the last set of pictures, it shows the pink rose lotion, a clear gel-like substance, and the rose water. What is the clear gel stuff?
Hi Christine! The white cream in the glass pot is another type of lotion that I made with the rose water. I don’t have the recipe online but will see about sharing it.
This was such a lovely post! Your blog is definitely one of of my favorites :)
Thank you so much :)
Thank you so much!
Hi! How many flower petals you put in it you would say? (To be efficient) I would like to try it!
It depends on how much you'd like to make! The recipe here can be used for any quantity of rose petals.
Oh this is a pretty post. The pictures are wonderful as is the topic. I wish I had roses, and I must grow some. I look forward to seeing your cream recipes!
Thank you and I'll be posting some more recipes soon :)
I wonder if, when this is used in a cream, if it lasts longer than a month or so before becoming rancid.
It will depend entirely on whether you use a preservative or not Becki. If you do use one, it will extend the shelf life dramatically – for up to 12-18 months.
What kind of preservative would you recommend?
I don’t use a preservative in this product — it keeps for long enough in the fridge. If I were to use one, I’d consider phenethyl alcohol. There are natural versions of it available and it smells like roses.
My big pink tea rose buds are getting rained on RIGHT NOW. The blooms never seem to last through a rain (wilty!) so I think it would be very clever of me to go ahead and harvest them to bring them inside and add…hot water. :( thanks for the recipe.
I meant a SMILEY FACE! ;)
I live in Alberta, Canada. The Wild Rose of Alberta is the famous "rose" here that grows like a weed, I can't get rid of it in my yard. It is what is called Rosa acicularis, you listed Rosa Rugosa. Am I able to use the roses here, or should it be that particular species you listed?
Absolutely! Rosa acicularis is also edible so you can use the hips for making tea, syrup, etc.
Thank you! They are all over our yard. Can't wait for them to pop up again next year, now I may like them after all. Do you have any recipes for that as well, or a how to?
The only rose bushes that I have are the "Knockout Roses." Can the petals from these be used to make this?
I love this idea, thanks for sharing! Millie
Just about any rose petals can be used Millie…so crack on :)
My Mum used the same basic technique as described here with petals from her burgeoning 'Climbing Peace' rose. The rose framed our front door landing quite beautifully.
When we were kids, my Mum would get us involved in making what she called rose perfume using the same basic techniques as described here. Quite interesting for inquisitive kids like me. The scent was intoxication as I fondly recall.
I'll definitely try to make this rose water! Will all kind of roses work equally? Is there any other flowers that we can use? Thank you so much for sharing! <3
True Rose Water comes from the Damask Rose (Rosa Damascena) though if you're making your own just choose a variety that has a deep and natural fragrance.
Such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing!
You're welcome Sara :)
I can't wait for the cream recipes!
I'll have some available shortly :)
Now I have a dilemma, your rose water sounds lovely. But I only have so many rose petals and I was going to try and make Rose petal preserve this year.Having never tried either I am not sure which to try
Find a friend with spare roses and try both! :)
This is something we used to make as kids – is it any wonder that I have a divine complexion – ha ha!
Haha! It does feel nice as a toner though and the scent is just divine :)
Thank you for this post and recipe, I love the simple things in life!
You're welcome Sandie :)
I thought it was some complicated extraction method of sorts, it looks simple!
'Proper' Rose water that you buy in shops is extracted in a distilling process. You can hack the process of distilling at home but making Rose Water this way, using an infusion, is far easier.
Rose water sounds lovely. I've got a many petalled rose in the garden, so I might try this one while it is flowering. Another great post Tanya, I'm looking forward to hearing about how you make the cream.
I'm still experimenting with recipes but definitely plan on sharing a few in the coming weeks :)
gorgeous post :-)
Thank you :)
thank you very much for your post. I am wainting impatient your new entrances about cream
Thanks Yolanda :) I'll post some recipes within the next couple of weeks.
Hi Tanya, I was just wondering if u ever made a lotion with the rose water. I couldnt find 1 on here.
Thank you for the post, I am going to have a go as I love rose water but have never dared try to make it myself xxExcited about your creams recipes too as most commercial creams irritate my skin.
Have fun trying it out Mrs C – and maybe save some for making into cream :)