A Brief History of Rose Water

What is Rose Water ?

Rose water or rose hydrolate is a by-product of the distillation of rose petals for the manufacture of rose essential oil. It has a very fragrant flavor and a concentrated rose scent. Rose water is also used in the cosmetics industry as a perfume and as a toner spray.
Obtained by a process of distillation of the flower, rose water toner has many benefits for the body and face skin. Among the many varieties defined, the Damascus rose presents the best yield. For the record, it is now cultivated in different countries, from Turkey to Morocco. It is also in the Arab countries that rose water was originally used for skin care since 10th century! It was first used in cosmetics as a toner, before it was found to be of culinary and even therapeutic use since it can relieve, in particular, headaches. Two varieties of rose which are particularly suitable for cosmetic use: Centifolia and Damascus rose.

How to Make Rose Water

Making organic rose water is not easy and requires meticulous know-how and the right equipment. Unfortunately, it is not possible to produce rose water at home without equipment! The rose petals are selected carefully to start the process of making rose wataer. Needless to say, the appearance, scent and quality of these petals will be decisive in assessing the final quality of the product obtained.

Rose water (along with rose watere essential oil) is made by distillation. This process involves placing water in a container and the rose petals in a compartment above. To picture this, imagine a steaming system or a couscoussière. The water is then placed on the fire in order to boil it and therefore release steam. The hot steam then rises to the compartment containing the roses. The vapor is then condensed and recovered in a cooling tube in order to transform it into water, this time full of the properties of the rose. Rose water Toner should preferably be kept cool after use within a maximum period of 6 months. It is essential to keep it away from all sources of heat and direct sunlight.

making rose water toner

Moroccan Rose Water

Where is Rose Water Cultivated ?

Roses Valley is the tourist nickname of the Oued Dadès valley located in the south-east of Morocco, at the foot of the High Atlas between El Kelaa des M'Gouna and Boulmane du Dadès. Its economy is essentially based on agriculture (cereals, barley, corn, potatoes).

It owes its name to the presence of rose hedges used to keep goats away from cultivated fields. Roses are traditionally used for the production of rose water know to be a unique skin toner. The rose bushes, whose scent spreads throughout the month of May, a few days before the harvest, give a special tone to this valley. The Damascus rose, Rosa Damascena, which is resistant to cold and drought, is said to have been introduced by pilgrims returning from Mecca in the tenth century. Annually three to four thousand tons of roses are collected, during a week which ends with the very touristy Moussem des Roses (Festival of Roses).
valley of roses dades and m'goun morocco

Each year, the Rose Festival is organized in May. This 4-day festival celebrates the arrival of roses from the Dades and M'Goun valleys. The event reaches between 300,000 - 400,000 visitors. During this festival, the chef-lieu of the region Kelaat M'Gouna doubles its population. Moroccans living in other cities of the kingdom and foreign tourists come to discover a region known for its perfumes and cosmetic products made from rose water as well as for the welcome and warmth of its inhabitants.

Where to Buy Rose Water 

If you want to buy organic, pure and guaranteed Rose Water, plan to visit the Roses Valleys in Morocco, Syria, Turkey and alike when you visit these countries. Buying locally can be a unique and enriching experience. If you do not have the opportunity to visit these countries, you can still buy organic and high quality rose water. Follow the next steps bellow to narrow down your choice : 

  • Choose a seller you trust: you have more chance to buy quality rose water toner from a seller located in one of the producing countries. Roses are very fragile and can only be distilled locally. You have all the reasons to be suspicious of a brand or seller not located in a producing country. Trust is key!
  • Read the labels twice: take time to read the labels and check if it is marked 100% Rose Water or 100% Rosa Damascena. You would be surprised of the number of labels indicating rose water mixed with other floral (sometimes synthetic!) waters. Verify that the rose water you are about to buy is unprocessed and unmixed. 

At Alixir, we guarantee that our Rose Water Toner is locally produced, 100% natural & certified USDA Organic. You can put it in the fridge (yes you can!), use it fresh and enjoy the benfits of the spary on your face, body skin and hair!

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We want to help people better understand what they put on their skin."

Khadija & Jaouad