Rose oil has been used across cultures for centuries. With its aromatic fragrance, its compatibility with every skin type, and its many benefits, it’s still widely used today. Despite its popularity within the community of those who use essential oils regularly, it falls to the wayside when it comes to those who are just starting out or haven’t paid much attention to it. Here, we’ll run through a “crash course” over all things rose oil/rose otto: its history, how it’s made, and its uses and benefits.
There are two main species of rose that are harvested for their essential oils: rosa damascena, called “the damask rose,” found primarily in Bulgaria and the Middle East; and rosa centifolia, colloquially known as the “cabbage rose,” found in Morocco, Egypt, and France. At Alteya Organics, we grow and produce rose essential oil from the precious Bulgarian rosa damascena- the most sought after rose essential oil in the world. This special type of rose is one of the most precious essential oil in the world because of its unique rich chemical composition and deep multilayered fragrance. For over 300 years, rose oil – sometimes called “rose otto” – has been distilled around the city of Kazanlak, Bulgaria. Though roses are native to many parts of the Middle East, Kazanlak’s environment was deemed better than any other geographic location for rose plantations. This area became known as Rozova dolina, or “The Rose Valley,” producing almost half of the world’s rose oil. The Rose Valley is considered a Protected Geographical Indication according to the European Commission since September 2014.
How It’s Made
The process of making rose otto is incredibly specific and three-fold: picking, distilling, and separating. It starts off with the gathering of the roses. Roses are hand-picked individually – a task that requires both patience and a strong attention to detail – before being sent off to the distilleries. When the roses are in bloom, they need to be picked every day, since each day can warrant new blooms. In addition to the time- and labor-intensive process of hand-picking roses, there is also a time limit. Wait too long and the roses will be over-exposed to the sun, drying out its oils and causing the flower to wither. For this reason, the hand-picking starts before sunrise.
Rose oil is extracted through a steam distillation process, unlike some oils, which are extracted through a cold-pressed process. Steam distillation begins immediately after the roses are picked. First, the rose blossoms are placed in distillation stills, typically made of copper. Then, they are gently hit with a stream of low-pressure steam. This steam releases the rose’s essential oil into the air. In the final step of the distillation process, the vapor is condensed by cooling the copper coils.
After distilling comes the separation process. This process is fairly easy, as the water and oil separate naturally due to the difference in density. It takes more than 10,000 rose blossoms to produce just 5ml. of pure, high quality rose essential oil. This detailed three-step process is a large part of the reason as to why rose oil is on the pricier side of essential oils: it takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to produce organic essential oil.
Uses and Benefits
Rose oil has many benefits and is widely used in skincare and aromatherapy.
This precious essential oil has proven positive effect on surface capillaries to help even skin tone and significantly improve complexion. It is rich in a complex array of minerals and vitamins that help rejuvenate, firm and tone skin and help fight free radicals and most visible signs of aging.
According to a 2010 study, rose oil is an incredibly strong bactericide that can kill acne-causing bacteria in as quickly as five minutes! This is incredibly helpful when it comes to acne-prone skin types or those with acne-related skin issues, such as rosacea. However, rose oil can do much more for the skin than just help fight acne. It can also treat wounds and make your skin more permeable. When applied topically to wounds, rose oil can prohibit it from becoming infected. In making your skin more permeable, rose oil allows your skin to absorb more nutrients.
Rose oil also helps fight certain mental ailments. A study was published by the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal that showed evidence that rose oil can help with both depression and general anxiety disorders. This works best when mixed with lavender, as lavender oil is calming, but it can also be used by itself. Another use that rose oil has is sensual in nature. Many floral fragrances are naturally erotic, and rose oil is one such fragrance. Since rose oil works against anxiety, it also works for your libido. It can both balance your sec hormones and raise your sex drive.
Rose Oil as an Ingredient
In many cases, rose oil is an ingredient in oil mixes instead of just being used on its own. While it has many benefits that allow it to function alone, it works best when combined with other essential oils. For example, while the smell of rose oil alone may give off sexy vibes, it helps your libido best to mix it with other oils, such as ylang-ylang, sandalwood, or jasmine oil.
In dealing with mental and emotional well-being, rose oil and lavender oil is a good combination. Both of these floral oils are known for bringing about a peaceful state of mind. While lavender tends to be more known as a sleeping aid that is calming, rose oil can pull those out use it out of depressive or anxiety-ridden states of mind. The benefits of these oils, when used together, can help lift your mood.
In short, rose oil is a product with several uses and benefits like any other essential oil. It has a centuries-old history, takes an insane amount of effort to produce organically, and is great by itself or mixed with other oils. If you’re looking to lift yourself up after a rough week, get rid of that pesky pimple, or even just have a nice-smelling perfume, rose oil is your go-to. Its versatility makes it one of the most popular and useful essential oils around.