Nothing says happy mother’s day like roses……. But there’s more to roses than pretty flowers in a vase.
Roses epitomise beauty and are tokens of affection but roses have a long history of use in the beautification of skin and are affectionately considered to impart a beauty glow to the receiver. Modern science validates that with analysis of roses revealing their makeup includes Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin H, nicotinic acid, folic acid, amylase, lipase enzyme, cholinesterase, aldolase, aminotransferase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase,21 different kinds of amino acids, including the eight essential amino acids and of course their wonderful and fragrant essential oils – prized in perfume and medicine. So giving a rose says a lot, but using a rose that might just say it all.
Rose water toner is a skin rejuvenator and soothing wash for all skin types. To make at home from the bunch you got this morning or if your garden yields – freshly picked petals – is really simple. There are two methods you can follow after washing the petals.
Steeping method (infused water): Harvest some flowers and place the petals into a saucepan. Add just enough distilled/spring water to cover the petals, or no more than twice their volume. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer – we want steam but not a rolling boil. Put the lid on and allow to sit until the petals leach their colour into the water. You may notice some rose oil floating on the surface. Strain to remove the solids and decant into a clean container. Keeps in the fridge for two weeks.
The second is by distillation- This method creates a pure distillate, similar to the witch hazel extract you can get from your pharmacy. Its concentration is stronger than that created by the steeping method. The process is more involved but it’s worth it. Firstly, make your makeshift still; you’ll need a large pot, a slightly smaller lid, a cup, a small bowl and a tallish glass. Invert the cup in the centre of the pot. Then add petals to the pot and enough water to cover them, or no more than double the volume. Balance the bowl on top of the cup and place the tall glass in the bowl. Place the lid on top of the glass. The steam will hit the lid and form condensation, which will drip down the side of the glass into the gathering bowl. Bring the water to a simmer and keep it steaming, without allowing it to boil hard, for long enough to gather a decent amount of distilled essence. When the petals lose their colour you can stop distilling. If balancing lids, bowls, cups and glasses gives you a panicky feeling, you can use cling film as a lid (weighted down with a stone in the centre). It will funnel the drips into the gathering bowl.
Essential rose and honey lip balm
Both the rose and the honey in this recipe are healing to chapped skin and the flavour they impart is exquisite.
Method – In a bain-marie, melt 2 teaspoons of grated beeswax into 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Once the wax has dissolved, stir in 1 tablespoon of honey and remove from the heat. Add 10–20 drops of rose essential oil to boost fragrance and healing potential. Decant into small glass or metal storage containers. Stores well for months in the pocket of overalls, in the shed drawer or in your handbag.
Rose and calendula skin cream
• 150ml calendula oil
• 90g coconut oil
• 30g emulsifying wax
• 30g cocoa butter
• 150ml rose water
Method – Warm the oils in a bain-marie. Add the wax and butter and continue to heat until fully melted. Remove from the heat and slowly add the rose water, whisking as you go. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and then whisk again for silky texture.
Rosehip and sea buckthorn skin lotion
Topically applied vitamin C can protect the skin from UV and free-radical damage but it also plays a role in the synthesis of elastic fibres and collagen production to delay sagging and ageing skin. Two potent vitamin C sources from the garden are the berries of the sea buckhorn and rosehips.
Method – Simply blitz the hips and berries in equal quantities in a blender with enough buttermilk to cover. Strain through a muslin cloth and use the juice as a rub-in revitalising and photo-protective treatment.