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Adored by hopeless romantics and flower lovers alike, the rose is highly prized for its gentle scent. This complex, sweet odor is used in a variety of cosmetic, toiletry, perfume and even food products. Natural rose scent may be collected and preserved in a variety of forms, each with its own benefits and drawbacks making it suitable for different uses. Choose a natural-scented rose product based on your needs.
Rose water is made when roses are steam distilled. This process infuses water with the natural essence of rose petals, leaving a light yet noticeably aromatic water containing the scent and flavor of rose. Since roses have a pleasant, delicate taste as well as a good smell, rose water is commonly used as an ingredient in cooking as well as a component of cosmetics. The scent of rose water is a bit light to use as a perfume, but you can use it more heavily as an after-bath splash or as a primary liquid ingredient in homemade lotion. The smell of rose water is very similar to the smell of fresh roses themselves.
Essential oil a naturally occurring lipid that is extracted from plants petals. This oil is what gives the rose its scent; when it is extracted and collected in a quantity large enough to fill even a small bottle, the scent is fully natural, yet quite powerful, even overwhelming. A very small quantity of this oil can be used to scent cosmetics or as an ingredient in perfume. To wear it as a personal scent, you need only apply a tiny drop to your skin for long wear. You can also use essential oils in oil scent burners to fill your home with rose scent for several hours. Though bottles of essential oil are more expensive than rose water, a little goes a very long way.
Dried rose petals may be collected or purchased where potpourri supplies are sold. You can also buy freeze-dried rose petals from wedding suppliers for maximum freshness. When ground and used in cosmetics, rose petals will impart not only scent but the emollient (skin softening) properties of the plant; rose water will do this as well, but not as strongly. This makes it a good ingredient for items like soap and facial creams.
Commercial rose perfumes may contain chemical preservatives, but with the right supplier, you can find natural rose perfumes containing only rose water, essential oil, ethanol alcohol and natural emulsifers. The emulsifiers combine the oil and water while the alcohol makes the mixture more volatile, improving how well the scent carries. Rose perfumes are the best of both worlds, combining the soft scent of rose water with the enduring properties of essential oil.