If you have any interest in clearing acne, then it’s likely that you’ve heard of rose water, a distillation of the rose flower’s petals into a pale pink liquid.
This classic Turkish invention has a great scent of course, being the main flavouring of traditional Turkish delight and countless perfumes, and even a halal friendly substitute for red wine in Middle Eastern cooking…
…but topical rose water also reduces inflammation in the skin very strongly, and is particularly effective against the notorious neutrophils. These pro-inflammatory chemicals have actually been detected in higher than average quantities in the pimples of acne patients. Their main job is to pump out free radicals to break down unhealthy tissue, but in excess, neutrophils break down and weaken healthy tissue.
Rose water is therefore very promising for acne and a glowing and healthy skin tone. This topical treatment also has antibacterial properties against a variety of strains, both gram-negative and gram-positive. The benefit? Rose water may wipe out the propionibacterium acnes infesting your skin pores. In the Middle East, rose water is even a default treatment for the skin condition dermatitis.
But which is the best rose water brand? That’s what we’ll discuss today.
Firstly, rose water has minimal side effects, but there’s always a slight risk of irritation or reactions with these topical treatments. Stop using rose water if you notice any side effects. For a shortcut, the best rose water brand here is Mary Tylor Naturals, while if you wish to buy an undiluted, steam distilled rose oil, scroll down to Alteya Organics Rose Oil.
Let’s get started:
One – Mary Tylor Naturals
The immediate advantage with Mary Tylor Naturals is being steam distilled, using the traditional method for making rose water which dates back centuries. Steam distilling preserves the all-important nutrition of the rose petals and guarantees freedom from toxic chemical solvents.
Mary Tylor Naturals contains 4oz of rose water, for a fairly affordable price. This rose water is also officially organic, certified by the USDA. It’s grown in natural farms in Morocco, without any pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides coming into play.
Mary Tylor Naturals is sourced from rosa damascena, one of the preferred rose subspecies. The bottle is made from glass, and a dark amber colour, to keep the rose water safe against oxidising UV radiation.
Mary Tylor Naturals even comes with a sprayer, for easy dispensation. Your acne is in serious trouble with this brand, and the sprayer also allows you to use the rose water as a perfume. Finally, Mary Tylor Naturals is an excellent skincare brand overall, with their lavender oil and castor oil products being excellent.
Mary Tylor Naturals meets every single requirement for an acne-clearing rose water.
Amazon link: Organic Rose Water by Mary Tylor Naturals (links to Alteya Organics for UK readers).
Two – Alteya Organics Rose Water
First of all, Alteya Organics meets all of the usual requirements, being certified organic by the USDA, to guarantee its freedom from toxic agrochemicals and solvents. Each bottle contains 8.5oz of rose water, while the bottle itself consists of dark, amber glass to defend that rose water against sunlight.
Alteya Organics is another steam-distilled rose water. It even gets great reports on its smell, with reviewers saying that it smells wonderful, amazing, or just like rose flowers in a condensed liquid form.
As for its amazing quality, this rose water is grown in the valley of the roses in Bulgaria, the ancient home of rose water products which dates back to the 18th century. Alteya Organics uses the rosa damascena subspecies, considered to be the prestigious flower among the 7000 species of rose worldwide.
Unlike some companies, who manufacture rose oil and simply use the discarded liquid by-product to make rose water, Alteya Organics uses a separate and dedicated rose petal distillation cycle. They even use a traditional cultivation method, which apparently “increases its beautifying and rejuvenating powers“.
For meticulous quality and guaranteed purity, Alteya Organics is easily among the best rose waters.
Amazon link: Alteya USDA Organic Bulgarian Rose Water.
Three – Sally’s Organics
This is also another rose water with a glass, dark amber bottle, to keep the acne-clearing compounds intact and powerful. Sally’s Organics is bottled in the USA, and made in small batches for guaranteed high quality.
This is a steam distilled brand, extracted from the rosa damascena subspecies grown in the rose valley of Bulgaria, without usage of pesticides or herbicides. Sally’s Organics is a rose water, which is an important distinction: during your travels through the acnesphere, you may have discovered both rose water and rose oil.
What’s the difference? The concentration is key. Both are derived from rose petals, but rose oil is made by steam distilling the petals, with all moisture evaporating and condensing into a highly concentrated essential oil. Rose water is also steam distilled, but only after the rose petals have been steeped in water to begin with.
The big problem with rose oil is its massive price. The one rose oil I do recommend here has a 3 figure price-tag. Rose water contains the exact same compounds, and what’s more, I would advise you to dilute the highly concentrated rose oil anyway. That’s why 9 out of 10 brands here feature rose water, including Sally’s Organics. Finally, Sally’s Organics comes in a 4oz bottle, matching Mary Tylor Naturals, and has a convenient, BPA-free sprayer.
Sally’s Organics is another officially organic rose water, among the purest brands available.
Amazon link: Sally’s Organics Pure Organic Rose Water.
Four – Anthroposophe
Anthroposophe comes in a 4oz bottle, containing steam distilled rose water. It’s sourced from Turkey, the most prestigious rose petal source alongside Bulgaria, and packaged in California. Anthroposophe gets a particularly great smell report, with one reviewer saying that it smells exactly like a rose on a bush.
Anthroposophe is another rose water which is certified organic by the USDA and bears the seal on the bottle. One term you need to understand when buying rose water is “therapeutic grade”. Companies masquerading as natural and organic often use this term, but it’s really completely meaningless. The US government hasn’t set a specific definition of therapeutic grade, and instead, numerous private companies have invented their own definitions, many of which are skewed to favour their own potentially less-than-perfect products.
Therapeutic grade is usually a marketing term, nothing more. What you need is an official USDA (or EcoCert) organic seal, or confirmation of purely organic growing techniques, and Anthroposophe delivers. In fact, Anthroposophe has an Ecocert certification too. Elsewhere, the only disadvantage is that Anthroposophe comes in a plastic bottle, but it does come with a convenient sprayer.
Anthroposophe is almost identical to the traditional rose water used in the 18th century.
Five – Alteya Organics Rose Oil
Again, remember the key difference: with rose water the petals are steeped in water beforehand, and then steam distilled, resulting in what is basically diluted rose oil. With rose oil, the petals are immediately steam distilled, with solid plant fiber remaining behind and all the liquid condensing into a highly concentrated solution. The pimple-slaying compounds remain the same, but rose oil is infinitely more concentrated.
Click on the amazon link below, and you’ll discover that Alteya Organics is extremely expensive. Why? Because that’s the nature of rose oil.
It takes 210 pounds of rose petals to make just one 10ml bottle of rose oil, like Alteya Organics. Making an organic, steam distilled rose oil is even more expensive. Other rose oil brands are cheaper, but if you examine the small print, you’ll notice that they’re 1) diluted with other oils like grapeseed oil, or 2) solvent extracted, featuring chemical contamination and damaged nutrients.
Alteya Organics is pricey, but it’s both certified organic by the USDA and steam-distilled. Like Alteya Organics’ rose water, the rose petals are sourced from the rose valley of Bulgaria, and made from the rosa damascena subspecies.
If for whatever reason you want to buy a rose essential oil, Alteya Organics is perfect.
Amazon link: Alteya Organics Bulgarian Rose Oil.
Six – Eve Hansen
With Eve Hansen we return to a pure and expertly produced rose water, from a trusted brand, who also sells one of the best argan oils. This is another 4oz bottle, giving you a lengthy supply of clear skin goodness.
Eve Hansen is steam-distilled, with none of the toxic chemical solvents of cheaper brands. The bottle is made from glass, with a protective dark amber colour. This particular rose water is sourced from Morocco, rather than Bulgaria, but uses the same rosa damascena subspecies.
Eve Hansen “believes in the power of nature“, and explicitly rejects any artificial fragrances, chemicals or preservatives. The only downside with this rose water is the more mixed reports on the smell – one reviewer called it subtle and pleasant, but another deemed it to be rancid. That said, Eve Hansen is so expertly produced that it could be a coincidence, or one faulty batch. The final advantage is a convenient sprayer.
Eve Hansen is another top quality rose water choice to keep on your acne-clearing radar.
Amazon link: Organic Rose Water Spray By Eve Hansen.
Seven – Valentia
Valentia’s rose petals are therefore grown without any pesticides, herbicides or insecticides. It’s steam distilled and produced traditionally, using centuries of ancient knowledge.
Valentia comes in a 4oz bottle, for a fairly affordable price. It’s explicitly free from parabens, sulfates, preservatives and synthetics. The rose petals, meanwhile, are sourced from Turkey. Valentia contains only one ingredient: pure, steam-distilled rose water, extracted from the petals of the rosa damascena plant…
…and this brings us to an important point: watch out for diluted rose waters! Both because it’s so expensive, and to simply push profits higher anyway, many manufacturers dilute their rose water with other oils which either resemble rose oil/water or do nothing to obscure the fragrance of what little real rose petal remains.
For example, some “rose oils” have been proven to contain 90% geranium oil, a closely related species. Another common substitute is palmarosa oil. Because of the sky-high prices, adulterated rose oil is the biggest problem, but tests on samples have revealed it to be a problem with rose water too. Occasionally, the oils used to dilute rose water are healthy, like grapeseed oil, but that’s not the point: if you wanted grapeseed oil you’d buy it.
Always buy from a reputable company and always buy an organic brand like Valentia if possible. The final advantage of this rose water is its convenient sprayer.
Valentia misses no opportunities in becoming one of the greatest rose waters of all time.
Amazon link: Valentia Organic Rose Water Toner Spray.
Eight – Leven Rose
A rose water product which is steam distilled, packaged in the USA, and generally high quality in every way. Leven Rose comes in a 4oz bottle, and that bottle is made from dark, amber coloured glass to keep the vital compounds of rose water safe from sunlight.
Compared with Mary Tylor Naturals, the only downside is not being certified organic, but according to Leven Rose, their rose petals are all grown organically and without pesticides. They use no chemical solvents in the extraction process, relying on distillation, and the only reason why they’re not certified is because of the complexity of the process.
Continuing our discussion of fake rose waters, you have another threat to avoid – chemical substitutes. While some companies merely dilute their rose water, perhaps even honestly stating it upfront, some laboratories are lazily making synthetic fragrances that smell like it, to fool customers into buying what they believe to be an acne-clearing miracle.
Just consider the many scientific marvels manufactured to keep rose-flavoured perfumes and shampoos cheap, and how they’re readily available for downmarket sellers of the whole oil or water. At least with geranium oil you would obtain some benefits, even if they’re not precisely what you want, but synthetic chemicals will add nothing, and smell unpleasant too.
Watch out! Use your nose to discover the truth. Luckily, there’s no problem with Leven Rose, as it’s a reputable brand, who also sells an excellent jojoba oil. The last advantage is its convenient face sprayer.
Amazon link: Rose Water Facial Toner by Leven Rose.
Nine – Poppy Austin
The rose petals are picked by hand from farms in Morocco, while the rose water is steam distilled using traditional techniques. Poppy Austin is even distilled using fine mountain stream water, and they give each batch time to mature. All of this comes in a 4oz bottle, for an affordable but not too cheap price.
As a rule, you should always investigate any suspiciously cheap rose water brands. Remember that it takes 210 pounds of rose water to make just 10ml (0.34oz) of rose oil. Rose oil is the real luxury, but rose water is never a cheap topical treatment either. Pay attention to the weight; be suspicious of a giant 32oz bottle which somehow costs the same as a high quality 4oz bottle like Poppy Austin.
Elsewhere, Poppy Austin comes in a glass, dark amber bottle to keep all of the powerful antioxidants intact. The only downside is that there’s no official organic certification, but after inspecting their production systems, they seem about as organic as it gets. The smell report is also promising, with reviewers describing the scent as divine and like a bottled rose garden.
Poppy Austin is a reliable and trustworthy rose water brand.
Amazon link: Pure Rose Water Facial Toner by Poppy Austin.
Ten – Teak Naturals
Teak Naturals comes in a 4oz bottle. It features steam-distilled rose water, and only rose water, with no synthetic rose fragrances added. The rose petals themselves are sourced from the USA, while the product is also packaged in the USA. The bottle is made from dark, amber-coloured glass, and comes with a free sprayer. There’s also a no questions asked money-back guarantee.
What’s a good strategy with rose water? Combining it with another topical treatment which inhibits neutrophils like aloe vera would double its effects. Alternatively, you could combine rose water with grapeseed oil, with its very different power of vitamin E. The fats in grapeseed oil would also enhance the penetration of rose water’s compounds.
The choice is yours, but whatever you do, Teak Naturals will succeed. Its final advantage is a great smell report, with one reviewer saying that the rose water smelt like heaven.
Teak Naturals is a particularly affordable rose water brand for all of your skincare needs.
Amazon link: ROSE WATER TONER by Teak Naturals.
There you have it. If you live in Turkey or Bulgaria, you probably have a giant vat of rose water bubbling away in your house right now, but for everybody else, those brands cannot be beaten. The first seven (minus the rose oil) are the ultimate, since they’re all certified organic.
For acne, there’s no reason to pick rose oil over rose water. Rose oil is so powerful and concentrated that even if it was the price of sand, I would advise you to dilute it with a carrier oil. Rose water gets the job done automatically, and saves you from the road to financial ruin. Nevertheless, Alteya Organics is the best rose oil brand.
One final point to remember: never confuse rose oil or rose water with rosehip oil! They’re completely different topical treatments, with different effects. Rosehip oil is sourced from the rosehip fruit, not the rose flower. It’s a carrier oil, a fat-based oil, with some promising carotenoid antioxidants and anti-ageing abilities, but it has nothing to do with rose oil. Don’t get confused.
Thanks for reading!