Coming Up Roses
It’s been used in skincare since ancient times and the rose shows no sign of falling from beauty favour, writes Alice Ryan
The Ancient Egyptians boiled the blooms to make a skin-soothing balm, while the Romans swore that petal poultices could smooth wrinkles. The rose has long been loved for its beauty-boosting properties - and with good reason.
Oils extracted from both blooms and hips are proven to have soothing, hydrating and anti-aging properties, making them go-to ingredients for skincare, while the flower’s good looks and sweet scent have inspired endless make-up shades and fragrances.
As a recent influx of products proves, the beauty market continues to come up roses.
Shiro Aloe & Rugosa Rose Face Mask, £56, shiro-shiro.uk
Among those in the beauty know, high-end Japanese brand Shiro is famed for its skincare, which puts natural ingredients, from seaweed to rugosa rose, centre stage. Containing rose water, bud powder and petals - suspended, like flakes of fairy-sized confetti, in the gel formula - this mask harnesses all the flower’s power. Cooling, calming and moisturising on the skin, a few deep breaths of its floral scent will help quiet a noisy mind, too.
Look Fabulous Forever Lustrous Colour Lipstick in Rosewood, £20, lookfabulousforever.com
Created by 71-year-old Tricia Cusden, Look Fabulous Forever is the first make-up brand to actively celebrate ageing, with every product designed with the mature woman in mind. That’s not to say the range is only for the over-50s: the ultra-moisturising Lustrous Colour Lipstick is a winner whatever your age, and Rosewood, a pretty pinky nude, is possibly the most wearable shade ever formulated. I defy you to find a skintone it won’t suit.
L’Occitane Rose Eau de Toilette, £49, and Burst of Vitality Fragranced Water, £32, L’Occitane, Rose Crescent, Cambridge and arc, Bury St Edmunds
Dismiss rosy perfumes as grannyish and you’re missing out. Take the latest iteration from L’Occitane: simply titled Rose, its fiercely feminine heart, featuring Rosas Damascena and Centifolia, is given modern edge by top notes of spicy pink pepper and fresh lychee and a base of warm amber and patchouli. Full-bodied without being cloying, elegant without being fusty, it’s delicious. Plus you can layer it with one of three fragranced waters, tailoring it to suit your style and mood; Burst of Vitality (bergamot, blood orange, jasmine) is a real spirit-lifter.
W7 Powder Blush in Rose, £3.95, w7makeup.co.uk
A forerunner in affordable beauty - it was founded back in 2002, pledging to deliver top quality at bottom dollar - W7 has a whopping 500 products in its range, all of them cruelty-free and promising high performance. With blush trending for spring/summer, this pressed powder in Rose is a beaut: it’s a pretty, flushed-skin shade, layers up or down for either subtle glow or rosy apples, and it’s got impressive staying power, too. Not bad for £3.95.
MOR Rosa Noir Hand & Body Milk, £20, feelunique.co.uk
If MOR had been around in Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra would doubtless have applied Rosa Noir after her ass-milk bath: luxuriously creamy on the skin, thanks to shea butter and macadamia oil, its perfume - rose, hibiscus, fig - is heady, enveloping and seriously seductive. Even the oxblood and gold packaging is glamorous. An added bonus: like all products from the Australian brand, the milk is free from synthetic dyes and parabens.
Clarins Super Restorative Rose Radiance Cream, £74, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
It’s not often that I rave about a moisturiser; finding one that genuinely ticks all boxes is rare. But from the first application, I’ve been evangelical about Rose Radiance. The texture is perfect: rich and creamy, yet light and effortlessly absorbed. Like all Clarins’ Super Restorative products, long-term benefits are promised by organic harungana, known to promote collagen synthesis. And there’s instant gratification to be had, too, courtesy of the glowy pink colour and luminous, light-bouncing pearl particles. How often does your husband say you’re looking ‘especially fresh-faced’? When you’ve applied Rose Radiance Cream, my friends.
Atelya Organics Rose Otto Shampoo and Conditioner, £14.20 each, lovelula.com
Atelya Organics’ first foray into haircare in the UK - the Bulgarian brand is famous in its home nation, where it farms its own flowers in the aptly named Rose Valley - this shampoo and conditioner duo deploys Rose Otto for its ability to soothe and nourish, pledging to restore moisture and shine to dry and damaged hair. While the products weren’t the easiest to use - I had to pick a fight with the bottle to extract the conditioner, which is very thick, and, having long, tangle-prone locks, needed a *lot* in order to coax a comb through - my hair was left noticeably smoother and shinier, and smelling divine to boot.
Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Bi-phase Booster, £46, M&S, Sidney Street, Cambridge and Buttermarket, Bury St Edmunds
Stressed? Sleep-deprived? Nobody needs to know, thanks to this little bottle of magic. Hero of the recently rebooted Wild Rose skincare range from Greek beauty brand Korres, it contains a powerful rose oil, which delivers nine times the vitamin C of orange juice (vitamin C being a famed antioxidant and key to collagen production). Apply a couple of drops to face and neck morning and night before moisturiser and within the week your skin will be looking brighter and bushier of tail.