Recipe: Rosewater and Glycerin

15/11/2009 at 11:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments
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This is another solution to the issue of preserving the skin’s moisture levels, and it comes to you with love and radiant skin from my mother, Shirley. Shirley has a beautiful complexion: glowing and dewy. She looks far younger than her age.  And for much of her grown up life she has used Rosewater and Glycerin. If she swore, she would swear by it.

As a young mother sailing from England to Russia in the 1960s, she carried with her a gallon of Rosewater and Glycerin. It was enough, she calculated, to last her for the duration of her husband’s two-year posting to the British Embassy. Of course, she didn’t get through half of it, and left the rest to her cook, Nadia, who no doubt enjoyed her own radiant complexion for a long time thereafter (and perhaps a few valued friends and customers did too).

Nowadays, I blend my mother’s classic recipe for her, and here it is for you.


1/2 cup  rosewater 1 tsp vegetable glycerin


Put the ingredients in a glass bottle, shake vigorously, and let it settle. Shake before use. Use as a toner/moisturizer morning and evening.

Why it works

Glycerin is a fantastic humectant, which is why it’s valued in soaps (glycerin is actually a natural by-product of soap-making). Whereas oil locks moisture into the skin and prevents it from escaping, a humectant attracts it from the external environment, and draws it up from the internal layers (so keep drinking the water). A humectant such as glycerin is  particularly helpful during the winter months, when the central heating comes on.

Rosewater is skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory, healing and anti-bacterial, with a mood-enhancing scent.

My mother uses Rosewater and Glycerin at night on its own, after soap and water, and in the morning she adds a moisturiser with sun-screen. I love the simplicity of this approach – and it works.

PS Plenty of rest plus regular doses of meditation also help keep the skin young. Check out this easy guide.


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  1. Excellent, I love the historical aspects of this post! Thank you so much for sharing it. Do you happen to know what the shelf-life if this recipe is? Do you refrigerate it, or can it be kept in the medicine cabinet?


    • Thank you, MonaLisa, I’m glad you like the history behind the post! Regarding shelf life, if you make your own with sterilized or very clean equipment and fresh ingredients, you can certainly say it would last six months – it would probably be perfectly happy for a year. Keeping the rosewater in the fridge would certainly help to prolong its shelf life – but it’s more handy to keep smallish amounts in the medicine cabinet. In the unlikely event that it starts looking cloudy, discard it.


  2. i just made this but with orange flower water instead of rose water because i don’t like the smell of rose water.
    thanks for the recipe! tell your mom that i love it so far and plan to use it for cleaning my face and for softening my skin on my face and body.
    i needed something simple like this and i always have orange flower water so this was perfect for me.

    i keep orange flower water in a spray bottle and use it for freshing, splashing after washing and for a light, nice smelling and calming body spray. now i can use it for other purposes as well!


    • I love the idea of using orange water, Dianna. It would have uplifting qualities and perhaps also tighten those skin pores. I use orange oil together with rosewater in another recipe for a rich night-time moisturiser. Thank you for sharing your variation.


  3. Amazing post, Suzanne. I love simple! It’s amazing. I mix blossom orange water with rosewater and add glycerin! Blossom orange water and rosewater is an incredible mix for skin. Thank you for sharing such a great story!


    • Thank you, Lyane, much appreciated! You’re the second person to mention blossom orange water. It’s so uplifting, maybe I will start adding it to the mix…


  4. […] you have to have the ingredients at hand!). So, finding these two things in my pantry, and with a recipe found by some googling, eventually we ended up with […]


    • Thank you, jackthecurious, for including my recipe in your lovely blog. I think the finished product looks fabulous in the bottle you chose! You mention that you find the formula a bit sticky. You could choose to use a little less glycerin and you’d still get benefits.


  5. I grew up with this in England, but can’t find it in Vancouver where I now live. So I asked for it at Boots and they have it. Then thought about it on the way home and searched for a recipte.

    So your comments are exactly what I thought about traditional ways. I will now make my own when the bottle is finished. I am on holiday visiting my mother in Norwich, and I know I have gycerine at home because of making soap. Now it has another use!

    Thanks for the posting – very informative and lovely story.


  6. try it on your damp hair after washing!


  7. I enjoyed reading your story. I found myself smiling how your mother would carry a gallon jug of this beauty potion. I wanna thank you and her for this really easy recipe. You must be psychic. I just saw online that there’s such a product called Rosewater Glycerine. I wondered where I could purchase it, so I goggled it, and your recipe popped up. Now, I can make my own. Thank you, and tell your mother she’s pure genius.


    • So glad you liked the story, Ginny. I hope you have a lovely time making and using the recipe, and I will pass your kind comments on to my mother 🙂


  8. […] You don’t need to buy pricey creams to reap nutritional properties of this lotion. People who love folk remedies will be happy to know that they can now prepare an effective cream at home. Shirley is one such woman who has been using this mixture over years. Her daughter Suzanne shared rosewater and glycerin recipe, over her blog here. […]


  9. A reader emailed me to ask more about the ingredients I use, and where to buy them. Unfortunately I couldn’t reply to the email address she provided, so if you are reading this, Liz, here is your answer! I think it will also be helpful to others:

    Hi Elizabeth

    Thank you for your email, and good luck making your own glycerin and rosewater. It is easy, and fun.

    You asked how to make rosewater. The sort I use is a hydrosol, made by distilling many rose petals. It has no additives, just rose and water. I used to buy in bulk from an English grower who has now retired. However, there are many other suppliers on-line. The glycerin you use is vegetable glycerin. You can buy both in good quantities for reasonable prices at Aromantic in the UK. Your daughter is lucky to have a mum like you, and I’m sure she’ll benefit.


  10. Beautifully written and very useful!


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