Homemade Rosewater

Sometimes in life you just need a moment to feel ethereal. To feel pure, like a Disney princess singing to a little bird in a field of gardenias, roses and peonies. And recently, I need that more often than not- and I’m assuming you do too. Really, who doesn’t want that?

A simple little at home trick to get yourself feeling like you’ve been sucked in to an elegant, enchanted fairy tale is to make yourself some rosewater. Rosewater is incredibly quick and easy to make and seemingly has an infinite amount of uses. You can use it as a bath soak, facial toner, hair cleanser, face mask, nail treatment, aromatherapy, and so much more. Heck, you can even use it in your cooking.

Let’s go through two ways you can make rosewater. The first way is to make just a simple rosewater, and the second is to make a rosewater essence which is a more concentrated version that just makes a bit less per batch.

Simple Rosewater

Rosewater in its simplest form can be used for just about anything, and it’s super easy to make. Personally I love using rosewater for a little DIY hair cleanser as a replacement for dry shampoo after a workout, as a toner when my face needs a little moisturizing boost, and as a face mask when mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel from my garden.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a pot of water (fill a medium pot with as much water as you’d like- I recommend making just as much as you can properly store).
  4. Place the pot on the stove top and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the temperature down to a simmer and let sit until the petals begin to look wilted and the water becomes tinted with the color from the flowers.
  5. Strain out the rose petals, and let the water cool before putting it in to your storage containers.
  6. Once you pour your rosewater in to your air tight containers place the ones you want to save in the refrigerator to keep fresh. The rose water is ready to use and will keep for about a year when stored properly.

Rosewater Essence

Rosewater essence is better to make when you intend to use it for cooking or aromatherapy purposes. It is not necessary to use the concentrated version on the skin, and if you have sensitive skin it may be too harsh. However, in its concentrated form, the smell and taste of the rosewater are much more potent and make a great, light, floral addition to many DIY concoctions.

How To:

  1. Pick 3 or 4 fresh roses from your garden or at your local nursery/grocer.
  2. Pull all the petals off the main flower and rinse them to get any dirt or little bugs off.
  3. Take your clean petals and place them in a medium sized pot that is about half full of water.
  4. Place a smaller bowl in the center of the pot, and bring the water in the pot to a simmer.
  5. Once the rose petals begin to look wilted and discolored turn off the stove top and cover the pot with a lid. As the water cools the condensation that will form on the lid will drip in to the bowl you placed on top of the water.
  6. After the water has completely cooled remove the lid and remove the bowl. You should have a substantial amount of rosewater essence in your bowl, but it will not be full of all of the water you started with.
  7. Transfer the rosewater essence to an air tight container and place in the fridge. This should keep for about one year when stored properly.

I’ll tell you, this last time when I made rosewater I made a big mistake. Not in the recipe, not in the preparation, but honestly one of the dumber mistakes I could have made. I didn’t measure out the amount of water I’d be able to store at all. I just went about my merry way, making a big ol’ pot of rosewater not even thinking about how to store it. Well, I ended up using about 5 jars (every jar I had at my disposal), and then still had about a cup’s worth left over. Please, don’t let all that good rosewater go to waste and measure out what you can use before you just go about making your rosewater like I did. I ended up using what was left as a soothing warm facial steam, so it didn’t go totally to waste, but I would have liked to save everything I made for later projects.

The first thing I made with my simple rosewater was a little birthday gift for my friend: A rose water and aloe vera gel face mask. If you want the recipe for that, I’ll be posting it soon here, so be on the look out for that.

In the mean time let me know: What are your favorite uses for rosewater? What are some rosewater DIYs you’d like to learn how to make?

Cosmetic Oils Aren’t For Everyone

So many beauty guru YouTubers and DIY non-professional cosmetologists have been stepping out to support the use of cosmetic oils recently. They claim using oils for the face is basically like using a miracle drug you see in TV infomercials. And while using cosmetic oils does work wonders for some, it is absolutely not a universal cure all for the skin issues faced by every individual.

Personally, I do not use cosmetic oils. I have combination oily and dry skin, so finding an oil that suits my whole face is difficult. I also have very sensitive skin that’s prone to rosacea and deep rooted blemishes. All of this adds up to cosmetic oils being my worst enemy. I’ve tried vitamin E oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil (yikes), grapeseed oil, and more, and every single one has brought with it incredible oil imbalance and a fresh crop of blemishes that last.

The frustrating part is that just about every Pinterest cosmetologist and YouTuber seems to be endorsing that everyone should and can use them. Without understanding the reasons these products simply don’t work for everyone, marketing these products as a cure all can potentially lead unwitting and trusting followers to causing real damage to their skin. Yes, it is a great sustainable option for some, but it is, by no means, the best or only sustainable option.

Most recently I’ve seen influencers replacing their cream or herbal based moisturizing routine for oil based ones, fully cutting out the moisturizing effects of their former products. This quick transition and heavy pore saturating switch can wreak havoc on skin and cause damage that can take a while to reverse.

I can appreciate wanting to use an oil cleansing method over all. Using a natural oil to cleanse your skin provides you with a single ingredient skincare product that in turn will help create less waste and will simplify what you use on your body. If you are considering switching to a cosmetic oil for your daily routine, please read this first. We’ll discuss some of the oils that may work for your individual skin type, as well as what to watch out for when trying this trend. I’ll also provide a few links below to YouTubers I trust for cosmetic advice, and who’s knowledge of cosmetic oils has greatly informed my own.


Dry Skin:

If you have dry skin, you’ll need to be careful how you use oil based products. You do want to add oils back into the skin to replenish it after long periods of dryness, but adding too much can be detrimental. You’ll want to use a thicker oil product with a high omega fatty acid content so that it can really penetrate your pores and provide moisture to your skin. It will also help to massage the oil into the skin for 60 seconds or longer to really give your skin a chance to soak up all it needs. However, when you go to remove this oil be thorough in your removal. Use a damp cloth and warm water to really pull the oils back off the skin and follow with a secondary cleanse to further remove any excess you couldn’t get with the towel. Leaving too much oil on the skin can easily cause breakouts, especially for skin that isn’t used to oil. Some good oils for you to try: Avocado Oil, Apricot Oil, Argan Oil, or Sweet Almond Oil.

Oily Skin:

If you have oily skin, the oil cleansing method might actually be your best friend. It sounds counterintuitive to add oil to an already oily surface, but this is actually one of the best and most natural methods of removal. Since the oils in your skin will more readily bond to an oil based cleanser than a water based one, you are more likely to get a good, deep clean. With a water based cleanser, ingredients called surfactants need to be added to the product to really cleanse the natural oils off your skin, but with an oil cleanser nothing needs to be added to the oil to make it effective. Some good oils for you to try are: Sunflower Oil, Rosehip Oil, Safflower Oil, or Hemp Seed Oil.

Combination Skin:

If you have combination skin like me, and especially if your skin is sensitive, oil cleansing might not be for you. However, you still have options if this method is what you want to try. When you do use oil cleansers or serums/moisturizers be careful about where you are placing these products on your skin, as well as how much you use in these areas. The oil will be most beneficial as a cleanser on the parts of your skin that are more naturally oily, so you’ll want to target those areas and follow with a simple water based cleanser for the full face including the areas with more dry skin. Some good oils for you to try: Jojoba Oil, Rosehip Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, or Grapeseed Oil.


When cleansing the face with natural oils, be sure you are picking up one that is specifically designed for the skin and not just for cooking. While these oils are very similar, they’re not exactly the same. You’ll also want to make sure you transition your skin slowly into this oil based routine. Transitioning too quickly from water based to oil based products can cause inflammation of the skin, and can leave pores clogged with the oils it isn’t used to absorbing. Be sure to use a warm, damp towel to remove the oils and follow with a secondary cleanse to really get every bit of left over oil out of your pores and off your face.

For additional information here are some YouTubers I trust for well researched skincare advice. They don’t all fully practice sustainability, but the information and knowledge provided is often applicable to sustainable skincare ideals and practices.

The Golden Rx on Youtube is a really great source for information on all your skincare needs. While she does not focus solely on sustainable products, the science and expert advice she offers is invaluable to a sustainable or DIY skincare user.
Dr. Dray on YouTube is a dermatologist and skincare enthusiast. Also not every product used in her videos is sustainable, but she does provide great information and sometimes does use simple and sustainable products.

Thanks for reading! Let me know: will you be trying the oil cleansing method? What are your favorite cosmetic oils?

Rosemary Hair Rinse

Rosemary hair rinses are the perfect DIY goody for anyone with a scalp in need of some love.

For months now due to fad hair product usage (Function of Beauty…), anxiety, stress and irregular washings, my scalp has been as irritated as the day is long. I have been desperate to try just about anything to soothe my burning, itchy scalp. My first shot was an apple cider vinegar rinse, which is great and all, it just wasn’t enough to last between washes. Each time I’d wash my hair, I had about two hours of relief before the itchy came back, and I was scratching so hard my hair was falling out. It HURT! I had red patches that felt like fire, dandruff everywhere, and, for some reason, oily roots (which was just adding insult to injury if you ask me).

Disgusting right? I’m sorry you had to read that, but also not sorry. I want you to understand just how bad my scalp health was, so you’ll know just how incredible this rosemary rinse is.

The recipe is incredibly simple, and it doesn’t take a lot of prep.

All you need is about 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and some water.

I start by cutting 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary from my garden and washing them. I often find that there’s a bit of dirt and sometimes little bugs hiding in-between the leaves, and I don’t want either of those things in my hair (bugs? No Thank You!).

Once they’ve been washed, I toss them in a pot and pour in around 32 ounces of water which is enough to make two bottles of the rinse. I often reuse old GT’s kombucha bottles which are 16 ounces a piece (I’m a kombucha addict, so I reuse those bottles for everything). You can use however much you want, or however much your pots can handle. Just make sure you have the proper containers to store the rinse in after.

Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down a bit and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. As the rosemary simmers the water will turn an olive green color. Once the color is dark and the leaves look a bit limp, it’s time to let the rinse cool.

Once it’s cool enough, you can pour your rinse into whatever bottles you have. I personally prefer to store these bottles in the fridge before using them even though that’s not entirely necessary. I find that using them is more effective for scalp relief when they are chilled before use.

When you’re ready to use one just take it out of the fridge, take a normal shower, and then pour the rinse over your head making sure to thoroughly coat the scalp. Let this stay in your hair for about 5-10 minutes (usually I’ll wash my body and face while I let it set in), and then rinse it out with nice cold water. While it sits in your hair and as you rinse it out, it’s also good to massage the scalp to really make sure you work this product in and purify the scalp. I use inversion here and flip my hair upside down while I massage my scalp to encourage hair growth and healthy blood flow to the scalp. It also doesn’t need to be rinsed out for long, you only really need to give it a quick once-over since you want to retain as many of the benefits as possible.

It’s really the simplest thing you can do to help your scalp maintain a healthy pH and remove impurities that cause irritation.

Bonus: I often add about a tbsp of apple cider vinegar once I take a bottle out of the fridge for a bit of added purification. Apple cider vinegar can increase hair’s natural shine, and can also be incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy pH, removing product build-up, and soothing an itchy scalp since it’s anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.

Thanks for reading!

Once you try this Rosemary Hair Rinse let me know, how did it work for you?

Starting Your Own Skincare Garden

Starting your own skincare garden is simple, and can be done both indoors and outdoors depending on your living situation. All you need is plants, pots, and lots of pruning.

Here, I’ll walk you through some of the plants I picked for my skincare (and more) garden!

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera was an absolute must in my garden! As a former lifeguard and all around sun-sensitive being, aloe has been a staple of my summer routine for years. However, for all those years I used store bought aloe loaded with extra ingredients and preservatives I had no idea how to pronounce (Ugh!). Regardless, aloe saved my skin too many times to count, and I knew I needed to grow my own.

Aloe Vera is incredibly easy to grow and maintain (which was lucky for me because for the longest time I was never someone you could say had a green thumb). I picked up my Aloe Vera plant at Lowe’s, and I would suggest purchasing an adult plant as their leaves are ready to use and they will grow pups sooner than an immature plant.

Aloe Vera pups grow around the main plant, and can be removed and repotted. When repotted they can grow as large as it’s original parent plant.

They’re pretty self-sufficient and don’t need you to be doting on them too much. They only need to be watered about every week and a half, so their soil can maintain a soft, damp state without being drenched (aloe doesn’t like having wet ‘feet’). They also need a pot with a good drainage system which just means you need a pot with holes in the bottom. And if you don’t have that, you can line the bottom of a pot with a few inches of rocks to aid in drainage space. Make sure your aloe plant has plenty of sunlight as well, aloe likes indirect light (6+ hours) or direct light (4-6 hours) per day.

Aloe can be used for so many different things. You can use it simply for its gel to ease burns and rashes, or you can add other ingredients to the pulp to make something more exciting. My personal favorite uses for aloe are shaving gels and dandruff relief scalp masks (I’ll have these recipes posted soon).

Rosemary

Rosemary has far more uses than aloe (or at least I use it for far more). Typically, it’s grown for cooking. You can dry some and use it to make amazing breads and crusts, but you can also grow it to use in hair rinses and face toners. Not to mention- it smells delightful no matter what you do with it!

Growing rosemary is also fairly simple. Rosemary isn’t a big fan of being heavily watered, and in general it prefers to be left alone. I only water my rosemary when I notice the soil has become dry to the touch, and I only give it about a half cup of water at a time. Rosemary’s natural habitat is in the dry parts of California, so if you live out there (yay for you!) your rosemary plant will thrive being planted right in the ground in your backyard. However for myself, here in Virginia, our weather is muggy and it rains too often for rosemary to grow successfully in the ground. Rosemary, like aloe, likes to be in a pot with good drainage and can handle indirect sunlight (6+ hours) or direct sunlight (4-6 hours) per day.

You can use rosemary in a number of ways outside the kitchen including as a hair rinse that promotes healthy growth and as a facial toner that helps balance your skin’s natural pH (I’ll have recipes posted soon).

Lavender

When I started the garden I really wasn’t sure what to do with lavender, but it was too beautiful and fragrant to pass up. Luckily, it turns out you can use it for a whole lot of homemade goodies (including food which excited me to no end).

Lavender is finicky. It doesn’t like too much water, but it also doesn’t like soil that’s too dry. It doesn’t like too much sunlight, but if you take it out of the sun for too long it starts to look sad. Sadly, when I purchased my first Lavender plant I didn’t know what I was looking for, and I’ll tell you, the first thing you need to look for isn’t it’s size or how many blooms it already has. You need to look at the roots. Healthy lavender roots are a darkish gray-green, and they’re sturdy almost like wood. My first lavender plant had root rot which happens when you over water lavender- the roots were almost purple-gray and soft to the touch (yuck!). It took a while to correct, but after letting the plant dry out and readjusting its watering schedule to about a half a cup whenever the soil got to be too dry, the flowers perked right up and the stems got stronger.

Lavender with an attempted healing of root rot.

I commonly use the lavender I grow for essential oils and bug spray (because Virginia mosquitos are the worst). I have been a nanny and babysitter for a number of years, and it wows parents every time when you show up with homemade, non-toxic bug spray to use with their kids (I’ll have recipes posted soon).

Chamomile

Chamomile is a delightful little plant that can be used for teas, hair rinses, and skin soothers. These little tangly bushes are cute as can be, and a favorite of mine.

This plant is somewhat easy to grow. They don’t take a lot of water, but they can absolutely handle having wet ‘feet’. The “somewhat” part comes in to play when you account for the time it takes for chamomile plants to mature. For best use, you want to wait until your chamomile plant begins to flower which feels like it takes forever. However, it’s so (SO) worth it, because those little flowers can be used to make delicious, soothing, herbal tea, lightening hair rinses (hello vibrant blondes!), and soothing skin lotions for the face and body (I’ll have recipes posted soon).

My final pick for a beginner garden: Sweet Mint!

Now, sweet mint isn’t a super popular skin care ingredient. But, if you’re looking to make your own mouth washes, tooth pastes, face masks and delicious drinks, you’re gonna want one of these.

Sweet mint (as with most other mint plants) is a fast grower and will quickly take over whatever other plant you put in a pot with it. They are best planted alone and will thrive with regular watering. I read on so many sites that sweet mint is draught tolerant, but I gotta disagree. Usually draught tolerant means you can water it once or twice a week, but I noticed when I did that the leaves at the bottom of the stems were drying up quickly and turning brown. Now I water it about every two days, and when I notice some dead or drying leaves I pluck them and burry them in the dirt around the main stems.

Dead mint leaves fall off the stem easily when touched and can simply be buried.

Just about every day, I pluck 3-4 healthy mint leaves and add them to a water bottle with some lime juice. This is what many call a “detox drink” but I don’t know who we’re fooling saying you can get cleansed simply by adding a lime to water (sadly it just doesn’t work that way, it’s not magic). However, it is healthy to be drinking plenty of water, and the added benefits of lime and mint are great (not to mention delicious!). (I’ll have recipes posted soon).

Thanks for taking a walk with me in my garden!

I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite garden grown skincare ingredients?