Bed of Roses

BEAUTY HOUSES HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THE ROSE ALL OVER AGAIN. Lynette Botha IN­VES­TI­GATES ITS POWER IN MOD­ERN SCENTS AND SALVES

Hong Kong Tatler - - Beauty -

As the doyenne of the flower king­dom, the rose has long been a sym­bol of beauty, ro­mance and grat­i­tude. We all know it has the power to earn for­give­ness and spark a love af­fair, but its medic­i­nal and cos­metic ben­e­fits are less widely recog­nised. Th­ese range from eas­ing anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion to fix­ing di­ges­tion prob­lems and sooth­ing skin ir­ri­ta­tions.

The petals of roses are used to ex­tract oils, which are used in fra­grances and skin­care, while the seeds of the rose bush cre­ate rosehip seed oil. This is a key in­gre­di­ent in many prod­ucts and is famed for its pow­er­ful skin-re­ju­ve­nat­ing prop­er­ties. Rosehip seed oil is packed with vi­ta­mins, an­tiox­i­dants and es­sen­tial fatty acids, which as­sist with ev­ery­thing from erad­i­cat­ing dark spots and mois­tur­is­ing flaky skin to heal­ing scars and re­duc­ing the ap­pear­ance of fine lines.

The rose is a true mul­ti­tasker, so that’s why an as­tound­ing num­ber of beauty houses are by­pass­ing all the clever chem­i­cal con­coc­tions avail­able on the mar­ket and re­turn­ing to their roots.

When it comes to fra­grance, the trick with any­thing rose-scented is to keep it mod­ern—the op­po­site of your grand­mother’s hand cream and the sac­cha­rine-sweet body sprays of your youth. The dis­tinc­tion is sim­ple: in the past, beauty houses fo­cused on the pow­er­ful Bul­gar­ian rose; to­day’s of­fer­ings use the more sub­tle Turk­ish, Moroc­can, Grasse and Taif roses.

Chloé’s lat­est scent, Roses de Chloé, uses the essence of Damask roses from Turkey. The roses are har­vested by hand be­tween sun­rise and 10am, when the oil yield peaks and the petals re­main dewy. A lengthy process then ex­tracts the rose essence, which is sent to Grasse, France, where the per­fumes are cre­ated. The con­cept be­hind the new scent from Chloé is sim­ple: to recre­ate the smell of a freshly cut rose—nat­u­ral, sen­sual and the right side of sweet. Ba­len­ci­aga’s Ros­ab­otan­ica leans more to the dark side of the rose, laced with grape­fruit, pink pep­per and car­damom, and warmed up with am­ber, cedar­wood and ve­tiver. “It’s a gar­den… a mys­te­ri­ous, dan­ger­ous gar­den—very beau­ti­ful, but dan­ger­ous,” says per­fumer Jean- Christophe Hérault in de­scrib­ing the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the fra­grance.

Elie Saab’s new La Col­lec­tion des Essences is a quar­tet of lux­ury uni­sex fra­grances, and Essence No 1 fo­cuses on the rose. Touted as “the rose of a thou­sand faces,” the fra­grance in­cludes pure essences of Turk­ish, Bul­gar­ian and Grasse roses.

Rose oil and rose ex­tracts are multi-task­ing skin­care in­gre­di­ents too­. They have been ap­plied to the face for cen­turies, thanks to their high an­tiox­i­dant con­tent and calm­ing prop­er­ties, but only re­cently have re­searchers dis­cov­ered the more in­tense anti-age­ing ben­e­fits of the bloom. The flower con­tains ev­ery­thing from col­la­gen-boost­ing vi­ta­min C and wrin­kle-pre­vent­ing polyphe­nols to an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties (break­outs be gone!) and a mood-en­hanc­ing scent.

Rose-in­fused skin­care prod­ucts have al­ways been quick to at­tain cult sta­tus. Sis­ley’s Black Rose Cream Mask has fre­quently topped count­less “beauty best buys” lists the world over, as have REN’S Moroc­can Rose Otto range, Dr Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream and Baume de Rose lip balm from By Terry.

Some of this year’s launches look des­tined to earn cult sta­tus too. The first is Sis­ley Black Rose Cream Mask, which prom­ises to com­fort and add sup­ple­ness to dry or de­hy­drated skin with a com­bi­na­tion of essences and nat­u­ral ac­tive in­gre­di­ents.

Then there’s Lancôme’s Ab­solue L’extrait, a re­gen­er­at­ing elixir built on Lancôme’s own state-of-the-art ex­trac­tion process, which pre­serves the unique heal­ing prop­er­ties of rose cells and har­nesses them in their nat­u­ral state.

Fresh has just launched the first eye prod­uct in its popular Rose Col­lec­tion. Rose Hy­drat­ing Eye Gel Cream, which con­tains both rose­wa­ter and rose oil, de­liv­ers deep hy­dra­tion for the sen­si­tive eye area, lock­ing in mois­ture for up to 30 hours. And Chantecaille draws on one of the world’s rarest roses, the Rose de Mai, to cre­ate a hy­per-mois­tur­is­ing cream that helps stim­u­late the skin’s nat­u­ral im­mune sys­tem.

Shi­seido has gone a step fur­ther and cre­ated a range specif­i­cally for Asian women to ad­dress the two most cru­cial beauty con­cerns: clar­ity and age­ing. As well as pro­vid­ing phe­nom­e­nal skin­care, the Shi­seido Re­vi­tal Vi­tal-per­fec­tion range has a re­lax­ing ef­fect on the body and mind. And the more re­laxed you are, the bet­ter your body can re­pair it­self.

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