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
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.