Top Picks: Rose Beauty Products
The Queen Bee of the flower kingdom, the symbol of passion and love, roses have long been used in skincare products for its fragrance and pretty hue. Most importantly, roses, whether in the form of an extract, essence or essential oil, is now a common key ingredient because of its natural (and almost magical) beauty benefits – a reason why roses are synonymous with gorgeous skin throughout the ages.
Truth to be told, I used to associate the idea of rose products with old people, thanks to one too many bad rose hand soaps and lotions in my great aunt’s house; the pungent smell gave me headaches. So for the longest time, I grew up thinking poorly of “the rose scent.” Luckily, however, my aunt (who looks more like a cousin, I kid you not), completely changed my view in high school, when she gave me a rosewater mist from Shu Uemura that I absolutely adored. And later, she also got me into a habit of regularly using face masks, which I’m eternally grateful for (90-degree bow).
Today, having tried a lot more rose-infused beauty products and compared results, I’d say I’m extremely happy to have given it a second chance. Below, I’ve assembled some of my favorite goodies, categorized in three themes: face wash, masks, and post-cleansing products:
“I, I, I wash it off, I wash it off”
I am quite particular with face wash products. There must have been over a few dozen cleansers that I’ve bought and tried over the years that were later left unused and I ended up giving away (or throwing away actually, I’m sorry Earth). How it smells, what the texture feels like on my face, or how my skin feels after the wash are all factors that shape my affection towards a product. Although I tend to prefer cream-based facial cleansers, such as Perfect Whip by Shiseido from Japan, I have fallen in love with the following two:
Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick by SU:M37° ($28)
The first time I saw the SU:M37° Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick was out of co-founder Elaine’s bag after a barre workout together. Recommended by her, I immediately asked my fiancé to grab one for me when he visited Seoul, since it was actually difficult to purchase in the U.S. at that time due to its immense popularity. After the first few washes, I had the brilliant idea to stock up this goodie, in case of a beauty-world crisis one day.
The cleanser is made of 90% natural ingredients, featuring fermented extract of certified organic Damask rose, with no addition of any artificial fragrance or dye. I used it several times after being in the sun, and it did not irritate my face at all, which proves the soothing abilities Damask roses are known for. The cleanser comes in a solid soap form, and releases a soft fragrant. And it has actual rose petals embedded in the soap!
I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it was difficult not to fall in love with the tastefully-designed cleansing stick. The elegant packaging is smart too, because it makes popping into the suitcase or gym bag easy and worry-free.
A joint review on this product by Elaine and I will come soon with further details, so stay tuned for more!
The Milky Jelly Cleanser by Glossier ($18)
This gentle, always nearly-empty-again bottle of Milky Jelly Cleanser from Glossier is now my go-to makeup remover before I wash my face with another cleanser. As mentioned here, I love this product because it does not sting my eyes, thanks to the thoughtful decision of using the same mild cleansing ingredient found in contact lens solution. The feminine scent comes from rosewater, which is a quarter of the bottle’s water content.
“Rose garden filled with thorns”
Rose-infused face masks are available to us in various forms. I love face masks in general and rotate different kinds on a daily basis; sometimes, I may even use two types one after another. Some of my favorites include:
Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay by Origins ($26)
Love at first “use” exists in my world ever since I got my hands on this Rose Clay masque from Origins. My greatest skin concern has been open pores, and the Mediterranean rose clay, the key ingredient of this product, purifies and refines pores beautifully just after the first use. Naturally tinted in a dusky pink color, rose clays are high in minerals that help draw out toxins, and is often seen to have the ability to de-stress agitated skin.
I usually leave it on for about 15 minutes in the summer, but less than 10 minutes in the winter to avoid over-drying my cheeks.
Rosy Cheeks by Lush ($12.95)
I can never be in a Lush store for too long because of its “interesting” blend of scent from all the products. Having said that, I am willing to be in the store as long as I need just to get myself a tub of Rosy Cheeks. This fresh (as in, put-in-the-fridge fresh), mask is extremely gentle and calms my face whenever I have a “redness alert.” In warmer months, when my t-zone area is extra shiny and cheeks are flushed, the mask gives my skin a matte effect without dehydrating it.
An ingredient found in the product called calamine is in fact often used to calm bug bites, so sometimes I would reach for Rosy Cheeks when I’m getting a reaction or seeing red spots on my face. The tricky part about this product is the importance of keeping it refrigerated. A few times I’ve forgotten to use it, but now I remind myself to use it up within two weeks, so that it is as fresh as possible when it’s on my face.
Rose Face Mask by Fresh ($62)
This product is the newest addition to my rose collection, and I actually came across it by accident: I got a sample size as a birthday gift from Sephora!
At first glance, the gel mask appears less pretty than most rose products because of its brown color, but its “inner beauty” will win you over. It features a pure rosewater base that is infused with small rose petals, as well as cucumber extract, aloe vera, and green tea. Together, the ingredients give the mask the power to tone, nourish, moisturize, and brighten the skin. In fact, I got compliments on my “nice skin” from a friend and a Starbucks barista whom I often order coffee from, after having used this masque several days in a row for less than a week!
Water Gel Extra Force Mask (Brightening) by Polatam ($6)
If a soft and silky sheet mask equates to a relaxing beach vacation for my skin, then this mask by Polatam would be the Maldives. Made of cupro cotton, which is capable of holding up to 10 times the amount of essence than regular cotton sheet masks, the mask’s main ingredient is Korean Oak Sap extract; it is packed with natural minerals that brightens the skin. Other ingredients that help with hyperpigmentation include licorice extract, olive leaf extract, ceramides, and rose flower oil. Although the rose is a side character in this product, its presence peeps through the light floral scent. And it helps with completing my imaginary holiday feels.
“It’s a love story, baby just say yes”
My aunt, who gave me my first rosewater mist, used to tell me: “If you’re in bad mood, a spray of this will make you feel better.” And this quote of hers, for some reason, stayed with me throughout all these years. When my skin is in a “bad mood,” a splash of rosewater seems to really give it a little glow. For an intensive boost of radiance, go for the heavyweight: the rose oil.
Soothing Face Mist by Glossier ($18)
A new member on my desk, next to all my notebooks, is this bottle of face mist that features roses and aloe to hydrate and freshen my skin whenever needed. I like the light rosewater scent, and how it is able to wake my skin midday. When I travel on long flights, this is what I keep in my carryon nowadays, to use once every couple of hours.
Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil by Korres ($54)
Last but not least, this wild rose oil by Korres is intense and, may I say, powerful. I have personally witnessed the change on my mother’s skin after she used this over a period of 6 weeks or so. Her face is less tired-looking, but healthier, and I think, younger as well!
Through the transparent bottle, you can see real wild rose petals in the concentrated Vitamin C oil, which is rich in fatty acids, giving the skin a dewy glow. It is also boosted with Super C, a formula that increases skin’s vitamin C absorption to promote collagen synthesis. Hence, the texture of your skin becomes more plump over time. I only use this oil a few times a week before bedtime, but already my skin is softer and often brighter by morning.
Please note that Key To Radiance is not sponsored by any of the listed brands.