Welcome to our series "Buzzy Beauty Ingredient of the Moment," the premise of which is pretty self-explanatory: In each installment, we'll explore an ingredient that's currently trending in the industry, springing up in a variety of different products lining the beauty aisle. We'll consult experts to find out about the science behind it — and why it's having a major moment right now.
Roses in beauty products? As groundbreaking as florals for spring? The rose has been prized for its appearance and aroma throughout history — Shakespeare even had a thing for it, if his lilting soliloquies are any indication — but it also makes for a truly excellent skin- and hair-care ingredient. Yet it's only in more recent years that the science behind exactly why that's the case has become clear, and, in turn, inspired somewhat of a rose-explosion (roseplosion?) in the beauty industry. Sure, the flower is inherently fancy and looks great on packaging. But it's also a powerhouse when it comes to treating a variety of skin concerns.
"Rose extracts in general are thought to have skin lightening, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "In addition, some rose extracts have been shown to be astringent and antimicrobial," which Zeichner notes means it may help treat acne, citing a 2011 study on the subject.
Beyond just potentially helping ward off breakouts, rose oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may be useful in the treatment of a whole host of dermatological conditions. "Rose hip seed oil contains vitamin A and essential fatty acids that soothe skin and reduce inflammation," adds Zeichner. Given that vitamin A is the ingredient from which retinols and retinoids are derived, it has important potential in terms of what it can do for skin.
There's also simpler fact of rose oil acting as a highly effective moisturizer, helping to enhance skin's natural ability to hold on to hydration. "Rose hip oil may be helpful in treating conditions where the skin barrier is not working as well as it should be working, such as dry skin and eczema. There's also some data to suggest that rose oil may help prevent the development of stretch marks because of its protective effect on the skin," says Zeichner.
In terms of working rose oil into your daily skin-care routine, Zeichner says it's as simple as seeking out a serum or moisturizer with the ingredient — he cites Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum and the Sisley Paris Black Rose line as good options — and layering it on for daytime under your sunscreen. "It's rich in antioxidants that put out the fires caused by free radicals," says Zeichner, meaning that it'll help to protect against the environmental stressors your skin comes into contact with every day.
"I chose rose hip oil because it's great for stimulating the circulation, and it also is a great protection against cell mutation," says esthetician and skin-care expert Joanna Vargas of the decision to feature the ingredient in her Rejuvenating Serum.
But rose's benefits also extend past facial care to body and hair, as well. Hairstylist Jen Atkin incorporated it into her Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil, which, true to its name, is intended for use on body and hair. "Rose hip oil reduces the appearances of scars and redness and is known to lock in moisture, so it's great for both skin and hair," she explains. And the fact that it also looks (and smells) chic as hell? That's just a fringe benefit.
So, why is 2017 a moment of rose oil ubiquity? One could argue the rather obvious fact that its color palette lends itself to the current marketing trends dominating the industry; millennial pink, maybe you've heard a little something about it? That probably hasn't hurt, but another piece of the puzzle is that consumers are gravitating toward ingredients that are simultaneously effective and recognizable to them. So being able to experience glow-y, hydrated, bright, supple skin as the result of a naturally occurring, science-backed ingredient they can easily identify as they're skimming a label? That's powerful.
In the gallery below, you'll find a selection of 13 of our favorite rose-spiked sprays, serums, balms, lotions and oils du jour. Consider it a crash course on how to stock your entire beauty routine full of the fragrant flower.
Homepage photo: @kristenmarienichols/Instagram
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