50 Shades of Rose (otto) or 7 Ways to Use Rose This Valentine's Day

For a lot of people, roses are the epitome of love. As Valentine's Day swoops closer, lovers rush to buy bundles of these beautiful flowers. But did you know that most roses are bred for beauty, and don't give off the aroma that they should?

It's true! There are over 250 species of rose, and over 10,000 different hybrid varieties. Of these, only three are commonly used for oil extraction. But lucky for us, we get several varieties in the form of  essential oils and rose absolute! Here are some ways you can use rose this Valentine's day, besides buying the bouquet.

1. Check out rose essential oil, or otto. It's heavenly and quite complex. Many of its components are also undefined, which means it's impossible to replicate. Rose essential oil is light yellow to green in color and can solidify at cooler temperatures due to the natural waxes. It's a costly essential oil because it takes 4 tons of petals to make a kilo of oil or 60 roses to make one drop! But it's also one of the most beloved essential oils in the aromatherapy world.

2. You can also look into rose absolute. It's an extract that holds even more of the true rose scent than the otto. Absolute also offers unique chemical constituents and is more reddish in color and thicker than the otto. It's less expensive than rose essential oil, as well. And you can blend otto and rose absolute together for the full effect!

3 Make a rose facial cream or serum. Use your favorite carrier oil, like organic coconut oil. Then choose additives that work for your skin type, like evening primrose oil, rosehip seed and others (our Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual or the Aromatic Spa Book are great guides for which oils to use and why). Once your base is ready, add the rose oil, absolute or both. A good safe dilution for skin is usually 2%, and a bit more for perfume use. But due to its potency 1 or 2 drops of rose otto to one ounce of carrier or cream/lotion makes a nice face blend. Use less if you have sensitive skin or want less of a scent.

4. Fall in love with a spritz of rose hydrosol. Hydrosols are made of the hydrolate water from the distillation process. They are excellent for the skin, and soothing to inflamed tissue. Hydrosols are useful for most skin types and make for a refreshing body spray. You can buy them fresh or make your own through home distillation. 

5. For a tasty Valentine treat, add an ounce of pure rose hydrolate or a drop of rose absolute to your champagne bottle. We tried this with otto, and to our surprise, the rose oil made tiny wax balls in the cold champagne. We'll go more into detail about why this happened in our next blog, but for now, our suggestion is to add absolute or the hydrolate instead! It's delicious and romantic--just like Valentine's Day champagne should be.

6. Add a few drops of rose oil to local raw honey for a tasty treat. It's delicious! And combined with Damiana oil and its reputed properties (see link below), this honey could be multipurpose, in tea or on the skin!

7. Our friend Marge Clark at Natures Gift suggests a drop of rose in chilled heavy cream before whipping it! Her site has more rose talk, and rose oils. Thanks Marge, what a wonderful romantic and tasty idea!

Enjoy these suggestions, and have a happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a fun read: Mooning Over Love: Fragrances, foods, and flavors to excite and celebrate your beloved