When you think of rosewater for hair, your mind might take a few detours. This ingredient has been used in ancient rituals in far-flung countries for centuries, so perhaps will remind you of perfume or maybe even certain types of food (Turkish delight anyone?) But what if we were to tell you that rosewater for hair has had 12 million searches on TikTok in the last year? Here's why this traditional ingredient suddenly has a huge new fan base.
Before we look at rosewater's popularity in creating beautiful, easy hairstyles now, let's look at where it's from. "Rosewater has been used in the whole of the Arabic world for centuries. I can remember growing up in Morocco and watching my grandmothers distilling it at home," explains Hind Sebti, founder of skincare brand, Whind. "Traditionally it is splashed onto the skin to refresh it from the outside heat, infused in cold flannels when you have guests over, for all kinds of beauty rituals and it's even used dabbed on foreheads to reduce a fever. Something I still do!" says Sebti.
But why hair? “Rosewater is a very gentle and kind ingredient—making it suitable for all hair types," says hairdresser Sophie Trinder, who explains that rosewater for hair has far-reaching benefits including scalp care and nailing how to get shiny hair. "It can smooth, add shine and help purify your scalp." A gentle, natural ingredient that offers styling and hair health benefits? We’re in.
Rosewater for hair—benefits, uses, and buys
The benefits of rosewater for hair
When it comes to the benefits of rosewater for hair, the list is a long one:
- Oil-balancing: Firstly, it’s great for an oily scalp. “Rosewater is known to be a mild astringent, which means it’s great for purifying the scalp and balancing oil production,” says Trinder.
- Soothing: It also feels refreshing on the skin, thanks to it being gently anti-inflammatory. Applying it directly onto your scalp provides similar relief, especially if you are prone to an itchy scalp or want to know how to get rid of dandruff.
- Shine-enhancing: Then there’s the shine factor. “An ingredient like rose, especially if you use it in an oil or a serum, will help add hydration to parched ends and tame any flyaways making your hair look glossier and shinier,” adds Trinder.
- Smoothing: It's also great if you have frizzy hair. "Traditionally, rosewater was added to Rhassoul clay, one of Morocco's native and celebrated clays known for its purifying and detoxing yet gentle properties, to help soften it and transform it into more of a paste that would be then used on the skin and hair to smooth and soothe it," says Sebti.
Finally, there’s the fact it smells really nice. “Washing and caring for your hair should feel like as much of a treat as possible and products that smell nice—such as with a rosewater scent—play a huge part in that. Rose, in particular, is quite an intense scent, in a good way, so it lingers on your hair like rose perfume,” says Trinder.
Which hair types is rosewater best for?
Rosewater is a very well-behaved ingredient so it suits all hair types, hair textures, and hair colors, from long hairstyles to natural hairstyles and balayage hair. However, if you have dry hair then, much like the best hair masks, rosewater will help give it an extra dose of moisture.
"If you find you're getting greasy roots more often than normal, adding rosewater to your haircare regime would be no bad thing to try. It does have a mildly astringent quality so can help get your scalp get back to behaving as normal," says Sophie.
How to use rosewater for hair
How you use rosewater on your hair really depends on the product type you go for, but as a general rule of thumb, these are some great ways to incorporate it in your hair regime:
- As a rinse: If you have a bottle of already distilled rosewater then use it as a rinse between shampooing and conditioning. This will help smooth cuticles leaving you with smoother and shinier hair.
- As a scalp treatment: Apply rosewater directly onto your scalp, before showering and massage it in as a pre-wash scalp soothing treatment.
- As a shine-boosting serum: Depending on your hair type then you can apply a few drops to the mid-lengths and ends of dry hair to help with instant shine. Hair that is prone to frizz will want to avoid this as the water may expand your hair.
Six brilliant rosewater hair products to try
Aveeno Rosewater & Chamomile Blend Shampoo | RRP: $6.99/£4.50
This super budget-friendly shampoo gently cleanses the hair whilst also caring for your scalp. As with all Aveeno products, it contains colloidal oats to soothe itchy skin and rosewater has been added for an additional hydration hit as well as a soothing touch.
Charles Worthington Clean+Protect Hyaluronic Conditioner | RRP: £7.99 (UK only)
This may not sound like it contains any rosewater for hair, but what it contains is rose clay—a combination of rosewater and clay—which help lift impurities from the hair and scalp without stripping either from the natural oils needed to stay happy and healthy.
Heritage Store Rosewater Refreshing Mist | RRP: $10.99/£8.88
This is pitched as a facial mist, but because rosewater is so versatile and gentle it can be used—quite literally—from head to toe. So after spritzing it on damp hair before blow-drying you can then refresh your face with a light mist, as well as using it as a body moisturizer.
Kérastase Elixir Ultime Rose Hair Oil | RRP: $49/£37.70
This is an iconic hair oil for good reason. It delivers hydration and superior levels of shine without making even the finest hair feel or look greasy. Rose has been used here to add extra gloss and to create the most gorgeous flower fragrance that lingers on the hair all day.
Keys Soulcare Comforting Balm | RRP: $12/£10
A gorgeously silky multi-purpose balm that's packed with rose to add hydration and comfort to wherever needs it. This suits thicker, textured, or chemically-treated hair that's super parched. Just rub a small amount between your fingers to warm the product up and massage into the ends and mid-lengths of hair where needed.
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Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith has worked in the beauty industry for more than 15 years and, as well as woman&home, has contributed to titles such as Stylist, The Daily Mail and The Times.
As a mum of two little girls she has limited time to spend on herself, so if you’re looking for hard-working multi-tasking products, she’s the one in the know.
Her top three products she has on her at all times are a glow-giving tinted moisturizer, brow pencil and a tinted lip balm. Oh, and she’s never far away from a hydrating face mist.