Rose Scented Oil – How To Make Your Own

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This is a very simple recipe for making your own rose scented oil. It is quite different from an essential oil which is made by steam distillation or solvent extraction and requires about 1200 rose flowers to make just 20 drops of oil, so much more practical as you don’t require vast fields of roses, nor specialised equipment.

This is a process of macerating rose petals in a carrier oil for a period until the oil takes on the scent of the roses. The process is just as beautiful as the end product, hence all the photos to give you a sense of the joy.

All you need is some rose flowers, a glass jar or container with an air tight lid and a carrier oil, this can be anything you like eg. olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil -I would recommend something that has no scent, or a light scent, so as not to over power the smell of the roses, I have used apricot oil in this case.

Make sure the rose flowers you collect have a strong scent and have not been sprayed with chemicals, as these will taint the final product – growing your own is best. I have several potted roses on my balcony and for my test run I only used two flowers in a tiny jam jar, after 2 weeks of using a little on my finger tips as a face oil, I still have half a pot left.

rose oil

If you want to choose one to plant the David Austin website lets you know if the rose you are buying has a strong scent, now is a good time to order bare root roses, they deliver at end of the year as literally bare roots with a little bit of twig but will still give you a harvest next Summer.

Take the flowers when they have opened to their fullest, so you and the bees can enjoy them for as long as possible, then just nip them off before they start to wither.

These wild deep pink roses were collected on the Yorkshire moors -a friend of mine had shared how heavenly and heavily scented they were when out walking his dog and actually sent a few in the post to me, with the smell still lingering.

rose collection

I have tried this process a few times now, and have also used flowers from two of my favourite roses that I have on my balcony, Gentle Hermione  and The Alnwick Rose, they have a fairly strong scent but I chose them just because they happened to be in bloom when I decided to make it, you can try using any rose that is scented and not sprayed.  I am planning on making one with a few different types of rose flowers, so as to create a combination of their scents.

pink rose petals

Once you’ve harvested your rose flowers you need to remove the petals and lay them out to dry a little as any moisture could result in the oil becoming rancid. I left mine on a table near a sunny window for the day, this should be enough to lose the water in the petals but not the essential oil.

part dried rose petals

Collect the petals carefully and put them in the jar, you will naturally leave behind little bits of dust or grit as you pick them up, and there might be some you want to discard, I actually found a few with creatures wrapped inside so they didn’t make it into a jar.

jar of rose petals

Fill the jar to the top, and the pour in the carrier oil. If you don’t have enough petals to fill the jar, use a smaller one, you want to just cover them with oil, and not leave any space for air.

rose oil

Seal the lid tightly and leave for two week in a cupboard, then strain the spent rose petals through some muslin, or a sieve, into a bowl.

rose petal straining

Squeeze as much oil as you can from the petal pulp and you are left with a beautiful, delicately scented rose oil.

squeeze oil

Pure gold oil! You can repeat this process and add more petals to create a more intense rose scent if you like.

rose gold oil

This oil feels so precious and nurturing, it’s very gorgeous to use on your face and body. You only need a tiny amount so it’s been well worth it -this last batch was made with a litre of oil so I have plenty to see me through until the next rose flowering season.  It has been especially yummy having petals all over my home so I’m sure you are going to have a lot of fun with this.

Tip: You can use your rose oil as an ingredient in making your own natural face cream, see here for recipe and instructions: Natural Face and Body Cream Making Workshop.

Feel free to ask any questions and to share your experiences.

roses

11 thoughts on “Rose Scented Oil – How To Make Your Own

    1. I must admit Anasthasia, I wasn’t so sure how the oil would turn out, but I actually love it more than using a stronger rose essential oil, partly because I made it myself and I loved the process, but also the delicacy of it is truly magical, and this helps me connect to that delicate quality when I use it.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Rhoda, that sounds super simple. I run Natural Perfume Making Workshops, (using essential oils & carrier oils), so the rose oil could also make a lovely base for a perfume.

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  1. Love this Laura, I just have some roses that are ready to be dried and look forward to making the oil. How do you know if the roses are sprayed? I just bought them somewhere…

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    1. I think it is most likely that if you buy cut roses, they will have been sprayed with chemicals. Your florist may know a little more information on their suppliers, so it’s worth asking. If they are sprayed but still scented then you can just dry them, I have been amazed at how long they hold their scent for.
      Alternatively, it is a good excuse to plant your own and now is a good time to buy bare root roses. I’ve been looking at http://www.classicroses.co.uk (Peter Beales roses) there are 1100 options but select strongly scented to reduce the choice. They also offer great advice but having just done a pruning and planting course with them I can probably give some tips too…

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation, Vanessa.
      Just to be clear, this recipe for rose petal oil does not product an ‘essential oil’. Essential oils are usually steam distilled from plant material, solvent extracted or some times pressed as with citrus oils.
      The technique used here is called ‘maceration’, it’s much simpler and you don’t need specific equipment. Most items you will already have in your kitchen.
      As the flowers are ‘macerated’ in a vegetable/seed oil, the fragrance is much subtler than an essential oil, but you don’t need to dilute it to use on your skin as with an essential oil.
      You can try this same process with lots of different flowers for example marigold/calendula, violets or chamomile.
      I will be experimenting with different flowers next Summer and will share what I discover… in the mean time I’m being very precious with the rose oil I’ve made, as I know I won’t have any flowers to make more for quite a few months.

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