Rose Scented Oil – How To Make Your Own

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 (which 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 process is called maceration and involves leaving rose petals in a carrier oil for a period of time until the oil takes on the scent of the roses.

Equipment:

  • Roses (strongly scented and chemical free)
  • Oil ( almond or jojoba oil- something that has little or no scent to avoid over powering the delicate smell of the roses, and that already feels lovely on the skin, my favourite is apricot oil). Click here to see more carrier oils.
  • Container (or Glass Jar with air tight lid).
  • Muslin Cloth

Instructions:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 3 -6 weeks in a sunny place or a warm cupboard, shake the jar every day.

Then strain the spent rose petals through some muslin cloth, or a fine 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 whole process and add more petals to this oil for a more intense rose scent.

rose gold oil

This oil feels so precious to use on my 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 delightful having petals drying throughout my home as the smell on a warm day is heaven.

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.

*Growing your own roses – if you want to grow your own roses the David Austin website lets you know if the rose you are buying has a strong scent, Autumn 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.

Remember you need to avoid spraying chemicals or fungicides to use them for making skin care products – there are various natural remedies for the inevitable bugs that invade roses, I am currently experimenting with a lavender essential oil and water spray – I will let you know how well this works…

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. One of the most popular scented roses is Gertrude Jekyll.

Essential Oils on Film

Sorry film footage is no longer available to view, hope to update soon…

‘Sunday Brunch’ Channel 4 TV show appearance, Sunday 2nd November, 2014.

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On live TV, sharing with presenters, Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer, some useful information about using essential oils including:

How essential oils are made by steam distillation:

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How herb & spice oils support digestion,

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Why it’s important to enjoy the scent,

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Why rose essential oil is so expensive and how wintergreen essential oil is great for helping muscles to relax.

 

A Basic Introduction on How to Use Essential Oils

I have learnt far more by experimenting and actually using essential oils myself rather than from books, but there is still a lot of important information to know that will help you understand and get more of a feel for how to use them.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are naturally produced by many plants and can be found in their seeds (coriander & fennel), fruits (mandarin & lime), flowers (rose & orange blossom/neroli), leaves (basil & geranium), woods (cedar wood & sandalwood) roots (ginger & angelica) and resin (frankincense & myrrh).  The essential oil is extracted from the plant material, usually by a process called ‘Steam Distillation’ which involves passing steam through the plant material to release and capture the essential oil molecules (more intricate details will appear in a future post).

There is another method, mainly used with citrus oils, called ‘expression’, where the oil is literally just pressed from the peel of the fruit. You can actually release the oil yourself if you dig your finger nail into the peel of an orange or lemon, as you pierce the cells you will be able to see and smell the essential oil.  Make sure you use an ‘un-waxed’ fruit, the waxed kind have been sealed.

Citrus fruit peel yields a lot of oil compared to other parts of plants, but you can probably still imagine that it would take the peel of many oranges to make a little 10ml bottle of Orange Essential Oil.  This should also highlight how concentrated the oil is.  Some plants yield a very tiny amount of oil in comparison, for example, roses.  It takes around 1200 rose flowers (that’s flowers not petals!) to make just 1ml of rose essential oil, which equals around 40 drops of extremely precious oil!  This should go a little way to addressing the high price of rose oil and other delicate floral oils, which generally hold a very small amount of essential oil.

What are the effects of essential oils?

Hopefully, you now have a good sense of the potency of essential oils and perhaps an idea of how powerful their effects can be.  You may be aware of how they are widely used to help us relax, and used as ingredients in bath oils or room sprays and that they are found in many beauty products to help improve our skin, but there are many other ways they can help support us both on a physical level and on the way we feel. The fact that they have such strong scents can have very tangible, immediate effects on our bodies and our moods.  All essential oils I have come across have anti-microbial properties which make them particularly suitable for using to help treat illness and disease, and can have various effects on all systems in the body from the endocrine to the digestive system.

How do you use essential oils safely?

Realising the potency of essential oils can also highlight why there are some safety precautions to observe and why it’s important to dilute them when using them on your skin.  In their neat form, they are way too strong for to use directly on the skin and  can cause tingling or burning sensations, and other reactions.  Diluting them in a vegetable oil is ideal as they themselves have many nourishing properties that your skin can also benefit from.  Generally they are full of vitamins and fatty acids that help keep skin healthy and vital.  They also help the essential oils absorb into your skin more easily.  Some other modes for diluting essential oils include honey, milk or aloe vera gel -water based products are not appropriate as the essential oils are hydrophobic (water-hating), and will not mix together.  You do not need to dilute essential oils when using them in a burner, diffusor or for inhalation (all methods to be covered in future posts). See my earlier blog post: Essential Oils in the Shower for details on using essential oils in a burner.

Always dilute essential oils before using them on your skin -including in the bath.

Various modes of application to the skin include:  massage, bath, compresses, skin care preparations such as creams or balms and neat application*.  They can also be used by inhalation (using diffusor, burner, steam inhalation or directly from a tissue) and they can also be used internally. The versatility and range of applications of the oils allows for your own personal input that means they can really support you in your life.  For example you can chose to give yourself a foot bath each night, (with a mix of peppermint essential oil and olive oil) when you get home from work because you have a job where you’re on your feet all day, and that’s what really supports you; or there may be a certain oil that helps calm your breath when feeling stressed or anxious, (e.g. frankincense, lavender or neroli essential oil) and you keep a little bottle in a your hand bag  to dot on a tissue and gently breath in for when you feel to use.  This is what i really love about the oils, that you can bring them into your daily, weekly or monthly routine to support you in so many different ways -all shared throughout this blog!

*Note: It is generally accepted that lavender and tea tree essential oils can be used neat on the skin. See my blog post on Lavender, Essential First Aid, for more details on using lavender or tea tree.

How to Use Essential Oils in the Shower in a Burner or Diffusor

How to use essential oils in a burner & diffusor.

A couple of years ago I moved into a little studio and it only had a shower -no bath!  Since I do love a bath I made sure I had the odd treat at a friends house so I didn’t miss out on this luxury.  Anyway, one evening after work, I decided to take a shower which is unusual as my routine is generally to do this in the morning, as it seems more refreshing rather than relaxing.  I went about it in a totally different way though, since I couldn’t incorporate the oils in the same way I would in the bath.  I got out my little ceramic burner:

Burner with tea light 2This is a simple devise used to scent the atmosphere in a room with essential oils.  You put a tea-light in the bottom part, fill the top bowl area with water, and sprinkle essential oils of your choice into the water.  As the candle heats the water it warms the essential oils too and they release their molecules into the room, including the scent.  It’s useful to choose a burner that has quite a deep bowl for the water, because as it is heated by the tea light, it evaporates and when there is no water left the essential oils can burn onto the surface making it difficult to clean.  Between 6 and 12 drops of essential oil should be enough in the burner, depending on the desired effect (blend inspirations below).  My bathroom was quite small so a few drops had a good impact on the room, but you can use more if you feel like it.

The tea-light in the burner already gives a little glow to the room, so I switched off the light and lit a few more candles, and it felt very special -I honestly had never taken a shower by candle light nor taken the time to prepare the room in this way.  It was a bit of a revelation to realise the difference it made to how I felt, and often became part of my night time and even morning time ritual.  It actually felt more nurturing than a bath at the time.

Choosing the oils to scent the room is a big part of the ritual, and I like to go with what ever I feel at the time, but here are some ideas to get you started but have a play yourself, as I notice that we all have different styles to blending so you will probably come up with something completely different but perfect for the moment, and if not, it’s all part of getting to know them and what you like.

Blends for your burner:

First thing in the morning: 4 drops of Eucalyptus, 2 drops of Peppermint, 4 drops of Lemon.

For winding down in the evening: 6 drops of Lavender, 6 drops of Mandarin.

Some thing in between: 6 drops of Geranium, 4 drops of Orange, 2 drops of Thyme.

You can just use one oil if you like or as many as you want…

Remember that inhaling the oils is the fastest way their molecules enter your body, so it is still an effective method of using them.

Another very quick little trick for using the oils in the shower is to  take a bottle of essential oil in to the shower with you, and once the heat is up, and the steam is rising, simply sprinkle 3 or 4 drops onto the floor below, and you will experience a brief surge of oils as the steam releases the molecules upwards.  This trick works well with strong scented oils like eucalyptus or peppermint as they release their scent immediately, something like rose or myrrh would not be appropriate as they are slower to release and will dissappear down the plug hole before your nose knows it!

If you would like to buy candles scented with essential oils you can buy Sweet Pea & Tea Rose or Neroli Blossom & Lavender from me directly -see Shop for details.

Essential Oils and You

The intention of this blog is to share simple ways to use essential oils in every day life to support, nurture and cherish yourself.

I spend a lot of time at work talking to clients about how to use oils  (I work at a company that sells essential oils), and decided to record some of this advice for a wider audience.  Any feedback or questions are welcome, as I’d like to tailor it to your needs and curiosities and make it as useful as possible.

Essential Oils are a powerful tool that can support various issues from serious illness, to the common cold, to various stressful feelings in daily life to nasty skin conditions.  You don’t need to be able to afford an ‘Aromatherapy’ massage every week to appreciate the benefits of the oils.  If you’ve ever inhaled the essential oil from the Eucalyptus tree, then you will have experienced the very obvious, immediate clearing effect it has on your entire respiratory system, from the moment you sense it at the tip of your nose, right down into the depths of your lungs.  So, do not underestimate the effects a simple scent can have on your well-being, and because of their potency there are some safety issues that do need to be observed which I will cover.

As well as sharing many of the amazing properties of the oils and practical ways to use them I will also be highlighting the importance of You in the equation and the huge difference the way you are can make to the outcome.

For example, there is likely to be a noticeable difference in the way you and your body respond  if you were to (a) slap a bit of oil onto a sore knee each morning, if you remember, before dashing out the door & legging it for a bus or (b) come home, set a comfortable place up on the sofa, support your knee with a cushion and gently massage the oil around your knee for 5 minutes,  perhaps taking a moment to warm the oil before application and maybe even using a blanket to cover yourself so you can rest a while afterwards.

Hopefully you catch my drift, but it’s not necessarily about having lots of time to do these things, as the oils are very versatile, and as with the Eucalyptus effects noted above, they can be very quick to make a difference to the way you feel- just a dot on your chest can help you breath more easily.  I like to keep things simple and clear, and I always like to make sure advice I give to clients is useful to them  in particular.  I find taking a bath a gorgeous way to enjoy the oils, you may not particularly like baths, or you may not have a bath, so then there is another way to find for you to enjoy them…

Remember that the things I share with you in this blog are just tools for you to use to bring a little extra care, fun and nurture to your life and there are many other ways to do this, but the choice to really respect and appreciate how special you are comes from you.  You could bring just as much support and healing to yourself in the way you eat or cook, or the way you exercise or move your body.  Using the oils is just another way of getting to know yourself and what works for you.  For me, it is a really lovely, practical and effective way, to support myself, the scent can make me stop and notice something which helps halt the busy-ness I can get caught in, and choosing the method of using the oil makes me stop and say ‘what do I really want to do?’, instead of just doing the same old thing.  There are so many delicious oils to discover so you get to be creative even if it’s just choosing between lavender or rose in the bath…

Gentle Hermione