Go through your beauty shelf and you're bound to find some scented with the fragrance with rose and others with jasmine. It might come as a surprise to you that flowers can do much more than look gorgeous. Centuries before they even came to be celebrated for their skin and hair benefits, petals and stems of flowers were crushed and cured in oils for their divine scent. The process may be on a larger, more modernised scale today but it continues to herald flower power at its core. We spoke to the experts at Kama Ayurveda for a rundown on the process of how flowers are used in beauty, their history as well as home remedies to try for yourself too.
Popular Indian flowers and their history in beauty
"Some common Indian flowers used in beauty are rose, jasmine, hibiscus, lavender, chamomile and sunflower. The rose especially plays a crucial role in Ayurvedic beauty care. Commonly used in beauty products by crushing, grinding or distilling its petals, roses balance the skin's natural pH levels, reduce wrinkles, improve skin complexion and help slow the process of ageing," they say. It comes as no surprise because of how popular roses are; not only in bouquets but in beauty cabinets as well.
They continue, "Natural diversity of flora has fascinated humans even before science. Smitten by their beautiful harmony, colours and fragrance, people began using flowers as part of their beauty regimes. Flowers like roses were believed to help soothe inflammation and aid in tissue regeneration, while jasmine was used to provide antioxidant rich hydration."
How Roses Are Extracted For Beauty
They give us their expertise on how the process occurs. Rose captures the delicate essence of the soul of the rose, or ruh ul gulab. Kama Ayurveda's Pure Rose Water is made with the Rose petals of Kannauj and here's how it is extracted.
"Rose petals are first hand picked from the fields of Kannauj before sunrise and sent to the distilleries to be used the same day. These petals are collected as per the grade and strength required. The rose petals are upended into large copper pots and a small amount of cold water is added to it, with a fire lit below this container to cause the distilled water to convert into steam. Steam then passes through the rose petals, and they slowly release their essence. This steam passes through copper pipes into another compartment which is cooled continuously by external channels of cold water. This compartment is completely sealed, and the cold water aids the process of condensation of rose water vapour, which is later collected at the bottom in a specially created container. This rose water is then emptied out and filtered with ultraviolet (UV) rays so that all microscopic bacteria are destroyed and the product is fit for use." That's how roses go from the field to your beauty shelf.
(Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Rose Water Is The Best Skin Cleanser)
DIY Home Remedies With Flowers
But flowers don't only need to come in tubes and tubs. These flower home remedies will allow you to DIY and make their benefits work for you.
1. Face Mask For Dry Skin
Mix 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel and raw honey each, with 2 tablespoons of rose water. Mix them all well, then apply onto cleansed, wet skin. The raw honey seals in hydration, while aloe vera gel and rosewater work on the inflammation and irritation which can occur due to extreme dryness of the skin. Keep the mask on for 10 minutes then rinse it off with cold water.
2. Face Mask For Normal Skin
Mix 2 teaspoons of gram flour, 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt and 4 tablespoons of rose water. Mix them all well and apply to your face and neck. Gently massaging this paste will help the gram flour to exfoliate your skin, while the yogurt moisturizes and the rosewater takes off the grime and provides hydration. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water.
3. Face Mask For Oily Skin
Mix 1 tablespoon of Bentonite Clay and 2 tablespoons of fresh cucumber juice to 2 tablespoons of rose water. Mix them well and spread evenly on the face. The Bentonite Clay, which is similar to Fuller's Earth, is very absorbent and will extract the excess sebum and grime out of your pores, and so does the rose water along with hydrating the skin, while the cucumber juice soothes and moisturizes the skin lightly. Leave the mask on for 8-10 and gently take out the mask with a soft cloth dipped in lukewarm water.