In recent years, rose has steadily risen to favourite-child status in the beauty world. Now synonymous with words like hydrating, soothing, and smells so good I want to bathe in it, the fragrant ingredient can be found in everything from masks to lotions to the most exquisite of perfumes. Fifteen years ago, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, co-founders of much-loved beauty brand Fresh, zeroed in on the star ingredient and created their now-iconic Rose Face Mask ($62); since then, it’s expanded to an entire line. In honour of the mask’s 15th birthday, they’re releasing a limited-edition version that features a custom rose print by London-based artist Jo Ratcliffe. We caught up with the two founders and chatted all things rose—from its Egyptian origins to how exactly the magical product gets infused into our favourite skincare products. Keep scrolling to discover the mysterious powers of rose!
When it comes to who or what inspired the Fresh founders to first reach for rose, Glazman points to ancient Egypt. “The rose has been used in beauty rituals for centuries, dating as far back as Cleopatra,” he says. “She was believed to use the flower as the basis for all her beauty secrets; it’s what inspired us to create the rose collection.” Rose, he says, has so many benefits: It’s highly hydrating, soothing, calming (ideal for sensitive skin), and toning. He recognizes another, lesser-touted benefit, too: the smell. “The scent of rose adds a unique mood-enhancing quality to the experience of using the products,” he says. Excessive face misters will agree.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to distill thousands of pounds of rose into the essential oil used in skincare, here’s the answer: a lot. “Rose flowers are loaded into a distillation still with up to five times their weight of water,” Glazman explains. “The water steam directly passes through the roses [before it] lifts and carries the essential oil particles into the column and then a condenser.” From there, he describes, the mix of water and essential oil is collected in a decanter (also known as a Florentine vase), where the separation happens. The water is recycled, and in the end, about 70,000 pounds of flowers yields just two pounds of essential oil—a whole lot of effort, yes, but the result is a pure, refined extract that is more effective than most.
The beauty of rose is that it doesn’t discriminate—all skin types, from sensitive to oily, can benefit from its healing powers. If your skin is feeling particularly irritated, try Roytberg’s trick: “I like to place the Rose Face Mask in the refrigerator for a few hours. Once you apply the mask, it helps soothe, cool, and balance the complexion!”
Shop the limited-edition mask and some of our other favorite rose products below! What’s your go-to rose product?