It’s not easy to grow one of the most skin-care effective species of rose on top of a building in the middle of a massive city. But Brooklyn Rooftop Botanicals founder Liana Blomquist was determined to do just that, cracking the cultivation code for the sake of her new Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Serum.
And as it turns out, rosa gallica officinalis is New York strong. “It actually enjoys more arid climates and is super tough,” Blomquist notes. “Other delicate roses I’ve grown on the rooftop, such as the David Austins, have struggled more.”
Used for centuries in all manner of skin beautifiers, the rose is currently having a major moment. From Lancôme Absolue The Serum, an anti-ager crafted from roses harvested in the Plateau de Valensole garden in the South of France, to a sumptuous, makeup-dissolving cleanser (Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm) and two luxe toners that refresh and hydrate (Isa Lazo Toner, Fleur & Bee Rose And Shine Rose Water Toner), there isn’t a single skin-care category rose hasn’t touched.
And for good reason. This delicate-looking flower is a total powerhouse.
“Rose is very versatile while also being gentle on the skin, which makes it a great option for all skin types,” says New York dermatologist Marisa Garshick. Ultra soothing, it’s a slam-dunk for anyone prone to dry patches. At the same time, notes Garshick, rose has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is also rich in anti-oxidants. Thus acne, redness, sensitivity and wrinkles can all be tackled with the appropriate rose-spiked brew.
Dame Pat McGrath tapped legendary beauty Naomi Campbell as the face of her new rose-fueled Divine Skin essence. (Yes, dame; in 2021, for her professional achievements and moving the needle on diversity, McGrath became the first makeup artist ever to receive the hallowed, female-equivalent-of-a-knight British title.) The biphase elixir — a lightweight, milky emulsion that needs to be shaken before it’s used — was created to nourish the skin and pump up glow and luminosity. In other words, it replicates the look McGrath gives her models before they sail down the runway or step in front of a camera.
Having long cornered the market on Dead Sea mineral salts for the bath, Sabon weaves them into its new Mediterranean-inspired range of damask rose-infused face products. The four-piece collection includes an innovative, pore-opening “steam” that blends salts with dried petals; a rich cream; and two biphase offerings: a rose water in oil and a serum in oil.
Also tapping the damask rose? Andalou Naturals, with its new Fresh + Dewy 2 in 1 Serum, a sensitive skin fix that’s also laced with vitamin E and squalane, a mega-moisturizing ingredient finding its way into many a rose-based brew. “Because squalane supports the skin barrier and locks moisture in,” notes Garshick, “it works well with rose products created to hydrate.”
Though trendy, rose has a serious track record. “Research on botanical ingredients costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time, which is why it’s so limited,” says Blomquist. “Because rose is backed by valid and reliable data, it continues to be a go-to for beauty. There’s a lot of data out there on roses.”
Atelier Versace plucks a heady Moroccan flower for its lush unisex scent
Depending on who you ask, more than 100 — or maybe more than 300 — species of roses exist in the world. But for Atelier Versace “Éclat de Rose” (“Glow of Rose”), exactly one variety of the stunningly popular fleur makes the cut: rosa centifolia, handpicked in Morocco at the crack of dawn and rushed right into production.
With more aliases than Champagne Papi, Moroccan rose centifolia is variously known as rose maroc, rose de Mai, Provence rose, hundred-leaved rose and a handful of other monikers. A hybrid between the pink-hued rosa centifolia and the dark red rosa gallica, it’s grown primarily in Morocco, Egypt and France, and is becoming as popular in luxury natural skin care as it is in fragrance.
In “Éclat de Rose” — one of six Atelier Versace unisex scents launched en masse in 2019 — the velvety, sweet-meets-spicy rose maroc note is supported by Ambrox, a blend of amber, incense and wood. It was created by legendary perfumer Nathalie Lorson, one of the fragrance industry’s first female noses. (A native of Grasse, France, she has composed dozens of household-name scents, including spritzes for Kate Moss and Lady Gaga.)
“Éclat de Rose” also has a pedigreed bottle, crafted by Parma, Italy-based glass whizzes at Bormioli Luigi. The vessel is blown and twisted, nodding to the effect of a pleated skirt given a frisky little spin and underscoring the made-to-measure tailoring theme of the entire Atelier Versace scent collection. The fragrance’s name is etched into the collar, while the cap recalls a gold metal bustier from Gianni Versace’s second show — stamped with a 3D version of the house’s Medusa signature, of course.
The fragrance joins a new resurgence of unisex scents featuring the beloved flower — harkening back to rose-based colognes and rose water after-shaves that had been worn by men for centuries before briefly falling out of favor.
But as Donatella Versace tells Alexa, scent selection should be driven by one criterion only: Does it say you? If not, keep looking. “We all want to find that fragrance that really represents who we are,” she says.