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La Vie En Rose

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | June 5, 2012

There's a fragrant flower popping up in skin care this season.

The rose has been around for about 35 million years and grows naturally throughout North America. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used in medicines since ancient times. Rose essential oil was also a constituent of the earliest cold cream, a recipe recorded by the Greek physician, Galen, in the second century.

In 1986, the rose was designated the official flower and floral emblem of the US.

And, did you know June is celebrated as National Rose Month?

But in the household and personal care marketplace, the rose is celebrated all year long. Most recently, a variety of marketers are incorporating this fragrant ingredient into novel skin care products.

"The use of the rose is far and varied. It has a long history in its use in aromatherapy, especially in the area of skin care. It is suitable for all skin types, but it is especially valuable for dry, sensitive or aging skins," said Princess Theodora von Auersperg, founder of the Princess Theodora von Auersperg skin care line, Virginia Beach, VA. "It has a tonic and astringent effect on the capillaries just below the skin surface, which makes it useful in diminishing redness. Unadulterated rose oil is a remarkable ally in the fight against wrinkles, puffiness, broken capillaries, even some nervous eczemas. It is a wonderful oil for a maturing skin, benefiting the hands too."

Von Auersperg, a descendent from Austrian nobility dating back to the 11th century, noted that toning the face and neck with pure rose water has not only a natural anti-aging effect on the skin texture, but also stimulates and enhances one's mood.

The Melvita Rose Nectar colection.
"The rose also offers a soothing property to the nerves and emotional and psychological state of mind. It is regarded as a mild sedative and anti-depressant. It also can be considered an aphrodisiac," she said.

Rose hip has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries for inflammation, colds, flu and chronic, added Ni'Kita Wilson, cosmetic chemistry expert,, New York. "I haven't seen any data that it can cure the common cold, but studies have shown that rose hip extracts (in ethanol) can reduce inflammation by down-regulating COX-2 expression."

Rosehip oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and has been shown to improve skin because the oils can be taken into the membrane and plump the skin. It should be noted that rosehip oil also contains a number of vitamins and provitamins, which also impart beneficial qualities such as UV protection, according to some executives.

Here's a look at some recent launches featuring this aromatic flower rife with skin-friendly benefits:

Badger's take on rose.
The latest innovation French organic certified beauty brand Melvita is the Rose Nectar Collection ($22-$42). Using an all-natural extraction process, Melvita created innovative totums, rich blends of the rose's powerful, active ingredients. Each restorative product is formulated with a specific rose totum that harnesses the particular benefit of one of these elements: Melvita's exclusive hydration-boosting wild rose petal extract, hundred-leaved rose, rose hip oil, rose seed milk, rose essential oil and rose enfleurage. The line includes cleansers and moisturizers.

Nutrient-rich essential rose oil and healing rose water are core ingredients in the handcrafted Princess Theodora von Auersperg skin care routine. The Replenishing Rose Cream ($135) features rose water, rose absolute, coconut and jojoba oil; while the Harmonizing Rose Toner ($60) is fortified with vitamin C, DMAE and essential oils.

The new Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus with Antioxidant Complex is a dual-benefit, high-performance skin care range for hydration and protection against environmental aggressors. Developed exclusively around Jurlique's classic blend of rose essential oils and with extracts from roses around the world, this system is specially formulated to target the first signs of moisture loss, delivering long-lasting moisturization and antioxidant protection, said the company. Products include a Rose Moisture Plus Moisturizing Cleanser ($22), Rosewater Balancing Mist ($22) and Rose Moisture Plus Moisturizing Cream ($42).

Using technology developed around rose stem cells, Lancôme is calling Absolue L’Extrait a "miracle" cream. The cream debuted in April in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It will be carried in the US beginning in June where the 50ml cream will retail for $350, according to reports. The technology revolves around the Lancôme Rose, which was created in 1973 and is the emblem of the Lancôme brand. Through a new biotechnological cocooning procedure called fermogenesis, scientists transformed a cell of the Lancôme Rose into a rose stem cell.Each jar of Absolue L’Extrait contains two million rose stem cells, among other actives, according to Lancôme.

C.O. Bigelow's famous Rose Salve No. 012 ($5.50) has been a consumer favorite for years, due to its ability to care for lips and beautify skin. Emulsified with extra-soothing rose extract, the multi-tasking SKU is said to ease irritation and condition the skin. Ingredients include petrolatum, lanolin oil, squalene, gossypium herbaceum (cotton) seed oil and rosa canina fruit extract, of course, at 0.9%.

Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial ($48) from Korres, sold at Sephora, is a facial treatment to address uneven skin tone and dark spots while improving skin quality for a brighter, more luminous complexion, according to the company. It contains Korres Phos Compound, a proprietary blend including a brightening agent and stabilized vitamin C. It contains 95% natural content and is suitable for all skin types.

Damascus Rose Antioxidant Face Sunscreen - SPF 16 ($18) is new from Badger. It is said to protect with non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide and is formulated specifically for use on delicate facial skin. Damascus rose, Roman chamomile and French lavender soothe and restore skin while imparting an exotic floral scent; rosehip, sea buckthorn and calendula CO2 extracts are abundant with a synergistic blend of antioxidants and anti-aging compounds.

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