We love using rose absolute and rose oil in our products, and we’re one of the largest users of pure rose oil and rose absolute in the world.
Since 2005, we’ve been buying these materials directly from the producers in Senir, Turkey. They work with over 3,000 local farmers, distilling world-class oil and absolute from the petals of the native Damask roses. The first rose oil was made by Persians and ever since then, it has been a renowned Turkish product.
Picked at dawn by local villagers and Roma families, this rose oil is the best we can get. Rose pickers are up before sunrise if they want the best yield, as the oil that lends the rose its distinctive smell starts to evaporate when the sun comes up. Rose oil is a valuable ingredient, and to make one pound of it, you need more than a million roses. The premium we pay on every pound of oil goes towards the running of (and the initial building of) a local primary school in Senir.
The oil and absolute smell quite distinct from one another. As Agnès from our buying team observes, the rose oil is “very sweet with a honey tinge to it”, whereas the absolute “…is more like the roses in the field…it has a green note to it and retains the fullness of the character of the rose.” Both the absolute and the oil carry the characteristic floral fragrance of the rose, and we use them both in many of our products and Gorilla perfumes.
Rose oil has long been used for its cosmetic benefit; its effect on the skin helps soothe and calm, reducing redness and irritation. It has long been thought of as a tonic, and is used to treat blemishes and nourish the skin; while in aromatherapy it’s known for its uplifting qualities and is even said to have an aphrodisiac effect. The olive green-colored oil is extracted from the petals of the flower via a process of steam distillation, and is thought to have been the first floral essential oil that was distilled.
Rose absolute is also made from the flower petals but through a process of solvent extraction. Ours comes from the Damask rose, although other species of rose can be used to produce the oil and the absolute.
Our all-purpose cleanser, Ultrabland, is based on an ancient formula for cold cream. It was invented by the Roman physician Galen, and where he used a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, water and rose petals, we’re able to disperse our Turkish rose absolute in water to create rose water. This, along with almond oil, beeswax and honey, is the basis for our Ultrabland formula. We also add honey to soften and condition the skin, while rose water and rose absolute reduce redness and help balance the skin.