My favourite winter face moisturizer: rosewater + glycerin serum

zero waste skin care rosewater

This low waste, two-ingredient recipe helped me overcome stubbornly dry winter skin. 

Winter is less than a week away and you’d barely know it here in Sydney. This autumn’s been mild enough that the frangipanis – Sydney’s fragrant summer jewels – are still blooming around the city. The plants may be confused, but my skin knows the truth. Outside of summertime humidity I struggle to retain moisture and sometimes sport visibly dry skin, especially on my chin and forehead. Jojoba and rosehip oils are my skincare mainstays throughout the year, but they can’t restore skin that’s really turned a corner. 

I like simple, multi-tasking solutions that save brain and counter space. By combining two ingredients I already had in the house – rosewater and glycerin – I brought the glow back to my skin.

A deceptively simple recipe to repair dry skin: rosewater and glycerin

Sorting through my DIY supplies, I came across a slim bottle of glycerin I’d refilled at The Soap Dispensary for some purpose I can’t recall. Glycerin acts as a humectant to pull moisture from the air into the skin, which I vaguely knew from reading my mom’s copy of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me (remember this anyone?!). In fact, my habit of using bi-carb as exfoliant is straight from the same book. 

Rosewater is made from rose petals steeped in water. It looks and behaves like normal water and smells like roses. You could probably make it easily enough if you had a rose garden. I don’t, so luckily we had some the pantry from an attempt to re-create Black Star pastry’s famous watermelon cake. 

Rosewater and glycerin combine to make a super hydrating moisturizer. Rosewater cuts the glycerin and provides the moisture for the glycerin to draw into the skin. With only two ingredients, this is a deceptively simple recipe. I promise it’s incredibly powerful. In fact, there are some every expensive serums on the market that use these same two ingredients and sell for over $100. Reverse engineering is fun and frugal, friends.

zero waste skin care rosewater

How to make rosewater glycerin skin hydrating serum:

This recipe is make and shake. For an extra strong remedy I use:

  • 1 part glycerin
  • 4 parts rosewater

For day-to-day use, I aim for a lower proportion of glycerin:

  • 1 part glycerin
  • 10 – 20 parts rosewater

Combine the ingredients into a glass dropper bottle, close the lid and shake. I use a scant 2-3 drops per application, patting over my skin morning and night as needed, or rotating with my usual jojoba / rosehip blend.

zero waste skin care rosewater

How I deal with ultra dry skin

When my skin gets dry enough that flakes appear, I’ll lightly exfoliate with a dusting of wetted bi-carb on my fingertips. After rinsing, I’ll follow with the rosewater glycerin serum.  

Inexpensive, zero waste skincare makes my skin glow.

Since I’ve started using this recipe, I’ve been asked by several people for my ‘secret’ to great skin. For a 30-something, it’s as glee-inducing as being ID’d at the bottle shop. Surely though, I owe a portion of this newfound radiance to the joy of sidestepping unnecessary plastic packaging and avoiding overspending by making this surprisingly moisturizing remedy myself. 

2 thoughts on “My favourite winter face moisturizer: rosewater + glycerin serum

  1. I’m 80 years old and it seems nothing helps with my dry skin. I want to make a skin lotion for my skin that actually works. I’m thinking that glycerin and rosewater are two ingredients that will do the best for my skin. But can I use Vaseline or some other type of lotion with a “full body” to make it such that I can rub it on the skin instead of drops? In other words would the glycerin and rosewater lose potency as an additive to the Vaseline or Shea butter?

    1. Hi Jean, good question! I think based on the number of creams on the market with added glycerin you probably could try this. I think Vaseline would act as a strong barrier and my worry would be whether it would emulsify with the rosewater. I think you’d want to also measure the proportion of glycerin against the total solution rather than just the rosewater to maintain the strength. That’s how I’d do it anyway.


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