June is National Rose Month; pretty, aromatic, and most beautiful. 

It was June, and the world smelled of roses

Maud Hart Lovelace


I adore the essential oil of Rose.  Its powdery, floral aroma is heady, sweet, intoxicating and luxurious.  I love to use it for my clients and for myself, but I often get asked about the difference between Rose Otto and Rose Absolute.

The Difference

Well that is mostly in the distillation method. Rose Otto is distilled from Rosa damascena and is steam distilled, whereas Rose Absolute is more often than not distilled from the cabbage rose, Rosa centifolia, and is distilled using a solvent extraction.  Rose Otto will always be more expensive. This is because hundreds of petals are needed to make just a few drops of the oil. The absolute method gives a higher yield and therefore brings the price down, a little!

For purists, the Otto is the ‘better’ oil as Absolutes are not entirely essential oils and should always be clearly marked as an Absolute on any labelling or bottle.  Therapeutically the Otto is far superior as its closer to the actual flower, the distillation method for an Absolute will leave a reside. It’s so tiny, but it’s there! The strange thing is that a large amount of people prefer the aroma of the Absolute, people say it’s how they think a rose should smell. 

The Otto is more complicated in its aroma, indicative of its more complicated chemical structure.

If you love the smell of Rose and want to use it as a fragrance, e.g. in a diffuser, then Rose Absolute is the one to go for. Still pricey, but one drop goes such a long way! If you want to incorporate Rose into your beauty regime or use it for a therapeutic massage, then use Rose Otto.

When to use it

Just like the flower is related to romance and the heart, Rose essential oil is a heart tonic. It will support you through heart aches, loss and grief. A diffuser is the best application for this approach.

A recommended blend to nurture you

To your diffuser add:

1 drop of Rose Absolute

5 drops of Bergamot 

For the skin, it has properties that are restorative and enhancing, great for mature skin but also helpful for sore or inflamed skin. (Never use essential oils neat on the skin you must always use a base oil, lotion or cream to put your drops of essential oil into) Use in a massage blend.

Add one drop of Rose Otto to 5ml of vegetable oil for a luxurious face blend

Rose is the epitome of femininity, it has the ability to support women through all stages of their hormonal journey, from Puberty to Menopause. Best used in diffuser or as a massage blend.

For a diffuser combine with Geranium and Lemon for a wonderful harmonising blend

1 drop of Rose Absolute

4 drops of Lemon – Citrus limonum

2 drops of Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens

For those of you who know me and are familiar with my practice and areas of work, you will know I use a fair amount of Rose for my clients and in my teaching- but hey, we’re all worth it! And as I said one drop goes a long way!

Happy June and don’t forget to ‘stop and smell the roses’!


from the seed aromatherapy