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the color of rose

Rosa damascena, the Rose of Damascus, is a deep pink beauty of a flower that has likely inspired more romance and joy than any other. It is the main rose species used in therapeutic aromatherapy and high-end perfumery. 


Reputedly in 10th century Persia, rose was the first flower ever distilled for its essential oil by the great Arab physician, poet, astronomer and alchemist, Avicenna. Whether he discovered the resultant rose water and rose oil by design or by chance remains a mystery. But we do know the practice of using rosewater and rose oil for health and beauty quickly spread throughout Arabia and beyond, and has been in high demand every century since. 

Our Riot of Roses Cream is born out of this Old World undying obsession, out of classic practices and ancient rituals, out of this merging alchemy of health and beauty. What we have done is modernize the classic, yet stay true to its vitality and benefit.

We’ve heard some feedback recently about the color of our Riot of Roses Cream. Some love the subtlety of its pink color – a very “rich” light pink bordering on “taupe,” yet “so natural” and “real” and “earthy”. Others have “expected it to be more pink”, perhaps more reminiscent of a sweet dessert. 

Within truly all natural, herbal body care products it is virtually impossible to have both a high herbal content (i.e. high therapeutic content) and a colorless product without some sort of heavy refinement or bleaching of the product. Products containing herbs should, by nature, not be white. In turn, products with “unnatural” color (say, blue, for example) must undergo such refinement before the unnatural color is added. This goes against, in our opinion, the whole point of having an herbal product with high therapeutic value. Herbal products are just that – products produced with herbs – and therefore will be varying shades of green, brown, taupe, or yellow, representing the natural world from which they came.

Thankfully, in steps a multi-tasking biennial herb called Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria) with its bright red, slightly astringent roots. It actually entered the scene hundreds of years ago as a natural coloring agent for all sorts of goods from cosmetics to wine to hair color. But herbalists know that it has been used medicinally since the time of Dioscorides (circa 40-90 AD) as a topical wound healer and soother of burns and hot red skin conditions. 

To give Riot of Roses its hint of pink, we add a bit of this root along with whole rose buds to our herbal infusion by letting a small amount soak in jojoba, coconut and evening primrose oils until they take on a deep reddish hue. The process is similar to steeping rosemary sprigs or garlic cloves in olive oil to give it subtle flavor. The result is a delicate, natural, healthy pink that is almost good enough to eat. You could, in fact, eat Riot of Roses Cream if you were so inclined, although we do not recommend it. Save it for your beautiful face.

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