Lately my skin had been looking a bit dull, I had been trying all my normal tips and tricks but nothing was brightening my skin or stopping the occasional pimple. A friend and I went walking through our favourite health food store’s beauty and skincare section when I stumbled upon Witch Hazel. I had been hearing fantastic things about witch hazel for quite some time now and after my friend’s urging, I decided to grab myself a bottle. As you may have guessed from the title of this post; Witch Hazel is my new desert island skincare must have.
Witch Hazel is a natural astringent that comes from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub (hamamelis virginiana). It is a natural skin cleanser and toner as it is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Witch hazel has a long history of being used in natural medicine and has traditionally been used for a variety of reasons including cancers, hemorrhoids, burns, colds, fevers and of course, skincare.
As mentioned, Witch Hazel is a natural astringent. It has high levels of tannins in the leaves which can help tighten skin by shrinking pores. Witch Hazel’s astringent properties also prevent blackheads and blemishes from forming because it effectively stops environmental pollutants from permeating the skin barrier and getting into pores. Using Witch Hazel as a toner is great because it also cleanses the skin, removing any excess oil and dirt.
Clearly Witch Hazel is excellent for oily and acne prone skin, but you may be surprised to find out that Witch Hazel is also fantastic for sensitive and dry skin! Witch Hazel can help ease the itchiness, redness and pain that comes with eczema and psoriasis and is an incredible moisturizer because it keeps hydration locked in the outer skin layer. Not only that, but Witch Hazel is great for aging skin! As we know, Witch Hazel tightens pores but it can also plump up fine lines and wrinkles!
When including Witch Hazel into your everyday skincare routine it is important to choose a brand or formula that does not contain alcohol as alcohol can really dry out the skin. However, once you have chosen the formula that you like, Witch Hazel is gentle enough to use every day, several times a day! I like to use my Rose Petal Witch Hazel every morning and night after cleansing my face (with a cotton pad), but often use it during the day to freshen up and remove any excess residue from my skin (simply put a some Witch Hazel into a clean spray bottle and spray liberally on the face).
Not only does Witch Hazel help with these standard skincare complaints, but it also can be used for numerous other skincare problems. Witch Hazel is effective in taking the sting and pain out of burns (sunburn, razor burn), diaper rash in babies and bug bites. Not surprisingly Witch Hazel is also full of anti-itch properties meaning it is great at soothing discomfort from chicken pox and poison ivy. Finally, Witch Hazel has been known to disinfect and heal small cuts and other wounds. Though you can find Witch Hazel with a number of different natural scents, using plain Witch Hazel would be best for any medicinal reasons.
I have noticed a myriad of changes in my skin since beginning to use Witch Hazel and the benefits came very quickly. Within days I noticed my skin becoming brighter, softer and more even. Within a week the blackheads that have been a lifelong battle had begun to disappear and the darkness around my eyes had lightened! My skin looks absolutely incredible and I find myself skipping foundation!
You may find Witch Hazel as an ingredient in many drugstore (or high-end) skincare products, but all Witch Hazel is not created equally. Ideally, you want to find an all-natural Witch Hazel with few ingredients (especially avoid ingredients you cannot pronounce) as these formulas still contain all the fantastic tannins without any weird additives. Thayers is a great brand because they have numerous different types of Witch Hazel with several different scents. I chose Rose Petal because of my extremely sensitive and dry skin, but my friend loves Lavender! Witch Hazel is inexpensive so you can play around with scents to choose a favourite that works for you!
Do you use Witch Hazel? Do you have other favourite uses for Witch Hazel? Would you like to read about the other benefits of Witch Hazel? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy your beautiful skin!
(Note: I do not work for Thayers. I was not asked, nor was I compensated for making this post. I purchased my amazing Witch Hazel with my own money. It really just is a skincare game changer! Try it out yourself!)