While some skincare aficionados might be familiar with this ingredient, witch hazel, or also known as Hamamelis Virginiana, could possibly be unfamiliar to some. A deciduous bush with bright yellow flowers growing primarily in North America, this ingredient has been used for centuries for its astringent, anti-inflammatory, and medicinal properties. Today, it’s often used in skincare cosmetics to help fight acne, reduce inflammation, clear and shrink pores, and even to help soothe itchiness from reactions like poison ivy. Witch hazel’s skin benefits and uses are numerous and could be just the secret for your beautiful complexion!
What Is Witch Hazel?
Looking back, witch hazel has been used as one of the primary ingredients in medicinal teas, balms, or topical liquids. This ingredient can be found in the ingredients list of many skincare and body care products, and looking at the benefits, we can see why!
So how’s it made? Using the extracted liquid from witch hazel’s leaves, twigs, and bark, it’s distilled with purified water into an extract for topical use. From there, it’s commonly combined with other ingredients such as aloe vera, rose, or glycerin to boost moisture. Witch hazel for skin is usually found in liquid form, though the extract also gets added to creams, facial cleansers, toners, face masks, and other topical treatments depending on the intended use.
The Benefits of Witch Hazel for Skin
So what are some of the benefits of witch hazel on skin? Is witch hazel really good for your face? Can you drink it? (No, please don’t drink it, unless you’ve purchased a specific tea!)
There are lots of benefits of witch hazel, though they can vary depending on your skin type. From tightening pores to removing excess oils, to even helping reduce the appearance of bruises and varicose veins, this ingredient shines when used on skin. Many over-the-counter skincare products containing it will also include nourishing elements like aloe vera, lavender, rosewater, or sea kelp.
Because of witch hazel’s astringent properties, know that it can dry out skin if used too often or not paired with moisturising ingredients. It’s generally better for people with oily or combination skin types, though it works its magic for everyone. Try to avoid witch hazel cosmetics that include alcohol as an ingredient, as that will surely dry you out like a sad sponge sitting on the kitchen counter. And if you’ve never used it before, do a spot test on your wrist before using it to ensure there are no adverse reactions!
Witch Hazel Helps Fight Acne
The various causes of acne and blemishes can be hard to pinpoint, though there are a few common factors. Mainly, a buildup of oils, dirt, and bacteria in pores. Some are also caused by hormones (hello, puberty days).
Enter witch hazel. It’s highly effective at removing excess oils from your skin, leaving it clean and radiant. It also contains naturally occurring tannins, great for removing dirt and other impurities from deep within your pores. Witch hazel for acne is one of the more common and highly effective uses.
It Tightens and Refines Pores
If you’ve ever used a skin toner, chances are you’ve come across one with witch hazel. The astringent properties of this ingredient make it a great choice for people looking to refine and shrink their pores. Smaller pores means less acne and blackheads, as well as a more even skin tone and a natural glow.
Looking to purify pores, repair damaged skin, and brighten your complexion? We took witch hazel and combined it with Australian Pink Clay, sea kelp, and mangosteen in our OG Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask for the perfect marriage of nature’s healers. All you need to do is apply, wait for 10 minutes (you can even do a stretching session while you wait!) and wash off! Detoxifying your skin has never been this easy.
It’s Also an Anti-Inflammatory
In addition to cleansing your face of acne-causing grime and tightening pores, witch hazel helps reduce inflammation and redness. As mentioned, it contains tannins which have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These help reduce redness, blemishes, irritation, and even alleviate symptoms caused by inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
For a rash caused by poison ivy or poison oak, witch hazel won’t make it vanish but can help seriously soothe and calm any of that itchiness, discomfort, and irritation. Look for witch hazel-containing products formulated specifically for your needs and consult a dermatologist for long-term skin conditions and cease use if symptoms worsen.
Witch Hazel Helps Reduce Razor Bumps
Razor bumps and ingrown hairs (on legs, especially) occur when there’s too much friction between your razor and the skin or when your pores get clogged up causing your hair to grow back into the skin. Whatever the cause, inflammation and razor bumps aren’t exactly desirable and can even be painful!
Using witch hazel after you shave helps clean out pores, clear away any residues from shaving, soothe inflammation, and reduce the chances of getting razor bumps in the first place.
The benefits of witch hazel for skin extend beyond the cosmetic. Some studies have highlighted its healing properties when applied topically to bruises, bug bites, rashes, burns, and wounds. You can use the extract by itself, or make use of its benefits when incorporated into another product such as a nourishing cream. Be sure wrap up your witch hazel routine with a moisturising and nourishing cream to protect your skin and restore its balance. We recommend our Tasmanian Spring Water Hydration Boost Cream for its skin thirst-quenching properties, have you tried?
How often should you use it?
As a rule of thumb, you can witch hazel for your skin up to four times each week for oily skin, and one to two times each week for drier skin types. This gives your skin’s natural oils a chance to replenish and prevents dryness or any other issues from product over-use. For a safer bet, you can also incorporate skincare products that already have witch hazel on the list.