Ah, witch hazel. A skincare ingredient you’ve probably heard about or seen on the bathroom shelves of several YouTube beauty gurus but have no clue as to what it can do for your skin and why it’s so popular.
But after reading today’s info-packed ingredient post, you’ll know all the ins and outs of this cult favorite cleansing and healing agent. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to immerse yourself in all the benefits of witch hazel for skin!
What is Witch Hazel?
Simply put, witch hazel (AKA Hamamelis virginiana) is a flowering shrub. When the leaf, bark, and twigs are extracted, witch hazel can be used as a natural remedy for several bodily ailments (when taken orally) and common skin conditions (when applied topically). But today, we’re only focusing on how this healing agent is effective in treating the latter. Whether it’s in the form of a cleanser, toner, astringent, or serum, witch hazel and its skin-boosting benefits can’t be beat!
Benefits of Witch Hazel for Skin
Do you ever look at your unfairly large pores and say…?
Yeah, not fun. But not to worry, witch hazel can help shrink those pesky pores. How? Witch hazel is a natural astringent and when it’s applied topically, it can cause your skin to temporarily contract and tighten (which is what you want). And if pore size is a concern, it’s best to incorporate witch hazel after cleansing and before any other skincare products or cosmetics are applied. But do keep in mind that no product, treatment, or natural remedy can shrink the size of pores completely (ugh lame, we know). They can, however, make them appear smaller and that’s better than nothing, right?
Treats Acne + Inflammation
Although effective cleansing helps remove surface dirt and debris, it doesn’t penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, but witch hazel can (again, courtesy of its astringent properties)! Witch hazel is also rich in antioxidants and is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it works to constrict the blood flow of vessels, thereby reducing the redness that commonly accompanies breakouts. No wonder this ingredient is favourited by those with oily and/or acne-prone skin!
Unsure whether your skin is classified as dry, oily, or a combination of both? Check out our simple guide to skin types here.
Fights Infection + Soothes Sores
Witch hazel can truly be…
Whether it’s a painful, pus-filled pimple, a red, itchy rash from an allergic reaction, or an irritating insect bite, witch hazel works wonders to fight infections and soothe skin sores! This is due to the natural antiseptic properties of witch hazel that help to cleanse and treat without being overly aggravating. But do refrain from dowsing any large wounds with witch hazel as it can further irritate or infect broken skin.
Now that you’re familiar with all the benefits of witch hazel for skin, let’s dive into how you can use this soothing and healing ingredient and which skin type it’s most suited for.
How to Use Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is super easy to incorporate into your skincare routine! And while it’s commonly used as a toner (due to its astringent properties), witch hazel comes in a variety of forms (as mentioned earlier). If it’s being used as a toner, it’s best to apply witch hazel post-cleanse as this helps to calm the skin and prep it for the next step in your routine. You can often spot this astringent agent in the offices of many facialists and estheticians as well, as it works to cleanse the skin prior to treatments such as chemical peels and other forms of light or laser therapy.
Who Can Use Witch Hazel?
Trying a new product without test patching?
Although witch hazel is safe for most skin types, it’s always best to test patch any new product on the back of your hand, neck, or any small section of your face and standby for any possible irritation or inflammation (and in the worst case, blistering). This is especially important for those who have sensitive skin or any pre-existing skin conditions. And because witch hazel is plant-derived and contains tannins and eugenol, two chemical compounds, the potential for an allergic reactions is possible.
Witch hazel may be a natural substance, but you shouldn’t assume that it or any other natural skincare ingredient or product will be gentle on your skin. Remember that everyone’s skin is different and what might not irritate someone else may go completely bat sh*t cray for you. But to be safe, choose a witch hazel formula that is alcohol-free or low in alcohol. And if your skin is ultra-sensitive, opt for a formula that is unscented or contains soothing ingredients such as rose water or aloe vera. Itching to get your hands on this classic cult-favorite? Check out the best witch hazel products of 2020 here.
And there we have it, friends! We hope you’ve enjoyed learning all the benefits of witch hazel for skin and are eager to start incorporating this natural remedy into your beauty routine. Join us for our next info-packed ingredient post where we’ll be diving into the world of manuka honey and how it can effectively treat and repair both skin and hair!