Lurking in bathroom cabinets for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, witch hazel kept its uses as cryptic as its name for decades. Many baby boomers used witch hazel primarily for anti-inflammation on their children, targeting bug bites, stings, and poison ivy.
After some necessary adjustments to the formula (mainly, removing the trace amounts of alcohol content), witch hazel has come out of the cabinet and exposed itself as one of the most dynamic skincare products on the market.
Witch hazel comes from the North American flowering shrubHamamelis virginiana. Full of tannins and antioxidants, witch hazel works as a natural astringent used mostly for treating skin conditions like eczema and acne.
As a low-key dermatological powerhouse, witch hazel actually has a wide spectrum of skincare benefits that are often overlooked. Below are five reasons to introduce witch hazel into your beauty routine right away!
Witch hazel contains polyphenol, which acts as a protector from UV damage. It also helps retain the skin’s natural collagen, making it great for elasticity and anti-aging. When paired with a moisturizing ingredient like aloe, witch hazel creates a well-balanced toner that will give your skin a healthy, natural glow.
For the same reason witch hazel can be used topically for hemorrhoids and varicose veins, it can also be used for puffy eyes caused by water retention. The soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel can help reduce swelling below the eyes so you look awake and refreshed.
The tannins contained in witch hazel make it a perfect product to target acne. In fact, witch hazel for pores (specifically, pore shrinkage) was one of its original uses. Tightening pores can help eliminate frustrating breakouts and the appearance of blackheads on skin, so using witch hazel for acne is a no-brainer.
While hydration is the key to treating oily skin, witch hazel is great for removing excess oils. Since it contains cleansing properties, it’s a perfect refresher part-way through the day when you feel the oil begin to build up on your skin.
Important: be sure to purchase witch hazel with no alcohol content, which can dry skin out and lead to heavier oil production.
A common witch hazel myth is that it will dry your skin out. However, modern witch hazel products do not have the alcohol content they formerly contained. These days, most products contain highly moisturizing components paired with the witch hazel, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. Many hairstylists actually use witch hazel to eliminate dandruff, and its long-time use of treating eczema proves the effectiveness of witch hazel for dry skin.
Since beauty thrives in nature and vice versa, it’s no wonder that witch hazel has become a staple in natural beauty routines. As with any botanical beauty product, it’s recommended to test witch hazel on a small area on your arm before applying to your face (just to be sure you won’t experience an adverse reaction).