Ask any woman, and she’ll likely tell you that finding the right skincare product can sometimes be a difficult task. Why? With so many different options on drugstore shelves, it is often tough to determine which ingredients to avoid and which ones to add to your daily routine.
However, one of the most underrated botanicals on the market is witch hazel. This incredibly common addition to toners and astringents sometimes wrongfully gets a bad reputation, but the truth is while there are tons of great brands on the market, not all witch hazel is created equal. For instance, one of the most popular brands of witch hazel on the market, Thayers Natural Remedies, uses a unique Witch Hazel Aloe Vera formula that is alcohol free, unlike a majority of brands who use alcohol to extract the witch hazel from the plant. Since Thayers formula contains no alcohol, it’s not drying or irritating on sensitive skin, which many believe witch hazel can be.
This is just one example of why understanding how the witch hazel is made and the formula behind the ingredient can make all the difference in how your skin responds to it. Keep reading to learn more about the truth of witch hazel and the many benefits it can provide for your skin.
What is Witch Hazel?
While most associate it with finished products, witch hazel itself is actually something that you find in nature. In fact, it is a deciduous shrub that grows throughout North America, both in the wild and on family farms.
When used for medicinal and beauty products, the plant’s leaves and stems are softened in distilled water and then boiled. The witch hazel is then steeped in the hot liquid, much like you would do with a tea bag for a cup of chamomile after a long day. Finally, the leaves and stems are removed from the brew. The resulting liquid is what is used in the products that you find in the beauty aisle.
In some cases, the witch hazel manufacturer adds other ingredients to create the formula. For example, organic aloe vera and rose petal are just two of the different elements that Thayers utilizes in their various lines of natural toners and astringents.
What Are the Benefits of Witch Hazel?
The question you’re probably asking yourself right now, is witch hazel good for skin? In most cases, yes. This natural astringent is known to help reduce redness and improve overall irritation. It just really comes down to your unique skin type and the formula that you’re using.
For example, one great quality of witch hazel toner is its unique ability to soothe irritated skin, reduce redness and help provide a smooth, glowing complexion when used correctly in your daily skincare routine. Some people even report that adding this to their beauty routine reduces pore sizes for even cleaner and healthier skin than before. If you’re more prone to regular breakouts, witch hazel astringent is a great option for naturally taming excess oil production. And most witch hazel cleansers add that extra oomph to help combat many common skin ailments.
Another benefit to using witch hazel products as part of your skincare regimen is that they make a great base for your favorite moisturizers and serums. By ensuring your skin is super clean with a quality toner or astringent, these products can work more effectively.
Adding Witch Hazel to Your Beauty Routine
How do you add witch hazel to your beauty routine? Well, it starts with product selection, as not all witch hazel products are alike.
Choose a brand like Thayers, which offers an alcohol-free witch hazel formula ideal for improving your skin. Their water-based formulas provide all of the great benefits without the dryness that often happens with witch hazel distilled in alcohol. Plus, many have additional benefits like extra hydration, reduced redness, and more.
As far as application, the process is super easy. After washing your face, add a bit of your favorite witch hazel toner or astringent to a cotton ball or pad. You also have the option to use a pre-moistened towelette or pad. Swipe this over your skin and let it air dry. There’s no need to rinse. After, continue with applying your favorite moisturizer or serum. It really is that simple!
Myths About Witch Hazel
Unfortunately, there are a ton of myths out there about witch hazel. The problem with these is that they often have more to do with how a particular brand distills the plant with alcohol and not necessarily the botanical ingredient’s benefits. A few of the most common you should be aware of include:
Witch hazel strips your skin of natural oils.
This is a partial truth that needs further explanation. As we’ve mentioned above, not all witch hazel brands are the same. Those who use alcohol in the extraction process can cause dryness, which happens when your skin is stripped of natural oils. Some brands like Thayers are alcohol-free and water-based, which will not do this.
You should only use witch hazel products if you have oily or acne-prone skin.
This is false. If you have combination or dry skin, the right witch hazel toner still works great for removing excess makeup and cleanser residue after washing your face. Thayers and other brands feature formulas containing extra ingredients like coconut water and cucumber, which offer added hydration for better skin.
The tannins in witch hazel cause skin damage.
This is definitely a myth, as tannins are proven to have some skincare benefits. What most associate with this so-called damage is added dryness, which only affects some people. However, using a formula like Thayers that includes organic aloe vera can help counteract this problem.
How to Choose the Right Witch Hazel Skincare Products
What does all of this mean? Well, adding a witch hazel skincare product to your beauty routine has a ton of benefits. But you need to be super choosy about the one you select. Look on the package for a brand that is alcohol-free, such as Thayers. By doing this, you can reap all of the benefits we’ve discussed here without any of the dryness that the naysayers are always talking about.