If you have never heard of it or used witch hazel on face skin, or for other disorders, then you seriously need to read this article now as you may miss many benefits from this awesome plant.
In fact, this is a plant that has a long and rich history of being used in anything from medicine to skin care. Yep, skincare, and if you know us, everything related to beauty or skincare is worth exploring especially to get even more beautiful haha.
It’s basically a natural resource that not many people know much about, but this bountiful flowering shrub has so much to give, no wonder it is becoming more and more popular these days.
If you are wondering : what is witch hazel used for ?, then this detailed guide will provide you with a quick history of this fantastic plant and common everyday witch hazel uses and DIY home recipes that will benefit your skin in many ways :).
If you want to skip the definition or history part, simply go the next paragraph and read the main benefits of witch hazel for skin. Enjoy 🙂
- 1 What Is Witch Hazel?
- 2 The History Of Witch Hazel
- 3 Witch Hazel uses for skin care
- 3.1 Astringent: the toning effect of witch hazel on face to tighten pores
- 3.2 Acne / Pimples : an effective remedy to speed up the healing
- 3.3 Minor cuts and bleeding remedy : stop the bleeding quickly with a wipe
- 3.4 Antiaging : slow down the aging process with witch hazel for face
- 3.5 Heal effectively Bruises : reduce the swelling from the get go
- 3.6 Treating Sunburn with our homemade after sun witch hazel gel
- 3.7 Psoriasis : soothe and help with the skin lesions
- 3.8 Eczema : stop the itching and the redness
- 3.9 Cold Sores : clear the blisters naturally
- 3.10 Diaper Rash : the magic recipe that mums and dads should know
- 3.11 Shaving : sensitive skins are safe
- 3.12 Puffy Eyes : no more bags
- 3.13 Chicken Pox : soothe the itchy red spots
- 3.14 Deodorant : how to prevent foul odor
- 3.15 Irritated Gums : try our hamamelis mouthwash recipe
- 3.16 Sore Throat : cups of tea to sooth your throat
- 3.17 Swimmer’s Ear : break up the was and dry up the pus
- 3.18 Hemorrhoids : reduce the pain
- 4 Is Witch Hazel Safe For Skin Care?
- 5 How to make your own DIY homemade witch hazel for skin
- 6 Where and What witch hazel brands to buy?
What Is Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel (hamamelis) is a type of deciduous shrub, which grows no taller than 26 feet. Most shrubs are in the mid-range and can be found in five distinct species, three of which are in North America (Hamamelis virginiana, H. ovalis, and H. vernalis).
Other commonly used names for witchhazel include spotted alder, striped alder and winterbloom.
The shrub occurs naturally in the United States mid-west and southern Canada, though it has found favor with European gardeners who like keeping the plant for ornamental uses.
The History Of Witch Hazel
Witch hazel’s name is derived from the Teutonic word “wik,” which Germanic peoples used to refer to plants that were pliant and bendable.
Ok, I thought there was something to do with witches and spells…( yep I am a charmed fan 😉
Joke aside, its branches and bark were used among various tribes (such as the Osage and Potawatomi) to heal and promote well-being. The Puritans were taught the method to boil its stems to be used for soothing inflammation and swelling.
The decoction method was discovered by missionary Dr. Charles Hawes, who used distillation to produce a more effective brew.
He named it Hawes Extract, and the first bottle was sold by chemist Alvan Whittemore in 1846.
From there, Baptist minister Thomas Dickinson further refined the concoction, and it became known commercially as witch hazel extract. You have probably heard of the brand name : Dickinson witch hazel.
Ok that is it for the history part.
Let’s check all the reasons why so many people use witch hazel on face, skin.
Witch Hazel uses for skin care
To say that this plant is versatile is the understatement of the century.
Uses were varied in the time of the early American settlers, but since then far more have been discovered.
Modern day witch hazel is the precocious cousin of other herb extracts, which fall short of the myriad of witch hazel benefits for your skin.
So let’s dive in and check what witch hazel is good for.
Astringent: the toning effect of witch hazel on face to tighten pores
Owing to the high content of tannins that is present in the bark and leaves, witch hazel has effective astringent properties
Astringents are used to tone the skin by tightening pores and indirectly removing excess oil, dirt and bacteria.
Witch hazel’s primary use for skin is as a natural astringent. So, oily skins or combination ones usually love it.
You might wonder: ok that is an astringent, but will it dry my skin?
Well, if you ask that question, it is because most cosmetic companies have astringents that dry out the skin and can cause even more irritation, but witch hazel actually locks in moisture to prevent water loss that can lead to dry skin, so it has astringent properties without the usual drying side effect. Nice, isn’t it?
So, it is also ideal for both normal and sensitive skins. Many of our readers use it with awesome results.
I mostly use it as a toner in summer because aside the pore tigthening, I noticed it makes my make up last much longer as skin oil is reduced as well 🙂
So how to use it?
- Simply wash your face with your usual face cleanser
- Pat dry your skin
- Soak a cotton pad with some witch hazel toner (we like this brand here without alcohol ) or even better for sensitive skin, don’t use the cotton pad that can be an irritant for some, and lightly spray some toner on your face (if your witch hazel toner bottle has no spray head, you could consider pouring some in an empty spray bottle (I bought those ones here to use either at home or when traveling :))
- Gently pat the skin of your face.
- Apply your regular moisturizer and you are done.
Acne / Pimples : an effective remedy to speed up the healing
If you have acne from a buildup of dirt, oils and bacteria, witch hazel can also be a handy acne-fighting ingredient
You already know witch hazel on face is a very mild and safe astringent so it will help tighten pores and remove excess sebum from the skin, but witch hazel also contains flavonoids, procyanidins and resin that give it anti-inflammatory, deswelling and calming properties: it will also help reduce inflammation of pimples.That is why it is a good idea to use witch hazel on face or body for spots and pimples.
Indeed, pimples and acne that already exist on your skin will then shrink when witch hazel extract is applied.
However, before you start thinking you have found a cure against acne, let me be clear.
Even if hamamelis or witch hazel can really help with acne or zits, please keep in mind, it is often not enough; that is why you will often find witch hazel combined with other acne active ingredients in top acne treatments (check our review comparison table here).
How to use it?
If you intend to use witch hazel on face zits, I recommend you first to keep the witch hazel bottle in your fridge.
When you want to use it, simply apply some to your zits with a cotton pad, the cold effect and the deswelling property will help reduce the pimple sizes and redness 🙂
Another TIP: to speed up the healing process, I also like to apply some menthol toothpaste on the pimple afterwards; you will feel some additional coolness. I usually leave it overnight. The zit is then usually way smaller and way easier to hide with a little make up. Voilà!!
Minor cuts and bleeding remedy : stop the bleeding quickly with a wipe
While witch hazel extract won’t pinch off a gushing wound, minor cuts, scrapes and tears in the skin will stop bleeding when the extract is applied to them.
As seen with witch hazel astringent, the extract tightens skin to promote faster healing.
Organic witch hazel is the most suited to stopping bleeding, but store-bought witch hazel usually contains alcohol, which acts as a disinfectant when cleaning and bandaging wounds. (It is probably one of the few cases where I would recommend the presence of alcohol in it)
That is indeed one of the most convenient ways to deal with small cuts. Yep, I use it very often because I usually get those pesky paper cuts. It is also pretty handy when you have kids…
How to use it?
It is pretty much the same process as above: You simply need to soak a cotton pad with witch hazel and press it over the cut area until it stops (usually a few minutes).
Done!! Easy, isn’t it?
Antiaging : slow down the aging process with witch hazel for face
You should also consider using witch hazel on face skin to fight premature aging as new clinical research has found that it could have very interesting antioxidative properties thanks to their high content of elements called tannins.
They effectively neutralize free radicals in the environment and help to slow down the aging process. They act like skin bodyguards in fact.
That is why more and more skin care companies add witch hazel extract to their anti aging skin care products. (ps : if you don’t like the witch hazel scent, you can use instead rose scented witch hazel water for your skin)
How to use it?
- Remove any make up and wash your face
- Apply witch hazel with a cotton ball or spray it (better in my opinion as cotton can somehow be a little irritant to sensitive skins)
- Apply an antiaging serum (we like those retinol, glycolic serums here, the formulations are great and you can test them risk free with their 60 day money back guarantee)
- Apply your daily moisturiser.
- Remember to apply your sunscreen if you go out 🙂
So that was the case where you use pure witch hazel for face as a toner.
But if you want to add some more power to this, you could try to make your homemade antiaging toner recipe with vitamin C and aloe vera.
Vitamin C is by far one of the most potent active for skincare when it comes to antiaging or wrinkles removal as it will help tighten the skin and stimulate collagen production for more youthful skin.
We love it and also wrote a detailed guide here about Vitamin C serums and what to check before buying as it needs to be properly formulated or it is simply money down the drain.
Aloe vera is also one of our must have too, that has many benefits. Aloe Vera contains an impressive supply of vitamins and minerals, which help promote healthy and younger skin. It is also very effective for skin burns, by stimulating skin cell renewal that is why we included it in our homemade tanning lotion here. ( the good thing is there is a witch hazel brand that has added some aloe vera to increase the hydration power )
So to make our antiaging hamamelis toner, you will need:
- 2 tsp natural Vitamin C Powder ( great brand here that is also very handy to take orally for supplementation)
- 1 cup (70 ml) witch hazel extract (alcohol free and enriched with aloe vera : we like this brand here)
- 1 spray bottle, choose either an amber colored or blue colored bottle to protect the toner from uv light. In our opinion, there is not much difference in terms of protection, we read a few articles about the blue being better but the difference is minimal. So simply choose one or the other depending on your preferences but try to stick with glass material as it is more inert and safer in the long run than plastic, let alone for the environment 🙂
- Combine all ingredients in a small bottle whether a spray bottle or dropper bottle. I prefer the spray bottle as it avoids too much contact with air
- Mix, shake well.
- Use after washing your face twice a day.
- apply your daily moisturizer
CAUTION with microdermabrasion:
By the way, if you have already read some of our blog posts, you probably know we are a big fan of microdermabrasion machines to effectively remove fine lines and wrinkles and to keep younger and fresher skin (check here our complete guide about the best Microdermabrasion machines for home use ).
If you regularly use it, we recommend you not to use witch hazel right after your microdermabrasion as you skin needs its oil to heal properly and create new skin. Instead, use a B5 hyaluronic serum like this one here that will super hydrate and moisturise your skin to get plumper and younger.
Heal effectively Bruises : reduce the swelling from the get go
This use dates all the way back to before America was settled.
Native Americans would apply witch hazel to bruises and inflammation on the skin to assist in the healing process.
Although invisible to the naked eye, bruises have broken skin and swelling that is alleviated by the extract. Witch hazel constricts the blood vessels to reduce the swelling, while broken skin is tightened in order to heal faster.
How to use it ?
Just dab a bit of it on the bruise area with a cotton pad a few times a day, massage a little to promote blood circulation and you will quickly see the bruise fade after a few days. ( you can use the alcohol version here )
Tip: remember to apply it as quickly as possible when you get hit, the sooner the better :).
I bruise easily so I usually get a few bruises on my arms or legs, but one day, I hurt myself and knew I was going to get another bruise, so I immediately applied some witch hazel on the area to give it a try, I massaged a few times: of course I did have a bruise but I noticed that the bruise was not as blue and big as my usual ones.
I definitely think the witch hazel did help here.
So now everytime I hurt myself, remember to use it.
Treating Sunburn with our homemade after sun witch hazel gel
There’s nothing worse than your beautifully bronzed skin turning red and angry.
When you’ve been toasted just a little too much, witch hazel extract is a great way to relieve the pain.
Since the sun has damaged your skin, witch hazel’s healing properties will help repair your skin and soothe inflammation.
Treating sunburn with it will definitely speed up healing and reduce skin peeling or flaking.
How to do it?
My favorite remedy to help with sunburn is to mix witch hazel with aloe vera gel, another skin-soothing plant extract that is another must have, to help your skin heal faster.
You may already find witch hazel with some aloe vera in it but for a sunburn you need a lot more, to make it even more soothing and repairing. That is why we need to add some aloe vera to make a more effective after sun witch hazel gel.
- 1 cup witch hazel (alcohol free to avoid any additional skin irritation )
- 1/2 cup of pure aloe vera gel (there are many brands available, we used this one here with an excellent quality/cost ratio )
- Optional : 3 drops of pure peppermint essential oil to add an effective cool effect that will soothe the pain too.
- 8 oz (or larger) spray bottle
Mix all the ingredients to get a nice gelly solution. Pour into spray bottle, shake well, and apply to sunburn skin areas. The gel is very quick to be absorbed and is an awesome after sun spray to soothe lobster skin. You can reapply as often as needed. Usually you can respray every hour if necessary. Keep it in the fridge if you want a more cooling effect.
Caution: this remedy is for external use only and we recommend you not to spray around the eyes.
Psoriasis : soothe and help with the skin lesions
This skin condition can get quite nasty, causing lesions and flaky, dry skin on various parts of the body. In Germany, witch hazel is commonly used in the treatment of psoriasis to reduce the inflammation and redness. It works well in conjunction with glycerin.
Glycerin is a soothing humectant that helps to draw moisture from the air to the skin. This helps your skin stay hydrated and moist, which reduces the roughness associated with psoriasis.
How to use it?
Here is a natural gel combining witch hazel, aloe vera and glycerin that gave us good results by helping reduce redness and itch associated with psoriasis. This gel can be used on your face or body.
We also used here the witch hazel alcohol free but enriched with aloe vera, yet we added more aloe vera to get a more soothing remedy.
- 50% of witch hazel (remember to make sure it is alcohol free)
- 20% aloe vera gel
- 20% of glycerin
- 10 % argan oil( one of our favorite beauty oil )
- Mix all the ingredients, you won’t get a very uniform mixture as the oil and water phase won’t bind, but it is ok, it sill works fine;
- Apply on the affected areas. (For best results apply to your skin immediately after your shower or bathing, wait a little and apply your regular moisturizer on top)
- Feel free to reapply when you feel the need. ( Shake a little before use if necessary)
Eczema : stop the itching and the redness
Eczema is broadly speaking an allergic reaction and inflammatory skin disorder that leads to dry, irritable, red, itchy skin. If you suffer from it, you sure know how the itchiness can be real torture. The thing is scratching makes it even worse…The skin flares up, becomes raw, cracked which also can lead to infections.
The more you scratch, the more itchy it is..
So the main thing to do is to soothe and avoid the itching and dryness as much as possible.
As was the case with psoriasis, witch hazel (WH) is really effective for eczema too. Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe dryness, itching, redness and reactions pretty quickly so you should definitely give it a try.
So to reduce the symptoms of eczema naturally, you have 2 options :
- Use pure WH as a toner after cleansing your face and before applying your daily moisturizer, which is also a very important step to keep your skin hydrated and prevent future flare ups.
- Use a lotion combining the extract and some neem oil for more severe cases. Neem oil is one of the most interesting oil, it has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce redness and irritation and is effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria with a bonus property: it even has analgesic activity (relieving pain). So combining witch hazel with neem oil is very effective with eczema. (oh it is also a natural bug repellent…in fact neem oil is a must have for DIY therapeutic and skincare recipes )
How to make the witch hazel/neem oil lotion?
- 1 part neem oil (ex 10 ml) (we used this brand here)
- 7 parts witch hazel extract (WH extract) ( ex 10×7 = 70 ml)
- 1 spray bottle ( stick to glass bottle, it is better than plastic ones in terms of long term use)
- Pour the oil and the WH in the bottle ( or in a bowl if you don’t have any bottle) , you won’t get a very uniform mixture as the oil and water phase won’t bind, but it is ok, it sill works fine; shake the bottle
- Spray and apply on the affected areas every day
- Reapply when you feel the need. (You will need to shake the bottle before using.)
- Remember to patch test it before using. If it is too strong, increase the amount of witch hazel water or reduce the amount of neem oil into the mix.
How to use the lotion?
Pretty simple. Apply on dry skin after cleaning, let the lotion dry then apply your daily moisturizer. This lotion can be used on face or body.
From our testing, the itching subsided quickly and we saw a clear improvement after 4-5 days. That is probably more effective than most expensive products in the market. So give it a try.
Cold Sores : clear the blisters naturally
Cold sores are those pesky swollen red blisters that you find on the border of the lips or around the mouth.
They are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus. They are often the result of a reactivation of a previous infection under periods of physical or emotional stress that makes your immune system weaker.
These cold sores usually clear up by themselves without any treatment within 5 to 7 days. But you can definitely speed up the healing time or simply reduce the symptoms (itching, burning sensation)
Of course you have the usual antiviral creams over the counter that are pretty effective if you use them right from the first symptoms but after this period, these creams are usually less effective.
Witch hazel is probably one of the easiest cold sore home remedy to find and can be pretty effective here to soothe and ease irritation
How to use it?
Take a cotton ball to apply a few drops of witch hazel once or twice a day.
Tip: after using this extract, I usually recommend people to dab a bit of petroleum jelly(Vaseline) or shea butter (karite butter for the natural way – my preferred method) over the cold sore to get an enhanced soothing effect. It will give you more relief and also create a sort of physical barrier.
Diaper Rash : the magic recipe that mums and dads should know
Both infants and older adults with incontinence can benefit from witch hazel treatment.
That is a very common product that most mums actually keep handy next to the changing table when dealing with diapers.
Diaper rash mostly occurs because of acidity levels in bowel movements, as well as friction from diaper materials. The skin is irritated and red.
So, topical use of witch-hazel helps to soothe the irritation and reduce the redness.
My best friend, who has recently given birth to her lovely daughter emma, always adds some to her regular wipes, which are usually too dry to be effective, and she never had a case of diaper rash so far.
How to use it?
Here is my friend “no rash routine” that really works wonders. (That can also be used for adults with incontinence)
- Witch hazel extract (the alcohol free one)
- 100% pure organic coconut oil ( it is a must have, we like this brand here )
- Baby powder or plain corn starch. ( we used this one here)
- Apply some extract on the irritated areas using a cotton ball. It can soothe and heal diaper rash quickly and effectively. Make sure you use an alcohol free product, as it will lead to dry skin and can make matters worse by irritating sensitive skins.
- Make sure the area is a little damp ( not too dry so to get a little mixed with the coconut oil)
- Apply some coconut oil over the affected areas. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and anti fungal properties. It smells good and makes babies skin feel super soft
- Then sprinkle cornstarch to dust over the affected area where you applied some coconut oil. The cornstarch will help the coconut oil stay on longer.
- Do that for the next few diaper changes.
You will be amazed by the effectiveness. Say bye bye to diaper rash 🙂
Shaving : sensitive skins are safe
Whether you’re male or female, shaving can cause irritation due to razor burn. Although there are quite a few products ready and waiting to provide you with relief, a more natural solution can be worth trying.
This method won’t irritate your man’s skin and will keep it younger looking much longer.
My boyfriend tried it several times right after shaving as he has sensitive skin; the results were awesome, no more irritation for him. He now uses it everyday 🙂 the thing is he kept using my witch hazel bottle, so guess what I bought him for his birthday ?
How to use it?
It is simple. And you can pretty much be a bit creative depending on your results.
- Shave with your usual saving cream or gel
- Cold water rinse
- Let it dry
- Saturate one cotton ball with witch hazeland apply it or splach your face or spray it (let me repeat if you have sensitive skin, avoid the cotton ball and stick to the witch hazel without alcohol as it can be irritant for some)
- Gently rub it in a little: now your face should be slightly wet
- While your face is still damp, apply your after shave balm (it will kinda make your balm feel less greasy. If you find your skin too dry afterwards, then don’t use the after shave balm on damped skin but wait for the witch hazel to dry beforehand); I bought this after shave balm here for my man
If your skin is too oily then simply use aloe vera gel after the witch hazel step and your regular moisturiser.
Puffy Eyes : no more bags
It doesn’t matter what causes your puffy eyes, whether it’s the lack of sleep or allergy season.
Witch hazel extract can help erase the bags under your eyes with a simple application.
For puffy eyes from allergies, the extract works as an anti-inflammatory property that tames down soreness and puffiness.
General puffiness can be alleviated by witch hazel’s skin tightening property. However, users must be careful not to allow any extract to get in their eyes, as this could cause adverse side effects.
How to use it?
- Put the witch hazel bottle in your fridge for at least 30 minutes. (You could permanently keep it in the fridge actually as it will be handy for many other uses)
- Soak a cotton ball with the cold extract
- Lie down comfortably
- Apply those chilled witch hazel pads on your closed eyes for 5-10 minutes
- You will feel refreshed and your eye puffiness will be less visible too 🙂
Of course, remember that you should also get enough sleep.
TIP: Make sure your head is raised a little more than your body with an extra pillow if necessary. That way, you prevent blood and body fluids from concentrating under your eyes.
You can also use that very pratical eye mask here that I can reuse as often as I want to feel refreshed.
Chicken Pox : soothe the itchy red spots
Chicken pox is a childhood infectious disease that is caused by the herpes varicella zoster virus. Anyone can get it, whether you are young or old but it is most common in children under 10 years of age.
The most well known symptoms are the spots that appear in different parts of the body. The spots can spread all over the body and reach the face around the mouth, nose and ears.
Itchy skin and red bumps are no fun to deal with, especially when the urge to scratch them is overwhelming. Does it ring a bell ?
Witch hazel can be used to reduce irritation and itching.
Remember that every remedy cannot replace any medical advice and we always recommend you to seel the advice of a doctor if necessary.
How to use it?
The blisters are very itchy so the soothing and antiinflammatory properties of witch hazel will be helpful to soothe the irritation and stop the itching.
Use a witch hazel compress /cotton pad and apply directly to spots on your child’s skin. You can also add some aloe vera gel to increase the soothing.
TIP: you can also try a tepid oath bath twice a day if necessary that will alleviate the soothing too.
- Put a handful of oats inside the foot of one pair of tights, tie it up, put it in the bath and run the water.
- To make it more soothing and effective, add 2 drops of chamomile essential oil to the oats before tying up the bag. This will quickly stop the itching. This oat bath recipe was an absolute godsend for one of our reader’s daughter who got it badly at 3 years of age, follow it with a good itch relief cream (not calamine lotion as it is too drying and might make things worse and more itchy. Instead use calamine cream or another good anti itch cream)
Deodorant : how to prevent foul odor
Believe it or not, most deodorant products contain aluminium. This hinders the product from working effectively and is often combined with other harmful chemical ingredients.
Witch hazel is a safe, natural alternative that works with your body’s normal processes to be both an antiperspirant and deodorant. This is a good alternative to aluminium-based deodorants that can allow harmful chemicals to be absorbed into your body system.
Witch hazel seals in moisture without dehydrating your skin and prevents bacterial sweat and foul odor.
How to use it?
To use it as a deodorant, simply apply a generous amount to a cotton pad and wipe under your arms. Allow it to dry before changing or dressing. ( I use the alcohol version but 2 of our team members prefer the version without alcohol)
If you have thick underarm hair, it would be more convenient and more effective to use a spray bottle to better reach the skin.
You can also add some essential oils to get a scent you like.
Example of one deodorant recipe to tweak depending on your preferences.
- 2 tablespoons of vodka (an odorless alcohol to “carry the scent” when it evaporates quickly)
- 3 drops of lavender essential oil
- 3 drops or neroli essential oil
- 1 cup of witch hazel (use the one with alcohol like this one here)
- 1 spray bottle ( it has to be a glass bottle as essential oils can interact with plastic)
- Mix the ingredients, the alcohol with the essential oils in a glass
- Add the witch hazel water
- Put the mix in the spray bottle
- Shake well before each use.
Of course, pick the essental oils you like, you can also use rose essential oil (love that scent) but is it a bit pricey.
Other witch hazel Uses worth mentionning
Fortunately, the benefits from witch hazel don’t stop at your skin. Although it is used primarily for treatment of skin conditions, some other external and internal benefits have been discovered. Witch hazel can be used in a few different forms, such as extract, witch hazel water, dried leaves and bark, and partially dormant twigs.
Irritated Gums : try our hamamelis mouthwash recipe
Witch hazel can be rubbed on sore gums to reduce inflammation and irritation. Gums that are infected may benefit from the soothing properties of witch hazel, though other medical treatment is most likely needed for more severe cases.
Wisdom teeth removal pain and discomfort can be relieved, and some homeopathic experts recommend a teaspoon of witch hazel tea for teething infants.
My boyfriend and I love mouthwashes after brushing our teeth, as it really helps to freshen our breath.
But the thing is I can’t stand the harsh feeling from the detergents and synthetic colors and aromas that make it painful, let alone the amount of alcohol that modifies the natural pH of your mouth.
That is why we usually make our own mouthwash and guess what? We like to use witch hazel.
We only use natural stuff that is probably as effective as the over the counter products, way cheaper and probably less harmful.
This DIY witch hazel mouthwash with aloe vera recipe is derived from the Mint Zinger Mouthwash from the book of awesome Sophie uliano, it can be stored for two weeks in a dark cupboard. Use it in the morning and the evening. This is a powerful mouthwhash that can help with gum inflammation and irritation.
- ½ cup of aloe vera juice(not the gel but the juice )
- ½ cup of witch hazel(stick with the likes of thayers witch hazel, not the one containing alcohol)
- 1 cup of distilled water ( mineral water is fine too)
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 – 8 drops of peppermint essential oil(you can add more if you want a stronger taste and strength)
- One glass bottle ( glass is even more necessary when using essential oils as glass is inert and safer, plastic material can react with essential oils)
- Combine the first 2 ingredients together in a bowl.
- Pour into the glass bottle with the help of a funnel
- add the baking soda
- Shake to mix.
- Swish, gargle and of course spit, morning and night.
Remember that the taste of this mouthwash will differ from the conventional type you find in stores, but you will get used to it quickly after 3-5 uses. It will leave your mouth feeling fresh and minty, using nothing artificial. You might hooked once you try it.
Sore Throat : cups of tea to sooth your throat
Allergies, colds and excess mucus can cause a sore throat. (hate those moments)
Thankfully, organic witch hazel can be used to create an effective herbal tea that you gargle.
This can help tame down inflammation from throat illnesses (strep throat, laryngitis, etc.) and dry up drainage of excess mucus that irritates the esophagus. There are also other benefits such as: helping with diarrhea, dysentery.
The parts of the plant that are used to make herbal tea are the leaves and the bark. (bark is said to be a bit more effective than leaves but I find it more ore less the same, so you can use both)
- Witch hazel bark
- Boiled water
- Pour boiled water on the bark in your pot
- Cover and let the mix infuse for 30-40 minutes.
- Drink it 2-3 times a day. (Don’t exceed this amount as it can cause stomach upset in very large portions)
Swimmer’s Ear : break up the was and dry up the pus
Bacteria found in pools is disgusting enough, but when it gets into your ear, it can become a big problem.
Swimmer’s Ear, otherwise known as Otitus Externa, occurs when bacteria from water enters the ear and causes an infection. This can cause the ear canal to swell and is quite painful.
Of course, to treat it, your doctor may have prescribed some eardrops with antibiotics to fight the infection for 10-15 days.
However, there is also one home remedy that could be handy when pus and moisture are present in the outer ear canal.
- Witch hazel (with alcohol)
- Q tip or a cotton pad
- Apply some witch hazel with a Q-tip or a cotton swab to the outer ear.
- Let it dry
This will help break up excess wax, dry up pus, and reduce the secretions. This will also helps with crusting and itching.
Hemorrhoids : reduce the pain
Hemorrhoids are a pain in the ass (pun intended), there are swollen veins in the anal area either outside or inside the body. There are many possible causes behind them but basically, they occur when there is too much pressure on them, which makes them swell.
The most frequent symptoms are itching, irritation and pain in the anal zone.
There are as usual several home remedies to try and witch hazel is by far one of the most effective one to try. Thanks to its astringent proprerties, witch hazel helps to dry up secretions and tighten up tissues.
How to use it?
First make sure you are not allergic to it: patch test your skin by applying some on a small area of your arm to make sure there is not any allergic reaction within 24-48 hours.
- Witch hazel (with alcohol, it is fine)
- Cotton pads or a piece of cloth
- Clean your anal area (use warm water not hot water and be gentle when cleaning to avoid any irritation)
- To dry off this area, you can use a hair dryer instead of rubbing with a towel
- Soak your cotton pads with some witch hazel ( put the witch hazel bottle in the fridge for 30 minutes beforehand, the cold will increase the soothing effect)
- Apply gently one or 2 witch hazel pads on the hemorrhoids.
- Hold on for few minutes
- Let the area dry before putting back your clothes
- You can do it once or twice a day. This will improve and help reduce the size of the hemorrhoids quickly.
Is Witch Hazel Safe For Skin Care?
There are many witch hazel benefits. Fine.
But is it safe? the short answer is yes.
Other than possible skin irritation or an allergic reaction, both of which are rare, witch hazel is a safe, natural solution to other more harmful products on the market. Several big brands sell products with witch hazel that are mixed with other organic ingredients whose properties are highly beneficial.
As long as you take the recommended dosages when using witch hazel, there are no significant health risks or damaging side effects.
How to make your own DIY homemade witch hazel for skin
Now that you know the multiple uses for witch hazel for face and other areas 🙂 and how it can be beneficial for your skin, you probably want to give it a try and choose among the multiple brands available in the market.
But first did you know you could make your own using simple ingredients?
If you are not interested in making your own witch hazel extract, skip this section and read the next one.
Yep making your own extract is pretty easy, so follow the recipe below.
- 1/2 pound of witch hazel bark ( we used this brand) (you can also buy leaves, we did not find any difference, both were effective but barks are easier to handle haha)
- Distilled water
- Vodka (or pure grain alcohol – odorless) (to add if you want a longer shelf life)
- Put the bark in your pan on the stove. Add enough water to fully cover the bark. ( we will basically make some herbal tea)
- Boil the water
- Turn down the heat once the water is boiling to let it simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
- Switch off the heat and keep the pot covered
- Let the herbal tea cool down completely
- Once completely cooled, filter the bark
- Add 40% of the total volume of tea in vodka or natural grain alcohol (example: if you have 1 litre of tea, add 0,30 L of alcohol) that will help preserve your witch hazel water for a few months. You can add more alcohol if you want but that could be very drying for sensitive skins. If you want an alcohol free product, simply skip the last step and keep it in the fridge for no more than 1 week.
TIP: if you want to be able to keep this homemade witch hazel extract, but don’t want too much alcohol in it in the end product, one trick is to dilute it with water. Your witch hazel extract or concentrate will be the raw material for you to incorporate in another beauty recipe.
Ex: make a witch hazel toner with aloe vera and rose water
- 20 ml witch hazel (the one you made with 40% alcohol)
- 70 ml rose water
- 10 ml aloe vera gel
- optional : 1-2 drops of rose essential oil ( to enhance the scent)
- Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle
- Use it as a toner (the amount of alcohol will be very limited here around 8%)
Store this hamamelis toner (as a reminder, hamamelis being the latin word for witch-hazel) in your fridge and use it after washing your face to stimulate and refresh your skin. Then apply your daily moisturiser. Enjoy 🙂
Don’t want to make your own witch hazel for face and skin ? Check the following paragraph.
Where and What witch hazel brands to buy?
With so many witch hazel uses and skin benefits, no wonder we can find it incorporated in many skin products like skinceuticals daily moisture ($60), Murad Refreshing Cleanser ($36), Erno Laszlo White Marble Radiance Emulsion ($175) etc…. but those products containing witch hazel for face are pretty expensive.
The solution is to buy pure witch-hazel for a few bucks and add it to your skin care routine. I used to make a homemade extract but ready made products are so good quality now and pretty cheap that I prefer to buy it now.
Beware, you will find some low cost products that are utter BS for us, we felt like using plain water…. They seem to have diluted the extract so much that using it was useless….
So how to pick the right fit for you?
First you got to decide if you want it to alcohol free or not. If you have sensitive skin or very dry skin, stick to alcohol free witchazel. If not, you can use witch hazel with alcohol (usually with 14% alcohol).( I have both version as I keep the alcohol version for minor cuts and zits and the alcohol free one for other uses)
There are mainly 2 most popular brands for quality and cost effectiveness :
- Without alcohol: we recommend you this brand that proposes many scents like lavender, peach, rose, cucumber or an unscented one .
- With alcohol , we recommend this brand here, which is one of the most famous one. ( just for your information, this is the same product as this one, the packaging is different but basically it is the same product)
There are also other smaller brands we came accross but they are not available everywhere… So whatever brand you choose, read the label and patch skin test first.
Ok, that was a super long article about the benefits and uses for witch hazel for face. We hope this detailed guide was helpful.
Of course, as you already know, please remember that this article cannot replace the advice of your doctor. Feel free to let us know your feedback or other witch hazel uses we may have forgotten.
And remember: you are awesome 🙂