Serums, essences, boosters, sheet masks – who can keep up with the world of skincare anymore? We’re declaring it time to strip it back to the basics. Enter: witch hazel, an all-round beauty hero that’s been used for thousands of years thanks to its healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A flowering plant native to North America, its high levels of tannins make it an amazing natural astringent, and it can be used to treat and soothe just about anything. Literally. Discover the many beauty uses of witch hazel and shop the best products packed with its benefits, below.
Forget toners full of ingredients that we can’t even pronounce because witch hazel blows them all out of the water. Its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help clean and clear skin sans dryness and, as a natural astringent, it helps tone and tighten pores whilst helping remove excess oils. And if you have dry skin, don’t be put off because witch hazel actually helps lock in moisture whilst toning. Win-win. Simply sweep across skin with a cotton pad, and you’re good to go.
Because of its wonderful bacteria-busting powers, witch hazel stops spots in their tracks. It constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation and, thanks to its antiseptic properties, it reduces swelling and redness too. So, next time you’ve got a pimple, just dab a little witch hazel on it.
Not only can witch hazel help with blemishes, but it can also treat bruises, burns, cuts, and scars. Its astringent effects tighten skin to promote and speed up healing, and it naturally disinfects and cleans cuts or cracks in the skin. It’s been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years to help reduce bruising and heal skin ailments, so take a leaf out of their book, and try it next time you’ve bumped or burnt yourself.
This, in turn, makes witch hazel one super sunburn soother. Not only does it feel wonderfully cool when you apply it to overheated or sun-scorched skin, but it also doesn’t sting or feel uncomfortable. Instead, it helps heal the skin, soothes inflammation, reduces peeling, and prevents infections.
Just when you thought witch hazel couldn’t get any better for your beauty, it does – it can actually help slow down the skin’s aging process. High in antioxidants and tannins, it helps neutralize free radicals and protect against environmental damage, which – you guessed it – causes lines, wrinkles, and accelerated signs of aging. Add to your everyday anti-aging cream or serum or use on its own to stop the clock.
Make razor burns, bumps, and even ingrown hairs a thing of the past simply by using witch hazel on your skin post shave or wax. It prevents infections and treats existing ingrown hairs, soothes and calms the area, and helps prevent bumps and blockages forming over your hair follicles.
To brighten, tighten, and reduce undereye bags, turn to witch hazel. Its anti-inflammatory abilities help soothe and minimize swollen skin, and it cools and relieves redness and irritation.
Top tip: Leave it to cool in the fridge before applying – it will feel wonderful when applied to puffy peepers!