There are multiple uses for witch hazel. Many people use it as an astringent/facial toner or to treat or prevent acne. It has the ability to remove excess oil from skin and shrink down pores. Another common use is to treat hemorrhoids. Women are often given witch hazel pads for postpartum care, too.
(according to Wikipedia):
…an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which grows naturally from Nova Scotia west to Ontario, Canada and south to Florida, and Texas in the United States. This plant was widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians. The witch hazel extract was obtained by steaming the twigs of the shrub.
The essential oil of witch hazel is not sold separately as a consumer product. The plant does not produce enough essential oil to make production viable, however, there are various distillates of witch hazel (called hydrosols or hydrolats) that are gentler than the “drug store” witch hazel and contain alcohol.
Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling. The main constituents of the extract include tannin, gallic acid, catechins, proanthocyanins, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), essential oil (carvacrol, eugenol, hexenol), choline, saponins, and bitters. Distilled witch hazel sold in drug stores and pharmacies typically contains no tannin.”
There are many more uses for Witch Hazel than simply to clarify skin and shrink pores.
Here are 11 uses for witch hazel.
Use witch hazel to reduce irritation:
Use it after you get your eyebrows waxed.
Apply witch hazel to a cotton ball and apply under your eyes or soak a washcloth with witch hazel and cold water and use it as a compress under your eyes to reduce bagginess. This can be helpful for after crying or not getting enough sleep, too. Witch hazel is famous for shrinking blood vessels.
Apply witch hazel to a washcloth and apply to skin to soothe a sunburn. It has anti-inflammatory properties and provides temporary relief to prevent peeling and flaking. You can mix some witch hazel in with your Aloe Vera gel, too. The Aloe will help to cool the burn. Or add a few tea bags, 2 cups of Epsom salt or several drops of lavender or peppermint essential oils to a cool-water bath and soak in the tub. When you get out, you can apply some witch hazel to your skin.
Witch Hazel Deodorant:
You can make your own deodorant. Simply dab your armpits with a cotton ball soaked with witch hazel.
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
drops of essential oil
Mix in a spray bottle. Spray it on a cloth and wipe on.
Witch Hazel Hand sanitizer:
Combine witch hazel with lavender oil, tea tree oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E oil.
You can make your own.
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup distilled water
3 drops benzoin oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dried herbs and/or a few drops of your favorite essential oils, such as lavender; crushed herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage; citrus, such as orange or lemon peels; or spices, such as cinnamon or cloves.
Combine ingredients in a glass jar. Cover and place in cool, dark place. Shake the jar once or twice a day for two weeks. Strain through a colander and refrigerate.” Splash on after shaving. It soothes razor burn, too.
Also, you can prevent razor burn. Not only will witch hazel prevent bleeding from any nicks you might get while shaving, but the anti-inflammatory properties will also prevent razor burn.
Apply to affected area of skin with a cotton ball. It takes away the itching and inflammation/swelling.
Minor cuts and bruises:
Apply to the skin. Much like with insect bites, razor nicks and minor sunburns, it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and aids in healing.
Soak wash cloths in witch hazel and place them on legs to reduce pain and swelling from varicose veins. The witch hazel helps to tighten the veins, temporarily relieving the discomfort.
Use it on chrome, glass and mirrors or to clean jewelry. You can also use 1/2 cup witch hazel, 1 cup of water and about 15 drops of essential oil such as lavender, grapefruit, eucalyptus or cedar, combine it in a spray bottle and use as an air freshener or for countertops, too. Witch hazel on a cotton ball works well to remove hair dye stains on skin, too.
Oily hair and itchy scalp:
Combine 1 part witch hazel to 2 parts water and add a few drops of essential oil and massage into hair and scalp. Rinse.
You can make your own alcohol-free witch hazel, too. Here are two tutorials:
What uses for witch hazel do you know?