Know Your Ingredients: Witch Hazel

witch hazel

What it is
Witch Hazel is obtained from the bark and leaves of the Hamamelis Virginiana shrub.

What it does
Witch hazel has astringent properties and helps remove excess oil from skin. It also contains antioxidants that help fight the free radical damage that causes premature aging.
Witch hazel has also anti-inflammatory properties.

Side effects
Witch hazel can be irritating. This ingredient is, in fact, usually prepared in alcohol, which can be an irritant. Its high tannin (an antioxidant) content can also cause irritations.

(Source: Phytotherapy Research, June 2002)

4 Comment

  1. Witch hazel is really good but most of them are prepared with alcohol. So far the one I found that’s alcohol free is really expensive. When using as a toner, you will get amazing skin.

  2. thank you for this post. Initially I was looking for the medical name for witch hazel because of some stridex that i have. it smells like witch hazel when it dries, but the packaging says it’s alcohol free…

  3. You’re welcome Christine. Witch Hazel scientific name is Hamamelis Virginiana. Because it contains alcohol, it has astringent properties.

    The alcohol-free claim can be a bit misleading. Alcohol-free means that it doesn’t contain alcohol denat, Methyl Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol, which can irritate skin. However, these same products can contain fatty acids, a type of alcohol that is beneficial for the skin as it has emollient properties, and natural ingredients like witch hazel as that is derived from a plant. I have wrote a post about what alcohol-free in skincare means if you’re interested: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2009/05/25/what-does-alcohol-free-mean/

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