Witch hazel is one of those ingredients we always hear people raving about for its beauty benefits. So how does it work? In short, the plant’s leaves, bark, and twigs are often used in various potions to ease skin irritation and remove dirt and grime.
“Witch hazel extract can be good for all skin types,” says David E. Bank, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Mount Kisco, New York. One word of caution, though: Going overboard can strip away the protective oils on the surface of your skin, says Bank. So keep that in mind when you’re applying it. That being said, there are a few tried-and-true ways to incorporate witch hazel into your beauty routine. Here are our favorites:
Remove Your Makeup
Yep, witch hazel can be used to take off your makeup, and it’s pretty darn effective at that. We like this recipe from Hello Glow, since it also uses a few other natural add-ons to really do the trick. A quicker option: Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths ($5, amazon.com).
“I would suggest using [witch hazel] as a toner for those with normal to oily skin,” says Bank. Simply dab a few drops onto a cotton round and rub it over your face after you’ve cleansed. You can also try a product like Wildcraft Balance and Refresh Toner ($18, available from our e-tailer Rodale’s.
Prevent Razor Burn
Witch hazel’s anti-inflammatory properties might be a blessing for your bikini line. It works well at preventing bumps from forming around your hair follicles (and can help heal any you already have, too). Stock up on a big bottle of the stuff—like Thayer’s Unscented Witch Hazel ($8, amazon.com)—so you always have it on hand. (Get smoother, younger-looking skin by trying our Bone Broth Diet now!)
Relieve a Sunburn
Obvi, you should always wear SPF, but we all miss a spot sometimes. For those (hopefully) rare occasions, witch hazel works wonders to ease sunburn pain, since it has some amazing soothing properties.
Calm Poison Ivy
Since witch hazel provides sunburn relief, it makes sense that it does the same for poison ivy, too. A little bit actually helps to reduce the itching and swelling.