Ingredient Low Down: Witch Hazel

Today we are going to talk about an ingredient that has been all over the internet recently and which you probably figured out from the title of this post: Witch Hazel. I have seen article after article about how amazing this ingredient is for you skin! So I decided to give it a try and tell you guys what I truly think.

First lets talk a little bit about what Witch Hazel is and what it claims to do for your skin! Witch Hazel is an astringent compound, which basically means that it helps to protect the skin by causing a mild coagulation of skin proteins (tightening of the skin). It is produced from the leaves and bark of the witch-hazel shrub commonly found in North America. It’s most commonly used to soothe irritated skin and for treating insect bits and poison ivy.

Now lets get into why it should be used on the skin and its claims:

  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Removes dirt and excess oil
  • Can help shrink pores
  • Fight Acne
  • Nourishes skin
  • Reduces puffiness
  • Treat Eczema

That is a long list of things that this ingredient claims to do which would make it a miracle product! I can’t way that I have seen all of these in my skin but I will touch on as many as I can.

To test out this ingredient I decided to pick up to different products. I picked up the Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner and the Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Toner. I have had more success with the Thayer’s toner so I will be focusing mostly on that product, but I will give you guys some brief thoughts about the Dickinson’s one as well!


When I was first introduced to Witch Hazel as a skin care item I tried out the Dickinson’s pore perfecting toner. It claims to be non-drying and for all skin types but for some reason it reacted very poorly with my skin. I normally have combination skin but while using this toner my skin got extremely dry. I also noticed that I started to get break outs more often and these little white bumps on my forehead. Now this product claims to be alcohol free, which it mostly is but it does contain 14% of natural grain alcohol. Im not sure if this is the reason my skin reacted so severely to this product but its really the only thing I can think of! I was extremely disappointed that this didn’t work out for me and originally thought that was because of the Witch Hazel.


But a few months later I decided to try it again but this time I picked up the Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner in rose petal. I decided to go for this product because it contains a variety of other ingredients that are also supposed to do wonders for your skin, such as aloe vera! I hoped that the aloe vera in this product would help keep my skin hydrated.  After a few weeks of using this product my skin looks and feels amazing! I was relieved that my skin didn’t have the same reaction to this product as it did the Dickinson’s one.

Now on to the claims and whether or not I think they are accurate!

The first claim that I can agree to is that this product does remove dirt and excess oil. After washing my face morning and night I always follow with this product and my skin always feels extra clean. I also use this throughout the day (if its a no makeup day) and I can see the results first hand! I never noticed how much dirt collects on the skin until I started using this mid day.

The next item on the list is shrinking of the pores. Now I know there are some sources that say its impossible to shrink your pores, but it is possible to reduce the inflammation of your pores making them appear smaller. Which I believe this product helps to do! I have definitely seen a difference in the pores around my nose, they appear to be cleaner and I haven’t been getting as manly black heads. Which also means this product also reduces Inflammation since it does so for my pores!

Another claim of this product that I believe is accurate is that it helps to fight acne. Now I don’t have a ton of acne but I do get breakouts from stress and when its that time of the month. But since I have been using this product I have noticed that those breakouts appear less frequently and when they do appear this product helps them clear up quickly!

Next up we have nourishing the skin! Now I will say that I think this one depends on the form of Witch Hazel you are using and obviously your skin type. For me the Dickinson’s version definitely didn’t nourish my skin, but it might work for someone with oily skin. While the Thayer’s form worked wonders for my skin, it has made it feel hydrated and extremely soft. I have always struggled with texture on my cheeks and nose but this product has drastically helped in both of those areas! The texture on my checks has basically disappeared, while my nose is definitely softer but still has a tad bit of texture when my pores get a tad clogged.

There are only two claims I can’t really agree or disagree with. The first is that it reduces puffiness. The only place my skin ever gets puffy is my eyes, which is the one place I don’t use this product since my eyes are super sensitive to everything. I also can’t really say whether or not this product helps treat Eczema but if you know if this is true or not let me know in the comments below!

Overall I think if you find the right form for your skin type Witch Hazel can be an amazing ingredient to help your skin in a number of ways! I hope this was helpful if you are interested in trying one of these products, and if you use a different form a Witch Hazel let me know in the comments!


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