A Natural Cleanser: Witch Hazel

HISTORY OF WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE USAGE

Witch Hazel Distillate, sometimes also called “Witch Hazel Distillate Water” and “Witch Hazel Extract,” is extracted from the bark and leaves of the Hamamelis virginiana botanical, better known as the Witch Hazel shrub. When the Native Americans and the Puritans discovered the therapeutic properties of Witch Hazel, a botanical that is also commonly referred to as Winterbloom, Spotted Alder, Hazel Nut, Tobacco Wood, and Snapping Hazel, they began boiling parts of the plant to create infusions that were intended to address skin irritation, sores, swelling, infections, and growths. Presently, extracts made from the Witch Hazel plant continue to be used for their cleansing, toning, clarifying, and refining properties.

Both variations of Witch Hazel – with alcohol and alcohol-free – are reputed to offer a vast array variety of skincare benefits and to share similar cosmetic and medicinal applications. They can both be used topically to tone skin, to soothe itching, irritation, and inflammation, to tighten the pores, to eliminate excess oil, to cleanse, to restore skin’s pH balance, and to formulate numerous natural cosmetics.

WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE BENEFITS

Used cosmetically, Witch Hazel Distillate can regulate the skin’s oil production, eliminate excess sebum, nourish, tighten, tone, soothe, and reduce the chances of future blemish outbreaks. With mild styptic qualities as well as refreshing and cooling effects, Witch Hazel makes an ideal ingredient for after-shave products, as it reduces swelling and calms other signs of razor burn and other irritation. Witch Hazel is also reputed to naturally and effectively cleanse the skin without causing it to dry out and to minimize the look and size of pores, thus helping to control blemishes while toning the complexion.

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Known for having antioxidant properties that are reputed to slow the look of aging, Witch Hazel Distillate can be added to formulations for acne products, shaving cream and aftershave, and “anti-aging” serums as well as shampoos, treatment gels, washes and lotions, insect repellants, and even nail treatments.

Used medicinally, Witch Hazel Distillate works to soothe insect bites and stings as well as cuts, sores, swelling, and bruises, while its anti-bacterial properties facilitate healing. Its mild astringent properties make it suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, including acne-prone, blistered, and cracked skin, and they work to gently calm the irritation that is characteristic of skin that has been recently shaved, bitten, or sunburned. With protective properties that defend the skin against environmental contaminants, Witch Hazel Distillate helps to prevent skin damage and to generally support its health.

Witch Hazel Distillate is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Antioxidant, Astringent, Soothing, Moisturizer, Tonic, Anti-Perspirant, Anti-Itch, Balancing, Refining, Cleansing, Tightening, Nourishing, Collagen-Enhancing.
  • MEDICINAL: Antioxidant, Astringent, Soothing, Anti-Bacterial, Wound-Healing, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Microbial, Hemostatic, Styptic, Sedative, Anti-Viral, Anti-Septic, Nourishing, Analgesic, Protectant.

WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Witch Hazel’s natural astringency means that it is able to remove the skin’s excess oils and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. In doing so, it strengthens the skin to make it less vulnerable to environmental contaminants and thus less prone to blemishes.

One of the simplest yet most popular uses for Witch Hazel Extract is its direct application to the skin after dilution with a carrier oil, such as Coconut or Jojoba. This solution can be applied as a lotion, a serum, or a toner and is known to have enhanced anti-itch, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. When massaged into areas of skin where varicose veins are seen to be forming, Witch Hazel is reputed to help prevent these veins as well as bruises from worsening.

If a pimple does occur or seems to be on the verge of breaking out, simply soak a clean cotton ball/swab/pad with a small amount of Witch Hazel and gently dab it directly onto the blemish to eliminate the bacteria responsible for causing it. This can be repeated several times a day and can be applied to any irritated area of skin, although it is advised to leave enough time between repeat applications to allow the skin to adjust. In addition, this application will reduce redness and swelling while helping to balance oil production, reduce perspiration, prevent the further development of whiteheads and blackheads, and prevent infection. For an even more effective anti-bacterial acne spot treatment, dilute 3 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil in 20-40 drops of Witch Hazel Distillate and apply it in the same manner as the aforementioned method.

To naturally brighten discoloration around the eye area and to reduce puffiness, soak a cotton pad/ball with a small amount of Witch Hazel and apply it to closed eyelids for 5 minutes. Ensure that the Witch Hazel does not enter the eyes, as this may cause dryness that leads to discomfort or pain. For another, less concentrated application, dilute Witch Hazel in cold water before soaking the cotton pad/ball and applying it to the eyes for 10 minutes. This cooling application is known to be equally effective in reducing redness, darkness, and the heavy feeling of tired eyelids.

To soothe skin before and after hair removal, including waxing, apply a few drops of Witch Hazel to a clean cotton pad/ball and swipe it across the areas of skin that will be or have been shaven or subjected to wax treatment. This application is suitable for both men and women. Its anti-inflammatory quality is known to clean cuts, prevent bleeding, soothe itchiness, irritation, and bumps, promote the fading of stretch marks and scars, and facilitate the healing of abrasions and infections.

Another way to incorporate Witch Hazel in skincare is by including it as an ingredient for natural makeup removers. For a formulation that is reputed to remove even waterproof mascara, combine 2 Tbsp. each of the following ingredients in a clean dispenser bottle: Witch Hazel, Jojoba Carrier Oil or Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, and filtered water. Cap the dispenser bottle and shake it well to ensure thorough mixing. To use, pour a small amount on a cotton pad/ball and wipe it across the whole face, especially across closed eyelids.

To make a soap-free face wash that is ideal for use on oily or acne-prone skin, first insert a small funnel into the mouth of a clean amber glass bottle then pour in ¼ cup Witch Hazel, ¼ cup Rose Water, and 2 tsp Vegetable Glycerin or Aloe Vera Gel. Next, cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. To use this face wash, pour a small amount onto a clean cotton pad and gently wipe across the entire face. This process can be repeated until all visible dirt or makeup have been removed or to personal satisfaction and can be followed up with a moisturizer.

For another makeup remover recipe that is simpler but just as effective in removing both oil- and water-based types of makeup, combine 3 Tbsp. alcohol-free Witch Hazel and 2 Tbsp. Olive Carrier Oil in a small bottle. Before use, cap and shake the bottle well, then apply the cleanser to the face with a cotton pad.

For a protective, anti-oxidant serum that is reputed to protect the skin’s elasticity and collagen while guarding the skin against the harsh effects of sun exposure and UV radiation, combine the following ingredients in a glass measuring cup: 2 Tbsp. Witch Hazel, ¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel, ½ tsp Vitamin E-Liquid, 2 Tbsp. Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil, 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 2 drops Spearmint Essential Oil. Stir the oils together, then pour the bled into a 120 ml (4 oz.) spray bottle. To apply the spray, simply spritz it onto the skin, avoiding the eye area, then gently rub it in to speed up absorption. This refreshing and cooling spray can be applied several times throughout the day to moisturize, soothe itching and inflammation, minimize or prevent peeling and flaking, and to generally promote the skin’s rejuvenation, thereby preventing the premature signs of aging caused by environmental stressors. This bottle can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

For a facial toner that is known to slow the look of aging, begin by steeping ½ cup of Green Tea overnight and allowing it to cool. Once this step has been completed, pour the Green Tea into a spray bottle. To this, add ¼ cup of Witch Hazel and a total of 10 drops of personally preferred essential oils. Cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. To apply this toner, first cleanse the hands and face, then spray the toner over the face. To promote faster absorption, use the hands to pat it into the skin. When it is not in use, this toner can be stored in the refrigerator.

To make a natural Witch Hazel-enriched shampoo that cleanses the scalp and hair of dirt and excess oils while soothing inflammation, itchiness, and dryness, begin by combining the following ingredients in a glass measuring cup or glass bowl: ½ cup distilled water, 1 Tbsp. Witch Hazel, 1 Tbsp. Jojoba Carrier Oil, and 2 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel. To this, slowly add ¼ cup of liquid Castile Soap. Pouring slowly will help prevent the formation of soap suds. Using a whisk, stir the ingredients together thoroughly. Next, add 3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil and 3 drops Witch Hazel Distillate. Stir the combination once more and pour it into an airtight container of personal preference. This shampoo can be stored in the bathroom and used like a normal shampoo to promote the look of healthier, shinier, and more volumized strands by hydrating, conditioning, repairing damage, reducing hair loss, stimulating circulation to the scalp, strengthening the hair, eliminating harmful bacteria, and minimizing hair odors, irritation, and the build-up of oils.

For a hairspray that is reputed to enhance growth, begin by pouring 1 Tbsp. Witch Hazel into a glass measuring cup or bowl. Next, add 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 7 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, 3 drops Thyme Essential Oil, and 3 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil. Stir the mixture well to thoroughly combine all the oils. Next, using a small funnel, pour ½ cup of distilled water into a 120 ml (4 oz.) amber glass spray bottle. To this, add the essential oil and Witch Hazel Distillate blend. Cap the bottle and shake it to ensure that all ingredients are mixed well together. To apply this hair growth spray, simply spritz it directly onto the scalp as required. When it is not in use, the bottle can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

Used in medicinal applications, Witch Hazel exhibits anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and astringent properties, which facilitate wound healing, stem bleeding and eliminate harmful bacteria that may cause infections, skin damage, or premature aging. To disinfect a wound before applying a bandage, soak a cotton ball/pad with Witch Hazel and swipe it gently across the abrasion. This is also applicable to insect bites and stings, rashes caused by Poison Ivy, and to topical allergic reactions characterized by swelling, redness, bruising, itching, dryness, and sores. Witch Hazel is known to have the added benefit of fading discoloration or unevenly toned skin.

For an organic anti-septic spray that is further enriched with supplementary essential oils and plant materials that are known for their soothing and wound-healing properties, begin by adding the following herbs and flowers – either dried or fresh, according to personal preference – to a glass jar: Calendula Flowers, Goldenseal Root, Sage Leaves, Thyme Leaves and Flowers, and Yarrow. Next, create a tincture by pouring 60 ml (2 oz.) Organic Witch Hazel Distillate over all the botanical matter until it is entirely covered by the liquid. To this, add 120 ml (4 oz.) Aloe Vera, 60 ml (2 oz.) Lavender Floral Water, 1 tsp liquid Castile Soap, 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 15 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil, 5 drops of Thyme Essential Oils, and 5 drops Myrrh Essential Oil. Place the lid on the jar and shake the jar vigorously to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Remove the lid and pour the blend into a darkly-colored spray bottle. Clearly labeling the product with a name, its ingredients, and the date of production will be beneficial for future reference. Apply this disinfecting, spray by directly spritzing it onto minor, superficial abrasions or burns. Avoid using this on deeper wounds. This anti-septic spray should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place and yields optimal results when used within 1-2 years, depending on the quality of the raw materials it comprises.

A GUIDE TO WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE – ALCOHOL-FREE – RAW MATERIAL

INCI: Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Distillation

Country of Origin: USA

Believed to:

  • Be clear and colorless
  • Be particularly advantageous for applications that require the soothing and natural astringent properties of Witch Hazel where the use of alcohol is inappropriate, such as in products for sensitive skin, in creams, mousses, body washes, or foaming products, or in high surfactant, multi-phase, or high-temperature products
  • Be ideal for use as an ingredient in formulations for sensitive skin, such as eye creams, gels, serums, shaving creams, aftershave products, alcohol-free toners and cleansers, and in treatment products such as those for wound care, sun care, and eye care
  • Be a strong antioxidant and astringent, which makes it valuable for addressing acne
  • Be ideal for addressing ingrown nails, sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, insect bites, rashes caused by Poison Ivy, varicose veins, and symptoms of psoriasis and eczema
  • Be the ideal go-to remedy for cuts and other abrasions, sunburns, and irritated skin

 

Witch Hazel Distillate Organic Raw Material

INCI: Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water (and) Ethanol

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Distillation

Country of Origin: USA

Believed to:

  • Contain a mixture of 85-86% aqueous Witch Hazel Extract and 14-15% Ethyl Alcohol from organic Cane as a natural preservative
  • Be one of nature’s best astringents
  • Exhibit mildly styptic properties, making it ideal for use in products like aftershave lotions
  • Help reduce razor burn and swelling through its cooling, soothing sensation
  • Be ideal for use in skincare as a toner or cleanser
  • Have gentle properties that are particularly beneficial for oily and problem skin
  • Be ideal for use in formulations that require only Organic ingredients

 

Witch Hazel Distillate Raw Material

INCI: Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water (and) Ethanol

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Distillation

Country of Origin: USA

Believed to:

  • Contain a mixture of 85-86% aqueous Witch Hazel Extract and 14-15% Ethyl Alcohol from organic Cane as a natural preservative
  • Be one of nature’s best astringents
  • Exhibit mildly styptic properties, making it ideal for use in products like aftershave lotions
  • Help reduce razor burn and swelling through its cooling, soothing sensation
  • Be ideal for use in skincare as a toner or cleanser
  • Have gentle properties that are particularly beneficial for oily and problem skin

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR WITCH HAZEL DISTILLATE

Witch Hazel Distillate is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Witch Hazel Distillate without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Witch Hazel Distillate should not be applied to deep open wounds.

Prior to using Witch Hazel Distillate, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. It must never be used near the inner nose, ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Witch Hazel Distillate include rashes, itching, swelling of the face, throat, or tongue, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Witch Hazel Distillate is derived from the Hamamelis virginiana botanical, better known as the Witch Hazel shrub.
    • Witch Hazel Distillate is sometimes called Witch Hazel Distillate Water or Witch Hazel Extract.
    • Used cosmetically, Witch Hazel Distillate can cleanse, regulate the skin’s oil production, eliminate excess sebum, nourish, tighten, tone, soothe, and reduce the chances of future blemish outbreaks. It reduces swelling, calms irritation, minimizes the look of enlarged pores, and promote the skin’s radiance.
    • Used medicinally, Witch Hazel Distillate soothes insect bites and stings as well as cuts, sores, swelling, and bruises. It gently facilitates the healing of all skin types, including types that are acne-prone, blistered, or cracked.
  • Witch Hazel is best known for its ability to soothe irritation on skin that has been recently shaved, bitten, or sunburned. It protects the skin against environmental contaminants, helps prevent skin damage, and generally supports skin health.

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