One of my favorite beauty staples is Witch Hazel. I was first introduced to Witch Hazel after I birthed my first child. The nurse handed me a bottle and said, "Use this to clean up after peeing. It's an astringent." Now I know what you're thinking...GROSS. TMI! Also, doesn't it hurt?! On the contrary, I felt refreshed and it didn't sting. Like, at all. So it got me to wondering, "What is this miracle liquid of germ killing sans pain and torture that I have been gifted?"
Let us begin the Witch Hazel rundown.
What is Witch Hazel? Witch-hazels are small shrubs or trees (rarely but it happens) that bloom red, yellow or orange flowers that occur simultaneously to the maturing of it's fruit from the previous year. Depending on the species, they can bloom at different times in the year. The liquid we use is Witch Hazel extract provided from distillation. Native Americans are known to use Witch Hazel for medicinal purposes such as: treating ulcers, sores, soothing sore muscles, etc.
Now, why do we love it for our skin? It relieves inflammation because it contains all of these anti-inflammatory compounded properties that soothe the skin and neutralize free radicals. Honestly, the best qualities you can pray for in a toner. Just saying.
Witch hazel can reduce skin redness by suppressing the erythema (a fancy name for skin irritation and redness).
It shrinks your pores. It's an astringent so it helps keep the bacteria from sliding into those pores, preventing acne.
Rich in tannins (plant compound with antioxidant properties) create a barrier to block inflammation causing substances from entering your skin cells.
Basically, it's an astringent that cleanses, blocks the bacteria and neutralizes the bad stuff trying to get into your pores to cause acne breakouts.
Now for the not so good news because this is sounding like a fairy-tale ending.
Remember the distillation process I mentioned? Well, during that process, alcohol is used. UGH! I know. Which is one of the reasons it can remove that excess oil on your face so easily. If you over-dry your skin, it will naturally produce MORE oil which results in a breakout or irritation.
So, in conclusion...using pure witch hazel on your face everyday, not a good idea. Using witch hazel as an astringent after getting waxed or a bug bite, a better idea.
The overall conclusion: Put the 100% witch hazel you've been using as a toner DOWN and step away from the medicine cabinet! There are really great #toners out there that will hydrate and prepare your skin to receive the SPF moisturizer that of course, comes next.
Okay Belles and Beaus. That's all for now.