witch hazel for skin

Ingredient Spotlight: Witch Hazel for Skin

Don’t let the name (or the touch-and-go reputation) fool you: witch hazel shouldn’t spook you in your skincare routine. Now, you might remember that, back in the day, astringents weren’t too popular in skincare communities - but that’s all changed. Witch hazel for skin is making a huge comeback.

Here’s why you should perk up when you see witch hazel on an ingredient list, and what products you can find witch hazel in today. It’s been used for everything from promoting skin health to fighting off infections and deterring unwanted pests.

witch hazel benefits

What Are the Ingredients in Witch Hazel How Do They Work?

The witch hazel plant's leaves, bark, and twigs can all be used to create medicinal products. Tannins, essential oils, flavonoids, and other compounds are thought to be responsible for the benefits of witch hazel, such as its ability to help reduce inflammation and tighten pores for healthier-looking skin.

The ingredients in witch hazel products can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some include more alcohol than others, with witch hazel alcohol levels differing between creams, toners, and gels. Witch hazel products can be used in many ways, such as for facial cleansing and toning, or to reduce puffiness around the eyes.

This astringent witch hazel treatment contains 86% pure witch hazel distillate from the bark and twigs of Hamamelis virginiana Linné, and 14% pure ethyl alcohol. Such a balance of active ingredients helps to ensure a gentle and effective treatment that doesn't strip away any natural oils.

The History of Witch Hazel

Witch hazel comes from a shrub called Hamamelis virginiana that’s native to North America. The twigs, bark, and leaves of this booth have been used internally for centuries to treat diarrhea, tuberculosis, colds, fevers, tumors, and even cancer (though there’s not a ton of scientific evidence to back up these uses).

It has also been used topically to help with pain, itching, swelling, eye inflammation, bruises, and other irritations.

Now, most commonly, its astringent qualities are the most sought-after witch hazel benefits. Here are the basics on that.

Understanding Astringents

Astringents are specifically formulated to remove excess oil from the skin. They used to be alcohol-based (more on that later), though many natural astringents these days use less harsh botanical ingredients - like witch hazel!

That said, for a while, astringents were major no-nos in the skincare community. That’s because they used to contain a huge amount of ethanol (alcohol) which is extremely harsh, stripping, and drying to the skin. Applying an astringent, then, was like applying a recipe for dry and irritated skin.

However, this has definitely changed, particularly as great-for-your-skin toners, face mists, and essences made their way over from Korea and began changing the astringent and toner landscape for the better.

Now, astringents (witch hazel, especially) can be a great part of any skincare routine, helping to:

  • Remove any lingering debris from the skin
  • Reduce acne and surface bacteria
  • Cleanse the skin
  • Control any excess sebum production

So if you're looking for a natural astringent, witch hazel should be a top contender. But that’s not all that witch hazel is used for. Let's find out just what is witch hazel good for:

Witch Hazel Benefits

What is witch hazel good for, you might ask? Well, this natural ingredient is capable of doing wonders for your skin and confidence. Many brands use it as a key ingredient in their products to deliver those witch hazel benefits we all know and love - like anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties.

Control Excess Oil Production

First, witch hazel can definitely help control excess oil production. It’s naturally astringent; witch hazel contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help control acne and oil - whether it’s in an astringent formula, in a moisturizer, or in a cleanser.

There are so many reasons to use witch hazel for face care, starting with its ability to minimize oil, shrink pores, and soothe the skin.

Like you do for everything else you put on your skin, you may be asking yourself, 'can witch hazel cause acne?' The answer is no. In fact, it can combat it when used with oil-removing denatured alcohol in products like our Coast Is Clear Face Toner. This miracle worker can be applied after cleansing to rebalance your skin's pH levels and reduce breakouts.

Coast Is Clear Face Toner

Witch hazel toner benefits allskin types in tons of ways - why not discover them all for yourself with our Gift Discovery Kit? It includes some amazing witch hazel products along with other EightSaints bestsellers.


Calm Down Razor Burns

These anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties also make it great for treating razor burns. This is also due to the high quantity of tannins - a particular astringent molecule - which has been known to reduce swelling, help broken skin, and fight bacteria. Try using products with witch hazel after shaving to prevent and treat that pesky razor burn.

Many people find that applying witch hazel after shaving greatly reduces their resulting inflammation. Doing so can also help clean out pores and lessen the risk of razor bumps.

Help Treat Minor Wounds

Antiseptic means that using witch hazel on cuts and scrapes can totally help, too. Plus, it’s less likely to over-dry or aggravate small wounds.

Did you know that you can use witch hazel for cold sore blemishes? One study found that it can reduce the size of cold sores when applied regularly. The other healing benefits of witch hazel for skin include relief from swelling, bleeding, itching, minor pain, and discomfort caused by minor skin irritations.

Reduce Inflammation

The natural tannins in witch hazel can also calm redness or irritation, which can be particularly helpful for temporarily calming:

  • Acne redness or breakouts
  • Insect bites
  • Psoriasis or rosacea
  • Sunburn

Pep Rally Face Serum

When it comes to reaping the benefits of witch hazel dry skin sufferers need look no further than Pep Rally Face Serum. This serum contains the perfect blend of ingredients to help you get glowing, healthy skin.

Pep Rally Face Serum

Island Time Spray Lotion

Witch hazel on sunburn? That sounds like a good idea. This Island Time Spray Lotionwill deep-treat your crisped tissues with moisture - and without leaving a sticky residue behind.

Island Time Spray Lotion

Fight Puffiness

These astringent and anti-inflammatory properties also give witch hazel the ability to reduce puffiness, particularly in the undereye area.

The eyes often experience the best witch hazel face benefits, as their delicate tissue can be soothed and cooled by the application of this natural astringent. Our All In Eye Creamcontains not only witch hazel, but also soothing cucumber and hyaluronic acid to promote hydration, as well as reduce puffiness and under-eye circles.

All In Eye Cream

Treat Acne

The problem with many acne treatments is that they can be too harsh on the skin, particularly when you’re dealing with high concentrations and synthetics. This can cause irritation around the acne and dry the skin, both of which can actually exacerbate concerns in the big picture. That’s why we recommend that you stick with naturally sourced ingredients like salicylic acid and witch hazel for acne. While witch hazel’s astringent properties can make it effectively dry out blemishes, it is less likely to overly-dry. This is especially true because witch hazel's benefits also include skin-soothing and rebuilding antioxidants.

The use of witch hazel for skin issues like acne has been researched significantly over the years. It's believed that applying witch hazel on face areas regularly can have a tangible effect in reducing inflammation and breakouts.

Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment

Containing 2% botanical salicylic acid, our Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment starts working in seconds. Use it to treat and soothe individual blackheads and pimples with ease.

Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment

No Plans Clay Mask

When it comes to skin care witch hazel is in no way confined to creams and ointments. Our No Plans Clay Mask is proof - it hydrates the skin while also helping to remove grime and excess traces of makeup that can hide even after you've washed your face with a cleanser.

No Plans Clay Mask

Prevent Body Odor

Naturalists like to use witch hazel for deodorant, perfume, and even as a natural cleaning agent. Its antibacterial properties target smells at their source. Don't believe us? Dab it under your arms and see for yourself!

Creating your own witch hazel body odor solution at home is super easy and simple - simply mix the main ingredient with mineral oil or water. Then, in a spray bottle or container, apply the mixture to your underarms. The results are crazy!

Homemade Cooling Pads

Is witch hazel good for skin inflammation? Yes. Can it be used in tandem with other anti-inflammatory treatments? Also yes. Cooling pads are a great partner to witch hazel treatments for cuts and skin inflammation, and can even reduce the burning, itching, and discomfort of conditions like hemorrhoids.

How to Use Witch Hazel

Sold on the benefits and ready to learn how to use witch hazel for face care? Great! While there are many uses for witch hazel, they can almost all be put into practice in the same way: create a compress by pouring witch hazel onto a clean cloth and then apply it to the target area, whether it's sunburned or simply irritated. For hair, you can put it in a spray bottle and spritz or dab it onto sectioned off parts of your scalp. Either way, leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing with cold water.

Ingredients that Go Well with Witch Hazel

Before you go all out and start using witch hazel for skin care, know that not all ingredients work well together. For example, you shouldn't use products with niacinamide and Vitamin C, or retinoids with AHAs and BHAs, as they can contradict each other.

Witch hazel is extremely gentle when mixed in a product without alcohol, so it can generally be used in conjunction with other ingredients without worry. If you're planning on using witch hazel on face areas, we recommend going with ultra-hydrating ingredients to compliment it.

Here are some great ones to consider:

Hyaluronic Acid

Applying witch hazel to oily skin can be effective, but applying it with hyaluronic acid is even better. With the help of witch hazel pimples are simply no more. We've got plenty of products containing this powerful ingredient, including:

Seeking C Face Serum

Seeking C Face Serum works overtime to reduce skin inflammation and irregular pigmentation, while promoting healthy collagen production, and naturally preventing acne breakouts.

Seeking C Face Serum

Night Shift Hydration Gel

Using witch hazel for skin benefits has never been easier with Night Shift Hydration Gel. This formula packs a powerful punch of natural ingredients that penetrate the skin to keep it hydrated and clear of blemishes.

Night Shift Hydration Gel


Products containing witch hazel for skin benefit you in many ways. When combined with Glycerin, though, those advantages are taken to the next level. Whether you're looking to use it and witch hazel for pimples or glycerin and witch hazel for acne, these products are the perfect combination for maximum results:

Daydreamer Natural Face Moisturizer

Our Daydreamer Natural Face Moisturizer uses the same properties as the oils produced by your skin's sebaceous glands to increase microcirculation, soothe irritation, and lock in hydration.

Daydreamer Natural Face Moisturizer

Bright Side Cream Cleanser

The Side Cream Cleanser is a mix of fruit and seed oils perfect for normal to dry skin types.

Bright Side Cream Cleanser


Aloe Vera

We've been through countless witch hazel skin benefits so far. The only ingredient that could rival them all is aloe vera. So why not mix the two? The effects of witch hazel on sunburn are maximized with the help of this natural anti-inflammatory. Just remember, you want your witch hazel alcohol-free - otherwise, it can dry out the skin even more!

Coco Cocoa Creme Body Butter

Yearning for an immediate, long-lasting, skin-soothing experience? What about one with a natural creamy coconut and cocoa scent? You've found it in our Coco Cocoa Creme Body Butter.


Coco Cocoa Cream Body Butter

Soulmate Brightening Treatment

EightSaints' Soulmate Brightening Treatment is an asset when it comes to replenishing dry, tired skin.

Soulmate Brightening Treatment

Lavender Oil

Sun protection is one of the smartest uses for witch hazel out there, and lavender oil can make it even more comfortable to apply!

Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer

Our Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer blends in easily, leaving behind a glowing, dewy finish with no embarrassing white residue. Easily the form of witch hazel oily skin sufferers vote number one.

Chase The Sun SPF 30 Moisturizer

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid works great with witch hazel, as the combination can help reduce inflammation and redness of the skin.

Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment

Whether you want to leverage witch hazel for acne or witch hazel for blackheads, EightSaints' Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment will get to work. It clears the skin debris that causes pores while reducing inflamed pimples. You'll see a noticeable difference!

The Fine Print: Things to Keep In Mind

Choose alcohol-free products: Again, many old-school toners and astringents had high alcohol content - but alcohol is not good for your skin or for your natural barrier. Make sure, then, that your formula is alcohol-free.

Incorporate moisturizing ingredients:

In the same vein, you want any products that you use to also contain moisturizing and skin-soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, green tea, and MSM.


Check for reactions: As with any new ingredient, you want to keep an eye out for signs of adverse reaction. To this end, you could do a patch test on a small area of skin - like on your arm or neck - to make sure that you don’t have any issues before applying.

A Recap: Benefits of Witch Hazel

So, is witch hazel good for skin care? You now know the answer. The benefits of witch hazel for skin are virtually endless, and there's no shortage of ways to incorporate it into your routine. Whether you're a fan of face masks or creams, witch hazel has something to offer everyone.

So go forth and explore the versatility of this classic natural ingredient for yourself! Check out 8S's selection of products that contain witch hazel, or browse our blog posts for more tips on how to make the most out of this amazing natural ingredient.