The most convenient way to add witch hazel to your skin care routine is to
use it as a toner!
Posted on October 1, 2022
Written by: 100% PURE
Sometimes the natural beauty community gets a bad wrap. People often
look down on natural products or see them with a heavy dose of
skepticism, believing that simply because they’re natural that the
products are less effective. When it comes to witch hazel, however,
that’s just not the case. Among popular natural skincare ingredients
like tea tree and rose, witch hazel has a pretty well known reputation
as a soothing ingredient for skin and skin irritation. The various skin
benefits of witch hazel go far beyond a basic anti-inflammatory. Witch
hazel toner is a great way to introduce this lovely ingredient to the
skin. Stay tuned for the full breakdown on the why, when, and how to use
witch hazel toner for the skin.
We know that for some, witch hazel may be as familiar as rosewater; but
for many, witch hazel may as well be a paint color. Witch hazel is a
flowering plant native to China, Japan, and North America. The fringed
yellow floral with a maroon bulb-like core blooms in winter and witch
hazel toner has been documented for use in skincare as early as the
1800s. The astringent which is extracted from the plants’ buds has been
popularized by Native Americans for treatment of various inflammatory
skin conditions – from mouth sores to menopause.
Formerly used as a general treatment for all sorts of irritated skin
conditions, many healing ointments and creams may still contain witch
hazel. Astringent witch hazel contains a component called tannins, which
many may be familiar with in regards to wine. In the popular drink,
tannins give wine a more complex flavor and texture, helping to create
“legs” that indicate a quality vintage. With regard to witch hazel,
however, we can think of tannins as emergency responders for inflamed
The tannins in witch hazel help to diminish swelling, redness, and
irritation by neutralizing the free radicals causing inflammation and
drawing impurities out of the skin. One of, if not the most impactful
benefits of witch hazel toner, this calming quality allows this
ingredient to be so diversely compatible for different skin types and
While we love witch hazel as a natural skincare ingredient, it’s still
important that we make sure ingredients and formulas work for our skin
before adopting them into our skincare routine. Witch hazel is best for
oily, combination, and oily skin types as it can really balance the
skin; mildly dry skin types may also see the calming and balancing
effects of using witch hazel toner. It’s a great remedy for calming a
breakout or skin reaction, but may not be the best for recurring skin
issues or dry skin conditions like psoriasis. For those looking to treat
acne, redness, and rosacea, it may be best to first try a patch test to
determine how skin will react.
We talked a bit about how witch hazel is incredibly calming for the
skin, but those aren’t the only skin benefits of witch hazel. Witch
hazel actually helps to positively influence the protein in our skin
cells. This process results in smoother, firmer skin, reducing puffiness
and leading to tighter pores.
We also mentioned that witch hazel contains antioxidants which can help
to reduce the environmental damage our skin faces. Witch hazel helps to
heal complexion issues like sunburn, sun spots, dark marks and melasma.
It also helps to prevent our skin from suffering environmental damage,
and this dual preventative and recovery benefits makes witch hazel toner
an especially good ingredient for both day and evening skincare
Finally, as witch hazel is a calming and balancing ingredient, witch
hazel as a toner is a popular favorite for those with acneic, oily, and
combination skin types. For those with active breakouts, antimicrobial
witch hazel toner can help to diminish the redness and inflamed feeling
of a rash or pimple as well as fight acne-causing bacteria for lasting
calming results. And for those with excess oiliness or combating an oily
T-zone, witch hazel can have a mattifying, neutralizing effect.
It will come as no surprise that we have a list of witch hazel toner
favorites to recommend because honestly, this spotlight ingredient is
just that good.
First up, our new lovely lavender and witch hazel toner. Great for all
skin types, this hydrating toner has a base of calming aloe and lavender
extract which help to soothe active breakouts, dryness, and imbalances
in the skin. Witch hazel water makes a stunning performance of balancing
and tightening tired, puffy fall and winter skin.
Skin types in need of TLC, look no further. The primary function of this
toner is all in the name – restorative. Formulated with healing
butcher’s broom and our favorite ingredient of the day, witch hazel,
this toner is made to reduce redness, swelling and puffiness. A great
option for that time of the month or skin going through a rough seasonal
transition, this thoughtful blend of aloe, rose water and witch hazel is
like a shortcut to happier skin.
Those who are fans of brightening and anti-aging are going to love this
spa-like toner experience. Formulated with antibacterial toning jasmine
along with toning, balancing green tea, this toner is stacked to fight
age-inducing free radicals and create bright, tight, smooth, and ageless
Oily and combo skin friends, say hello to this beauty. Formulated with
acne fighting heavy hitters like neem, rosemary, and tea tree, – not to
forget witch hazel, of course – this star studded ingredient list is a
breakouts’ worst nightmare. Antimicrobial and antibacterial, they work
together to fight acne causing bacteria as well as active inflammation
on the skin to deliver faster recovery and diminished scarring – all in
a single skincare step.
Need something stronger to fight acne, or just want an extra layer of
witch hazel for even happier skin? Try a
witch hazel-infused face mask
for adding that extra hydration with the healing, calming benefits of
soothing florals and anti-acne herbs.
As we mentioned, witch hazel has been making its way into skincare as
early as the 1800s. One of the first documented cases of this was the
production of distilled witch hazel by Thomas Newton Dickinson. With its
wide availability today, witch hazel is most commonly incorporated into
hydration products like serums, toners, and moisturizers. Even so, witch
hazel toner is currently the most popular and beneficial way to get the
skin benefits of witch hazel.
We recommend witch hazel toner to be applied between the cleansing and
serum steps of a beauty routine; for those opting out of serum, this
toner application would be after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Depending on how thick or viscous the toner is, it may be sprayed
directly onto the skin via a mist, or applied with hands or a cotton
round. Ideally, apply toner to a clean cotton round so that it is damp
but not dripping, then evenly spread toner over the surface of the skin.
Allow a minute or two for the product to absorb before continuing on
with the completion of the skin routine.
Toner is the first step in replenishing hydration to the skin after it’s
removed or depleted while cleansing. Because of this, it’s important
that the toner we use pack a big punch, like making sure our first meal
of the day is hot and hearty. A witch hazel toner brings all those
benefits of calming, healing, and balancing while also deeply hydrating
the skin. Lightweight, it acts as the perfect priming base to layer on a
hyaluronic acid or vitamin C serum to achieve clear, bright, and plump
In terms of crafting an overall skincare routine, it’s important to
remember that harsh, powerful, and astringent products may not be best
for daily use. While its necessary to consider all the ingredients a
product has, we recommend building up to daily (or almost daily) witch
hazel toner use over time. Start with once or twice a week and limit
introducing other new skincare products during this phase to determine
the best frequency of using witch hazel toner for you.