I highly recommend using witch hazel as a toner if you have oily or combination skin, particularly in summer months. It has natural astringent properties and is gentler than a lot of the commercial toners on the market. It helps balance my skin and clean any excess impurities remaining after I wash my face. Please note that some witch hazel toners do contain alcohol, others may contain essence or other ingredients. Overall, a fantastic, affordable, natural product!
I got a 16 oz bottle for $1.56 at Target (The Up & Up brand). That come out to less than $0.10 per oz of witch hazel. I use this as a toner after cleansing, on cuts and scrapes, and in homemade face and hair masks. It doesn't sting my oily skin and scalp and helps clarify them well. It's so cheap and can be found at any drugstore! I transferred the liquid to a cute bottle I found antiquing so it looks cute on my bathroom counter :)
Witch Hazel is a good thing to have around the bathroom. If you have excessively oily skin - you can even use it in toners. Cooling and heavily astringent. Inexpensive and readily available.
I bought this some time ago at Kroger's for $2.89 for a 16 oz bottle. I picked it up in the first aid aisle as it's good for scrapes and such. Well recently I've been using cold cream as a cleanser, which I've been wiping off and following with toner. However, I've noticed that the expensive toner I've been using was leaving me a bit red afterwards. That's when I remembered I had this witch hazel and decided to give it a try. I just gently swiped this over my skin, and I was surprised to discover that the witch hazel actually worked better and was more gentle than the expensive Elizabeth Arden Toner I had previously been using. I was a little nervous because witch hazel does contain a certain amount of alcohol, but I didn't have any problems with dryness or irritation at all. If you're tired of shelling out big bucks for toners and astringents that just don't work, I suggest you give this a try. For only a couple of bucks, you have very little to lose.
I use the Walmart brand Witch Hazel, and it is literally a life saver - I would bathe in this stuff if I could (not really, but you get my point).
I currently use the st. ives green tea gel cleanser (with the st. ives blemish/blackhead clearing exfoliator a few times a week), this as a toner, a topical antibiotic, and then this as a moisturizer (sounds odd applying something twice, but my skin loves it).
I don't know what I would do without this stuff. It moisturizes my oily sensitive skin, whilst clearing up acne, preventing new acne, and helping old acne scars fade - what more could you ask for? When I have a pimple, I soak a small piece of a cotton round and set it on there (I repeat this a few times) and it seriously helps so so much.
If you haven't tried using Witch Hazel yet, I would highly recommend that you do (especially since it is only about a dollar!).
My relationship with witch hazel has been kind of blah. I don't find it to be amazing or life saving and I was totally one of those bad kids who uses alcohol on my blemishes while my mom would yell at me to use witch hazel. But I don't think it does that much to combat my blemishes. I have come to realize that I can't use chemicals or too harsh of products, and have toned down the use of alcohol, but I do use it in sulfur spot treatments (they have alcohol in them). I find tea tree to be harsher than witch hazel and lavender oil to be more effective. However, I do sometimes dilute my lavender in witch hazel to use as an overall toner, but don't want to over dry my skin so I usually don't do this all over method. But recently I started using cold cream which is nice and makes my skin soft, but since I still experience some break outs, I've read that using a mild toner might help to make sure the cold cream is all out, so I am back to trying this mixture of witch hazel with lavender and we'll see if it helps. I may also pick up the Burt's Bees Rosewater toner which has aloe in it. (I tried my moms and liked it ok)
UPDATE: So the Witch Hazel with lavender was good for getting the last bits of Cold Cream off, but I think it's still a little too harsh. I've kind of been sticking to just using it as a spot on either high oil areas or already-there acne spots. I did get the Burts Bees (which has a little witch hazel in it) and I like that more. I also might just use the Cold Cream in the am and skip toning. If I over dry I break out more. I usually have witch hazel around, but I'm not going to run out and get it as a standard beauty item.
Love this stuff!! I am currently using the cheap, generic brand from Walmart, and it works great. I think it is 14% alcohol, which seems about standard for witch hazel (I think it improves shelf life).
The packaging is nothing special, but works just fine. I'm neutral about the smell...it doesn't bother me, but I don't love it, either. I think it's an acquired scent. (For those it bothers, I'm currently infusing a fresh bottle of witch hazel with some dried rose hips & dried lavender, for the scent and the beneficial properties- so I'll update if that goes well :) )
I use this both directly out of the shower to tone (I clean my face with a wet microfiber cloth and exfoliate with the St. Ives green tea scrub) before rose hip seed oil as a moisturizer. In the evening, I use this after I cleanse with EVOO. It doesn't seem to dry out my skin, but removes any excess product/oils from cleansing, and it has helped clear my hormonal breakouts! Love it!! I think it's especially great because I use long wearing foundations that can be difficult to remove, and this ensures that I'm not leaving trace amounts on my skin overnight.
For reference, I have combo/dry skin with hormonal breakouts and aging skin under my eyes. It's a lot to contend with, but I'm loving this combination!!
This is such a godsend for me!! I've been dealing with the aftermath of the sudden development of an allergy to benzoyl peroxide, which gave me crusting and super dryness. This meant that I couldn't use any acne treating skin treatments of any kind, so my face was breaking out so much and it was just brutal. So, in a desperate effort to cope, I picked some of this stuff up and started using it in moderation with the oil cleansing method (that's how desperate I was). However, as my skin recovered, it was getting so much better! Way better than any antibiotics, birth control, or topical stuff ever made it, and I don't think I have to worry about reactions or drying. I still use a salicylic acid cleanser in the morning, but witch hazel has absolutely saved my skin, now that I use it as a toner twice a day. The smell is a little strong, but I don't mind it. My skin is still not perfect, but it is so much better than it was, and I'm certain it was from the witch hazel more than anything else!
I don't know what it is about witch hazel but it's the ONLY thing that clears up my forehead acne (that I pretty much haven't been able to get rid of in years). Dickinson's, drugstore, it all works fine. But it also isn't too drying. Benzoyl Peroxide works on stubborn acne but I can only find 10% creams and they are so drying (especially since I have eczema). On a cotton ball, it's a fantastic toner for almost all over the face and on itchy rashes. I always apply sunscreen daily on exposed areas, and have started putting vaseline on my face to keep moisture in and condition my brows & lashes. I know for a fact my eyebrow hairs are growing much faster than normal. The only other acneic products I use are a homeopathic topical gel (Adult Formula Acnevir - Acne & Redness Relief Gel--witch hazel does in 3 days what Acnevir has done in 3 weeks!) and the Almay concealer that has more salicylic acid in it than any other drugstore concealer, and I love it. The foundation is wonderful too by the way. Anyways, I've realized witch hazel is a must, especially for those of us who are prone to clogged pores.
A must have in everyone's beauty arsenal! If you can tolerate the smell that is, reminds me of straight vodka--which is highly unpleasant. Luckily, it dissipates quickly and doesn't linger very long. I use it as a toner when my skin becomes more oily (usually the week of my period) and it greatly diminishes the excess oil when used once-a-day. It's also my savior for body blemishes, just rub it on with a cotton round and it speeds up healing time and works on "angry" face pimples too! Definitely can be overdrying when used too often, everyone's skin is different and it's all about finding the right amount for you. Being that my skin is sensitive/acne-prone I'm very careful not to overdo it because it burns skin like crazy.