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        Witch Hazel

        Our Favourite Versatile Ingredient

        Witch hazel is the common name for a group of plants with the name Hamamelidaceae, tree shrubs with some species found in East Asia and North America. Witch hazel ointment is typically made from the variety Hamamelis virginiana, which is native to North America and most commonly used for skincare products. The name “Witch Hazel” originates from folk history since indigenous people would use the plant to find water sources underground, believing that the movement of the branch signalled the presence of water. The practice was called “water witching,” leading to the plant’s name.

        Witch hazel has a long history of being used as a natural remedy since it contains a high concentration of tannin compounds, causing it to act as a natural astringent. The tannins are found inside the leaves, bark and twigs of the plant and can be applied topically to the skin to treat various conditions. The ointment is created by distilling the liquid from the bark and leaves. Indigenous communities in North America used witch hazel to soothe skin problems, extracting the oil to produce ointments and using the leaves for teas and today, it is one of the few plants approved by the FDA as an ingredient in over-the-counter medications. It also has a long history of being used in cosmetics, and now it is a common ingredient in many skincare products.

        Witch hazel has many benefits for both the skin and the scalp. First, it relieves inflammation. While inflammation is a part of the body’s normal immune response to protect itself from injury and infection, chronic inflammation can negatively impact the body and contribute to the development of illness. Witch Hazel contains several compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, such as gallic acid and tannins, to fight off excess inflammation. In addition, it contains antioxidant polyphenols that prevent inflammation from building up in the body and neutralize free radicals, compounds naturally present in the environment that can cause disease when they build up in the body. The antioxidants in witch hazel protect against oxidative stress from sun damage. This property makes witch hazel a useful tool for skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and sunburns. In terms of acne, this product is an astringent, meaning it helps shrink pores and can prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting the skin in the first place. It removes excess oil from the skin, which could be the culprit for breakouts. Finally, It dries out blemishes, making it useful during breakouts.

        Next, witch hazel can reduce skin irritation. It can help heal inflamed, irritated or broken skin. This is helpful following sunburn or reddening of the skin due to injury or irritation. This is helpful when the skin is itchy or for applying to the scalp. It can soothe chapped lips and dry skin and can help with dandruff on the scalp. It relieves an itchy and tender scalp, reducing inflammation caused by eczema or psoriasis and fighting against dryness.

        Finally, witch hazel protects against skin damage. The tannins in the plant help protect the skin from environmental damage that the skin naturally encounters from pollution, the sun, and more. It reduces puffiness under the eyes and treats minor skin issues like bruises, insect bites, varicose veins, and more. As one of the only medically-backed plants to treat sunburns, bruises, acne and inflammation, witch hazel is a powerful ingredient in medicine and skincare. It would be a great addition to your next DIY moisturizer, or hair oil or effective to be used on its own.

        Several of our all-natural DIY kits include witch hazel as one of their ingredients. Shop our collection to learn more about our products!