I’ve been into natural beauty and healing my entire life – I very clearly remember dragging my mum over to sign some cruelty free beauty petitions when I was only about 9 years old! So while I’ve been talking a lot about rose water, I’ve also had my eye on witch hazel water! Witch hazel water is SO good as a facial toner, natural deodorant, reducing skin irritation and rashes, and more, which is why I’ve been prepping some for my first aid kit and natural apothecary! Witch hazel is not an antibacterial, however it has so many beauty and home uses I’m whipping up some more batches, asap.
Ready to DIY some for yourself? Here’s how to make witch hazel water.
How to make witch hazel water – THE RECIPE
You will need
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 tbsp dried witch hazel bark or flower
- wire mesh sieve
- glass jar
- Pour 1 cup distilled water into the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of dried witch hazel bark or flower. Stir well.
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, place on a medium-high flame and bring to a boil. Make sure not to over-boil!
- When boiling starts, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- You will know your mixture is done when it turns a deep, red-brown colour. Let it sit for 10 minutes away from heat.
- Finally, pour and strain through a wire mesh sieve into a glass jar for storage.
When you prepare witch hazel water this way, you end up getting a very natural mixture. However, it only lasts 7 days so make it in smaller batches in 1 cup to 1 tablespoon ratio in order not to be wasteful.
However, if you add 1-2 drops of vodka, rubbing alcohol, Leucidal, or liquid germall plus, you might increase the shelf life of your witch hazel water to up to 24 months. Whether you want to do that, depends on what kind of product you’re making. Don’t miss my DIY recipes for witch hazel water, and witch hazel deodorant, below!
The Best Witch Hazel Uses
- makeup remover
- cleanse oily skin
- tame frizzy hair (put it in your shampoo!)
- prevent razor burns (aftershave)
- calm skin and tighten up blood vessels
- calm tired and puffy eyes
- remove hair dye from skin
- natural, organic deodorant
- treat acne
- unclog and shrink pores
What is witch hazel?
Witch hazel is a plant. Officially, it is called Hamamelis, also known as winterbloom in northern parts of USA. Its name literally translates to “together with fruit”, as it blooms at the same time it’s last years fruits reach full maturity. It produces leaves all throughout the season, flowering in cute spidery blooms coloured bright yellow, all the way to occasional pinks and reds. The foliage and bark of witch hazel have long, long been known for their fantastic medicinal purposes.
Witch hazels are shrubby plants, their growth spanning anywhere between 3 metres tall to a maximum of 7. Surprisingly, they have been found to enjoy rich, slightly acidic soils. Now, who does that remind you of?
Yup, our beloved roses are a great partner for Hamamelis. In bigger gardens, the two can nicely coexist. This is because the witch hazel is not a drain on rose nutrients as it flowers much more demurely, making it a great companion to species roses.
What is witch hazel water?
Simply, witch hazel water is an infusion of either witch hazel bark or dried flowers into water or alcohol. Dried Hamamelis flowers are some of the most versatile flowers there are!
While you can buy witch hazel water or extract, it is wonderfully simple to DIY your own small batch at home. You can create it by infusing water or even adding alcohol, which is usually only for preservation. Hence, batches of pure organic witch hazel water have a shelf life of only 7 to 10 days. With a few drops of alcohol, the shelf life increases to up to 24 months!
Just like witch hazel is a nice companion to roses when they’re coexisting in your garden, witch hazel and rosewater are also BFF when it comes to shared health properties.
What are the benefits of witch hazel water?
First of all (and I do have to mention this), hazel water is not for drinking. Traditionally, all its best benefits are best perused when witch hazel is applied topically, instead of ingested. Unless you have clearance from your general practice doctor that witch hazel water is something you should drink or otherwise eat, we recommend you steer clear. It is known that in quantities bigger than a sip or two, it can lead to digestion issues, diarrhea and tummy aches! Yikes!
Second of all, if you’re not drinking it, then you’re spraying it and rubbing it and mixing it! For topical use, it is an absolute winner.
Witch hazel has historically been used to soothe skin and treat burns and bites. It has fabulous properties which work to relieve inflammation, soothe skin irritation, heal acne and bruising, as well as calm down a poison ivy itch or even cold sores. On the other hand, it is known to help with hair too, helping you get rid of dandruff fast as well as level the pH of your scalp.
Again – all of these benefits seem somehow familiar to you? Hmm…yup! Our roses have the same astringent, anti-inflammatory, healing properties you can find in witch hazel. The verdict is in – mix both for added effect!
What can I create with witch hazel water?
Depending on how and with what you combine your ingredients, you can use witch hazel for just about any thing skin-related.
One of the all-the-rage uses of witch hazel water right now is definitely for a skin toner, as a part of a regular morning and evening skin routine. It seems to be like this toner is great for just about any skin type, but people with dry skin will definitely get the most benefits, as witch hazel water is great and hydrating and toning. Most commercial toners seem to incorporate roses in some way, so be sure to use some of our favourites!
Another popular use is as a natural, organic deodorant. People report that this is a great deodorant to start with if you’re just crossing into the world of natural beauty products! Depending on the DIY recipe, it can keep you fresh for quite a long time, especially when combined with your favourite essential oils.
Finally, don’t forget to use witch hazel water as just a part of your self-care spa routine every once in a while to kiss under-eye bags goodbye! Alternatively, you can also just use it as a body wash, to freshen up the skin or soothe whatever part of your body needs it most.
Witch hazel and rosewater toner
You will need
- glass jar
- witch hazel water
- Separately create witch hazel water and rose water and let cool. For a fantastic rosewater recipe, check out our very own – we promise, it’s amazing!
- When completely cooled, mix rose water and witch hazel water to create the toner. Keep in a dark and cool place.
The very basic, very natural recipe! Again, for longer preservation, remember to add a few drops of organic preservative or alcohol!
Generally, I recommend mixing 2 parts of witch hazel against 1 part rose water if you have extremely dry skin. For rosacea and eczema, mix equal parts and for mixed skin concoct 1 part witch hazel to 2 parts rose water. The world is your oyster – patch test and experiment to find out which ratio works the best for your skin needs!
My personal favourite is to add 5 drops of tea tree essential oil and 5 drops of lavender essential oil for a cleansing and refreshing effect, all the while adding a slight scent to your toner! Depending on the day, I like to add dried red rose petals, elder flower, calendula or chamomile into the toner as well, first making them into a tea then mixing it in when completely cooled.
Witch hazel deodorant
You will need
- 1/2 cup witch hazel water
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel or juice
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 drops of sage essential oil
Combine the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Opt to use sage essential oil due to its fantastic deodorant properties which naturally complement witch hazel water effects.
This is a great deodorant for organic beauty product newbies! It is soft, unobtrusive and keeps you fresh all day long while your armpits take time to detox from commercial deodorants you once used. With natural deodorants, you need to change your game up sometimes as they can become a part of your natural body scent. However, witch hazel is a distinctive deodorant known to be long lasting, even for a natural deodorant.
So shake it, mix it, stir it, spray it! Witch hazel water is the talk of the village for a reason. Already used it? Have any saucy (organic, planty style) skincare secrets to share?! Leave me a note below!