You've likely heard of witch hazel before; it's a common astringent and used in many face washes and toners. In fact, it's used in our DIY facial toner as well as our facial toner in the shop! However, witch hazel is so much more than a must have beauty ingredient.
About Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a small shrub (hamamelis virginiana). It's bark, leaves, and flowers have all been used in herbal remedies and skincare products. Since witch hazel contains large amounts of tannins, it has a drying effect which of course is why it's loved as an astringent.
Ways to use Witch Hazel
Witch hazel has so many uses; much more than just facial toner! After reading this list, you are going to want to buy a gallon of witch hazel (but, don't do that! Read to the bottom of the post to learn how to make your own!) and start using witch hazel in everything!
Witch hazel is well known as an ingredient in facial toners (including Pronounce's handcrafted Face Toner), but you can also use it to treat acne, remove makeup, in face washes, as a single ingredient deodorant, in aftershave spray, an ingredient in face masks, and soothe itchy dry skin.
Make Your Own Witch Hazel
Witch hazel has so many wonderful uses and I bet you can't wait to try all these ideas out! However, witch hazel can be a bit pricey if you are buying it at the store and sometimes you get some bonus nasty ingredients.... but being the #LifeFromScratch people that we are, we can make our own DIY witch hazel! Did you even know you could do that? I mean it makes sense when you think about it; it's just an herb after all and we work with herbs all the time!
Now this DIY witch hazel is a different color than store bough witch hazel. DIY witch hazel is brown whereas store bought is clear. Why? Because DIY witch hazel is a decoction whereas store bough witch hazel is distilled. As most of us do not have a still, we are making a decoction. Don't worry, you still get all the same benefits, you just also get a more colorful product. (Learn more about decoctions, distillations, fomentations, and more).
DIY Witch Hazel (makes appx 2 cups)
- Large pot with a lid
- Scale (not necessary, but it will make this recipe much easier to create)
- 4 oz organic witch hazel bark
- 24 oz distilled water
- Appx 8 oz distilled water
- Appx 3 oz organic vodka (I use Ocean Vodka, which is an organic sugar cane based vodka made with deep mineral ocean water around Hawaii)
To Make the Decoction:
- In saucepan, combine 4 oz witch hazel with 24 oz distilled water.
- Place on stove over low heat and cover. Cook on low so that the mixture stays warm, but never reaches a simmer.
- Cook for 1 hour, stirring a few times when you think of it.
- Strain through a cloth and allow to cool. Get all of the liquid out that you can!
Finishing the Witch Hazel:
- This part will vary, based on the amount of liquid you receive from your decoction.
- Example: After squeezing out all liquid if you end up with 8 oz of witch hazel decoction you will add 8 oz of distilled water.
- You want to add equal water to the finished decoction.
- Then, based on the total amount of decoction + distilled water, you want to add about 18% of that amount in vodka.
- So, for this example you would add 2.88 oz of vodka to your mixture. (16 oz decoction & water x .18 = 2.88 oz vodka)
- Transfer to clean container and store in a cool, dry place.
Not feeling particularly DIYish?
Simply not enough hours in the day? Pinning more than you could ever tackle these days? No worries. I have got you covered.
Head over to my Pronounce Skincare Shop where I sell a beautiful handcrafted Face Toner that includes our homemade witch hazel.
Want to make your own witch hazel? Grab our certified organic witch hazel bark in the shop, too!
Can You make witch hazel without alcohol and does it work as well as its alcohol counterpart? Also does the bark work best or is another part of the plant better suite
I am looking to use it for diy baby wipes and postpartum care.
Hi! Yes, bark is best. You can make a tincture without alcohol. Learn how to make a glycerite on my other blog here. 🙂
Can I is everclear in place of vodka? It has a higher alcohol potency
I honestly don’t know much about ever clear…I’d do some intense research first. I prefer Ocean Vodka. It’s certified organic, comes from Hawaii, and is sugarcane based…not grain. (Not an advertisement…it’s just my preferred choice).
I love witch hazel. I cannot wait to give this a try!
First off, thank you!! What is the shelf life of the product?
Hi! I haven’t had a batch go bad. I use mine toner up within 6 months or so. The vodka helps preserve it nicely. If you like, you can always keep this in the fridge to help extend shelf life. Happy DIYing!
Can I reuse the witch hazel bark after I have strained it?
Hi Stacie~ Great question! I don’t here at the shop, but technically you certainly could. It would not be as strong and contain as much of the good qualities, but there would still be some. You’d want to dry it out all of the way to avoid mold.
Thank you for the reply. Sorry I got back to it so late. I made the witch hazel and love it. I have used it for a toner and have added it to a face wash recipe. I will definitely be making more when I run out. Thank you for the recipe.
I have tequila that’s old(7 years), can that be used in place of the vodka???
Mmmmm, I don’t think that would work well at all. Sorry! I love Ocean vodka (organic, sourced from sugarcane in Hawaii), but really any cheap vodka can work.
I love this!! I’ve been looking for alternatives as the witch hazel I buy from the store seems to run out of so quickly!! Thank you for sharing xx