Witch Hazel: Not Just For Magic Potions Anymore

As much as I look forward to the warm nights and endless fun adventures summer brings, I dread the NYC humidity each year. As soon as that first super hot day comes, my face is instantly a sweaty mess. Eventually, I give up on wearing makeup completely because at 96 degrees, I'm just wasting time carefully applying the face that will soon be dripping onto my white shirt and wasting precious products. The oil production of my skin that I thought was under control in the spring is suddenly wonky with the dank humid air and high temperatures, and it becomes clear that I need to start applying an astringent to absorb all this extra me seeping out of my pores.

Personally, astringents and toners make me a little nervous. Just because I don't want my face to look like you could cook a burger on it with all the excess oil doesn't mean I want dried out skin instead. If you like to keep an organic regimen or are on a beauty budget this summer, make sure to keep a bottle of witch hazel in your medicine cabinet. Witch hazel, often used to treat cuts and burns, will be an amazing addition to your natural beauty routine.

Witch hazel contains tannins that fight bacteria, repair broken skin, and reduce swelling. Here are just a few of my favortie ways to use this magical plant.

Acne Fighter

To use witch hazel as an astringent that will decrease oil buildup and eliminate breakouts, simply apply on freshly clean skin with a cotton pad before you add your daily moisturizer. Try a test patch on your forearm to see if you need to dilute your new face med. Plus, if you find it particularly drying, you can definitely add in a few drops of grape seed oil to balance it out.

Reduce Puffy Eyes

This is one beauty secret that I swear by, especially during allergy season. Because of witch hazel's tannic acid, it's amazing at tightening skin. Apply witch hazel under your eye (being extremely careful not to get it inside!) and leave on for about 5 minutes, then rinse with a warm washcloth. I promise, you'll notice immediate results!

Heal Bruises and Varicose Veins

There is nothing worse than slipping into your brand new sundress and realizing you have a humungous bruise on your leg after hijacking a game of Capture The Flag over the weekend. Not only can witch hazel break up the blood vessels of bruises and varicose veins — which diminishes their appearance — but, it also will soothe the pain or aching by reducing inflammation in the area. Take a washcloth drenched in witch hazel and apply directly onto the area of skin for 15 minutes.

Ready to put this plant to work? You can purchase witch hazel at any pharmacy or local grocery!