The Wonders of Witch Hazel

First used centuries ago by Native Americans, witch hazel is a timeless natural ingredient with a long list of uses - it's a medicine cabinet staple for treating cuts and burns, but you may be surprised to find that it's also one of nature's oldest beauty solutions - thanks to its positive effect on the skin. But don't be tempted to just reach for the bottle in the back of the cupboard and start pouring it on your face - it's important to know about the two different versions, and which is right for your skin.

There's witch hazel with alcohol - which is the antiseptic kind you'll find in your first aid kit - and witch hazel without alcohol - which is gentler and less drying on the skin.

Witch Hazel Hamamelis WaterIf you're looking to remove excess oil, shrink pores, or reduce spots, you'll want to go for the alcohol version which is an astringent - it tightens skin and is good for fighting acne because the alcohol also gives it antibacterial and microbial properties. It can also be used as a makeup remover, which will take off both water-based and oil-based makeup without leaving any oily residue. However the alcohol is drying on the skin and should always be followed with a moisturiser.

Anyone not looking to treat acne - and especially those with sensitive skin - should go for the non-alcohol version, which has less of a drying effect on the skin. It lacks the astringent properties and won't take off makeup, so it's more like a toner - it'll reduce any redness and inflammation, as well as restoring your face's pH balance after washing.

So, maybe it's time to look to the solutions of the past for your skincare issues. Both products are available for purchase here:

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