Witch Hazel

by Regan Schwartz

A sprig of the witch hazel tree with bright yellow flowers against a blurred background.

Hamamelis virginiana

Energetics: cool, dry, tonifying

Actions: astringent, mucosal astringent, vulnerary, anti-hemorrhagic, vascular astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory

In my herbal skincare life, I work with a lot of astringent plants.  Not only can they help to tone the skin, many also bring vulnerary and antimicrobial properties to the skincare party.  A happy skin trifecta!

Witch Hazel is a plant, so commonly used in skincare that most folks don’t even realize they are turning to an herbal remedy.  What is commonly bought as “witch hazel” is an extraction of the bark in water and, sometimes, a bit of alcohol.  A water preparation brings out the bark’s astringency (those tonifying tannins are water soluble molecules after all!).  Because it is a vascular astringent with anti microbial and vulnerary properties, witch hazel is an excellent wound wash and a great ally to easily inflamed and congested skin.  

I work with witch hazel in my Clarifying Toner and with a rose-infused witch hazel extract in my Holy Rose Cooling Elixir, where it’s cooling energetics really get to shine.  

Magically, I work with witch hazel features in my moon mist, a lunar-charged energetic cleansing tool.