What is Witch Hazel?

Sourced from the bark and leaves of Hamamelidaceae plants, witch hazel is a natural remedy so powerful that it is backed both by modern science (it is FDA approved) and real witches. An eerily effective medicine, witch hazel has been used to treat everything from sores and cuts to diseases and bleeding. The Osage, a Native American tribe, are said to have concocted a witch hazel bark tea that, when consumed, stopped internal bleeding. Even present-day witches revere this earth-derived remedy, using it to mend broken hearts and ward off evil spirits. 

The powerful properties of witch hazel don’t stop there though. When used as a topical skin care product, witch hazel is an equally potent elixir. Working as a natural astringent to tighten pores, remove blackheads, cure acne, and reduce inflammation, witch hazel is well loved for its incredible cleansing and toning abilities.


How to Use Witch Hazel

You can buy witch hazel (look for distilled and alcohol-free) at most health stores or pharmacies. When used by itself, the clear liquid has impressive benefits, including the power to clean wounds, heal bruises, and tone your skin. If you’d like to give witch hazel a try, we recommend Thayers as it is hypoallergenic, naturally preserved, and paraben-free. It is also cruelty-free and safe to use on babies. Witch hazel, when diluted properly, is a favorite natural product among parents for aiding diaper rashes.

If you prefer a more luxurious elixir, we also recommend trying one of the all-natural witch hazel toners we’ve highlighted below. When combined with other ingredients, like high-quality essential oils and organic floral waters, witch hazel becomes an even more versatile natural remedy for your skin. 

Try these witch hazel potions, concocted solely by sustainable, local, and ethical brands, to cure all your spooky skin woes this season!


All-Natural Witch Hazel Elixirs


Witch Hazel Skincare Products - Shea Brand Lavender Witch Hazel Toning Spray

Features | All-natural, organic, cruelty-free, fair trade, 100% recyclable packing, made in the USA
Price | $22

Shea Brand’s newly released witch hazel sprays are perfect for maintaining clear and hydrated skin, especially during the harsh winter months. Packaged in beautiful glass bottles and made solely with organic witch hazel and essential oils, these all-natural astringents are kind to both your face and the environment. We especially love the Lavender Witch Hazel spray, but the American-made brand also carries Rose and Teafruit Witch Hazel sprays, as well as Holy Basil and Cucumber Hydrosols (floral waters)—all of which are made in small batches in New York.


Features | All-natural, vegan, cruelty-free, recyclable + reusable packaging, organic ingredients, made in the USA, international shipping options
Price | $22

Combing the astringent powers of all-natural witch hazel with the healing properties of aloe vera, Herbivore’s Post Shave Elixir is a truly magical remedy for the redness, irritation, and inflammation many of us experience after shaving. Scented with cedar and citrus essential oils and made in small batches in Seattle, this gender-neutral witch hazel spray is sure to keep post-shave bumps at bay. It is safe to use all over your body.


Features | Vegan, cruelty-free, organic + raw ingredients, fair trade, TSA-friendly size
Price | $16

A hydrating face spray made from witch hazel, coconut water, aloe vera, and raw coconut oil, this Hydro-Mist is enriched with antioxidants and cytokines to heal skin and promote cell growth. It is also made by a company passionate about job creation and fair labor practices; Cocovít sources its organic and raw coconut oil from its farm in South India. Use this ethical mist for a rejuvenating glow while traveling—it’s 1 oz bottle is TSA-friendly! 


Features | Vegan, cruelty-free, organic ingredients, fair trade, recyclable + reusable packaging, made in the USA, international shipping options + stockists, gives back
Price | $24

They call it their ‘secret weapon of skin care arsenal.’ Handcrafted in small batches by a vegan apothecary company in New York, the Geranium Palmarosa Face Toner from Meow Meow Tweet is made with pure, botanical ingredients including witch hazel and organic rose water (perfect for maintaining natural pH). Packaged in an eco-friendly glass bottle and decorated with a fun, hand-illustrated label, this natural face toner is a wonderful addition to everyone’s skincare collection.


Features | 100% natural, cruelty-free, organic ingredients, hypoallergenic, woman-owned business, support for US farmers and growers, made in the USA
Price | $42

Made with only five, farm-sourced ingredients including natural grain-based witch hazel, lavender oil, and germanium rose oil, Farmaesthetics' Fine Herbal Cleanser washes and clarifies your face without stripping your skin of its natural oils. It is also made by an American, woman-opened company. Founded in 1999 by Brenda Brock, a 7th generation Texas farmer, Farmaesthetics is passionate about creating quality products on the basis of traditional herbal skin care formulation and sustainable agriculture.


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Kayti Christian, a staff writer for The Good Trade, is a storyteller, creator, activist, and avid traveler hailing from Colorado, now living in London. With 30+ stamps in her passport, she is passionate about responsible tourism and is always looking for new ways to be a more conscious traveler. She is currently pursuing her MA in Creative Nonfiction Writing at City, University of London.