Homemade Witch Hazel Toner

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Witch hazel might help reduce skin irritation when applied topically as part of a regular skin care regime.
Witch hazel might help reduce skin irritation when applied topically as part of a regular skin care regime. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Witch hazel is traditionally used in skin care preparations to promote healing. Its astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties make it an ideal toner, especially for oily and acne-prone complexions. Commercial witch hazel water is usually distilled from recently cut twigs from the hamamelis virginiana plant. Alcohol -- which can be too harsh for sensitive skin types -- is often added as a preservative. However, you can make your own alcohol-free witch hazel water, from readily available hamamelis bark, at home.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon witch hazel bark
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 quart saucepan
  • Strainer
  • Glass storage container with airtight lid

Place the witch hazel bark and water in a saucepan. Allow the witch hazel bark to soak for half an hour.

Place the saucepan over a heat source, and bring the water to the boil.

Put the lid on the saucepan, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the contents to cool.

Strain the liquid into a sterile, airtight glass container to remove the witch hazel bark.

Seal the container securely.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have access to a strainer, sieve the witch hazel infusion through a piece of cheesecloth.
  • If you have dry skin, dilute your witch hazel toner with soothing and hydrating rosewater. Alternatively, tailor the toner to suit your skin type by adding two or three drops of essential oil: Use sandalwood oil to sooth irritation, tea tree oil to fight acne, carrot oil for healing and rose otto oil for mature, wrinkled skin.
  • Apply your witch hazel toner with a cotton ball after cleansing to tighten pores, and remove traces of dirt, excess oils and make up.
  • Store your witch hazel toner in a cool, dark place to prevent evaporation.
  • Witch hazel may irritate sensitive skin. Perform a patch test on a small area of skin before use.

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