Can You Use Witch Hazel as a Toner? Get the Amazing Benefits

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Witch hazel is an ingredient common in skincare and beauty products. As a key skincare ingredient in products, it provides a variety of purposes. However, the most common is being a key player in toners. But, can you use witch hazel as a toner?

The popularity of witch hazel as an alternative to solvent alcohol of sorts in products makes it a household name since the rebirth of toners. You’ll have to wonder if this ingredient is the main change in toners.

Following this train of thought, you’ll ask yourself if you can use witch hazel alone to cleanse, balance your pH level, and open or reduce your pores appropriately.

I will be answering that curious question of yours by delving into everything witch hazel. Read on.

What Is Witch Hazel?

Witch hazel is a plant whose entire parts are one form of medicine or the other. The plant’s leaf, twigs, and bark make up many medicinal products for both health and skincare.

The extracts, distilled water, or oil help to soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and dry out the skin. Natural witch hazel extracts are used to treat outer skin concerns like insect bites, swelling from redness and inflammation, and stings.

Witch hazel contains tannic acid, which is a polyphenol chemical that is also an antioxidant. This antioxidant property is what helps witch hazel reduce skin irritations like inflammation and redness. It also helps to neutralize free radicals in the skin.

This is why the component is essential in skincare. The component is a natural antioxidant that soothes the skin.

Is Witch Hazel Toner?

Yes, witch hazel is a toner of some sort. The natural witch hazel extract can be used as a toner to cleanse the skin deeper and brighten the skin. As mentioned, witch hazel extract contains tannic acid (tannin) that has antioxidant properties.

This acid is what helps the witch hazel extract work on the skin removing unwanted residues. However, witch hazel is said to be drying on the skin. But this has to do with the process of extraction and not the plant itself.

In extracting witch hazel water or alcohol is used. Witch hazel extracted with alcohol is often drying due to the ethanol effect from the alcohol. Meanwhile, water-extracted witch hazel is gentler on the skin.

To reduce the drying effect on the skin, humectants like aloe vera is added to witch hazel toner. This makes it moisturizing to the skin, reducing the drying effects.  

Benefits of Witch Hazel Toner

1. Anti-inflammatory treatment

Witch hazel toners provide anti-inflammatory treatment for skin concerns like acne, eczema, and irritations. The ingredient soothes the skin and reduces the spread or effects of inflammatory conditions.

2. Treats bites

You can use the toner to reduce the effects of bites and stings from insects. Furthermore, you can use toner to calm the effect of these stings.

3. Controls oil on the skin

Witch hazel toners are experts at reducing or controlling oil on the skin. The toner regulates the pH level of your skin, reducing the overproduction of sebum in the sebaceous glands.

4. Acne treatment

Witch hazel toners also treat acne by reducing the inflammation of the skin. Then it controls the oil production, thereby reducing clogs in pores. This effectively slows down the buildup of bacteria on the skin. This, in turn, reduces acne breakout on the skin.

5. Fights free radicals

Witch hazel contains tannic acid, which is rich in antioxidant properties that fight and denaturalize free radicals in the skin. This allows the skin to look healthier and brighter.

Furthermore, it slows down the aging of the skin. You can use witch hazel toner to reduce wrinkles and fine lines with its antioxidant properties.

6. Treats burns

Sunburns and little skin burns can be treated with a witch hazel toner. The antioxidant properties help to soothe the skin from overexposure to ultraviolet rays. This also reduces the effects on the skin. Your skin returns to its bright and clear state with witch hazel.  

7. Reduces the appearance of pores

Witch hazel toners help proteins – collagen and elastin – in skin cells stick tighter, which helps to reduce or make the skin pores look smaller.

How to Use Witch Hazel Toner

You can use a witch hazel toner in simple steps. To correctly use your toner, follow this guide below:

  • Cleanse or wash your face
  • Pour out toner in a cotton ball or pad
  • Apply toner to your face
  • Lightly dab on the corners of the face, forehead, your nose, and close to your ears
  • Leave the toner to dry on your skin
  • Move on to your next skincare product

The steps in applying a witch hazel toner on your skin are easy. However, you have to be sure to apply a moisturizing product to improve the moisture balance from the drying effects of witch hazel toner on the skin.

Witch Hazel Toner Side Effects on Face

Witch hazel has some side effects on the skin. However, this stands on different factors, especially the formula.

For instance, witch hazel toners can be drying on the skin. However, this is when mixed with alcohol. Alcohol or solvent alcohol dries the skin out.

As a result, look for witch hazel toners with no alcohol or added humectants that moisturize the skin. This would reduce the drying effect on the skin.

In addition, witch hazel can cause irritation, which worsens skin issues. While it does help the skin with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel can cause irritations that can flare up your blemishes if it does not match your skin.

Consequently, patch-test your witch hazel toner before applying it to your skin. This avoids possible reactions.

Furthermore, some witch hazel toners contain a volatile oil gotten from the sensitizer eugenol. This fragrant sensitizer could worsen your oil balance with long-term use. Therefore, avoid toners with the sensitizer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is witch hazel good for dry skin?

This depends. Witch hazel can have a drying effect on the skin. However, when mixed with humectant or moisture-providing ingredients, it can hydrate the skin and balance moisture in the skin.

Meanwhile, dry skin should stay away from witch hazel toners with alcohol; it dries the skin.

Is witch hazel toner alcohol-free?

Not all. Witch hazel is sometimes extracted with alcohol.

Alcohol-distilled witch hazel contains alcohol, after all. However, there are water-distilled witch hazel extracts too. This is a great alternative. So witch hazel toners can be alcohol-free and can contain alcohol.

Is witch hazel good in cleansers?

Yes, it is. You can find cleansers with witch hazel in them.

Witch hazel is a component that cleanses and soothes the skin. It effectively clears bacteria and grime on the skin. Therefore, you will also find the ingredient in cleansers too.


Witch hazel is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient you’ll find present in toners. The component can also be used as a toner to cleanse your pores, balance skin pH, and reduce the size of the pores.

However, witch hazel as a toner can have drying effects on the skin. To avoid this, use water-distilled toners with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera. This not only boosts moisture in your skin but also helps in protecting your skin.

Moreover, you get to avoid the side effects of dryness with alcohol-distilled witch hazel. Nonetheless, witch hazel, in any form, can work alone as a toner for your skin.

Thanks for reading.

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