What Does Witch Hazel Toner Do? 11 Amazing Benefits Experts Identify

Share this:

Toners have evolved and are formulated to treat different skin concerns. However, witch hazel toner remains the king of them all. You have probably heard of or come across one before but don’t know much about it. So you are wondering, what does witch hazel toner do?

Witch hazel toner is a multi-purpose skincare product that has several benefits on the skin. It helps to cleanse, tone, and even moisturize the skin.

Generally, “toning is touted to be a beginning step in a skincare routine—to help you prepare your skin for the routine,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist. 

“Witch hazel toners are a liquid formula made from an extract from the leaves and bark of Hamamelis virginian plant. Its purpose on the skin varies from deep cleansing to enhancing the easy absorption of skincare products into the skin,” she adds. 

Read ahead to find out the benefits of using a witch hazel toner on your skin.

11 Benefits of Using a Witch Hazel Toner

Witch hazel toner does quite a number of benefits to the skin when used correctly and religiously. Below are some of the benefits you stand to gain from using it.

1. It Reduces Signs of Aging

Witch hazel toners contain polyphenols—which may help to fight premature aging. Its astringent properties can also help to make your skin look smoother and firmer.

Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse says that “witch hazel toner contains antioxidant properties that help to mitigate and prevent the skin from environmental oppressors such as pollution and UV rays.”

2. It Shrinks Pores

Witch hazel toners can also help to tighten your pores. This will temporarily shrink your pores and result in them looking smaller. Automatically, your skin will look smoother and firmer.

Dr. Deborah Longwill, a board-certified dermatologist, says that “Witch hazel is a high amount of constricting compounds that promote the clustering up of proteins in the skin cells. This results in the shrinking of the pore.” 

3. Reduces Inflammation on the Skin

It also contains natural tannins that may help to soothe your inflamed skin. “Using it will help to calm your irritated and blotchy skin,” says Dr. Shainhouse. This makes your witch hazel toner the go-to product when you experience breakouts or sunburn. 

Another board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Dendy Engelman, says that “witch hazel is a vasoconstrictor—which helps tighten up your skin, to make it look firm and healthy. This will help to reduce the redness on your skin.” 

4. Reduces Oil Production in the Skin

“The tannins which a witch hazel contains work as an astringent to remove excess oil from the skin,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist. Witch hazel is a popular ingredient in skin toner because it is rich in antioxidants such as tannins. 

If your skin is/feels oily, you can grab your witch hazel toner to help you rid your skin of excess oil.

5. Reduces Acne Breakout

Aside from being able to reduce redness, soothe inflammation and decrease oil in the skin, it also helps to fight and reduce acne breakouts. 

According to Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, “the antimicrobial properties of tannins help to fight and reduce the growth and development of bacteria in the skin.”  It will not only help to fight acne breakout, but it will also help to soothe the irritation that comes after. 

This is a good alternative to opt for if you are not allowed to use the common acne-fighting ingredients such as retinoids and salicylic acids, maybe due to pregnancy. 

6. Reduce Swelling and Puffiness of the Eyes

While blessing the skin with its tightening effect, it also contains anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that help to calm the skin to reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes, says Dr. Longwill.

7. Improves Skin Tone

When you apply witch hazel on your skin as a toner, it helps to refine the skin by reducing the appearance of pores by shrinking your pores. It also tightens the skin to make your skin look firmer. 

Additionally, it reduces and soothes inflammation. “This altogether results in the improvement of your skin tone,” says Dr. Longwill.

8. Double Cleanses the Skin

A toner’s main job is to ensure the skin is well-cleaned and prepared for your skincare routine. This is exactly what a witch hazel toner does for your skin. It helps to deeply cleanse your skin to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your skin. 

Simply dish a few drops of the toner into a cotton ball or gauze pad and rub it all over your face after cleansing your skin.

9. Prevents Razor Bumps

You can use your witch hazel toner on your skin after shaving to prevent bumps from developing around your hair follicles. It may also help to rid the already existing bump on your skin. 

After shaving, simply apply a small amount of the toner, using a gauze pad or cotton ball. This will help to keep your skin from bumps.

10. Relieves Sunburn

If you have sunburn on your skin as a result of not using your sunscreen, using a witch hazel toner can help to relieve the sunburn area. “It contains anti-inflammatory strengths that enable it to have a soothing effect on inflammation and burns on the skin,” says Dr. Engelman.

11. Fights Infection

It helps to fight off and prevent infections from forming on your skin. According to Dr. John Roff, a certified dermatologist, “Witch hazel toners can serve as a protective layer to stop substances that cause inflammation from gaining access into your skin.” 

It is great for preventing infections because it helps to rid the skin of bacteria and also reduces inflammation in the skin.

How Does Witch Hazel Toner Work?

It contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work on the skin to soothe the skin as well as protect the skin. A witch hazel toner is a liquid formula that works on the skin by penetrating it to rid the skin of dirt and oil buildup. 

“It removes oil and bacteria mix-up from the surface of the skin, while also calming the skin to soothe inflammation,” Dr. Nazarian says. It also assists in preparing a smooth entry for other skincare products to absorb into the skin easily.

How to Choose the Best Witch Hazel Toner for Your Skin

Witch hazel toners often contain alcohol, which can be overly drying for dry and sensitive skin. Therefore, it is important to be careful while choosing the right toner for your skin.

As mentioned earlier, most witch hazel toners are mixed with alcohol. It is important to know that “using a witch hazel toner that contains a high level of alcohol will cause your skin to dry out completely and also cause irritation on your skin,” says Dr. Longwill. 

Therefore, you should always choose one that doesn’t contain alcohol, especially if you have sensitive or dry skin. Using one that contains alcohol regularly in your skincare routine will dry out and irritate your skin.

When looking to purchase a witch hazel toner, Dr. Longwill suggests that you opt for one that contains hydrating properties and ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, or aloe vera. These ingredients help to moisturize the skin deeply and reduce the drying effect of the product.

Endure that you read labels and a list of ingredients in a toner before purchasing it. This will help to ensure that the product does not contain ingredients that your skin is sensitive or allergic to, says Dr. Schlessinger. 

If you are not sure of the ingredients, you can carry out a patch test on a small area of your skin. If your skin reacts harshly to it, then you shouldn’t use it.

Can You Use Witch Hazel Toner Every Day?

You can use it on your skin every day In your skincare routine to double cleanse your skin and to enjoy the other benefits attached. Ava Shamban, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist, says that you can use your witch hazel toner twice a week or up to daily usage. 

This depends largely on how your skin reacts to it. You should be able to use an alcohol-free witch hazel toner on your skin every day without any side effects. However, the case is different from alcohol-based ones. 

The alcohol-based ones can be very drying on your skin and even disrupt your skin’s pH balance. It may also cause your skin to produce too much all to prevent it from getting dry. This ruins the entire purpose of using the toner in the first place. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t use an alcohol-based witch hazel toner on your skin too often—to prevent disrupting your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you moisturize after using witch hazel toner?

Use it before moisturizing your skin. Toners are meant to be used after cleansing the skin to finish up the process by double-cleansing the skin to remove remnants of dirt and oil.

Also, using a moisturizer after applying toner will help to restore the skin’s moisture by locking in hydration on the skin.

Does witch hazel toner help to tighten your pores?

Yes, it does. One of the many benefits of using witch hazel toner on your skin is to tighten your pores. 

This results in your skin looking fresh and smooth. It also helps to prevent your sebaceous glands from secreting oil into your pores. 

Will witch hazel toner help to clear your acne?

Yes, it will. Witch hazel toner helps to reduce the development of acne on the skin.

It does this by unclogging the pores to rid the skin of the mixture of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria that cause acne breakouts.


Witch hazel toner is a multifunctional skincare product that works on the skin to treat several skin concerns. Toners are used to double-cleanse the skin and to make the skin permeable enough to absorb other skincare products. A witch hazel toner does this and more. 

It contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties that help to soothe and protect the skin from the formation of bacteria and inflammations on the skin. 

Thanks for reading.

Like this article? Visit Serum101 to read more enlightening articles to learn the benefits of your skincare products.