When you think of witch hazel, you probably think of that astringent you ditched after puberty. But witch hazel (and its second cousin twice removed, grape alcohol) are excellent ingredients for personal care products from lotions to toners and bug repellent. Here’s why.
WHAT IS WITCH HAZEL?
Sometimes called nature’s answer to Neosporin, Hamamelis are flowering plants with species in North America, Japan and China. Distilled witch hazel is derived from the leaves, twigs and bark of those plants. These contain a type of natural compound called tannins that have a beneficial astringent effect when applied directly to the skin.
WHAT IS GRAPE ALCOHOL?
Alcohol was to the 80s what parabens are today: a big no-no. So we collectively dropped all alcohol from our repertoire. But unlike the drying, stripping type of alcohol you might be thinking of, grape alcohol is skin-friendly, oh-so-gentle, and ready to make a skincare comeback in a major way.
WHAT CAN THEY DO?
Both witch hazel and grape alcohol have great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, soothing and toning effects on the skin.
Witch hazel is perhaps best known as a powerful acne-fighting astringent, but has been used for its various other health benefits for centuries. From scrapes to bug bites to sunburns, witch hazel helps ease inflammation and soothe irritated or sensitive skin. The extract from witch hazel leaf and bark has also been used to treat hemorrhoids, varicose veins, sore throat, and even dandruff.
When it comes to grape alcohol, those awesome antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of red wine appear to translate to skincare. It facilitates absorption of ingredients into the skin — so if you’re using a quality product full of healthy, all-natural ingredients that are good for your body, grape alcohol can help increase their efficacy.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD USES FOR WITCH HAZEL AND GRAPE ALCOHOL?
- Insect Repellent
Because witch hazel is so great at reducing skin inflammation, it makes an excellent addition to products like bug spray. When combined with other plant-derived ingredients that keep those pesky (and often harmful) bugs at bay — such as essential oils of lemongrass, eucalyptus, citronella, cedarwood and rosemary — extract from the witch hazel leaf can be a wonderfully soothing carrier.
- Facial Toner
Many DIY face toner recipes call for witch hazel, combining it with things like Vitamin E and essential oils that are beneficial to the skin. It’s great for removing dirt and excess oil, helping to fight the good fight against breakouts while also shrinking pores and tightening the skin.
We’ve combined the bacteria-fighting power of grape alcohol and the skin-soothing effects of witch hazel into an all-natural deodorant spray. Keep it in your bag for a convenient, mid-day refresh or use it as your go-to daily deodorant if you’ve got sensitive skin.
- Breath Freshener
Organic grape alcohol can be a great base for all-natural breath spray or drops. When diluted with water and paired with revitalizing essential oils like peppermint, spearmint and tea tree leaf, it’s an excellent way to battle bad breath.
- Treating Skin Irritations
For sunburns, diaper rash, psoriasis, or even an unfortunate run-in with poison ivy, let witch hazel come to the rescue. In addition to its awesome anti-inflammatory properties, it also has antimicrobial properties that can help inhibit the growth of bacteria like chicken pox and staph.