One of the most beneficial skin care changes I’ve made is switching to using witch hazel as a toner. A toner is an astringent (tightens pores) applied to the face after washing that removes impurities missed by your cleanser and prevents buildup of oil an dirt. Witch hazel is a shrub commonly found in the Eastern half of the United States. The astringent we know as “Witch Hazel” is a distillation (steam extract) of this plant preserved with a small amount of alcohol. Often used for scrapes, bruises, inflammation and abrasions, this liquid is ideal for skin care. It’s easy to find in most pharmacies near the rubbing alcohol and peroxide.
While plain old witch hazel is fine, I found myself wanting to incorporate other herbs into my skin care regimen. Given that witch hazel is water-based, using essential oils can be tricky as they will not blend. I decided to try infusing (soaking) herbs in witch hazel for several weeks, just as I would any other herbal extract. The results have been wonderfully fragrant and effective. I added a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) to my blend and saw a huge reduction in blemishes due to GSE’s antibacterial nature.
The following recipe is a blend of some of my favorite herbs and antioxidants, perfect for all skin types including sensitive and blemish-prone.
- 1 tsp Lavender Buds
- 1 tsp Sage Leaves
- 1 tsp Citrus Peel (Orange or Lemon)
- 1 tsp Thyme Leaves
- 1 tsp Rose Petals
- 16oz Witch Hazel Distillate
- 30 Drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (optional)
- Glass Jar
- Grind or chop herbs to desired consistency. Herbs can be used whole as well. The finer the herbs, the less time they will need to be infused.
- Add herbs to glass jar and fill all the way with Witch Hazel.
- Cap tightly and store in a cool, dark place. Shake several times daily. Let sit for two weeks
- Strain mixture through muslin and press remaining moisture out of herbs.
- Add Grapefruit Seed Extract if desired, bottle and store away from direct sunlight.
How to use:
After washing your face, put a small amount onto a cotton ball. Gently apply to face, focusing on oily areas such as the nose, chin and forehead. Follow with your preferred light moisturizer.
This can be used to freshen up throughout the day should your skin feel oily or dirty. Also great for break-outs, apply often to blemishes to help heal, soothe and kill bacteria.
Experiment with your favorite herbs and flowers to create a unique and luxurious facial toner. What will you use in yours?