Is Witch Hazel Good for Dry Skin?

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My skin type is very dry, and the witch hazel toner I was using made it even drier and irritated. I was using a cheap witch hazel toner from Publix that had a high percentage of alcohol. So I thought witch hazel was the culprit. But I later learned it was the high percentage of alcohol, not the witch hazel.

Is witch hazel good for dry skin? Witch hazel is good for dry skin. It has a similar pH to our skin, so it won’t dry it out. Witch hazel products with added alcohol can dry the skin because of the alcohol so avoid products with isopropyl or ethyl alcohol on them.

Read on to learn more about witch hazel for dry skin, including the multiple benefits of witch hazel and my review of Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner.

Is Witch Hazel Good for Dry Skin?

Witch hazel is a natural remedy made from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. It has been used in traditional medicine for a very long time and is applied topically for certain skin issues.

Witch hazel toner or witch hazel extract has amazing benefits. It has astringent properties that help tighten your blood vessels and blood tissues, which will then reduce your under-eye puffiness. It’ll reduce, minimize, and tighten the pores on your face.

By reducing and cleaning out your pores, you will have fewer breakouts and even less or no rosacea. It will also help your skin maintain its natural moisture levels so it won’t dry out.

In case you aren’t aware, an astringent is simply defined as a substance that contracts (or decreases in size) skin cells and other body tissues. Witch hazel has astringent properties, so it helps kill off dead skin cells.

Other common astringents include very cold water, rubbing alcohol, alum, acacia, sage, yarrow, bayberry, and distilled vinegar. These things all have astringent properties, but witch hazel is the best choice as it won’t dry out your skin.

l have personally been using witch hazel, including witch hazel extract, since middle school, and it is such a great cleanser and toner to use on your face to really clean it.

When I wipe my face down with a cotton pad in the morning or even evening, you can see all the excess oil and dirt from the day. I find that this really cleans my face better than actually washing it.

Avoid Witch Hazel with Added Alcohol as It Dries the Skin

Years ago, I saw a beauty guru talking about witch hazel toner and witch hazel extract for dry skin and oily skin. I asked my dad to see if he could find it in the store for me at Publix, and to my surprise, he brought a Publix-brand bottle of witch hazel home.

I thanked my dad for getting it for me, but I saw this product has 14% alcohol, and that is too much alcohol, especially for dry skin. I can’t put that on my face because it will dehydrate and dry out my skin. It would strip away much of your natural oils, not leaving anything behind when it’s done.

Even if you’re prone to oily skin, you will get more oily skin after using this much alcohol on your face.

Not only would the alcohol strip away all of your natural oils and remove dead skin cells, but it would also create inflammation throughout the body, which causes your blood vessels in your skin to widen, enlarging your pores, drying your skin, and making you more prone to wrinkles due to being dehydrated.

So the witch hazel is good for the skin (oily skin or dry skin); it’s too much alcohol that is bad for the skin.

Choose an alcohol-free witch hazel toner to avoid drying out your skin. An alcohol-free toner that has been fine for my dry skin and has received many positive reviews on Amazon is the Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner.

Another alcohol-free toner that has received many positive reviews on Amazon is Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

I did read a few reviews of Thayers’ users who said it did dry their skin. This may be because their skin is extremely sensitive. The majority said it did not dry their skin and is fine for dry skin.

I have dry skin, and my skin is fine with Thayers. It is important to follow up with a good moisturizer, especially if you have dry skin. See our favorite moisturizers post to find the perfect moisturizer for your skin type.

In the next section, I’ll go into more detail on my experience using Thayers witch hazel for dry skin.

Use an Alcohol-Free Toner Like Thayers Witch Hazel for Dry Skin

Click here to see it on Amazon.

So in my search for witch hazel for dry skin, I found the alcohol-free toner, Thayers Witch Hazel, and was drawn by the positive feedback.

Once I realized there was this alcohol-free witch hazel, it shook to my core all the years of thinking the only witch hazel products out there have lots of alcohol in them.

It was doing more harm to my face because of the alcohol content. I have noticed that as I’m older now, I have enlarged pores, which I blame for using too much alcohol on my face in my younger years.

Thayers Witch Hazel is now one of my go-to toners and has been for several years now. See more of our favorite toners on our post: Best Toners for Large Pores, Dull Skin, Oily Skin, or Dry Skin.

I love it as a cleanser and a toner. A great thing about it is that, in addition to the astringent properties of witch hazel, Thayer’s also has aloe vera in it that will help in reducing your acne scars and hydrating your face.

Applying this witch hazel strips some natural oils from your face and removes dead skin cells, but the added aloe vera is there to make sure it’s not all stripped away. Combined with the witch hazel, it will soften your dry skin or oily skin in the long run and make it more even and blemish-free.

The witch hazel and its astringent properties will also help strip away the dirt and oil from your face but won’t strip away all of the natural oils, so your body doesn’t have to compensate for that.

If you use a product that is too harsh or has too much alcohol, it will strip all of your natural oils away. This makes your skin overproduce oil to compensate, making your skin very oily.

The Publix brand witch hazel with high alcohol content I used years ago made my face extremely dry and dehydrated. It widened my blood vessels and made my face irritated and inflamed.

I also had dry, puffy eyes when I was younger, and I used the witch hazel to help decrease my puffy eyes. The Publix brand had no effect and just made the skin around my eyes bigger. When I first got the Thayers Witch Hazel, I thought I would have to experience the same irritation, but it didn’t get irritated.

My puffy eyes reduced, and the skin looked less inflamed and swollen. This was due to zero alcohol and aloe vera that soothes and keeps the skin from becoming inflamed.

It also has a pleasant scent of roses as it has rosewater in it (distilled from rose petals). Rosewater helps to reduce the redness from the skin as it prevents inflammation. It helps to maintain the skin’s pH balance which helps to control the overproduction of oil.

It also does not lead to dry skin. Rosewater hydrates the skin, which is perfect for dry skin or oily skin. It is still a good idea to follow up with a moisturizer.

Eleven Benefits of Witch Hazel

If my history and experience of using witch hazel aren’t enough to convince you of its benefits, I’ll list 11 uses for witch hazel in your beauty routine. Kind of like how I was surprised to find out so many other uses of vinegar, then just for eating with french fries, witch hazel can be used for way more than just as a toner.

1. Hydrates Dry and Dehydrated Skin

As mentioned earlier, witch hazel is good for dry and dehydrated skin. It may seem counter-intuitive because witch hazel is beneficial for oily skin and acne, so therefore, it seems like it wouldn’t be good for dry skin.

But witch hazel has a pH similar to our own dry skin, so it won’t disrupt it or dry it out. It removes excess oil but does not strip dry skin or oily skin of its natural oils.

Just remember to choose a witch hazel for dry skin that is alcohol-free. And also, remember that it is best to follow use with a moisturizer.

2. Makeup Remover

The first way that you can use witch hazel in your beauty routine is as a makeup remover. This was news to me. It was an accidental discovery. One night, I ran out of my makeup remover, and I wanted to use something I already had. I was so happy when I found out I could use witch hazel as it takes off makeup with ease.

3. Cleanse Oily Skin

Another way you can use witch hazel is to cleanse oily skin and balance oil production. I started using witch hazel for dry skin as a toner after I would wash off my makeup at night, and it has helped to reduce a lot of the oiliness in my skin. So two thumbs up for using witch hazel as a cleanser.

4. Tame Frizzy Hair

Another way that you can use witch hazel is to tame your frizzy hair. I love this tip. It’s been one that I’ve been using a lot since I first discovered it. You take a little bit of witch hazel, mix it in with your shampoo, apply it to your hair, rinse and condition like normal.

I’m telling you, what that small amount added to shampoo really has helped to tame my hair and make it a lot more manageable. I’m noticing a lot less frizz since I’ve been doing that routine.

5. Prevents Razor Bumps

For years I struggled with razor bumps on my legs and bikini area. One trick that I found many years ago was to apply deodorant to the skin after shaving, and that would always help to prevent the razor bumps from forming.

This was also a way that I like to use up my all-natural deodorants that don’t work so well under my arms anymore.

Well, you can also use witch hazel for this same thing. So after you’re done shaving the problem areas, take a little bit of witch hazel on a cotton ball and apply it over the skin, and this will help prevent your razor bumps from forming. I’m telling you, this stuff is miracle stuff.

6. Reduces Redness

Along the same lines of reducing razor bumps, one of the great things about witch hazel is that it’s very calming to dry skin, and it’s what’s considered a vasoconstrictor which means that it also helps to tighten up blood vessels.

This will help to reduce redness in dry skin, and I noticed redness reduction ever since I started using it as a toner. So not only does it help with excess oil production, but it also helps to minimize redness in the skin, so that’s a two-for-one special right there if you struggle with both.

7. Tightens Under-eye Bags

And because witch hazel is a vasoconstrictor, it helps tighten blood vessels, tightening the skin at the same time.

So if you have under-eye bags that you’ve been struggling with, try witch hazel underneath them also with a cotton pad, and you may notice a significant difference underneath your puffy eyes.

I have not tried that method because I don’t have puffy eyes that badly, but it was something I read about in reviews, and a lot of people really swear by it.

So there you go, something for you to try if you have tired, puffy eyes either from crying or lack of sleep.

Just use cotton pads soaked in witch hazel, apply them onto your eyes for about ten minutes. Once again, witch hazel will help shrink the blood vessels around the eyes, reducing the redness and puffiness altogether.

8. Relieves Skin from a Sunburn

Just like aloe vera gel, witch hazel will also help to relieve skin after it is sunburnt. If you get a sunburn, apply the witch hazel all over the sunburnt areas as soon as possible. This will help prevent dry skin from peeling, which we all know is an uncomfortable after-effect of the burn.

You can add witch hazel into a spray bottle and use it to spray on the sunburnt area. The Thayers Witch Hazel that I use and recommend has aloe vera in it, so you get the best of both worlds.

9. Clears Dye Off Your Skin

This next one is not one that I have personally tried, but I’ve seen it in action, so I know that it works. It was when my husband was coloring his hair, he got a little bit of hair dye on his skin, and I had read about using witch hazel to remove the hair dye from the skin. So when he came to me with this issue, I recommended witch hazel.

10. Homemade Deodorant

This next use was right over my head. I didn’t even know it would work. Did you know you can use witch hazel as a deodorant? I mean, who knew!

All you need is half a cup of witch hazel, a quarter of a cup of aloe vera gel or juice (either one works), a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, and then ten drops of your favorite essential oil.

Sage oil is best because it also has deodorant properties. If you mix this together in a spray bottle, spray it under your arms, and let it dry, it’s a great deodorant.

I find that I have to change my deodorants every other month because my body gets accustomed to them, and then they stop working especially natural deodorants.

So if that describes you, just be aware that it may work for some time, but then it may not work. So I have to kind of put this one to the side, come back to it, put it aside, come back to it.

11. Treats Acne

Another way to use this wonderful product is to treat acne. And what makes witch hazel so great for treating acne? It will help unclog pores and dry out the acne.

It is best to use witch hazel for dry skin in conjunction with a product that contains activated charcoal for the best results. So that can be a charcoal cleanser, a charcoal sheet mask, or a charcoal foam mask.

A charcoal foam mask is a product I discovered on Amazon recently, and I love this stuff. The one I use is One Bad Motha Foamer Bubble Mask, and this is so cool.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It goes on to your skin, and it bubbles up, gently exfoliating your skin and cleaning deep within the pores. It’s not only a neat product to use by itself, but when you do combine it with the witch hazel, you have a better chance of clearing acne faster.


To recap, is witch hazel good for dry skin? Witch Hazel is good for dry skin because it has a similar pH to our skin, so it won’t dry it out. Witch hazel alcohol products can dry the skin because of the alcohol. Avoid products, including witch hazel products that have added isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.

I hope you found this helpful and learned that witch hazel is not just safe and good for dry skin but also for many other uses.