As previously mentioned in my favourites post I've been using distilled witch hazel on my face for the last month or so. Normally I apply some to a cotton pad (or re-usable cloth face pad) and swipe it across my face after cleansing and before moisturising morning and evening. I sometimes use it in the mornings alone, and shock horror, instead of cleansing a make up free face too.
The first thing that surprised me was the smell. Although I'd seen it mentioned before I didn't expect this... It doesn't smell like a witch hazel stick at all, and I can't describe it because I've never smelt anything like it! The only thing that comes to mind is burning, which isn't really what it smells like at all(!) Anyway, it's not horrible and you do get used to it, so for me it's a pretty minor point.
One slightly more major point is that the first time I used this I thought I was having an allergic reaction to it, my face went very red and felt hot. It was also the first time I'd used my favourite Simple moisturiser so I was very confused! It turns out that it was the two combined that was the problem, and I've since found the same problem with other things including my Good Things creamy cleanser. As long as I leave around 10 minutes between applying the witch hazel and the things I've identified as something that reacts with it, it's all fine. If I'm in a rush in the morning then I apply one or the other and save the witch hazel for bedtime (incidentally, I've had no problems with either of my Liz Earle moisturisers).
Onto the effects! I really didn't have much idea of what to expect. My skin is mid-crisis and being rebellious and at the moment I've just about always got a few unwanted spot friends on my face who refuse to leave, I didn't really expect the witch hazel to totally solve that and it hasn't but it has:
- evened out my skin tone quite a bit, lessened the general redness in my cheeks
- helped aforementioned unwanted friends leave a little faster
- done WONDERS for my pores, particularly the ones around my nose, they're practically invisible and are much less congested. Same goes for my nose and chin too!
- Less blackheads on (or should that be in?!) my T-zone.
- Helped regulate moisture levels in my skin, keeps oil at bay whilst going quite a way to moisturising other areas of dry skin. Even if I forget (oops!) to moisturise in the evenings my skin feels far softer in the mornings than it would do without the witch hazel. I also wake up to a much, much less oily face which is nice! I've even used it on my arms- dry skin- and it's definitely made a reasonable difference to the softness there too!
- made a very good toner, removing last traces of make up and making my skin feel refreshed and clean but soft.
This is now an essential item for me and I'll definitely be repurchasing, it's something like £2.19 in Boots and that will last me at least 2 months. The bottle does say that it's not suitable for sensitive skin so do bear that in mind :)
Have you tried witch hazel before? Tempted?