Witch hazel


Long after summer's wildflowers have passed and autumn's leaves have flamed to glory and fallen, the woods of eastern Canada and the U.S. are still touched with color. Wild witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) waits until late September or October to send out its clusters of fragrant yellow flowers. Short-stalked, with four narrow, strap-shaped petals, the blossoms nestle in the axils of the leaves, to be followed later by woody capsules, each containing two seeds. The seeds don't ripen until the following summer, when they burst out of their pods so explosively that the shrub is also called snapping hazelnut.

Witch hazel is a topical astringent derived from the bark and leaves of Hamamelis virginiana, the common North American witch-hazel shrub. Native Americans have long recognized the medicinal properties of witch hazel and used a decoction of the boiled plant parts to treat skin irritations.  High concentrations of tannins in witch hazel make it an excellent astringent which means it has the ability to remove excess oil from skin and shrink down pores. 

Commercial Witch Hazel extracts usually contain more alcohol than actual witch hazel, and have only been distilled once. However, the organic Witch Hazel extract used by Odièle is superior in both quality and potency. Our true witch hazel extract has been double distilled, and contains 86% witch hazel extract and only 14% alcohol.

Skin benefits:  Health-wise, those who are exposed to lots of environmental pollutants may apply witch hazel to the face in order to reduce the amount of contaminants that enter pores and, consequently, the amount and severity of blemishes.  Also, because astringents remove excess oil, regular use of witch hazel may further prevent blemishes, especially black heads which result from dried sebum build-up in pores.

*Featured in our Rosemary Grapefruit Toner