Toning and astringent, witch hazel extract helps clear and mattify the skin. The plant is also antibacterial and soothing, two properties recommended for calming acne.
Quite witchy indeed, that Hamamelis virginiana! Native to North America, the tree blossoms in autumn, bringing vivid yellow flowers to life while most of the plant world goes dormant. At the same time, pods from the previous year reach maturity and snap open to expel their seeds, sometimes 20 or 30 feet farther!
Although these facts make the tree remarkable enough, its name probably has another origin. First, its leaves are very similar to those of hazelnut trees (although the two aren’t related at all), and second, its branches were used as a divinatory tool to find underground water sources (water witching being a synonym of dowsing).
Indigenous peoples of eastern North America used witch hazel for medicinal and nutritional purposes long before Europeans discovered the plant. The astringent and soothing properties of its leaves, bark, and branches were said to stop bleeding and treat skin conditions, among other usages.
Lush source this extract from France. It is obtained by steam distillation of the tree’s twigs and bark.