Witch hazel is one of the oldest beauty ingredients out there, and despite all the innovation and technological advancements in beauty, it’s still hugely popular. The botanical extract hails from flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae, also commonly known as the witch hazel family or winter bloom. A known astringent, it’s thought to refine the skin, minimize oil production, reduce the appearance of blemishes and kill certain bacteria. It’s these properties that have seen it traditionally used in toners, but nowadays it’s in everything from face mist to scalp treatments.
So if you’re looking for something to clarify and tone your skin (without stripping) witch hazel might be the ingredient you’re searching for. Many toners include other skin-soothing ingredients along with witch hazel as an active ingredient to minimize stinging and dryness.
To find the best witch hazel products, we spent hours researching the best on the market. We evaluated each option based on their active ingredients, in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. After consulting experts and considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks.
Keep reading to see the best witch hazel products for toned, balanced skin.
Mario Badescu Witch Hazel & Rose Water Toner
Mario Badescu is iconic as far as beauty brands go (we see you, drying lotion). Personally, we’re big fans of this toner. Formulated with witch hazel, rose water, rose oil, and black rose, it’s clarifying but not drying—a rarity with toners these days.
Reviewers loved that they felt that this toner rejuvenated their complexion without stripping, leaving clear and hydrated skin behind. They noted that it was able to get a good amount of extra grime off of their face, even after cleansing.
Price at time of publish: $14
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, rosewater, aloe vera, rose extract | Skin Type: Combination, dry | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Try pressing it into the skin after cleansing, or sweeping it across the complexion with a reusable cotton round.
Dickinson's Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater
It would be a travesty to write a witch hazel story and not include Dickinson’s. This toner is the OG in its category, but the traditional formula was recently tweaked to omit drying alcohol and include hyaluronic acid, making it much less irritating. It’s cheap and cheerful and makes for a great skin-softening treatment before serums and moisturizers.
Price at time of publish: $4
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, rosewater, aloe, vitamin E | Skin Type: All | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Thayers Witch Hazel Unscented Facial Toner
Gives skin a glow
Can leave a sticky finish on the skin
Another classic beauty buy, this toner from Thayers is simple but effective. It contains non-distilled witch hazel extract, meaning more tannins (the plant’s astringent compounds) are present, so it’s great for clarifying and reducing shine. It also comes in a variety of fragrances, including lavender, cucumber, rose petal, and the original unscented iteration.
Price at time of publish: $12
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, rosewater, aloe, vitamin E | Skin Type: All | Size: 16 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Nose Strips
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
Easy to use
Can remove blackheads
Shouldn't be used frequently
Pore strips are wildly addictive. While you shouldn’t use them religiously, a once-in-a-while deep clean is a great way to reduce blackheads and refine the skin’s appearance. These strips from Biore contain witch hazel to reduce shine, while the sticky strip itself lifts out sebum, dead skin, and dirt. To avoid damaging your skin, soften the pores with a hot towel first, and go slow when you’re removing the strip.
Price at time of publish: $15
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, titanium dioxide | Skin Type: Normal, combination | Size: 24 strips | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Normal to Combination Skin
Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner
Includes botanical ingredients
Reviewers note it acts more as an essence than a toner
Fun fact: witch hazel doesn’t have to be for oily and acne-prone skin types only. The Belif Herbal Extract Toner is a prime example. While it contains witch hazel to refine and clarify the skin, there’s also jasmine, calendula, and oat to soothe and counteract the symptoms of dehydration. Try sweeping it on to clean skin after cleansing and before serums.
Price at time of publish: $28
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, oat extract, calendula extract | Skin Type: Dry, dull | Size: 6.75 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Oily Skin
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
May be too strong for sensitive skin types
If you’re shiny to the point of no return, you might find relief in this toner from Ole Henriksen. It’s a potent mix of salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids, plus neem seed oil and witch hazel to decongest, exfoliate, reduce shine, and the incidence of breakouts. It’s heavy-duty stuff, so only use if you have a thicker, greasy complexion that responds well to active ingredients. But on that note, it doesn’t have that same tightening/drying feeling most astringent toners do - this is much more comfortable.
Price at time of publish: $34
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, neem seed oil, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 6.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No
Aesop In Two Minds Facial Cleanser
not Byrdie Clean
The lightweight gel cleanser is a godsend after a warm, humid day because it is so damn refreshing. It’s full of clarifying ingredients such as salicylic acid, witch hazel, and sage leaf to gently exfoliate and reduce the incidence of oil overproduction, and leaves the complexion feeling clean but not stripped. Plus, it’s got that signature Aesop herby/delicious scent. We’ll take ten, thank you.
Price at time of publish: $50
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, sage leaf, salicylic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 6.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Brightening
Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum
Evens skin tone
Blurs appearance of pores
Who knew Rihanna was out here using witch hazel in her Fenty Skin line, namely the Fat Water serum toner hybrid. This thick water-based product is really effective when it comes to evening out the skin, thanks to ingredients like niacinamide, Barbados cherry, and cactus flower. It’s also really plumping, so try tapping it into damp skin after you cleanse for extra bounce.
Price at time of publish: $30
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, niacinamide, Barbados cherry | Skin Type: All | Size: 5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Dermalogica Clear Start Micro Pore Mist
Reviewers note it has a strong smell
We’re yet to meet a face mist we don’t like, and this rings true for this innovative one from Dermalogica. It’s part of the brand’s Clear Start ranging, so it’s a nice add-on step for normal to oily skin types. Aside from witch hazel, it’s also got niacinamide, green tea, and cucumber to reduce the look of pores and give the skin a temporary matte appearance. While we love it on bare skin between product steps, it’s a lovely setting mist too.
Price at time of publish: $20
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, niacinamide, probiotics | Skin Type: All | Size: 4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum
Reduces appearance of pores
Reviewers note it leaves a sticky film on the skin
Behind the superhero BHAs and AHAs, this serum also contains witch hazel (Dr. Dennis Gross knows best). Together, they work to clarify the skin, reducing the look of acne marks and sunspots, all whilst preventing further congestion. It’s really lightweight, so you won’t feel it on your face, either.
Price at time of publish: $62
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, agarikon mushroom extract, adipic acid, salicylic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Hair Product
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Serum
Relieves itchy scalp
Witch hazel shouldn’t be reserved just for your skin. Because it’s clarifying by nature, it actually works really well for oily, irritated scalps as well. Take this treatment serum from Briogeo: a deeply cleansing blend of witch hazel, charcoal, peppermint, and tea tree, it works to remove build-up, reduce flakes and balance oil production, resulting in softer, fuller, more healthy hair.
Price at time of publish: $32
Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, aloe, biotin, peppermint oil, tea tree oil | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Witch hazel comes in so many forms suited to different skin types and individual concerns. While it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing a product, there’s still some standouts team Byrdie loves out of the above edit. First up is the Mario Badescu Witch Hazel & Rose Water Toner because you get that clean and clarified skin feeling without the associated tightness. We also love the Dickinson's Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater because it's affordable and hydrates the skin without irritation.
Meet the Expert
Melanie Grant is a licensed esthetician based in Australia, with her expertise being in clinical skin treatments and facials. She is the official skin expert for Chanel.
What to Look For When Buying a Witch Hazel Product
Witch hazel is a botanically-derived extract that’s thought to have skin-soothing, oil-controlling, and antioxidant properties. It’s not as popular as it once was, and the science behind it isn’t concrete, but there’s no denying it’s a popular ingredient, and one many give credit to when it comes to balancing and refining their complexion.
According to facialist and esthetician Melanie Grant, witch hazel can be great on a spot to dry it out, but it can be sensitizing if you go overboard. Instead, she suggests using it alongside other nourishing ingredients, or simply when your complexion is feeling overly shiny or congested.
If you’re looking to integrate it into your routine, take Grant’s advice and look at the ingredients witch hazel is paired with. Hyaluronic acid, cucumber, aloe, or rosewater will balance oily skin, whereas AHAs and BHAs will brighten and decongest. Niacinamide is great for skin clarity, too.
How It's Applied
It depends on the form! Traditional toners are best applied either directly onto the skin (press it in with your fingers) or swept across the complexion via a reusable cotton pad. If it comes in serum or is found in your cleanser, use it as directed.
What is witch hazel used for?
A mild astringent, Hamamelis virginiana, or witch hazel, is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects on skin. It's used in many facial toners and exfoliating products to both cleanse and help relieve mild skin irritation. Aside from its dermatologic uses, it's been used to treat conditions like hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Is witch hazel good for acne?
Given its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel can be a component of a skincare routine tailored to those with acne. It's often included in toners for oily and acne-prone skin or acne treatments as a botanical anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Can witch hazel fade dark spots?
While it may not play a starring role in products that claim to fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots (typically these products contain niacinamide and vitamin C, among other ingredients), witch hazel is sometimes found in these products as a lesser ingredient. Typically, you'll find it farther down on the list, indicating it's present in a lower concentration than the active ingredients. As it is a botanical ingredient that's used to help calm and treat skin, it could play a role in conjunction with other actives in your favorite treatment for dark spots.
Why Trust Byrdie
Because we’re skincare obsessed, of course! No, but really, Emily Algar prides herself on her research, and always checks in with skin experts to fact-check and veto product recommendations. Plus, she's gone out of our way to round up an edit of witch hazel-based skincare products that suit a range of skin types and concerns, so you’re sure to find your perfect match.
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