Friday, January 16, 2015

Witch Hazel and Hydrosols

While lots of ingredients in a product aren't necessarily a bad thing, it does make it harder to scrutinize the product. I personally dislike squinting over a label in the store, scanning for any ingredients I want to avoid. I love hydrosols, including witch hazel, for my face, since there shouldn't be too much in it, and they offer various skin benefits.

Hydrosols are often a by-product of essential oil distillation, though better hydrosols are produced just for their own sake. They're much cheaper than essential oils, and you can even find hydrosols for plants that don't produce an essential oil.

Witch hazel is a cheap and natural astringent, and you should be able to find it easily in grocery stores and drugstores. It's good for oily and acne-prone skin, as well as dry, sensitive and inflamed skin. It usually contains alcohol as a preservative- look for one that's 86% witch hazel distillate and 14% alcohol. The alcohol should be some sort of ethanol/ethyl alcohol, not isopropyl alcohol. If you want to find an alcohol free witch hazel, you will need to use one with a different preservative, since unpreserved witch hazel is not available.

Other popular hydrosols include rose water, orange flower water, and lavender water. While there are many hydrosols out there, these three tend to smell nice to most people. You can use them as toners if you don't like witch haze. I love spraying my face with hydrosols when I'm feeling warm to help cool myself down. They also work as a light, pretty fragrance when you don't want to wear a heavier perfume. When purchasing hydrosols, check the label to make sure there are no added fragrances or dyes.

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