Witch Hazel Question

Discussion in 'Aftershaves' started by GMen, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Does Witch Hazel without alcohol give you the same antiseptic/disinfectant as the one with alcohol?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  2. Genuine Witch Hazel contains 14% alcohol. Real Witch Hazel (not the alcohol free pseudo-Witch Hazel sold at organic health stores) can be viewed as a low-alcohol aftershave, as such it will provide some antiseptic qualities, but not as much as say, a bottle of Aqua Velva, Old Spice, Skin Bracer, etc. Alcohol free Witch Hazels are not really Witch Hazel, and as such provide little to no antiseptic qualities.
  3. You better go back and put a smiley on that, pardner. Heres one you can use: :c9:
  4. I don't know what you're trying to say. Witch Hazel is witch hazel, and alcohol is alcohol. Witch hazel may or may not have alcohol in it.
  5. Wrong. Genuine Witch Hazel is not Witch Hazel if it doesn't contain exactly 14% alcohol content. You can call a Dr. Pepper a Coke all you want, but that doesn't make it a Coke.

    Oh, Bob, here you go. :biggrin:
  6. Clubman, I use Dickinson's witch hazel, which I really like, this Thayers that everyone talks about, isn't witch hazel, intresting, thanks for the info.
  7. ClubmanRob: Didn't know that. I've started using Genuine Witch Hazel in hopes of helping my razor burn. I still have some (though I've taken the advice regarding blade pressure and angle to heart) and was wondering if anybody has an aftershave method that I could try. Sometimes I follow up the witch hazel with cold water then Prorazo pre/post shave.
  8. Witch Hazel has a really good anesthetic property to it, though the effect is short lived for most. It will initially numb your face, but if you have razor burn you'll probably have to keep reapplying it in order to numb it.

    When I get a case of razor burn, it's usually because I've used a blade past its usefulness. The only thing that kills the burn for me is a good alcohol splash, the stronger the better. I usually follow up with a good balm to bring back some moisture to my face. Aqua Velva provides a great cooling relief to degrading shaves, for me.

    You could try the old barbershop aftershave formula, which is 2 parts Bay Rum (or any high alcohol splash would suffice, I suppose), 1 part water, and one part Witch Hazel. Ogallala Bay Rum is follows this formula pretty closely, if you want one that is ready to go right out of the bottle. You could follow this up with an alcohol free balm, if skin drying is a concern to you.

    i'm no expert on razor burn though, so YMMV. Welcome to the forums. :smile:
  9. Please provide the source of your information and/or what you are calling "Genuine" witch hazel. Witch hazel is a plant, and the extract of a plant is an oil, not alcohol.
  10. I have a bottle of alcohol-free Thayer's right here, and the second ingredient is Witch Hazel extract.
  11. Actually, I don't need the smiley. I thought your original post needed it because I thought you were joking. I see now you are actually serious. So there is just a genuine disagreement.
  12. Wrong again. Witch Hazel is extracted from the leaves, twigs and stems of Hamamelis virginiana, or "Virgin Witch" plant. It is steamed off and distilled using pure grain alcohol. The Witch Hazel plant itself produces about .0000000000000000000003 percent essential oil, which means that it would take an entire square mile field full of Witch Hazel plants to make up enough oil to go into a bottle of Witch Hazel. If that were the case, Witch Hazel would cost more than Heroin.

    The first patented Witch Hazel was distilled using alcohol, though the Indians had been steam extracting alcohol based Witch Hazel for a thousand years. I'm not going to go into a whole big thing here, but if you think that an extract of a plant is usually oil and not alcohol, I have a couple of eighth grade chemistry books to send you.

    Again, Thayer's can call it Witch Hazel as much as they want, but if it ain't got alcohol in it, it's not Witch Hazel, and if it doesn't have exactly 14% alcohol in it, then it's not Witch Hazel extract. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I really can't make this any clearer. Extracting a concoction from the Witch Hazel plant yields natural alcohols, which vary depending on the amount/methods used. You can't extract Witch Hazel liquid, using any known process, without extracting alcohol. To remove the natural amount of alcohol, you would in essence be altering the base of the compound, making it fake Witch Hazel Extract. Going by the patented, accepted, and standard method for Witch Hazel extract which has been in use for for over two hundred and fifty years, steam distillation of Witch Hazel extract adds exactly 14% alcohol content to the formula which is used as a preservative and as an antiseptc, no more and no less.

    Again, you can make many different formulas that contain Witch Hazel extract, but unless they contain 14% alcohol by volume, they are not true Witch Hazels. Calling them as such is an outright falsehood, and to claim that by removing the natural alkids present in the plants DNA structure is "all natural", a company is taking you for a fool if they hope that you'll believe that. If anything, alcohol free "Witch Hazel" is as unnatural a concoction as alcohol free Wine or Beer. Budweiser, similarly, can call O'Doul's "alcohol free beer" all they want to, but unless it contains naturally processed alcohols yielded through fermentation, then it is not beer.

    I'm sorry, maybe this is my professional background coming through, but in the eyes of a person like me, a formulation isn't ambiguous even if the chemicals involved can affect a varying degree of traits. In this case, Witch Hazel (the formula) and Witch Hazel (the plant) have neither, so it's not a matter of debate, but a matter of fact. :smile:

    As for my sources, well, 30 seconds of googling turned this up:

    That's what the federal government considers Witch Hazel to be, anyway.








    Here's some more links, as Google is your friend.

















    Should I keep going?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  13. Rob, I don't get it--exactly what are you trying to say?

    Whoa, easy with that club, man! :biggrin: :biggrin:
  14. :lol:

    "Thank you, Bob," he said, putting down his nerd club. "Once again, yours is the voice of reason." :biggrin:

    Hey, I just noticed there's three Robert's posting in this thread. Is Witch Hazel a Bob-intrinsic subject? :blink:
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  15. So I think what your saying is... Whitch hazel has fourteen percent alcohol. Ahhh. :tongue_sm

    Interesting and very informative thread. I have been using Thayers for a while now. Sounds like I will have to track down some of "the good stuff".
  16. Thank you! I just wanted a source for the definition you were referring to. Though you could have been more tactful in your delivery.

    Some of those websites say "Alcohol is added as a preservative". So this is incorrect?

    If the plant itself is called Witch Hazel, couldn't any extract of the plant still be called "Witch Hazel extract"?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  17. I truly apologize.

    No. It's correct, because the formula that is called "Witch Hazel", "Witch Hazel Extract", or "Witch Hazel Water" is compound containing the steam distilled extract of Hamamelis virginiana (which itself contains a varying percentage of natural alkids) and ethyl alcohol, which is produced as a natural reaction to the distillation process. "Adding" is not technically incorrect, as that percentage of alcohol wasn't present until the distillation occurred; but it is a misleading choice of word as the alcohol wasn't technically poured in there from another source.

    No. At best, you could call another element of extraction "an extract of Witch Hazel", but "Witch Hazel Extract" is its own compound.
  18. :lol::lol::lol::lol:
  19. Very good sir! No hard feelings! I appreciate the discussion. It seems it comes down to a naming scheme for the chemical substance, and I never liked chemistry :biggrin: However, I will continue to use my alcohol-free Thayers (it cost me 10 bucks! that, and it seems to work fine).
  20. OKayyyyyyyyyyyyyy...........................and what can we over-analyze next???

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