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Witch Hazel

Can someone explain to me what witch hazel is and does? I keep seeing people posting on the SOTD posts about QED Davinci Water and Witch Hazel and Hyrdosol. Can you guys give me the lowdown on what these are and why I should incorporate that into my daily shave?


Witch hazel is a derivative of a plant, Hamamelis virginana, and is an astringent liquid that "tightens" the skin, but doesn't burn lke alcohol. It is quite soothing after a shave, and is often used as a toner and to remove any cream/soap residue.

A hydrosol is the liquid that is left after distillation of a plant's essential oils. It contains the essence of the plant, and is a very light moisturizer as well. It dies not generally have the astringent properties of witch hazel. QED's DaVinci water is a 50/50 combination of rose and lavender hydrosols. Very fragrant and soothing after a shave. I also use other hysdrols such as chamomile and neroli (orange blossom).

Either the witch hazel products or hydrosols can be used before (or in place of) a balm. They are optional, but very nice, so I usually include one or the other.

Hope this helps.

For Witch Hazel, I prefer Thayer's Witch Hazel. I have two bottles of Lavender, and it is also available in Rose, and I believe it's available in Lemon. Or, just with Aloe. I've tried both the yellow and blue bottles of Dickinson's Witch Hazel, and just couldn't get past the "sour" smell. I even tried adding a couple of EO scents, but to no avail.

You can get Thayer's at most Health or Natural stores, or Google it.

Witch hazel is also helpful in fighting the occasional blemish and pimple. It helps cleanse the skin, and as Scotto mentioned, a pad soaked in witch hazel, and rubbed over the face after a shave can help remove any left over soap/cream gunk/detritus left on the face.

For me, the moisture left on my face from a wipe down with witch hazel, and a couple spritzes of da vinci water is the perfect amount for cutting proraso's pre/post and making it easier to spread a very thin, even layer.

Thayers Witch Hazel, in my opinion, is one of the best. It comes in about nine "flavors" and is available in most whole foods type of stores. Or like Randy said, you can google it and buy it on line.

You can also use a hydrosol along with a moisturizer, as I do. Rather than in place of a moisturizer.
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