When it comes to our skin, we try to take a natural approach as often as possible. And, while we may not always be able to stay 100% green when it comes to our beauty routine (there's just too much good stuff to try) we can at least rest easier knowing that a lot of our favorite products are packed with good-for-you plant extracts working overtime to make our complexions sparkle.
One of our favorites among these ingredients is witch hazel. It's found in everything from body lotion to eye cream, so the name is probably familiar to you, but chances are you don't know what it actually is. "Witch hazel itself is a distillation from the leaves and flower-bearing twigs of the witch-hazel plant," says Elizabeth Vislocky, lead aesthetician at the Jurlique Madison Avenue store in NYC. "Today, this multi-purpose ingredient is commonly used for treating skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, insect bites, and poison ivy."
We've been using witch hazel for years as a toner, but it turns out many of the products we use on a daily basis contain the hamamelis virginiana plant (witch hazel's alias). "Since the herbal extract derived from the plant is naturally astringent and anti-inflammatory," says Vislocky, "it seems to work best for oily, combination, or problematic and temperamental skin. Sensitive skin types should consider using witch hazel-based products, but with caution, as they may find the astringent nature to be too harsh."