I will have to admit that prior to entering the wet shaving world I was completely unfamiliar with witch hazel. In fact, it is safe to say that I may have never even heard mention of it. I remember asking my wife if she was familiar with it and she looked at me like I was some kind of nut for not having never heard of it (I guess it is the same look I give her when she asks me to fix anything electronic).
Witch Hazel is a natural astringent that has been used for healing cuts, insect bites, rashes, wounds, fight acne, you name it. It comes from a shrub (pictured above) but sold in liquid form and available from health food stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, online…infact it is fairly easy to find.
Witch Hazel is great for the shaving world because in addition to the above, Witch Hazel also helps tighten the skin while cleaning it, along with having a moisturising agent- ideal right after you shave. It also contains anti-inflammatory agents helping you with razor burn, bumps, or any other irritation you may have encountered during your shave.
So what does this mean for you? Do you use Witch Hazel instead of Alum Block or Aftershave – or in addition to? The answer to this and many questions in the wet shaving world is that it is really up to you. You can’t really do any harm either way you may only be doing more and spending more than you need to.
Some people prefer to use some Witch Hazel after their shave followed by some after shave for good measure. You would have to decide on your own after some experimentation. Others use just the Witch Hazel – perhaps opting for a brand that has a scent to it like Thayer Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera & Lavender or Humphreys Witch Hazel with Citrus. Or if you prefer an aftershave solution without a scent at all you could always opt for Unscented Witch Hazel.
If you do pick up some Witch Hazel and end up not liking or using the product you could always keep it handy for any cuts or bites you may pick up.
On a side note Witch Hazel can be used in home made aftershave lotions, sort of the best of both worlds. I currently have a batch curing and should be ready in a couple of days. I’ll post the results and recipe once it has been tested.