Witch hazel is one of these ingredients that everyone talks about as an amazing hair care ingredient. But which benefits does it really have? And how do you use it on your hair most efficiently?
I’ve done the research for you and collected all the information you need to get started using witch hazel in your hair care!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
What exactly is witch hazel?
So before we dive into the details, let’s quickly get to know that thing we’re talking about here: Witch hazel is a plant, also known as “hamamelis”. Although it can also be used as decoration, it is well-known as a medicinal plant.
The benefits of witch hazel
To understand which benefits witch hazel can have in hair care you first need to understand what it can do for you in general.
All of the benefits of witch hazel are based on the following properties:
Properties of witch hazel
Witch hazel contains lots of antioxidants, making it a strong candidate to help with all kinds of inflammation. It can help if you have acne, for example, or soothe any kind of irritated skin, for that matter.
Witch hazel also acts as an astringent because it contains lots of tannins. This means it has a tightening effect on your pores and hair follicles if applied topically. For this reason, witch hazel is often used as a toner.
Is witch hazel good for your hair?
So now you’re probably wondering how these benefits of witch hazel apply to your hair. After all, you won’t be fighting inflammation on your hair, right?
The truth is that the biggest benefits of witch hazel for your hair are indirect ones. A healthy scalp means healthier hair, and your scalp can definitely benefit from using witch hazel!
So yes, witch hazel is good for your hair, but you’ll have to use it on your scalp.
So what is witch hazel good for in hair care?
As we’ve learned from all the information above, you can use witch hazel on your scalp to help reduce any kind of irritation, sensitivity, itching, or inflammation. This is especially important for people who struggle with issues like scalp psoriasis or eczema. (Although please don’t replace seeing a doctor with using witch hazel if you have any of these problems!)
By calming down the skin and reducing irritation, witch hazel can also be extremely helpful for people struggling with dandruff. Another common use for witch hazel in hair care is as an astringent for the scalp.
So far there is no research supporting any claims that witch hazel helps directly with hair growth. While a healthy scalp is one of the factors for healthy hair growth, using a witch hazel product to make your hair grow faster, unfortunately, falls into the realm of hair myths.
If you see witch hazel products claiming to stimulate growth, be cautious and take those claims with a grain of salt.
How do you use witch hazel on hair?
So now that you know about the general benefits of witch hazel, let’s have a closer look at how you can use witch hazel in your hair care routine.
By now, you’ll find lots of products contaning witch hazel. But some of them make more sense than others.
Like we’ve learned above, witch hazel will have the biggest effect on your scalp. So naturally, you’ll want to use products that will touch your scalp, and ideally even stay on.
Witch hazel shampoo
The most obvious choice is a witch hazel shampoo. It will leave you feeling like your scalp is really clean, even removing product buildup on your hair and follicles.
The astringent effect of witch hazel can help reduce frizz.
Witch hazel hair refresher
Another way to implement witch hazel products into your hair care is using it as a “hair refresher”.
We all know the issue: your scalp simply doesn’t feel fresh anymore, but you don’t want to wash your hair yet. For these occasions, witch hazel toner can come in super handy!
Simply distribute a little bit of toner on your scalp and let it dry – you’ll notice the difference immediately!
Witch hazel scalp spray
Want to make it easier on yourself? Simply get a scalp spray with witch hazel!
This way it’s going to be super easy to get the product all over your scalp without the need to massage it in or undo your hair. (Especially important for the people wearing protective hairstyles!)
For anyone struggling with scalp issues like itchiness or dandruff, give this one a try! Most people report immediate relief.
Can I leave witch hazel in my hair overnight?
A common question related to the use of witch hazel on your hair is if you can leave it on your hair overnight.
In general, this shouldn’t pose an issue. If you have been using witch hazel for a while and you know you don’t have any skin reactions to it, then there’s no reason not to leave it on overnight.
Be aware though that witch hazel products can have a drying effect. One reason for that is that witch hazel is an astringent, the other one is that many witch hazel products contain alcohol for preservation.
Related: DIY hair mask for dry hair
Witch hazel side effects
Speaking of the possible drying effect of witch hazel products: let’s shortly talk about the side effects of witch hazel!
According to current research, there’s very very little risk to suffer from any side effects of using witch hazel topically. In very rare cases it can cause skin irritation.
While it is unlikely that this will happen to you, definitely test witch hazel on a small patch of skin first, before going all in!
Can witch hazel lighten hair?
Another question that I’ve seen about witch hazel was if it can lighten your hair.
I’ve looked into the ingredients and research on it, and as far as I can say, there’s no ingredient in it that could lighten your hair. The only way witch hazel could appear to lighten your hair is by drying it out. Very dry hair will look lighter than well-moisturized locks.
Witch hazel on hair – the conclusion
In conclusion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong at all with using witch hazel on your hair. It has lots of ingredients and effects that will benefit your scalp, and therefore indirectly also your hair.
At the same time, there are no research studies showing any amazing benefits for your hair directly, especially not for hair growth. So don’t fall for any unrealistic hype! But if you like witch hazel or need a remedy for dry, itchy scalp, definitely use it!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.