When it comes to natural ways to care for your scalp and hair, witch hazel comes with a whole heap of benefits – particularly if your scalp is oily, itchy or prone to dandruff. Witch hazel is a type of shrub native to North America, Japan and China. Most of its extracts come from tannins found within its leaves and bark, which then get processed and formulated into topical treatments for your skin and scalp. It’s a hero ingredient in our beloved scalp SOS product Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, and for good reason.
Here are five ways witch hazel can benefit your scalp and hair.
1. It treats greasy roots in-between washes
Witch hazel acts a bit like a dry shampoo, keeping your scalp healthy and preventing it from getting too greasy on non-wash days. This is because it’s an astringent – which means it works to tighten pores and dry out the oil that scalp-sweat produces. This makes it a great option for those who don’t wash their hair everyday (especially if you play a lot of sport or work out regularly). It’s a great scalp refresher if you wear braids too.
2. It calms irritation
Witch hazel is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it’s ideal for treating irritated and inflamed scalp-skin. It’s historically been used in skincare remedies for ailments like rashes, insect bites, bruises and minor burns - and is renowned for calming sensitive skin.
3. It helps combat conditions like seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp. It is brought on by inflammation, which causes the scalp to produce too much sebum, which dandruff-causing yeast feeds on. Cue itching, flaking and all of the other symptoms associated with dandruff. Luckily witch hazel is perfect for treating the most common symptoms, working to prevent flaky skin and flare ups by soothing inflammation and regulating sebum levels.
4. It fights scalp acne
Suffering with breakouts on the scalp? Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, astringent powers, witch hazel can calm and soothe any angry, red spots, while the acidic pH balance stops acne-causing bacteria from spreading.
5. It can possibly help with hair loss
Many people have reported that witch hazel has helped with their hair loss. That’s because it works to increase blood circulation in the scalp, delivering vital nutrients to the hair follicles, which can stimulate healthy growth. It also reduces inflammation (see above), another major cause of hair loss.