The Best Witch Hazel for Shaving (Performance & Fragrance Options)

Witch hazel has several surprising benefits for shaving, but how do you know which one you should pick up?

Witch hazel is a natural astringent and can be used as an antiseptic after shaving in place of aftershave. The best brands of witch hazel contain no alcohol, parabens, dyes, or harsh synthetic compounds. Additives such as aloe, rose water, and lavender can boost the antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that help restore skin after shaving. 

Keep reading to find out the best witch hazel for shaving and what fragrances are best.

Is witch hazel good for shaving?

Witch hazel is often sold as a toner as it contains little to no alcohol. 

Witch hazel is fantastic for shaving and has been used for centuries as an antiseptic. It is an astringent, skin tightener, and can even reduce skin irritation. 

Witch hazel contains flavonoids that are produced by the plant of the same name. Flavonoids, simply, are antioxidants that help protect skin layers from free radicals such as UV rays and pollution. Though praised for its tannin content, most commercial witch hazel products contain none. 

Witch hazel is a natural astringent that helps to tighten and has been used for centuries as an antiseptic.

For most people, witch hazel can be used daily as a toner but those with sensitive skin may still need to exercise caution. Be aware of any redness or irritation upon using witch hazel.

Which brand of witch hazel is the best?

With so many aftershaves, balms, and gels how do you decide the correct product for your face?

The best brands of witch hazel contain no alcohol, no parabens, and no synthetic compounds. Additives such as aloe, rose water, and lavender boost the antimicrobial and antiseptic properties and help nourish the skin. 

Most true aftershave or “splashes” contain large amounts of alcohol. There is no real benefit to a compound of witch hazel and alcohol.

Avoid any witch hazel products containing alcohol as they will dry the skin and can be painful when applied to nicks and cuts.

Avoid any products with parabens or chemical fragrances. Parabens are preservatives and both parabens and artificial fragrances have been linked to skin reactions such as dermatitis.

Should you get unscented witch hazel?

Witch hazel toner is suitable as a part of a daily skincare routine but can have a slight odor that does dissipate quickly.

Unscented witch hazel has a very particular smell that has been compared to that of a nursing home. The smell dissipates quickly but some find the odor too much for them. Many companies have successfully masked the pungent nature of witch hazel with additional fragrances. 

Artificial fragrance is often the reason for skin irritation or possible allergic reaction. There are some who are simply sensitive to fragrance regardless of the origin. Unscented witch hazel toner is better for those who are sensitive to fragrances.

There is a potential risk of irritation even with natural scents. Some are made with compounds containing trace artificial fragrances. 

Essential oil and natural fragrances are also different products. Some essential oils are not intended for use topically and can cause reactions especially in those sensitive to strong odors.

What are the best witch hazel fragrances?

Most witch hazel fragrances are not added to be colognes or perfume, but because they serve a specific purpose.

Rosewater, cucumber, lavender, and lemongrass are common fragrances used with witch hazel. Aloe vera is sometimes also added for additional skin-calming benefits.

Additives such as rose and lavender are not generally added to be fragrant but more so to boost the healing properties of witch hazel. 

Witch hazel on its own is known to be a bit pungent and additional light fragrance masks that odor during application but neither odor nor fragrance will last for any real duration of time.

Men also should not feel the need to avoid floral fragrance but if the scent is too troublesome then a cologne or a light splash of aftershave can be applied following the witch hazel.

The best witch hazels to use for shaving

Find the witch hazel that suits your skin.

Try an unscented natural witch hazel toner first to gauge for any potential reactions. You can use this as a baseline to test out other fragrances and additives.

My favorite witch hazel brands are:

  • Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater
  • Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Astringent 
  • Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula
  • Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic

Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater, Alcohol Free, 98% Natural Formula

Dickinson’s is a very reputable brand and, by far, the cheapest option at roughly $5-6 per 16oz bottle.

This is the best starting option to determine how the skin benefits from witch hazel.

Dickinson’s is sold in practically every Health and Beauty department across the country and contains very few synthetic additives.

Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Astringent 

Humphrey’s has been around for a while and has been a trusted brand for generations.

Humphrey’s Astringents can contain up to 14% alcohol but also have a wide selection of alcohol-free options so make certain you are aware of what you are purchasing.

Humphrey’s runs about $0.71 per ounce.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula, Rose Petal

Thayers is not only one of the most highly recommended alcohol-free aftershaves on men’s shaving forums but several women love it for the same reasons.

Thayers had discovered how to treat skin well and it shows.

Thayers can be found online, in pharmacies, and even some health and fitness retailers at around $.83 per ounce.

Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic

You’ll probably recognize the Lucky Tiger label.

It’s been on barbershop shelves since the 1930s and it’s still available today. This is the aftershave that your great-granddad used. It is alcohol-free and is not an overpowering scent at all.

It runs $1.25 per ounce.