1. An astringent, a substance that contracts the tissues, a cosmetic that cleans the skin and constricts the pores. WH tightens and tones the skin.
2. WH typically has 14% alcohol so it also has antiseptic properties. (Except the alcohol-free versions)
3. The hamamaelis leaf extract is thought to have natural anti-fungal or anti-bacterial properties.
Mostly, it is a nice soothing splash that closes the pores and tones the skin. Some don't like the smell but it dissapates quickly and does not linger or mi8x with your AS or ASB. Many shavers consider using WH as standard part of their post-shave routine. I do. Shave, warm & cold water rinse, towel dry, styptic/alum if necessary, witch hazel splash, AS and or ASB finish.
Some swear by Thayer's as the best. It comes in a variety of scents and formulations. Some see no difference between Thayer's, Dickinsen's or any drugstore or generic brand. Try some and see for yourself.
Hamamelis Virginiana? We Call It The Shrub Of Life. http://www.thayers.com/store/?main_page=index&cPath=3
Made of extract from the Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis Virginiana) and a blend of other time-tested ingredients - THAYERS® Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula Astringents and Alcohol-Free Toners are soothing, natural treatments that cleanse, tone and soothe your skin. THAYERS® are the only Witch Hazel products made of non-distilled extract from the Witch Hazel shrub maintaining the highest levels of therapeutic tannins.
These natural elixirs have been a fixture in medicine cabinets for generations. Once you use them, you'll know why.
"Look Sharp... Feel Sharp... Be Sharp!" TOFLAC-U, BOTSS, SSB, Order of Pinaud