“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Homeopathic Medicines & Remedies „
Sainsbury's Own Brand Witch Hazel
As well as being a common garden plant Witch Hazel is also a natural remedy for a number of ailments and is a most useful addition to any medicine cabinet or box. A native plant of North America and whilst many people are familiar with witch hazel due to some of health benefits and especially as an astringent. Witch Hazel Hamamelis virginiana is a large shrub and is particularly useful in the garden as it is a late flowering shrub that adds winter interest and can look especially stunning against a snowy backdrop. The yellow flowers are spidery in appearance and the bark turns yellow in the winter as well giving this draught (ha ha! winter 2013/14) resistant shrub that grows up to around 3.8m added winter appeal.
However, this review is about the "nectar" from the plant rather than the plant itself and the Witch Hazel we use is distilled from a mixture of dried healthy leaves and twigs from the tree.
The tree owes its generic name to olde English with the "Witch" part of the name coming from Wych meaning to bend. The thin branches from the Witch Hazel are used in dowsing and therefore "bend" to the ley lines or the article of divination.
Probably the most common uses of the distilled Witch Hazel are as an aid to healing bruises and mild swellings as well as an astringent in beauty products.
* (adapted from my Witch Hazel review).
Ease & Heal Bruising
Soothe Varicose Veins
Around the Stable Yard
For fuller explanation of the above uses of Witch Hazel please see my main Witch Hazel review. This review however, is of a specific brand of Witch Hazel, that sold by Sainsbury's.
I buy Witch Hazel frequently and buy it from all over the place, I also shop at Sainsbury's some of the time and generally have home delivery ordering my shopping on-line. So when I was looking to add a bit to my shopping to make the value up for free home delivery I was delighted to spot that they sell Witch Hazel and added a 200ml bottle to my basket.
I like Sainsbury's, generally their products are good, their prices competitive and when I shop in store their shops are clean and bright. Therein lies my problem with this Witch Hazel; Witch Hazel is light sensitive and in order to prolong its shelf life it needs to be stored in dark coloured containers. Trust me I know! Sainsbury's version is supplied in a clear container and shelved in the store under bright lights. Imagine my disappointment when I unpacked my order to discover the Witch Hazel in a clear container. Needless to say I was not a happy shopper. However for £1.59 there was no point in getting too upset about it. I have used the Witch Hazel and I don't know if I was imagining it or not, but the smell did seem dulled and therefor the product compromised, by the poor storage.
Price and Availability:
Sainsbury's Witch Hazel is only available from Sainsbury's and is priced at £1.59 for 200ml at the time of writing. (February 2014)
I am surprised that Sainsbury's have compromised the product in such a way. I can only think that the buyer's expertise lies elsewhere?
Like tea tree oil, witch hazel seems pretty ubiquitous in face products nowadays. It's certainly well represented in my own collection but of everything witch hazel related that I could reach for, this simple bottle is the most used.
Sainsbury's distilled witch hazel comes in a clear glass bottle with an ordinary white cap. It's easy to open but I have sometimes been concerned that the bottle could smash and I always decant for travel. I've also read that witch hazel is more effective if stored in the dark so clear glass kind of defeats the objective. On the other hand at £1.59 who can really complain?
I first started using witch hazel during my "classic hollywood glamour" phase but while panstiks and cold cream have (mostly) fallen by the way side, witch hazel still stands strong in my bathroom. It's a natural astringent and this makes it a great toner. I pour a little on a cotton pad and then swipe it over my face after cleansing. It picks up the remains of any make-up or cleanser. It's also very cool and refreshing after a hot shower/bath. It does have a quite strong distinctive smell when you first apply but this fades very fast as it dries.
It's also very good as a spot or blemish treatment. It's not a miracle worker, there will still be a spot there after use but it does reduce redness and inflammation. I'm also sure that it helps them heal faster. The few occasions when I haven't used it, it seemed as if the spots had set up house whereas with use it's definitely more of a flying visit. I have had less breakouts since I started using it but I think some of that is also to do with the rest of my beauty routine.
There are obviously non-beauty benefits to witch hazel as well. I personally have found that it provides a good albeit short term relief for insect bites and sun burn. It's more cooling and the effects are longer lasting than plain water (soak cotton pads in it and then place under bra or swimsuit straps if you've burnt your shoulders but have to wear something- it really helps).
Distilled Witch Hazel is something I always have in my house- not only is it excellent at soothing dry and irritated skin, but it's also good at soothing sprains, insect bites, and tackling spots and blemishes. As someone who is often spraining my ankle due to a weak joint, and who suffers fairly regularly with spots, it's something of a bathroom staple now.
The Distilled Witch Hazel it totally clear in colour, and the bottle has a blue label around the middle of it with the words Distilled Witch Hazel B.P.C written in white letters, there is also a little information on the bottle about the various uses. It comes with a white, non-childproof cap, which unscrews to reveal an ordinary bottle mouth - personally I think some kind of dispenser might be useful for times when I only need a small amount. It costs £1.59 for 200ml.
This is intended for topical use only, and as such there are no real dosage instructions, simply advice to apply to the affected area with cotton wool. I mostly use this for treating spots and blemishes - using a little of this on a cotton wool pad on the spots I want to get rid of, and find it does help to reduce spots much faster than if I use nothing , and also stings much less than other products I've tried. It also feels very cool and soothing on the skin, which can make the spot less irritating and makes it less likely that I will pick at it and make it worse.
I also use this on bites and itchy skin, and again found that the cooling effect provides mild immediate relief. With that said, the relief in this case is more of a temporary measure, and I do find that I often need to apply again to keep the itch or bite soothed. Whilst I don't know that I could say hand on heart that this makes the bites or itching heal faster, it has the same effect it does with the spots, of stopping me picking and scratching at them and making things worse. I've used this on all kinds of itchy skin, from heat rash to sun burn, and found the cooling relief wonderful.
For use on sprains and bruises, I find that this perhaps isn't terribly effective during the day when I am active. However, at night if my sprain is aching, I actually soak a tubular bandage in this before putting it on, and find that it soothes things enough for me to get to sleep a little easier. That said, I don't feel this is as effective as using specialised pain relief gels, or even bog standard ibuprofen, and is only really 'enough' once the sprain or bruising has mostly healed.
Readers of a more sqeamish disposition may want to skip over this paragraph, but I've also found this incredibly helpful for treating 'ring sting' after a spicy meal or stomach upset. A cotton wool ball soaked in this and held on the hole for a few minutes is incredibly relieving!
Overall, this is a great cooling and soothing topical medicine. I can't say with certainty that it gets rid of rashes or spots themselves sooner, but what it does do is make it comfortable enough for me to not pick at and scratch them. As someone who DOES pick and scratch a lot, that means a great deal of relief for me, and a much less blemished face. The fact that it helps with the aftermath of a curry is also great, but if it's a sprain or severe bruising you've got, this may not be the most effective product for you!
Three stars - works to soothe itching and irritation, but the lack of safety cap concerns me, and it's not the most powerful product out there.
Witch Hazel is something that I buy for my medicine cabinet now and again, only now and again mind you cos a bottle lasts me ages. I use it to compress swellings, bring out bruising, to sooth sprains but mostly for cleansing my face with and using in place of a toner as I find it to really clear my skin without drying it out and it really helps to combat congested pores and reduce the swelling of bad spots that at 38 years old I still tend to suffer with!
The packaging of this is a really simple and straightforward. The Witch Hazel comes in a see through, clear glass bottle that has a twist on/off white lid/cap to the top of it then on the front of the bottle there is light blue and dark blue coloured label and on that in white writing we are told that it is Sainsbury's Distilled With Hazel 'BPC' and that it is a product that 'Soothes minor skin irritations, sprains and bruises' then the label on the back of the bottle is white in colour and on that we are told a bit more about what the product is to help deal with, directions for use are given as are warnings, ingredients are clearly listed, we are told that the bottle is 200ml in size and contact details for Sainsbury's are given. Informative, plain and medicinal looking bottle this is.
The Witch Hazel Itself:
The liquid looks like water basically, is none greasy and if you are familiar with the slightly medicated aroma of Witch Hazel then this is no different in the smell to that to be totally honest with you!
Using it easy. I apply it (and we are told to apply it on the bottle) with cotton wool and you can gently press it to help bring bruising or to help with inflammation such as sprains and as I mentioned earlier on I use it to help take swelling out of spots.
I think this is brilliant stuff. Its so easy to use, loses its fragrance about half an hour after it has been used but isn't really stinky in use anyway. I have used this for many different things which is as I said earlier is really easy. My favourite way to use this is as a toner as I do think it removes cleanser well and helps to prevent my breakouts of spots but it is a lifesaver to me when or if I do get a zit as its seems to not only clean it up, unblock anything blocked but does seem to help it not be so noticeable.
This is suitable for the whole family to use and in my opinion a good all rounder to clean and to help reduce swellings and this really does get the thumbs up from me!
Only available from Sainsbury's stores costing £1.59 a bottle which I think is a really bargain!