You Galla Be Kidding Me

Here's documented proof that witch hazel is the best thing since peanut butter:

Read carefully, men. The "cosmetics cop" "believes" tannins are responsible for any witch hazel benefit, as founded in Native American healing tradition. A chemical isolate has been studied and deemed harmful; while the whole distillate, which is the only form you will likely find, in production for over a hundred years, and popular to the point of being a $1 commodity, apparently does not contain the chemical they studied. Are you following? Let me paraphrase: "We can't make money off of it."

Yet somehow these guys manage to do so, like the industrious makers of Williams, or Barbasol...

Wikipedia seems pretty clear that they're talking about the distillate, and they say "gallotannins" are in there, along with -- you guessed it -- a small carboxylic acid! Gallic acid.

As for the terrible effects of alcohol, I switched to the plain ol' 86% distillate/14% alcohol today, in the big bottle, and no itching. Either the alcohol is helpful, or a different preservative in the more aqueous, Assured brand solution is eliciting an immune response. Citric acid and sodium benzoate are also found in the rosewater that gave me the itches. Wouldn't surprise me if the two woody shrubs share some chemicals of their own, though.

Despite that, positive effects on my skin were already apparent in my shave this morning. Hair was standing up more uniformly, which would make sense if the deeper, dermis layer were reorganized, since the hairs are planted in it. Furthermore, a plain shave with Williams accepted more pressure, as if it were glycerin soap, indicating deep moisturization.

So far, so good. And something caught my eye on the manufacturer website: suggested use of Witch Hazel USP as a base for other cosmetics. In other words, I might simply mix it with my pumpkin juice, to produce something similar to Thayers.

I had assumed Thayers were using steam-distilled extract as an ingredient, but they are not, touting the benefits of I guess other tannins that aren't in the Witch Hazel USP.
I think they're hitched to the wrong pony.


  1. Concerning your last post. I have a phobia of using consumable items from the "dollar store" type outlets. I had remembered several years ago that toothpaste made in China contained a chemical used in anti freeze. The chemical was responsible for many people getting sick. We can't totally avoid the "Made in China" label, but I do try to be a little more cautious.

    I am curious though as to what distillation and filtration processes the "Dollar Stores" brands are willing to go through to bring heir Witch Hazel products to market and what quality control (if any) there is.

    As an Arco user, I'm even paranoid about buying a product made in Turkey. I sure do miss the good old made in USA label!

    If you are curious.

    1. Good point -- I had babies in the game when they pulled that melamine stunt. The aqueous solution actually did have the "Made in USA" label, and it makes sense, as the origin of production has traditionally been Connecticut. The one I prefer, however, has no such claim on the label.

      Could it be those infernal Canadians?

    2. The "USP" specifies at least that the native American shrub was used (a different species is native to China). Production and shipping would be unreasonably expensive, I think, even if labor were essentially free.