Here’s Something I Like (Not that Anyone Asked): Witch Hazel

Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!


We all have heroes. Some worship celebrities, though if the last year has taught us anything, it’s how dangerous it is to put anyone with money and power on a pedestal. Others worship historical figures, family members, spin instructors, actual superheroes. My heroes, however, are anyone I know in real life who’s aging well (including both of my spin instructors).

If we’ve met and you’ve ever heard you look good for your age, I worship you tell me everything! I’ll do anything you suggest, no matter how insane or mundane it seems. You insist the only way to keep your skin youthful is to sleep with an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich smooshed into it every night? I’ll walk around with one glued to my face all day every day. You swear the secret to aging well is drinking a lot of water? You’re Jennifer Aniston and though we’ve never met, though I know you’ve had some work done and use products so expensive I can’t even afford to know about them, I believe you that water is the key to youthfulness and will drink three gallons a day until I die (looking fresh and hydrated!) of water poisoning.

The point is: I want to look young — even though when people tell me they thought I was younger I worry I seem immature. (I’m a dog walker who owns four pairs of overalls. I definitely seem immature — which means I also seem young!) I saw a friend of mine recently who’s just a couple of years older than me and I realized that since I met him, he’s only gotten more handsome, and that for the next decade or so he’ll continue to get better and better looking while I, on the other hand, won’t necessarily get worse looking but will most definitely start looking older, making me less attractive in society’s eyes.

I’m trying to slow that process as much as possible, so I’m asking every fresh-faced person I know WHAT’S YOUR SECRET??? I have one friend in particular who looks about a decade younger than he is, so of course I always interrogate him about his skincare routine. A couple of years ago, he told me he puts Preparation H under his eyes to reduce bags. I bought some and tried it but didn’t notice much of a difference, although I think it dried out the skin under my eyes a little, which is the opposite of what I’m going for.

This friend gave me another tip, however, that I’ve stuck with: witch hazel. He said he buys a big, cheap bottle of it and uses it as a toner. I had only recently started experimenting with toner, and had been buying an all-natural rose water one that was fine, but didn’t seem to do much. To be honest, I’ve never fully understood what toner is supposed to do. I know it pH balances your skin, and while I should know what that means because I took two years of Chemistry in high school, I failed the A.P. test and can’t remember enough to even make a quippy reference about electrons. Chemistry aside, you’re supposed to use toner after you wash your face, so it seems like it should refresh and moisturize your skin or something, right?

Honestly, I still don’t know, but I incorporated Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel into my skincare routine and I like it! I’m not sure exactly what it does, but it makes my skin feel fresh and clean after cleansing and my friend swears it’s an anti-aging tonic and that’s enough for me. The word tonic alone makes my skin feel tighter and brighter. The other great thing about witch hazel is that it costs about $10 and lasts a year and I can buy it at my local grocery store.


Most importantly, it certainly isn’t having any adverse effects. Some beauty products are great because they actually work, others are just as valuable because they at least make you feel like they’re doing whatever it is you want them to do, and belief has strong anti-aging properties.

Age, after all, ain’t nothing but a number, which is still a good song even if the fact that Aaliyah married R. Kelly when she was a teenager really changes its context. So I’ll keep using my witch hazel because I like the name, it’s affordable, and it makes me believe I’ll age as well as my hero and dear friend Hollis (seriously, he looks amazing!).

As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares that I like witch hazel. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, toner or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!

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