Vita's DIY "Skin Food" - Witch Hazel Aftershave

Discussion in 'Preshave and Aftershave' started by vita, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. vita

    vita Mach 5 Turbo Fusion

    I'm 40 years old (maybe older, I've stopped counting now) and still suffer with poor skin and the odd outbreak of acne. My diet is clean, I drink plenty of water and no rubbish (not even alcohol), yet I still will have regular occurrences of bad, deep spots and have the scar-like evidence of really bad acne when I was younger.

    When I switched to DE shaving, I started using new products (creams/soaps/aftershaves/balms), and this kind-of chopping and changing wreaks havoc with my skin. I'll start using one new product (e.g. Speick aftershave), and then it may trigger some problems, and I'll stupidly carry on using it but add even more products into the mix to try and fix my skin.

    This, I have realised, is not the way to go. I need products with minimal ingredients. I don't need my face to smell great for 10 minutes after a shave (I have plenty of EDTs anyway), I need something which acts as an astringent, but if I can also build-in some extras which are specifically good for acne prevention and healing, even better.

    Hence I started looking for something like a less expensive Thayers with even more helpful ingredients. Over £10 for a small bottle of infused witch hazel is not a good deal - I'm too frugal to overpay like this.

    Here is my current recipe which I'm using as my sole aftershave product, which I thought I'd share in case anybody is interested in this project. I am no scientist, I have just researched ingredients which have the criteria of allegedly being good for the skin/acne/healing, but also mild and innocuous. This could likely be improved with concentrations being varied - but I don't plan to do a clinical trial, so I'm just doing my best here and seeing how it works out for me.

    1 Litre Alcohol Free Witch Hazel - £12.99 (ebay)
    100ml Rose Water - £0.55 (KTC Brand £1 per 190ml from Sainsburys)
    10ml Juniper Berry Essential Oil - £1.39 (Ebay, average cost for the 4 essential oils bought together)
    10ml Clary Sage Essential Oil - £1.39 (Ebay, average cost for the 4 essential oils bought together)
    10ml Lavender Essential Oil - £1.39 (Ebay, average cost for the 4 essential oils bought together)
    10ml Tea Tree Oil - £1.39 (Ebay, average cost for the 4 essential oils bought together)
    10ml Vitamin E Oil - £0.80 (Ebay, £3.99 for a 50ml bottle)

    Total cost for 1,150ml: £19.90

    You will also need a 200ml+ empty plastic bottle or similar (if being really cheap you could use the 200ml glass bottle the rose water comes in, but I prefer a flip-top dispenser cap) to dispense your finished product after shaving, storing the bulk of your massive reserve in the 1 litre bottle the witch hazel originally came in.

    I should mention that strictly speaking this mixture has a suggested shelf-life of no more than 2 years due to the oils, though £20 for 2 years of product, I'm totally happy with even if I absolutely had to dump it after this and make a fresh batch. I suspect when carried in witch hazel, the effective life of the oils will be extended anyway.

    As the street-cost for Thayers is realistically £10+ for 355ml without anything like this loading of helpful oils, I consider this a good deal. Speick, which is really the closest product to what I'm trying to develop, is around £14 for 100ml in the UK (but contains a large amount of alcohol), so you can hopefully see it makes sense to do this for me. Much lower cost, and much more effective (maybe) product.

    It doesn't smell great, it smells medicinal - as it should. The notes are predominantly lavender and sage and being oils they last a good while closely on the skin, but you don't get that big hit of witch hazel with this quantity of oil masking it.

    It needs shaking up before use each time as it separates on standing. The lack of the alcohol usually present in witch hazel means it's a poor carrier (I've trialled something similar before but used standard witch hazel which is 14% alcohol and the mixture was perfectly mixed)... But, again, I'm not looking for a cosmetic product or to make a lifestyle statement here, I just want to look after my skin, and with the rigmarole involved in wet shaving anyway this isn't even an inconvenience.

    In winter, when the skin typically becomes drier and a balm may be preferred, I plan to also apply Aloe Vera gel if required.

    I will let you know how I get on.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
    p.b, Rowlers, Quique and 4 others like this.
  2. Benz3ne

    Benz3ne Legendary Member

    S. Wales
    I love reading about other people's experiments!

    How have you deduced the shelf life as two years? Surely water content would contribute to a shorter shelf life versus that of the oils? I'd also be curious as to whether a clear container would further reduce the shelf life versus the brown-glass bottles the EO comes in.

    Fingers crossed it works for you! :D Looking forward to updates.
    Rowlers and Grishnak like this.
  3. vita

    vita Mach 5 Turbo Fusion

    The shelf-life I state is not based on the efficacy of the oils, but rather 2 years being generally accepted as time for pure oils being okay before starting to turn rancid. I think storing in an amber bottle would be a good idea for long-term storage in the order of years, but I'm not planning to be too precious about this.

    Only time will tell - if things start to smell funky, I'll ditch it, but I really doubt there'll be any problems.
    Benz3ne likes this.
  4. Benz3ne

    Benz3ne Legendary Member

    S. Wales
    Absolutely, I wasn't considering 'efficacy' of these oils. :) Fingers crossed it doesn't go rancid after a few weeks!
  5. vita

    vita Mach 5 Turbo Fusion

    If my face goes green and mouldy I won't be happy.
    Benz3ne likes this.
  6. Rowlers

    Rowlers Massive Member Staff Member

    Great idea, and will follow your progress.
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