Vitamin C & Witch Hazel Facial Toner Recipe

Vitamin C and Witch Hazel Facial Toner Recipe

Finding a natural skin care routine can be tough. It often leads to strange things like washing your face with olive oil or honey or making a face mask out of yogurt.

It can be hard to find natural alternatives to some of your favorite conventional products, but this recipe is one that made the switch easy.

Natural Facial Toner Recipe

I never really understood the purpose of a facial toner until I had kids and occasionally had skin that was a mix between dry and oily at the same time.

My confused skin was challenging to care for, as I needed something that would help even out my skin’s oil production.

I found that a toner greatly improved my skin tone almost immediately and realized there were several reasons for this…

Skin is naturally acidic, but many skin care products are more on the alkaline side. A quality toner can help restore natural skin pH. Facial toners can also help shrink pores and balance oil production.

When used under makeup, toners can provide a protective barrier on the skin to prevent impurities from makeup from penetrating skin.

Facial Toner Ingredients: Vitamin C and Witch Hazel

I chose the ingredients for this toner carefully.

Witch hazel, an extract from the leaves and bark of the Hamamelis virginiana shrub, has a long history of use, especially in skin care. It has also been used over the the years as a natural remedy for hemorrhoids, burns and other skin irritation.

Witch hazel is naturally anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, making it excellent for helping reduce the appearance of acne, redness and skin irritation. It helps lock in moisture, making it a good choice for oily and dry skin, and is high in tannins that reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Vitamin C helps tighten the skin and maintain the natural pH. Many high end skin products (that cost hundreds of times as much as this homemade toner) use vitamin C (often synthetic) for this purpose. Vitamin C is also important internally, but topical Vitamin C provides much more skin benefit.

IMPORTANT: Vitamin C is an acid and while the skin likes a mildly acidic environment, too much too fast can create irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. You can add up to 3 times as much Vitamin C as I include in this recipe, but start slowly and work up to find your skin’s perfect balance. Over time, you can add slightly more Vitamin C, but don’t exceed 1.5 teaspoons.

Make Small Batches…

This recipes makes a small amount of facial toner, and this is important. Though you could easily double the recipe, it wouldn’t be as effective.

Vitamin C breaks down over time. I prefer to make about as much as I need for a week at a time and keep in the fridge to have a cooling toner to use after washing my face. You do not need to keep this refrigerated, but it slightly extends shelf life. Either way, keep out of sunlight and away from heat.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small glass bottle, spray bottle or dropper bottle.
  2. Shake well to incorporate.
  3. Use after washing face each day. Apply with a cloth or cotton pad.

Or, Make Vitamin C Serum Instead

If you have really dry skin or don’t want to use witch hazel, you can use food grade glycerin in place of the witch hazel. This will produce a serum instead of a toner. Either one should be made in small batches and often because Vitamin C oxidizes so quickly.

Ever used Vitamin C on your skin? Try it!

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Reader Comments

  1. I use witch hazel everyday for my face. Adding vit C powder is genius!!! I have that in my cabinet! thanks. 😀

  2. Is it possible to use the witch hazel without the alcohol and where would I be able to find it? Thank you!!

    • witch hazel is usually sold right next to the alcohol in the pharmacy section like target, walmart, walgreens and so on. It is really affordable which is another reason I use it.

    • I don’t believe alcohol in Witch Hazel is recommended by Wellnessmama.com. I got mine from Spark naturals.

  3. Would you just apply this in the morning? Do you know where to find spray bottles for this?
    Thank you!

  4. I always use your blog for advice on sooo many things :)) thank u!
    What would be the best ingredients for a wrinkle prevention lotion or face wash?

    • My local health food store has an anti wrinkle vitamin A and E oil that I put in my homemade lotions and it works really well.

  5. I will try this skin care , may it make a differance. I drink pure orange juice with most pulp, it’s the orange & pure juice together, as the orange’s are $ 1.00 a peice, I get the orange juice on sale at times for $ 6.00 a gallon. So I get 2 in one orange juice & the orange cut up in the juice’ I was asked by friend of mine, what can you do for flabby under chin & under arm’s. I said I’d ask you. Would powered alium made into a paste & rub on. These places to reduce the flab. Please reply.

  6. I had mysteriously itchy underarms at one time. Super itchy. I crushed my vitamin C pills and made a paste with water and applied to armpits. In a few days itch was gone!

  7. Vitamin C should be used in the form of esther C. It’s not as acidic and won’t irritate the skin, making it perfect for toners and serums. Great Article!

    • You actually want to use ascorbyl palmitate which is also known as vitamin C esther.
      It’s a common antioxidant used in food and skin care products and has a longer shelf life.

      Esther-C is something else altogether. It’s a metabolite of ascorbic acid, the vitamin found in many powders and supplements. It is marketed separately but not shown to have any difference in bioavailability when taken orally.

  8. I am worried that the vitamin C would make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Any thoughts or articles, anyone?

    • It can, so apply this toner at night 😉

  9. Would buffered sodium ascorbate (vitamin C crystalline powder) work? It’s non acidic. Thanks!

  10. Hi, what would the shelf life be on this?

  11. hi, I was wondering if you could make the serum with an addition of Rosehip Seed Oil so you get the benefits of Vitamin C and A?

  12. I recognize this isn’t the most relevant place to ask about this, but wasn’t sure if sending an email was necessary. Have you found anything topically effective for erasing spider veins? I’ve seen witch hazel as a potential treatment but didn’t have any results after using twice daily for one month. I have invested in expensive laser treatments in the past, but looking to avoid those for future.

    • Yes, witch hazel is supposed to help, but I’m working on a full post on that. 🙂

  13. Is there a way to add something to this toner to this toner to slow down the oxidation of vitamin C?
    Also, how is the texture, is it sticky?
    Thank you, Jane

    • It is not sticky. The nature of Vitamin C makes it difficult to add anything to prolong the life.

  14. I tried the glycerin version with 3 drops of tree tea oil and it truly feels great! I had never tried a toner that felt so wonderful! Thanks!!

  15. Can i use buffered C powder

  16. I tried to make the serum, but I can’t get the Vitamin C to dissolve in glycerin. Is there a trick to this?

    • Glycerin if water soluble so you can try mixing the c first with a tiny amount of distilled water before mixing it into the glycerin.

  17. Hi. I’m new to this site and really enjoying all the great ideas! I recently made the toner with apple cider vinegar (following your ingredients) and some essential oil for a better smell. Do you prefer the witch hazel toner over the apple cider toner?

    • For my oily skin, yes. Your skin, however, might prefer the ACV.

  18. I really want to try this. Would it make a difference to use children’s liquid vitamin C and how much? It’s really all I have right now. Thanks!

    • I don’t know. There are probably added ingredients that wouldn’t be good for the skin.

  19. I currently use toner to refresh and wake my skin up. I use a gentle toner that I can use on my eyes as well. I really need that to wake up my face and eyes. Can you use this toner on your eyes or do you have another idea for a facial wake-up toner?

  20. I have never tried natural toners. But I am all set to plunge into natural skin n hair care. Your site really helps me a lot.

  21. I really want an answer! Please!!
    Sorry for my poor english and I just find the oil cleansing method.
    May I know is method suitable for every night? Also for combination skin, it said after oil cleansing, doesn’t need apply anything instead you feel dry (then apply some oil or DIY lotion), but I saw many DIY beauty method on this site, such as how to DIY toner, mask, etc. I very confuse that my skin care routine, what should I do? Do I need apply anything after OCM? thanks so much for your help!!!

    • Oil cleansing can be used every day, and you may not need anything else at all. Some people like to add toner or something to reduce wrinkles, but for most, this is not necessary.

  22. I noticed you linked to the Mountain Rose Herbs witch hazel, which is 86% witch hazel and 14% alcohol. I have a cheap witch hazel on hand that lists the same concentrations so would the one I have be just as good or is the MRH one better in some way? Also I’ve noticed some people prefer alcohol free ones like Thayer’s. What do you think is best? TIA!

  23. Wow was this timely. I’ve been only using oil cleansing but would get the occasional blemish. I’m about to run out of my first batch of this toner. I use it day and night except not on days I may spend time outside. I love how it closes up my pores and smoothes out my skin. I always look forward to how refreshing it feels.

    Thank you so much, Wellness Mama for all your dedication! I have really appreciated the research and all that goes into it to help us make informed decisions on food, beauty and home health!

  24. Any thoughts on an all natural face wash gentle enough for my 7 year old daughter?

    • I’d just use raw honey personally on my daughter that age. It makes an excellent face wash anyway, but is very gentle and shouldn’t be harsh at all on more sensitive skin.

  25. Do you need to use the powder for this or do the capsules work the same if you open them up and use what’s inside them!
    I may use the capsules if I ordered them, but I’m afraid most of the powder would go to waste.

  26. What kind/type of glycerin do you recommend? I have seen vegetable, vitamin E and aloe vera glycerin.

  27. How much water do you add to the witch hazel and the Vitamin C? It does not say it in the recipe.

  28. thanks wellness mama,pls where and how ll I buy all this recipes in Nigeria.

  29. The witch hazel you linked in the recipe has aloe vera in it according to the website? I would like to use one I found online…… it says it’s organic, alcohol free and astringent? Will this be as effective? Thanks 🙂

  30. Do you mean witch hazel extract or liquid?
    Thank you

  31. Hi
    I just found your site. Very interesting. I am a senior with somewhat sensitive skin. I would appreciate recipe and thoughts as to a recipe. As a toner I currently use organic rose water but would like something with vitamin C and/or A. Would you suggest a recipe. Thank you.

    Regards
    Lynne

  32. Does the vitamin c powder oxidize only when added to the witch hazel ? I have some vitamin c powder and wonder if it’s less effective.

    • I am wondering the same thing. Also, when she says vitamin c powder, can I use acerola powder? I think they are the same thing but just wanting to double check.

  33. Witch hazel is an irritant for skin according to the Paulas Choice ingredient dictionary. Lavender is as well. Vitamin c is much more effective in the form of a ascorbic acid.

  34. What size of glass bottle should I use to mix this recipe?

  35. Could I use fresh squeezed lemon juice? Too acidic?

  36. Thank you for this post. Since I am part of a month-long annual mission trip, I am always on the lookout for products that don’t need to be refrigerated. To that end, I have a couple more questions: Does the Vitamin C itself need refrigeration (i.e., before mixing)? And how long do you think the mixture would last in a suitcase w/o refrigeration? Would I be able to take the components and mix it once I get there?

  37. Can you tell me what the difference would be between vitamin c powder, and citric acid that I see in bath bomb recipes? Could citric acid be used in this recipe?

  38. I love all the suggestions but I need more specifics. I have wrinkles around my mouth & would love something that would help those. Which formula would be good using vitamin C ? Also I read one article saying they use C powder & distilled water followed by moisturizer. Another article used Vit C then applied HA then Vit E over Vit C serum. Lease help me. Which suggestion is best for mouth wrinkles. Thank you!!!

  39. According to PaulasChoice.com, witch hazel is actually pretty bad for the skin and is a huge anti irritant.

    • Thanks for siting your resource. After reading the info on the site and reading the abstracts and articles of the references sited to support the rating, not really sure how they could generalize and have given all witch hazel a “poor” rating. I’ll continue to do my own research from more than one site that produces their own skin line.

  40. I love the cooling effect of witch hazel 🙂 . I personally make a toner using witch hazel, a bit of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Then I use a facial lavender essential oil face mist . Though I like to try the vitamin c combination in my own mix…I think I just might add in some camu camu!

    • Lerushka – your ‘toner’ sounds interesting. Can you supply the ingredient measurements? And, what type of skin do you have? I suffer terribly from blackheads more than anything so I’m always looking for a solution!

  41. Where can I find small glass bottles that don’t leak? I’d like to make the toner and cleanser but I don’t know where to shop for containers…