Astringent: Make Your Own with Essential Oils + Vitamin C - Dr. Axe

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Homemade Astringent with Essential Oils + Collagen-Boosting Vitamin C



Make your own astringent - Dr. Axe
Most astringent products found on store shelves are typically made of ingredients such as alcohol, cider vinegar and witch hazel. It is common for those who have oily skin to need an astringent because it minimize pores and helps get rid of the oil, which offers a smoother and healthier appearance to the skin. Plus, astringent typically removes bacteria from the skin and tightens the skin, giving a more youthful appearance. (1)

You may be wondering, what is the difference between an astringent and a toner? Some toners may seem very similar, but the difference is that astringents are used to improve the surface of your skin by cleaning the skin and closing the pores, while toners help to remove any traces of oil, perspiration or makeup from your skin.

Let’s focus on an astringent. I want to give some attention to alcohol — as in isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol. Some suggest that when used sparingly, it does not cause any harm to the skin. However, rubbing alcohol high can irritate skin. (2) I recommend avoiding it, especially if you have sensitive skin because it can cause dryness and peeling. This may encourage the skin to produce more oil, which then produces more acne. I feel there are plenty of options that are just as effective, but gentler to the skin. My apple cider vinegar toner is a great recipe. It’s a bit more like a mild astringent, with some amazing ingredients, or you can try my rose water toner. However, if you choose to use rubbing alcohol, keep it to a minimum and definitely don’t use it daily. 

How to Make Homemade Astringent

Making your own astringent is easy! I have provided a great essential oil astringent recipe for you. Start by using it every other day at first. If you notice any irritation, stop immediately. Wait about 3–4 days before trying it again. Sometimes it takes a little time for the skin to adapt to new products.

To make your very own homemade astringent, you will need an 18–20 ounce glass bottle or jar. Add the water and witch hazel. It is important to use distilled water to ensure that it is bacteria-free. Witch hazel is a phenomenal ingredient, even when used alone. It comes from a plant and has been known to clear up skin better than just about anything else on the planet. It fights bacteria and can help reduce the signs of sun damage.


Next, add the apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar runs a close race with witch hazel. It has anti-bacterial properties and is quite good at helping balance the skin’s natural pH. Additionally, apple cider vinegar aids in reducing those annoying brown spots!

Now, let’s top this recipe off with our essential oils. Add the lavender, tea tree and lemon oils. Lavender does more than just help you relax; it also restores the complexion, reduces acne and slows aging. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, which will help fight bacteria. Studies have shown it to be very beneficial in eliminating acne, making it a great choice for this recipe. (3Lemon essential oil is pretty potent, which is why you don’t need much to make a great astringent. But it contains vitamin C, which helps keep the skin youthful by nourishing it with powerful antioxidants. It also provides collagen support — a must-have!

Now that you have all the ingredients together, put the lid on your bottle or jar and give it a few good shakes to blend. Store it in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. 

How to Use Astringent

Using an astringent is easy and takes no time. It is best to wash the skin first with my homemade face wash, pat it dry, then apply the astringent. Using a cotton ball, gently apply a small amount to the face.  After the skin dries, apply a moisturizer such as my DIY moisturizer, specially for dry skin.


If you experience any irritation, stop using this homemade astringent. It’s typically very gentle, but use sparingly and consider applying it three days a week until your skin is used to the mixture. Once you feel comfortable with it, you can try using it once or twice a day. Again, if you experience any irritation, use it less frequently. If you experience severe burning or irritation, contact your doctor immediately. Do not apply astringent near or in the eyes. Do not ingest.

Homemade Astringent with Essential Oils + Collagen-Boosting Vitamin C

Total Time: 5–10 minutes
Serves: Makes about 16 ounces


  • 1 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drop lemon essential oil
  • 18–20 ounce glass jar or bottle


  1. Add the distilled water and witch hazel to the glass jar.
  2. Next, add the apple cider vinegar.
  3. Add the lavender, tea tree and lemon oils.
  4. Put the lid on your bottle or jar and give it a few good shakes to blend.
  5. Store it in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. 

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  1. Arunaa on

    Hi dr,
    Plz tell me abt my skin is very thin loose and dry and also on my forehead and just up eye brows having deep lines .plz suggest.

  2. Em - Aromatherapy Educator on

    Lemon essential oil does *not* contain Vitamin C. It does not contain any vitamins. The fruit of the lemon does, but not the essential oil. Please, please, please, take a true course in aromatherapy that covers the chemistry of essential oils before continuing to spread such misinformation within the community. <3

    • Nolan Granberg on

      Cold pressed lemon peel oil seems like it could contain some vitamin c. The distilled version definitely not. In theory it definitely seems possible, maybe only in small amounts though.

  3. I never said this before!! on

    I guess I won’t get an answer from you…..That’s alright if you wish not to answer me……I just thought your knowledge far exceeds others.


  4. Faye van Haaren on

    You are informative.! In Modern Essentials which I think you are familiar with it suggests and eye drop recipe. Combine 5 parts distilled water, or structured water. well didn’t say structured :) 2 parts honey and 1 part apple cider vinegar a good brand name, like Braggs
    etc. Store in a bottle and use for eyes, Says have been used for glaucoma, cataracts, spots, etc. I have the start of macular generation, and was going to try this.
    Would you recommend? I do the frankincense daily morning noon and night.
    I don’t know if you have your own line of essential oils, but do have a DVD on Pure Essential Oils by Dr. Axe.


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