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This time of year, we all get motivated to crank up our exercise routine. Working up a sweat is good for many things, including purging toxins from your pores to get your skin glowing, increase energy, balance hormones, sleep more restfully, and reduce stress.
But it can also be a cause of acne when trapped sweat clogs pores (thanks—hat, mask, and sports bra). When you don’t have time to shower or deep clean, these DIY face wipes are perfect for a post-exercise wipe down for your face and chest. Sweat is an important mechanism that your body has for removing toxins, so if you don’t break a sweat, these toxins can just sit there and do a double whammy on your skin.
But you don’t have to wait for a sweat session to get the facial benefits of these wipes. Inspired by those out-of-my-price-range Detox wipes at Anthropologie, I crafted a rose-infused witch hazel mixture with healing aloe to exfoliate and hydrate.
Witch hazel has long been used on the skin for its astringent properties but can also help prevent photodamage that leads to aging [source]. The combination of witch hazel and aloe is perfect for oily skin, so you can also use them as a toner after washing your face at night.
And both witch hazel and rose have been found to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on skin cells [source]. Here’s how to make your own.
Infused Witch Hazel DIY Face Wipes
First, combine a cup of witch hazel with about 1/2 cup of dried roses in a clean jar with a lid. Let it sit for 1–2 weeks in a cool, dry place. If you run out of patience before 2 weeks, no worries. The longer it sits, the stronger the infusion.
When you’re ready to make the face pads, strain out the rose pieces. The witch hazel turns a really pretty shade of red! This is also how you know you’ve let them infuse for long enough.
Add 1 part aloe to 3 parts witch hazel and stir together until combined. You can also add a couple of drops of essential oils for your skin type if desired. Tea tree oil is an amazing essential oil for acne-prone skin, and literally, just one drop will be potent enough for your entire batch.
Stack your face pads in a jar, and pour the mixture over them. Give it about an hour for the pads to soak up all of the liquid. For long-term storage, I recommend keeping them in the fridge—it ensures they’re fresher for longer, plus a cold wipe will feel amazing after a hot, sweaty workout.
The pads can get stuck together a bit, so just use your fingers to pry them apart when ready to use. Or, keep a pair of tweezers nearby to get the pads out—it’s more hygienic and ensures that your pads don’t accidentally get contaminated.
Witch hazel, a natural astringent and antioxidant [source], has so many skin benefits, including reducing inflammation [source], speeding up healing [source], and tightening pores. But my favorite is just how cooling it feels. It’s the perfect post-exercise pick me up. There’s a reason it’s been around for so many decades and yet remains a modern-day staple.
Now, I know that a jar isn’t the most travel-friendly container—but I have a solution for you. Silicone zip-top containers are perfect for this. Instead of using regular ziplock bags that need to be thrown away, these silicone ones are perfect for keeping a tiny stash of wipes in your gym bag. Just spritz your face and chest after exercising to reap the antioxidant benefits.
A spray bottle is also a great travel-friendly way to carry this solution with you. Just put a small amount in a dark spray bottle so you can grab and go!
Face Wipe FAQs
How long can these DIY face wipes last?
The solution will be kept the longest and most potent if it’s stored in a dark glass container or jar. Whenever we grab some cotton pads with our fingers and make a new batch, we introduce the possibility of contamination. Personally, I would pop a few fresh ones in only when I need them or am heading out to the gym. Since our recipe is natural and without preservatives, using them as you make them is best, and the idea of them sitting in a steamy locker room multiple times isn’t how they will remain the freshest.
I have rosacea, but can I still use these?
Those with rosacea might want to avoid witch hazel as it can irritate skin, especially if you’re using witch hazel that has alcohol in it.
Can I use the solution as a toner instead?
Absolutely! You can make this solution and just spritz your face with it after cleansing. Its purpose isn’t only for sweat removal.
I like the idea of adding an essential oil, but which one should I use?
Good question! Just make sure to follow the instructions above to dilute them by adding only one drop into the mixture, as essential oils should not be used directly on the skin.
Should this be used everywhere on my face?
Since witch hazel is an astringent, I would avoid the eye area. And since we don’t have many sweat glands around this fragile area, it doesn’t need astringent anyway. Concentrate on the t-zone, chin, and chest, where we expel the most toxins when working out.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.