Witch hazel pads are an essential recovery item for postpartum, but how do you use them, where do you buy them, and which brand is the best? This post breaks it all down.
If you’re curious about the healing powers of witch hazel pads for your postpartum recovery, you’re in the right place.
This in-depth guide breaks down:
- What are witch hazel pads?
- Why witch hazel pads are good for recovery
- How to use witch hazel pads
- The different types of witch hazel products
- Where to buy witch hazel pads
- The best brand for postpartum recovery
- Our pick for postpartum witch hazel pads
What are witch hazel pads?
You might not know this, but witch hazel is a botanical. That means it’s something that comes from a plant (the Hamamelis Virginiana plant, to be exact).
Witch hazel is an excellent choice for postpartum healing because it’s a natural astringent, which “naturally draws water out of tissues, causing them to shrink or constrict.”
This, plus the burning, itching, and irritation relief witch hazel pads provide, show why they’re a must-have postpartum recovery item (especially for those pesky hemorrhoids).
So, a witch hazel pad is simply a piece of cotton soaked in witch hazel. Some witch hazel pad products contain other soothing ingredients like herbs or oils. Most will contain other ingredients to help preserve the product and keep it shelf-stable.
Why witch hazel pads are good for postpartum recovery
Witch hazel pads are great for postpartum healing and recovery, no matter how you give birth. They are multi-use and will quickly be one of your favorite items in your postpartum recovery toolkit.
Those who gave birth vaginally (or pushed and ultimately had a cesarean delivery) will find witch hazel pads to be extra soothing on your tender and swollen vulva.
Witch hazel pads can also help soothe hemorrhoids from pregnancy or help calm the newly aggravated ones caused by pushing.
If you had a cesarean birth, you can check with your doctor to see if you could use witch hazel pads on your incision to help keep it clean and encourage healing. While it might not be necessary, it’s always worth asking.
So, why are witch hazel pads so great for postpartum?
They are gentle, effective, and cleansing, thanks to their naturally astringent nature. Plus, studies show that their cooling effect helps reduce inflammation, and its natural tannins can help decrease swelling.
How to use witch hazel pads
Postpartum comes with many learning curves, but thankfully, using witch hazel pads is super simple and can significantly support your healing.
Here’s how to use them:
- Select a pair of undies (mesh, supportive, etc.)
- Pick your postpartum pad of choice
- Line the pad with witch hazel pads
- Gently pull up your underwear
- Enjoy the soothing, cooling relief
Read next: The Best Postpartum Underwear
The different types of witch hazel products
If you’ve been researching witch hazel pads for a while, you’ve probably noticed a lot of witch hazel products on the market: pads, sprays, liquids, etc. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of witch hazel products you’ll find for postpartum healing.
Witch hazel pads
Brands like Tucks and FridaMom make convenient witch hazel pads for you to line your postpartum pad to help soothe soreness and ease swelling.
The most notable difference between these two is that the Tucks pads are circular (line them like salami on your pad), and the FridaMom pads are a large sheet (pop one out and line your pad).
Pro tip: store witch hazel pads in the fridge for an extra soothing sensation.
The main ingredient in most perineal sprays is witch hazel. On the ingredient list, you’ll also find a variety of soothing herbs and essential oils that help promote healing and recovery. If you are looking for a convenient spray application of witch hazel, a perineal spray is a great option.
Witch hazel foam
The foam form of witch hazel is a convenient option that delivers the same healing results. You can add a pump to your peri bottle and rinse down there as needed. You can also squirt a line directly on your pad, which could get messy quickly.
The only downside is that the foam won’t stay as cold as the refrigerated pads, and there’s something irreplaceable about the cooling sensation of witch hazel pads postpartum.
Where to buy witch hazel pads for after birth
If you’ve decided that witch hazel pads are for you, you’ll be happy to know they’re super easy to find. Most drug stores, online shops, and big box stores carry witch hazel pads. You can probably find them in the pharmacy section of the grocery, too.
- Drug stores and pharmacies
- Grocery stores
- Online retailers
- Big box stores (think Target, Wal-Mart, etc.)
If you’re looking for a specific brand, you’ll probably have the most luck buying from a large online store rather than running around to a bunch of local stores in your area.
Shop postpartum witch hazel products
Which brand of witch hazel is the best for postpartum?
Well, “best” is always a relative term, but hands down, Tucks is the most popular brand for postpartum witch hazel pads. They’re the #1 best-seller on Amazon for hemorrhoid care.
Our favorite brand of witch hazel pads
Our pick for postpartum witch hazel pads? We love the sheets from FridaMom. They’re long enough to cover the most oversized postpartum pad and easy to apply. Plus, the easy pop-up dispenser will save you the frustration of trying to pick apart individual circular pads.
Plus, unlike other witch hazel pads on the market, they contain no harsh chemicals, dyes, or fragrances.