I use my witch hazel straight in replacement of liquid called for in a cream recipe. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of aloe juice, I replace it with 1 cup of witch hazel. My creams are not drying in the least.
Incidentally, you can make herbal witch hazels using dried or fresh herbs and purchased witch hazel (the commercial type) the same way you'd make a tincture. If you think about it, the medicine of a plant isn't normally in it's "water," but in and around it's cells. Dried herbs are simply medicinals without water. The medicine is not dimished (perhaps slightly), if dried and stored well. Commercial witch hazel contains a high amount of water, so if you put in dried plant material, it will rehydrate the plant material. That doesn't really make any difference to the extraction process of medicinal constituents. So, in my opinion, the medicine of either fresh or dried plants can be extracted into witch hazel.
I know that many people talk about the "spirit" or energy of the plant being more evident in fresh plants vs. dried. This is a whole other topic. Maybe someone can start that topic. I have to go get ready for my class - nervines!
Talk to you all soon!