Aloe vera is super light and easily absorbed by the skin, which helps to lock in moisture. Since it is non-comedogenic, it doesn't add oil or clog pores for those with oily skin, which means it works for all skin types. Plus, the ingredients in the aloe plant—vitamins, minerals and peptides, can accelerate wound healing too. On the scalp, aloe vera works the same way. It soothes the skin and has antibacterial properties, so it can combat scalp itchiness and prevent dandruff too. If you want to use it in your own skincare and hair care recipes, the easiest way to do so is by cutting the leaf open and using the gel directly as the base for your masks and scrubs.
5 ways you can use aloe vera in your DIY skin- and hair-nourishing recipes
1. A deep-cleansing scalp mask
Using the gel from an aloe vera plant as shampoo can help deep-cleanse the scalp and prevent excess oil formation. This is particularly important if you want to get rid of buildup from products or pollution. Mix apple cider vinegar (a pH balancer) and lemon juice, which is a powerful astringent, with the aloe vera gel. Massage it on your scalp, and then wash out.
2. A frizz-fighting hair paste
If your hair is frizzy, it's likely because the cuticles are open and moisture is leaving the strand too fast. Aloe vera attracts moisture from the atmosphere and seals into the hair due to the pectin and sugar molecules present. The amino acids have trace amounts of protein present, which can strengthen the cortex of damaged hair. Mix it with avocado, which is an emollient, and leaves the hair surface shiny and able to reflect light. Rake the paste through damp hair, and then rinse out after 30 minutes.
3. A soothing eye makeup remover
If the skin around your eye is prone to flakiness or redness, removing stubborn makeup with a remover can be a painful process. Instead, apply coconut oil and aloe vera to your lashes and around the eyes with a cotton ball, making sure to massage it in to break down all the product. This mixture is not only effective at removing waterproof makeup; but it has a soothing, nourishing effect on the lashes and the delicate skin around the eye.
4. A mask for acne-prone skin
One of the active ingredients in aloe vera gel is salicylic acid, which is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) that is used to treat acne. It helps to rev up cell turnover, reducing pore-clogging. Plus, the calming properties can help reduce inflammation associated with active, painful zits. To keep breakouts at bay, apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel mixed with honey to the face. The latter has an osmotic effect on the skin, so it draws out all the excess liquid that makes a pimple look red and swollen.
5. A strengthening brow gel
Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes which repair dead skin cells, hydrates and strengthens hair follicles. It also increases blood circulation, another must for the hair growth process. Castor oil acts as a lubricant, coating and conditioning strands to improve smoothness and shine. Mix castor oil and aloe vera gel and apply with a mascara wand for the best results.
In case of excessive hair damage or skin infections, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist/ skin specialist.