Today we’re going to talk about aloe vera and how you can reap its many benefits to improve the appearance of your skin and hair as well as your oral hygiene and general well-being.
We’ll also show you how to make your own DIY aloe vera gel for face mask and hair mask recipes to treat various skin problems and help condition and grow your hair.
All of these will include simple step by step instructions and require a minimal amount of additional ingredients.
Sounds good? Great!
But before we get started, let’s first get to know this wonder plant a little better shall we?
Belonging to the Liliaceae family of cactus (sometimes reclassified to the Asphodelaceae), the plant grows in tropical climates often found in Madagascar, India, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The ancient Egyptians dubbed it the “plant of immortality” and for good reason. Aloe has been used to treat everything from wounds and infections to ulcers and arthritis. There is evidence it can aid digestion and even kill the cavity causing bacteria that live in your mouth.
You’re probably most familiar with aloe as an ingredient commonly found in sunburn treatments and products used to treat inflammation. But aloe can do so much more. That’s why its use in the Ayurvedic tradition of medicine dates back centuries thanks to its therapeutic properties.
The leaves of the plant secrete a liquid gel that soothes damaged skin and speeds up the healing process when applied topically. As a result, it can be used to treat a variety of skin problems including:
This makes aloe a god-send for sensitive skin types and sun-damaged skin that needs to repair itself. There is also promising research that shows it may be helpful for eczema, psoriasis, and other chronic skin conditions.
As for your hair, aloe vera helps lock moisture to the cuticle acting as a natural conditioner leaving it smooth and shiny. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties can also be used to treat irritation of the scalp and maintain the health of hair follicles.
Now let’s look at specific use cases where using the ingredient can come in handy!
List of Aloe Vera Benefits – How and When To Use It
Chances are, you’ve seen or know aloe vera as a burn relief ingredient. While scientific evidence for its effectiveness is rather sparse, the American Academy of Dermatology still recommends using an aloe vera oil moisturizer to help reduce redness and stinging.
In high concentrations, it may have potent anti-inflammatory effects and be capable of minimizing the free radical damage that accumulates in inflamed skin tissue especially in cases of thermal burns and excessive heat (aka sunburns).
Apply the gel to the affected areas in generous amounts and next time remember to wear sunscreen!
If you have dry or dehydrated skin aloe can be very useful for repairing your skin’s natural moisture barrier which is responsible for helping it retain water and making it appear more plump and firm. People with a damaged moisture barrier often find they have dull looking skin that lacks that bright glow seen in healthy faces.
A major benefit is that it’s a lightweight moisturizer that doesn’t leave behind a thick greasy feel. This means it can still be used even by oily skin types if you’re applying to your face.
Aloe vera shines most when it comes to treating acne scars and hyperpigmentation. These are the little red darkened spots that get left behind after popping a pimple.
Why is it so effective? The leaves of the plant actually contain salicylic acid aka the BHA (beta hydroxy acid) type of exfoliator and one of the most common acne spot treatments. It can reduce the appearance of blemishes and unclog pores which really helps with whiteheads and blackheads too.
Promote Anti-Aging Skin
Containing powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene (a form of Vitamin A) aloe vera, as we mentioned before, can fight free radicals and prevent skin damage at a cellular level. For example, adequate levels of Vitamin C are essential for building collagen, one of they key structural proteins your skin naturally loses as it ages and one of the reasons older people… look older.
When you combine these factors with its moisturizing properties, using it on your face can improve skin elasticity making it firmer and younger looking. It’s definitely worth trying it if you want to get rid of fine lines, wrinkles, or crow’s feet!
Fade Stretch Marks
Stretch marks are essentially tears in the skin that come about after it “stretches” beyond capacity. This is why they’re so common after rapid weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy. But seeing as how they’re essentially micro-wounds, aloe vera can help fade them away if applied topically on a consistent basis.
It works particularly well with ground coffee and/or lemon juice because those ingredients encourage exfoliation meaning the outermost skin layer is shed while aloe vera encourages new cell growth replacing older skin cells with younger, healthier skin. We recommend reading this guide for more information about treating stretch marks.
Prevent Periodontal Disease
Did you know swishing 100% pure aloe vera juice in your mouth works just as well at preventing tooth decay and fighting gum disease as using an everyday mouthwash that you’d find in a store? Researchers discovered there’s literally no difference between the two when it comes to their dental benefits. This is a good option if you don’t want to spend extra money on mouthwash.
Use As An Aftershave
Aloe vera’s specialty is dealing with little cuts and nicks making it an ideal natural ingredient to use as an aftershave.
To use on your face you only need a small pea sized amount which you can rub in between your palms to smooth out before applying to the affected areas. Since aloe also acts as a toning agent, you may find it helps close pores and tighten the feeling of your skin.
Another alternative is to use aloe vera but then after it dries follow-up with an actual aftershave balm OR to mix it with a different ingredient such as glycerin to make it more liquid-like or tea tree oil for an extra antiseptic, anti-acne boost.
Nourish Hair Follicles
Aloe vera is known to contain proteolytic enzymes which help get rid of dead skin cells on the scalp when stimulated allowing new hair to grow more efficiently and potentially faster.
It can also prevent itching in cases of dandruff and make your existing hair more resilient to breakage. This is because it has a similar chemical composition to keratin which is a protein that makes up about 90% of the structure of your hair. Not to mention aloe also contains about 18 of the 20 required essential amino acid proteins. An adequate amount of protein is a prerequisite to growing stronger hair.
That’s why if you want extra support you need to try one of the hair masks we’ll discuss below!
Face Mask Recipes
Below you will find simple face masks you can create using aloe vera plus a sugar scrub for exfoliation.
Anti-Acne Face Mask
- 1 Tbsp Aloe Vera gel
- 1 or 2 drops tea tree oil (can also swap with jojoba or neem oil)
- 2 or 3 drops of purified water
Instructions & Notes
Mix the ingredients together using aloe vera as your base. Then apply it to your face and keep it on for at least 5 minutes letting it take effect.
You can adjust the quantity of each ingredient to your liking BUT keep in mind if using tea tree oil it is very powerful and can be overly harsh on your skin if used in large amounts. This is why it is always necessary to dilute the oil hence the reason you want to use purified water.
Another option is to swap it with jojoba or neem oil which are both effective options against acne. Read this guide for more info on which can be used for acne-prone skin.
Use this mask during your PM skincare routine and wake up the next morning with refreshed skin!
Dry Skin Face Mask
- 1 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
- 1 tsp plain yogurt (can also use milk or coconut oil)
- 2 or 3 drops rose water (can also use extra virgin olive oil)
Instructions & Notes
Blend this mix until you get a paste-like consistency then apply to your face and keep on for about 10 to 15 minutes or so before rinsing with cool water.
You may notice the aloe vera begin to dry where the slightest facial movement will make the gel crack. Don’t be alarmed! This is completely natural and a sign that it’s about time to take it off.
You can use rose oil for this recipe but we also suggested olive oil as an alternative because it contains a rich essential fatty acid profile that can nourish dry skin which tends to tolerate thicker oils better than oily skin.
Milk also produces a moisturizing effect (Cleopatra took frequent milk baths to maintain the beauty of her skin) BUT if you’d rather not use milk, plain yogurt or powdered milk are also options. If you’d rather avoid dairy completely, extra virgin coconut oil is your friend here.
Aloe Vera Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub
- 1/2 to 1 cup of aloe vera gel
- equal amount of white sugar
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut oil
Instructions & Notes
This one makes for a good DIY exfoliator you can use anywhere on your body. Use coconut oil as your base and stir the three ingredients together well. This recipe produces a little more because it’s also meant for the body. We recommend keeping it in the fridge so you always have a cooling scrub ready to remove dead skin cells blocking pores and freshen up your appearance!
Want more? We’ve got plenty of DIY facial mask recipes you can try for all skin types and needs.
Hair Mask Recipes
When using a hair mask, you want your hair basically flipped over the front of your head toward the sink or bath so it can catch the oil falling from your hair. This is like the popular “inversion method” used for helping hair grow faster with the help of gravity.
For optimal results apply the mask directly onto your scalp massaging it for awhile letting the proteolytic enzymes we mentioned before take effect. Then you want to work your way from the roots toward the ends so the entire length of the hair cuticle is coated in the infusion.
Some people like using a shower cap to keep the mask on their head for longer periods of time. Use whichever one fits your preference (or schedule) best.
Aloe Vera Coconut Oil Hair Mask
Use equal amounts of:
- aloe vera juice
- extra virgin coconut oil OR coconut milk (or both)
And a pinch of honey for antibacterial benefits if it pleases you.
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well
- Massage the mixture over your scalp until your hair is saturated.
- Use one of the methods we described above (inverting your head toward a sink or keeping a shower cap over it) .
- Leave on for about half an hour, maybe smile in the mirror a couple times because you’re looking out for your precious locks, and then rinse off with cool water.
- Optional: Wash your hair with a non-sulfate shampoo and finish with a conditioner.
Coconut oil is chock full of antioxidants and combined with aloe vera makes for a potent hair mask. You can also head into the shower after this mask if you want the mixture completely off your hair. Repeat this routine about 3 times per week.
Other popular substitutes for coconut oil:
- Egg yolk
- Hibiscus (a natural conditioner)
- Castor oil (for oily scalps and greasy hair)
- Lemon juice (we’re not fans for skin or hair but some people like it)
- Apple cider vinegar (for dandruff especially)
Here are sample quantities you can use mixing and matching ingredients (adjust them based on how much hair you have!):
Aloe Vera ACV Hair Mask For Dandruff
- 1 cup aloe vera
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp ACV
Follow the same general instructions outlined above.
Aloe Vera Egg Mask Recipe For Hair Growth
- 1 cup aloe vera
- 2 to 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 or 2 egg yolks
Again follow the same instructions as above.
We covered a lot today. We hope you learned something new and why you might consider adding aloe vera into your everyday skincare or haircare routine. Give some of the recipes above a try and your skin or hair will thank you later.
Aloe vera has proven to be an effective ingredient for a variety of problems and comes in useful in a variety of situations. Anyone can make use of its beauty benefits including you.