Did you think aloe vera was just for sunburns? How wrong you are: Aloe vera is also a natural, resourceful alternative to getting gorgeous. Its antibacterial, soothing properties make it perfect for a variety of cures, plus it’s gentle on sensitive skin, and packed with vitamins, enzymes, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants such as vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, B12, folic acid, and choline. Here’s how to use aloe vera as a beauty product and incorporate the magical succulent into your hair, beauty and skincare routine:
Aloe Vera For Your Face:
- Makeup Remover: As a smokey eye fiend, I know firsthand how getting it off at the end of the night is a pain. Many makeup remover can be harsh on the delicate skin around the eye and dry it out. A quick trick? Take Aloe vera gel (either store-bought or straight from the plant) on a cotton pad and swipe away before hitting the sack.
- Sensitive Skin Facial Mask: You can soothe finicky skin with only three ingredients . Mix 1 Tbsp Aloe vera with 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 tsp of juiced lemon in a small bowl. After washing the skin, apply and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. (Obviously don’t apply to cuts or chapped skin — that lemon will burn if you do!)
- Overnight Firming Mask: You’ll need a blender needed for this overnight mask: take aloe juice and blend with half a cucumber and one egg white. Apply to your face and then head to bed. Word to the wise, use a pillowcase you aren’t in love with that night.
- Brow Gel: For a healthy and effective brow gel, simply dip a clean mascara wand in Aloe vera gel and brush over brows to keep them in place, sans sticky gel.
- Acne Fighter: Just because you have acne doesn’t mean you don’t need moisture! Apply pure Aloe vera straight from the plant to your blemishes and allow it to absorb; the soothing properties help inflammation while bacteria is eradicated. By the end of the day, your zits will have shrank considerably.
- Exfoliating Scrub: Aloe vera is an excellent addition to a homemade scrub – not only do you get all the benefits of the plant, but you also have the perfect base to carry other ingredients. Simply mix a palmful of brown sugar (or you can use baking soda) with aloe and rub into the skin in a circular motion. Voila!Smooth, radiant skin for pennies.
- Moisturizer: If you have oily skin, or if it’s the middle of summer and everything is too sticky and heavy, use straight Aloe vera as your moisturizer. It absorbs super fast and actually plumps fine lines. If you suffer from rosacea, you might also find relief in applying pure Aloe to affected areas.
Aloe Vera For The Body:
- Boo Boo Aid: Aloe vera is great to have on hand for insect bites, stings, sunburns and other minor inflammations. A great trick is to fill an ice cube tray with Aloe vera gel and freeze. It’s an amazing source of relief, should the need arise.
- Shaving: Some beauty pros swear by using Aloe vera gel as a shaving cream. Simply apply to legs, bikini area, underarms and get to shaving! (Make sure you wash your razor afterwards, though.) You’ll find it also does double duty as a soothing aftershave.
- Moisturizer For Dry, Cracked Heels: Aloe vera applied directly on the heels plus socks overnight will do wonders! You can also use a foot mask with ½ cup of oatmeal, ¼ cup Aloe vera gel and ½ cup of your favorite body lotion and apply to your feet for super smooth feet. Add a few drops of tea tree oil for a fresh scent.
- DIY Hand Sanitizer & Hand Treatment: Every hand sanitizer out there now has Aloe included so you don’t dry out your hands. But did you know you could make your own? Take a ½ cup Aloe vera gel, ¼ cup alcohol and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to scent. The mixture works best in a spritz bottle; spray on hands and rub together. For an anti-aging hand treatment, take 1 Tbsp of raw Aloe and combine with 1 tsp of raw coconut oil. Warm on hands, massage into the skin, then rinse.
- All-Natural Mouthwash: Aloe benefits the gums immensely with antioxidants, antibacterial agents and antiviral properties, so it comes as no surprise that you can also rid yourself of bad breath with a quick AV swish. Simply mix 1 cup Aloe vera with ½ cup distilled water, 2 tps baking soda and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. Be careful not to swallow.
- Soothe an Upset Tummy: Aloe vera juice helps aid digestion, can soothe an upset stomach and has been proven to relieve heartburn. Too much, however, can have a laxative effect (if that’s what you’re going for, though …).
Aloe Vera For Hair:
- Dry, Damaged Hair Mask: An Aloe vera hair mask can do wonders for straw-like overprocessed hair. Apply raw Aloe to the scalp; leave on for 30 minutes and then rinse. It helps strengthen growing hair as well as calm an irritated, itchy scalp. This treatment has major benefits for those of us who bleach our locks on a regular basis.
Leave In Conditioner: Get a spray bottle and mix Aloe vera gel with olive oil and a few drops of Vitamin E oil. Spritz the scalp and ends of hair before drying and you’ll notice a softer, smoother mane. (This treatment is not recommended for fine hair as these super-emollient ingredients may weigh you down too much.)
- Homemade Anti-Frizz Gel: Just a thin application of Aloe vera gel along the part line helps keep frizzies at bay. Perfect if you’re looking for an all-natural alternative, or you’re in a pinch for some product.