Discovered in ancient Egypt, aloe vera has since been used as a healing treatment for burns, inflammation, irritation and other severe topical injuries. For this reason, it was considered a “plant of immortality”. Its antibacterial, soothing properties make it perfect for a variety of cures. As it also contains a plenty of valuable compounds such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc., this succulent plant has gained also popularity as an effective skin and hair care option.
Aloe vera is composed of triangular leaves that contain three layers, with the innermost layer containing 99 percent water and an abundance of beneficial nutrients. To use it in your daily beauty regimen, you can either use it in its natural form or buy aloe vera gel. If possible it’s always good to extract aloe vera gel naturally at home and make use of it, as it provides better results.
To extract gel from the aloe vera leaf, first wash to remove any dirt. Then stand it upright in a cup or bowl for 10-15 minutes (this will allow the yellow-tinted resin which can irritate your skin to drain out of the leaf). After the resin has drained completely, wash off any remains on the leaf and peel off the thick skin using a small knife or vegetable peeler. This will reveal the natural aloe vera gel. Scoop it out using a small spoon. You can either use the gel as it is or liquefy it in a blender before application.
Here are 10 ways to incorporate aloe vera in your beauty routine:
- Makeup remover: Many store-bought makeup removers can be harsh on the sensitive skin, especially around the eye, and dry it out. Natural aloe vera gel is a hydrating makeup remover that can even handle the toughest mascara without harming your skin.
- Skin care: Aloe vera is an excellent skin care product. Aloe vera gel has the ability to repair and rejuvenate skin. Aloe vera can help restore healthy skin affected by sunburn, acne scars or even just build up from a tough day of pollution and city lights.
- Skin toner: Many store-bought skin toners tend to dry skin out, whereas aloe vera gel helps to tighten the pores without drying out the skin. It also adds extra moisture to sensitive, dry skin.
- Moisturizer: If you’re looking for a natural moisturizer, aloe vera gel is the best option. Aloe gel can serve as a lightweight moisturizer as it can be absorbed quickly into the skin, and nourish and keep it hydrated.
- Shaving gel: For some shaving can really irritate the skin, and can also result in cuts if you aren’t careful. Applying aloe vera gel post-shave will soothe the skin, lock in moisture, and make it soft and smooth.
- Facial masks: Regardless of the type of skin you have–dry, oily or sensitive–applying aloe vera gel will leave it radiant and glowing. That’s why adding this magical ingredient to facial masks is an excellent idea. The antibacterial, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, and amazing medicinal properties of aloe vera can cure even the most stubborn skin problems. Here are some DIY facial masks with aloe vera gel for each skin type:
- For oily/acne prone skin: Mix 1 tbsp aloe vera, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp honey and apply directly to a clean face and neck. Leave on until the mask is completely dry and rinse it off with warm water.
- For dry skin: Mix 1 tbsp aloe vera, 1 tbsp fresh cream and 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil (from Vit E capsule). Massage the mask into face and leave on for about 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Use it 2-3 times a week for super soft, hydrated skin.
- For sensitive skin: Mix 1 tbsp aloe vera, 1 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp cucumber juice and apply directly to a clean face and neck. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse off. Pat dry and follow up with a moisturizer.
- Brow gel: Dip a clean mascara wand in aloe vera gel and brush over brows to keep them in place.
- Acne fighter: The soothing properties of pure aloe vera make it a great option to treat inflammation. Apply pure aloe vera gel straight from the plant to your blemishes and leave it on; by the end of the day, your acne will have shrunk considerably.
- Leave-in conditioner: For a softer and smoother mane, use a DIY aloe vera gel leave-in conditioner. Get a spray bottle and mix aloe vera gel with olive oil and a few drops of Vitamin E oil. Spray to the scalp and ends of hair when it’s still wet for shiny hair.
- Makeup setting spray: Aloe vera can be used to make a natural makeup setting spray. Put 2-3 tablespoons freshly obtained aloe vera gel, 5 drops lavender oil, and 1 ½ cup of distilled water in a spray bottle. This natural setting spray can not only keep your makeup intact, but also control shine, prevent breakouts, and make your skin soft and smooth.