18 ways to use aloe vera gel for health and beauty
The humble aloe vera plant is part of the lily family and is originally from West Africa. With its cactus like, fleshy leaves, it is a popular household plant and the clear gel contained in its leaves has a variety of uses for health and beauty. You may already know that aloe vera gel can be used to treat sunburn, but we've found 20 other ways to use aloe vera at home that you may not know about!
Grow your own aloe vera plant and squeeze the gel directly from the leaves, or purchase the pure gel, cream or juice in chemists and health food shops – its easy to find and it isn't expensive. Then you can try out our ideas for yourself, and let us know how you get on.
#1. Makeup remover
Many eye makeup removers are packed with harsh chemicals and parabens, which can dry out skin and cause health problems; they're also not ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or contact lens wearers. Using a dollop of pure aloe vera gel on a cotton ball is the best, natural way to remove eye makeup, and it won't sting!
#2. Shaving cream
Those in-the-know swear by aloe gel as a shaving cream. It's naturally antibacterial (great for nicks), moisturising and allows for a close shave. Try mixing it with some castile or hand soap and a few drops of vitamin E oil for a rich, moisturising lather. This will keep in the fridge for 6 months and has none of the artificial additives or chemical ingredients of most shaving creams or gels.
#3. Face wash
You can make your own face wash with pure aloe vera gel – just mix one tablespoon of gel with one teaspoon of almond milk and one teaspoon of organic coconut oil. This is ideal to treat breakouts, sensitive skin and redness. Coconut oil has anti-ageing properties and is great for your skin.
#4. Eyebrow gel
Keeping those strong brows tidy can be a challenge – stay away from commercial eyebrow gels which can often look hard and unnatural. Dip a clean mascara wand in some aloe vera gel and it will tame brows without stickiness.
Aloe vera helps to soothe sunburn, so if you've overdone it and your skin is red and sore, gently rub some pure gel into the affected area for immediate relied. Aloe gel is moisturising too, so it helps prevent peeling. Make sure you wear sunscreen when you head outside for your run – even on overcast days the sun's rays can be strong!
#6. Cracked heel repair
You can make a treatment at home for cracked heels and feet using aloe vera gel. Mix 4 tablespoons of the gel with ½ cup each of corn meal and oatmeal and ½ cup of unscented body lotion and slather all over your feet, leaving for 10 minutes before rinsing off. This helps to exfoliate and moisturise. Eating plenty of good fats such as olive oil can help to prevent cracked, dry skin.
#7. Hand sanitiser
Many hand sanitisers have antibacterial triclosan in them, which can encourage the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and can also dry out your skin. Use ½ a cup of aloe vera gel mixed with ¼ cup of alcohol and a few drops of your favourite essential oil for fragrance in a spray bottle. We love using orange oil for a fresh fragrance.
#8. Healthy drink
Aloe vera juice is up there with coconut water in terms of nutritional benefits – it's packed with nutrients and fibre. It can boost the immune system, aid digestion and help to fight inflammation from irritable bowel syndrome. Drinking aloe vera juice may even help to maintain a healthy heart – a recent clinical study showed it may help improve blood circulation and decrease total fat levels in those with high cholesterol.
#9. Dandruff treatment
Aloe gel's natural antibacterial properties make it a great scalp treatment. If your scalp is itchy, flaky or sore from commercial shampoos or hair colour, massage some aloe vera gel into it and wrap in a warm towel for 30 minutes before rinsing, for instant relief and a moisturised scalp.
#10. Treat eczema
Eczema can be incredibly painful and itchy – aloe vera gel can be applied to the skin to reduce itching, puffiness and inflammation. There are also aloe vera shampoos and creams available to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
#11. Stretch mark treatment
If you're pregnant and looking to protect yourself against stretchmarks, apply pure aloe vera gel to keep the skin moisturised – it's a more natural alternative to other remedies on the market.
#12. Refreshing eye gel
It's been a long day working from home or staring at a computer screen at the office, and your eyes are puffy and tired. Apply a blob of aloe vera gel to the under eye area and gently massage in until absorbed. This is instantly cooling and soothing – it also helps to protect the skin's youthful properties as it is moisturising and anti-ageing.
Aloe vera gel or cream makes a great moisturiser for dry, flaky patches on your face or dry skin anywhere on your body. Just make sure you buy the pure gel or cream rather than commercial moisturisers which only contain a small percentage of aloe and are packed with chemicals.
#14. Acne treatment
You can reduce redness and help spots to heal by applying neat aloe vera gel to spots after washing your face. This gentle treatment won't dry out your skin. Addressing your diet can also help; you should eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, rich in omega 3.
#15. Fresh breath treatment
If you're worried about bad breath, try making a drink with ¼ cup of aloe vera gel dissolved in ½ cup of water or fresh apple juice. Aloe vera contains B-sitosterol, an anti-inflammatory compound that soothes acid indigestion, which can cause bad breath. You could even try adding it to your smoothie – but be cautious, consumed in large quantities it can have a laxative effect.
#16. Home-made scrub
Make a home-made body or face scrub without any chemical nasties for a great way to reveal fresh, bright skin. Mix ½ cup of aloe vera gel with baking soda or brown sugar to create a gritty texture. Aloe helps to soften and supply oxygen to the skin cells, making it a great base for a scrub.
#17. Soothing ice-cubes
Fill an ice-cube tray with aloe vera gel and freeze for little soothing cubes. These can be used for itchy eczema or psoriasis, sunburn or on scalds/burns.
#18. Burn treatment
If you've ever burned yourself whilst cooking a healthy meal, you'll know how painful it can be. Run your hand under cold water then apply a blob of aloe vera gel to cool and ease the pain – it really does work!