If aloe vera were a person, it would be the type that's friends with everyone. It's that approachable—it's an uncomplicated ingredient that jives with most people, regardless of their skin type. Not to mention, it's so easy to use (seriously, just slap it on and you're done) and requires zero waiting time. No wonder countless tubs and tubes of aloe gel fly off the shelves. Obviously, we're proud members of its fan club, too.
You're probably thinking now: Is aloe vera really worth this much hype? Read our primer on the ingredient below and judge for yourself:
What Is Aloe Vera and What Does It Do for Your Skin?
The aloe vera in skincare is derived from a fleshy, cactus-like medicinal plant of the same name. It's best known for its soothing properties, but it has other benefits like skin healing, hydration, and calming down breakouts and other types of irritation like sunburn.
The aloe plant itself has three layers: the thick outer layer (basically what we see before cutting into it), the middle latex layer with sap, and finally, the innermost layer that contains the clear gel that's safe for skin use. It's naturally rich in vitamins (A, B12, C, and E), minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc), fatty acids, and sugars that give the plant its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant perks.
How Do You Use Aloe Vera?
1. Apply it directly on your skin.
Although aloe vera gel is safe to consume orally, experts recommend applying it topically or directly on the skin to fully reap its benefits. Use it as a treatment for irritated skin or as your everyday moisturizer for some lightweight yet soothing hydration. This applies to both aloe you get straight from the plant and aloe-infused products!
That said, when using skincare products with aloe, try to avoid ones with high concentrations of alcohol or fragrance if you already have compromised skin (like if you're sunburnt). These ingredients can cancel out the plant's calming benefits or make the irritation worse, and nobody wants that!
2. Harvest the gel from the plant at home.
When you want to go the natural route, you can opt to harvest your own aloe gel straight from the plant. It's easy to do at home, so it's totally doable for anyone! Here's how to do it: After cutting the leaf from the stem, let the aloe latex/sap to drain (this is toxic so don't skip this step!) for a few minutes. Once the sap is removed, trim the edges of the leaf with a knife and scrape the clear aloe gel from the base. And voilà! You now have aloe you can use on your face, body, hair, or even to add to your smoothies.
3. Use it for DIY face and hair masks.
Another great way to use freshly-harvested aloe is for DIY skin and hair care! For example, mixing aloe with honey makes for a great soothing and hydrating face mask, while mixing aloe with coconut oil creates an easy deep conditioning hair mask.
Skincare Products with Aloe Vera
1. Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
This fragrance-free gel combines aloe and propolis for a soothing and antibacterial conconction that lightly hydrates the skin. It works amazing as a daily moisturizer, specifically for oily and acne-prone skin types.
Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, P900, BENTON, Beautymnl
2. COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++
Aloe vera isn't just for healing sunburn. This sunscreen, for example, provides the hydrating and calming benefits of aloe leaf water and protects you from sun damage with broad spectrum SPF.
Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++, P690, COSRX, LOOK SM Aura
3. Zenutrients Aloe Calendula Face Serum
If your skin needs a hydrating boost, sandwich this lightweight serum with hyaluronic acid and aloe into your routine. It'll leave your face feeling soft and supple sans the sticky feel!
Aloe Calendula Face Serum, P699, ZENUTRIENTS, zenutrients.com.ph
4. Kiehl's Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque
This gel mask is the best thing for tired, dehydrated skin after a long day. It contains aloe and calendula flower petals, which are amazing for toning down inflammation and freshening your complexion right up.
Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque, P3050, KIEHL'S, TriNoma
5. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief
This handy face mist with aloe leaf water, caffeine, and centella asiatica is perfect for a touch-free skin boost that instantly hydrates and soothes.
Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief, P1750, CLINIQUE, Rustan's