Aloe Vera & Your Hair: Our Complete Guide
Did you know that as well as soothing your skin, aloe vera can help your hair growth journey too…?
Aloe Vera is a tale-as-old-as-time ingredient that’s been used and celebrated across the health and beauty world and passed down through so many generations. It is one of the oldest mentioned plants on record throughout history, first cited in Ancient Egypt 6,000 years ago, because of its nourishing liquid’s medicinal properties.
Aloe vera is packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties hence its cross-culture popularity for topically treating wounds, skin irritation and burns. But, did you know that as well as soothing your skin it’s thought to help your hair growth journey too?
Despite there being no solid scientific evidence, aloe vera has been said to promote hair growth. Slow hair growth, or no hair growth at all (alopecia) is typically caused by inflammation. As aloe vera is a natural inflammatory, by using aloe vera for hair loss it can reduce the inflammation affecting the hair follicle’s growing cycle and thus encourage the hair to grow!
It’s also a fantastic ingredient when it comes to rehydration, and we all know a moisturised healthy scalp is the foundation of healthy hair and better growth. Keeping your scalp moisturised prevents dandruff, irritated skin, and increases the overall condition of the hair. Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repair and rejuvenate skin cells, so it really is a must for your scalp.
In addition, if your hair is thinning, brittle, or prone to breakage, aloe vera is considered a fantastic conditioner, as it can leave hair feeling smooth, silky and shiny! It’s loaded with Vitamins C, E, B-12 and folic acid which are all essential for stronger, healthier hair. Aloe vera has a similar chemical make up to keratin (the protein hair is made of) so it revitalises the hair with its own nutrients, giving your locks more elasticity and thus preventing breakage.
So, what should you do if you’re keen to reap the benefits of aloe vera for your hair?
How To Use Aloe Vera On Your Hair
In its rawest form, aloe vera has a gel like consistency and can act as a gentle cleanser. Using directly from the plant and applying to the scalp can be a great way of nourishing the skin beneath the hair. The application of aloe vera directly can rid the scalp of dead skin cells that could be clogging up and shrinking the follicles (not good for hair growth!).
If you have an aloe vera plant, simply squeeze the liquid out of the leaf and massage into the scalp. If you don’t have a plant, there are many products on the market like aloe vera gel and hair masks that have just has just as good an effect!
For example, Cel’s Microstem Hair Thickening Mask! This amazing hair mask is full of targeted ingredients that promote the thickness and health of hair as well as encourage and promoting growth, including aloe vera! It’s hypoallergenic, paraben and sulphate-free, and suitable for all hair types, including colour treated hair. It will nourish and nurture, thicken and smooth your tresses in no time!
After washing the hair with high quality shampoo, rinse thoroughly and apply a generous amount of hair mask to the scalp and strands from root to tip, paying particular attention to the ends. Leave for at least a minute (longer for deeper conditioning) before rinsing thoroughly. Want the best results? Use twice a week!
How Often Should I Use Aloe Vera?
If you’re using raw aloe vera you can use it everyday and leave it in for up to 30 minutes a time! You will have to wash it out after using it though, otherwise the hair and scalp will feel very sticky, so your usage may depend on how often your hair needs to be washed (over washing can be detrimental to both the quality of the scalp and strands!).
If you’ve applied aloe vera and your skin becomes red, itchy or scaly, this may mean you’re allergic so stop using immediately and consult with your doctor if this occurs. You’re statistically more likely to have a reaction to aloe vera if you have an allergy to onions and/or garlic.
Using a steroid cream on your skin or scalp? Check with your healthcare provider before using aloe vera topically in the same area as it can make your skin absorb more of these creams which might not be OK.
And FYI; You should not consume pure aloe vera gel as ingesting too much can cause kidney damage. Aloe vera juice is absolutely fine though and comes with a host of health benefits. Aloe vera juice can be purchased online or in most health food markets.
How To: Care For An Aloe Vera Plant
Wanting to house your own aloe vera plant after reading this blog? …Same! But, how do you properly care for one?
- Your aloe should be planted in a terra-cotta point with well-drained dirt. Don’t let it be too big a pot – aloe vera’s do better in a confined condition!
- They need to be planted and kept in a bright, sunny spot consistently.
- Aloe vera is a desert plant, so they only need to be watered once every two weeks but heavily, and only when the soil is completely dry before watering. If your aloe is over watered, the root will rot and the leaves will become limp and brown. Remember, less is more when loving an aloe!
- Only keep your aloe outside if you live in a hot climate all year round. Frozen soil will kill the roots completely and no regrowth will be possible. If it doesn’t rain in months, that’s when you need to water your aloe.
- Occasionally, your aloe will produce a tall stalk of small, bell-shaped flowers. Once the blooms fade, you can simply snip the stem off at the base with scissors!
- In addition, aloe plants produce new, smaller plants throughout their life which are perfect for propagation. If you notice one, dump out the dirt and tease apart the roots of the different aloe plants, and then just replant in separate terra-cotta containers!