Over the next few weeks our res­i­dent sci­en­tist, Jc will be exam­in­ing prod­ucts and ingre­di­ents that are pop­u­lar in the nat­ur­al hair world — not to dis­par­age them, but to pro­vide a well-round­ed view of them. Check it out:

Aloe Vera is a nat­ur­al plant which is cur­rent­ly being researched for its pos­si­ble med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties. The plant has a nat­ur­al gel which can be obtained by squeez­ing from the leaf. Com­mer­cial­ly this gel can be added to crushed leaf to give aloe vera juice extract. Aloe vera is very com­plex in com­po­si­tion but is main­ly com­posed of a large num­ber of sug­ars.

Benefits

1.  It is nat­ur­al and fresh aloe vera can be obtained sim­ply by pur­chas­ing and keep­ing a plant.

2. It is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as non tox­ic how­ev­er due to the very high sug­ar con­tent it is not advis­able for dia­bet­ics or peo­ple with kid­ney prob­lems to con­sume with­out get­ting advice from a doc­tor. 

3. The large sug­ar con­tent allows it to act as a humec­tant (i.e trap and hold water).  It may there­fore help mois­turise hair.

4. In gen­er­al, aloe vera gel and juice has a low pH (gen­er­al­ly between 3 and 6) but this will vary accord­ing to the man­u­fac­tur­er. For those look­ing to reduce pH of their prod­ucts, aloe vera is a pos­si­ble nat­ur­al choice.

5. Out­side of hair, it can also be used to soothe burns as well as pos­si­bly help with wound heal­ing. It can also help with skin mois­tur­i­sa­tion.

Risks / Negatives

1.  As aloe vera is nat­ur­al, it is vari­able in com­po­si­tion depend­ing on where the plant was grown. It is there­fore pos­si­ble to expe­ri­ence batch to batch vari­a­tion with com­mer­cial prod­ucts.

2.  Com­mer­cial­ly, aloe vera is mod­i­fied to allow it to have a longer shelf life. It does still in gen­er­al have a short life span gen­er­al­ly requir­ing refrig­er­a­tion once opened and dis­card­ing after 2–3 weeks. If mix­ing with con­di­tion­er, ide­al­ly aloe vera should be added to a sep­a­rate con­tain­er and not the main con­di­tion­er bottle/jar.

3. Fresh aloe vera (i.e squeezed out of a leaf) is not suit­able for stor­ing and should be used imme­di­ate­ly.

4. For those strict­ly adher­ing to nat­ur­al prod­ucts do note that some com­mer­cial aloe vera juices and gels can have added syn­thet­ic ingre­di­ents (main­ly to ensure their shelf life).

Ladies, do you use aloe vera on a reg­u­lar basis? Have you expe­ri­enced any of these pros and cons?

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46 Comments on "The Pros and Cons of Aloe Vera"

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[…]  What have your expe­ri­ences been with aloe vera juice?resources: Wikipedia, BGLH […]

Michelle Cannon

Does any­one know the PROS and CONS of aleo vera

Besie

I used COLD Aloe Vera juice this morn­ing on my fresh­ly clar­i­fied (apple cider vinegar)and deep con­di­tioned (coconut oil and Shea mois­ture deep treat­ment masque)hair. The cold AV juice refreshed my scalp and closed the hair cuti­cle while pro­vid­ing it’s many oth­er ben­e­fits as well. I must say it made ALL the dif­fer­ence in my wash & go. The results were..more defined curls, no frizz, extra soft, and glossy.
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Sharman Hankins

Pure aloe vera gel with patent from The Inter­na­tion­al Aloe Vera Sci­ence Coun­cil avail­able from my web­site-for all of you ALOE VERA lovers out there! Made in Amer­i­ca

dolly

I hv a nat­ur­al gel in my gar­den bt afraid for being use so plz tel me frm which oil i mix it and hw much?
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dani

I use fresh gel from the leaf and aloe vera juice from Wal­mart. I use the juice in my sham­poos and mix it in my spritzers. Learned from Jouney2my­roots to add a Vit­a­min E cap­sule (its a nat­ur­al preser­v­a­tive) to my spritzer. And its lasts about 3 weeks in the fridge (i like to cold tingly feel­ing on my scalp). 

I like to fresh gel too but its was messy for me. I like the gel for my shea but­ter mix. My fine 4b/c hair has respond­ed well to aloe vera.

Marie

How long can I keep my Aloe Vera?
The Aloe Vera juices and gels have a shelf life of 2 years when refrig­er­at­ed. The cap­sules and top­i­cal prod­ucts can last up to 10 years and do not require
refrig­er­a­tion.http://aloeverafarms.com/tips.htm

bjackdoll

I like the Aloe Vera Gel. It has done won­ders for my hair. I keep it in the fridge. It has been there for about a month now and I still get the same won­der­ful results that I have been get­ting since day 1 So, I think I will fin­ish my bot­tle off. CBCLa­dy, thanks for the info. My daugh­ter suf­fers from dan­druff so I will be try­ing your mix along with the aloe. Now what mea­sure­ments do you us so I will get it right.

Love JAH

CBCLa­dy, I read all the com­ments and yours made the most sense to me and is more log­i­cal for my rou­tine. I just pur­chased a 64oz bot­tle so I will be adding lemon juice and stor­ing under the bath­room cab­i­net as well… Thanks for the advice!

CBCLady
I use a mix of aloe juice and gel, glyc­erin, jojo­ba or avo­ca­do oil and fil­tered water. To perserve my mix I add a sqeeze of lemon juice which alone adds shine to the hair plus con­trols sebum (our nat­ur­al oil). I leave my bot­tle under my bath­room sink and it keeps very well. I pri­mar­i­ly spray it direct­ly on my scalp before I oil my scalp. I use to suf­fer bad­ly with dan­druff but since I learned that aloe vera is a great first aid for any skin irri­ta­tion I’ve been using it since. I have been dan­druff free… Read more »
Kathy

Has any­one used Aloe Vera Gel only on there scalp for pso­ri­a­sis?

santé

Hi Jer­ry, I have a ques­tion for you as you’ve most-con­sid­er­ate­ly replied to oth­ers’ ques­tions on this forum. You will be of great help to me!

Tanya

I put my aloe vera juice in small con­tain­ers and freeze them. As my aloe vera juice runs down, I defrost one of my con­tain­ers in the refrig­er­a­tor. And pour it to a clean ster­il­ized bot­tle. More man­age­able and I believe pre­vents bac­te­ria from form­ing.

LynnD

Aloe vera has been a God­send for me and my hair. I use it in my leave in and my spritz. Shiny curls, less break­age and stronger hair. Love it!

Gingerleen

I use aloe Vera gel from Trad­er Joe’s (con­tains 1 per­cent preser­v­a­tives) to seal in mois­ture on wet hair for a twist out. I also use it to refresh my twists, but I have to be care­ful using it on dry hair, it can get sticky.

meow

I used to use aloe vera on a reg­u­lar basis when I was a loose nat­ur­al, it was ok, I liked how it made my hair feel very soft, but I wasn’t 100% crazy about it. I like using fresh aloe from the leaf when it comes to burns and scratch­es. I think the thing I don’t like about aloe is that it’s such a high-main­te­nance prod­uct, it doesn’t keep for too long and it can also be kin­da pricey.

Ebony

Good to know about it’s shelf-life. I’ll need to buy small­er quan­ti­ties.

Annie L.
Great arti­cle! I pre­fer strain­ing aloe juice from the stalk ($2) but will buy LOTD aloe gel inner fil­let too because the lat­ter tastes great in juice! So far I find both are too acidic alone and as a 1:1 with water. They leave me with parched, dehy­drat­ed curls after 30 min­utes, although the instant effects are curl­tas­tic. I heav­i­ly dilute aloe with water to 5.5 pH, it stretch­es the prod­uct and still gives me the same smooth curls and my hair stays very mois­tur­ized. I spritz like mad, add a mois­tur­iz­ing leave-in and seal. 1 large leaf (minus the gel)… Read more »
Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

I use aloe vera gel for lay­ing down my edges. I use the aloe vera juice pic­tured for my kim­may­tube recipe. I keep mine refrig­er­at­ed and it’s been a cou­ple of months and it’s still good.

ebonee

yea i use it to lay down my edges before i go to sleep and they be nice and slicked back

The Natural Haven
Just because you do not see bac­te­ria or fun­gus does not mean they are not there. If you were to leave the prod­uct out­side the fridge for a day or 2 the you would most like­ly begin to see some mould. The mould comes from fun­gi already present and grow­ing in the prod­uct. In the fridge all that hap­pens is that the for­ma­tion of bac­te­ria or fun­gus is slowed down but it does not stop — you will have more bacteria/fungi on day 1 than you will on day 10.  Would you keep an opened bottle/carton of orange juice in the… Read more »
Cree

I don’t have mon­ey to throw away, so did a cou­ple of things… First off, I have left my aloe out for a month and my hair was fine. Also, I freeze mine in lit­tle bot­tles and pull them out as need­ed

EG

I don’t get your anal­o­gy because orange juice and aloe vera juice are not the same. That would be like try­ing to com­pare a smoke turkey wing with a reg­u­lar turkey wing just because they both have turkey in the name. You’d actu­al­ly be com­par­ing apples to oranges.
I did my own research before buy­ing the gel from whole­foods, and it has a shelf life of 2 years. Don’t believe me, google aloe vera gel/juice and you will find out the same thing.
As I said, I use mine till it’s done.

Tanya

Just offer­ing a thought on this, I think that the shelf life refers to an unopened prod­uct. Once it is no longer ster­ile, I would imag­ine it would degrade at the nor­mal rate. The prod­uct could con­tin­ue to work for you while at the same time hav­ing fun­gi in it.

Todra

There has to be preser­v­a­tives (like parabens or phe­noxyethanol) in it for it to last that long. If you don’t mind prod­ucts with chem­i­cal preser­v­a­tives, that’s fine. The pur­er brands, how­ev­er, must be refrig­er­at­ed and should be dis­card­ed accord­ing to the date on the bot­tle. My com­pa­ny works with nat­ur­al prod­ucts includ­ing aloe vera com­pa­nies.

ranuka

same here. I heard about what was said about it, but both my hair and I ignored it. Works superbly. No prob­lems with it, at least not any­thing that I’ve noticed.

EG

Same here. I keep mine in the fridge till it is done and I have NEVER had a prob­lem. It’s a shame that so many ladies are quick to change their rou­tine even if they’ve nev­er had a neg­a­tive side effect. Not all advice is meant to be tak­en as GOSPEL.

Rachel Anne

I am a nat­ur­al that recent­ly relaxed and I am still using all of my nat­ur­al prod­ucts. I use my aloe vera juice to dilute my set­ting lotion, its like mag­ic. How­ev­er I have nev­er refrig­er­at­ed the bot­tle & it still works well in my hair, go fig­ure!

Angie

I use it to retwist my locs. I mix it with a lit­tle cas­tor oil and my favorite essen­tial oil and it works great.

April M.
I love aloe vera gel or juice to get my curls going when I wear my hair out since it’s a lit­tle acidic. {But bare­ly! ;)} I nor­mal­ly use it as a part of my mois­ture rou­tine dai­ly before I seal my hair with a lit­tle oil, because it real­ly helps to close the cuti­cle and repair my hair. I find that the juice isn’t as heal­ing as th gel, but eas­i­er to mix into my spray bot­tles :). I’m also one of those girls who loves using only all-nat­ur­al and edi­ble stuff in my hair {Yes you can eat/drink… Read more »
cocobakerchica

+1 on your com­ment “Read the label”! I pre­fer the edi­ble stuff for my hair too, and it is impor­tant to read the labels of all prod­ucts, and check for preser­v­a­tives. I like aloe vera, and so far, my hair has respond­ed very nice­ly to it. Every­thing isn’t for every­one, and it’s a tri­al and error process to find what works.

June

I use aloe vera gel. I love it.

My hair loves prod­ucts with aloe juice, but I don’t use it straight up.

Zyaran

I’ve nev­er tried that prod­uct before, mine that I use is Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel. That stuff works real­ly well if I mix it in with my she­abut­ter or in my water bot­tle along with my oils mixed in. My hair likes it, keeps it nice and mois­tur­ized.

Erica

Aloe Vera is great for burns! Once you put the aloe vera on your burn it’s like the heat is pulled out of the burn. Very sooth­ing. I always keep a bot­tle around because my hand and the oven seem to be in love.

Viv

This me exact­ly! I have bet­ter use for this gel for my con­stant burns rather than my hair. Some­times I use the plant which is even bet­ter at tak­ing the pain away imme­di­ate­ly.

Mod

Thanks for the info!! I refrig­er­ate my aloe vera gel but had no idea about the dis­card­ing after 3 weeks.

Olli

I think gel has a longer shelf life than juice…

Todra

Aloe vera juice should be pur­chased in a dark glass bot­tle and make sure it is preser­v­a­tive free. Absolute­ly store in fridge after open­ing. Aloe vera “gels” have guar gum or oth­er addi­tives to cre­ate the “gel”. Noth­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly wrong with that, I’m just say­ing it’s not real­ly the same as the gel from the plant. The juice from this brand is the one my com­pa­ny rec­om­mends. http://www.lilyofthedesert.com/our_products/category/preservative-free-aloe-vera-juice/31

LillianMae

Long Term tran­si­tion­er here! :) I have been using aloe vera juice in my hair for at least a year. I use it as a part of my home­made liq­uid leave in, as well as use it in my black soap mix that I make…I love it because it helps keep my hair moist and keeps my strands strong!

mangomadness

I use Lily of the Dessert Aloe Vera Gel. I use it as a pre-poo mixed with oil (great slip!), my spritz (water/aloe vera gel/veggie glyc­erin) and mix it leave-in con­di­tion­er (on occa­sion). I also use it in my body but­ter (shea butter/aloe vera gel/veggie glyc­erin).

smh

Death to pro­tein sen­si­tive hair. Just don’t do it.

df

inter­est­ing i start­ed using direct leave in which has aloe vera in it and my hair just feels wiry and frizzy. same thing hap­pens if i use the aloe vera in a bottle…I was think­ing that maybe the ph of my hair was off…

Risa

OMG! I think you’re right. I was using aloe gel for about 2 weeks for my twistouts (which were look­ing great). All of a sud­den my scalp start­ed to itch and my hair began to shed right from the bulb mas­sive­ly! It’s got­ta be the aloe gel, this nev­er hap­pened to me before.

Khy

So it looks like I’ll be throw­ing my aloe vera juice out. Not sure how long I’ve had it but I thought it was ok since it’s been in the fridge :(

Tonya NewNaturalista

My daughter’s hair loves aloe vera. It’s amaz­ing — I use it when smooth­ing her hair into pig­tails and it stays all day and looks shiny and moister­ized. Much bet­ter than any gel!

Fun­ny thing is, it does NOTHING to my 4a, 4b hair. Go fig­ure :)

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