Homemade aloe vera gel is so easy to make especially if you have your own plants. Store bought leaves are good too. But nothing beats that satisfaction of using your own, homegrown, organic aloe vera leaves.
Now, why would you want to make your own gel?
Let’s see – it is:
- easy to make
- very moisturizing
- perfect for dry skin, elbows, cracked heels and hair
- great for calming rashes and psoriasis
- helpful for reducing acne
- a great carrier agent for essential oils
- safe to use on skin (unless you’re allergic to its latex, patch test!)
- plastic- and packaging-free
- zero waste (you can compost everything after)
- sustainable since the leaves grow fairly quickly
Aloe vera gel has also been used for thousands of years.
In the Ebers Papyrus, the ancient Egyptians used the plant for worms, headaches, chest pains, burns, ulcers, skin diseases and allergies.
There is still some debate as to whether or not the gel actually helps with burns. But, for the most part, the gel is incredibly moisturizing which is important for damaged skin.
This 2008 study explains what compounds are in the gel and what they’re good for.
According to the study, the gel has vitamins, enzymes, minerals, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. These provide the gel’s psoriasis, wound healing, acne, and dermatitis benefits.
Aloe vera plants
Aloe vera is a succulent so it needs very little to grow and thrive.
You can grow it outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter.
It does require a lot of sunlight to grow fast. So, in the winter months, it’ll slow down, unless it’s in a well-lit area.
You can neglect this plant for months. I’m not even kidding.
I got an aloe vera plant as a house warming gift almost 8 years ago. It’s been outdoors in the hot Caribbean sun (I’m talking about 36 degree Celsius heat!).
I’ve never really watered it during the dry months or fertilized it.
The plant turned brown and looked burnt. But, it never died! Add a little water and years of neglect just disappeared – it turned bright green and vibrant again.
Aloe vera is far from high maintenance. So, I highly recommend getting a plant.
You can even order it on Amazon. Grow it yourself and make your own homemade aloe vera gel. You’ll love it.
Oh and as a bonus, the plant can improve indoor air quality.
This NASA report found the plant reduced indoor levels of benzene and formaldehyde.
More recent research showed indoor formaldehyde can be absorbed by aloe and microorganisms in the potted soil.
So, it’s a great, all-natural indoor air purifier.
How to make homemade aloe vera gel
I did a mini video to show you how to make the gel from fresh leaves.
Here’s a little more detail:
1. Harvest the leaves
To make the gel, you’ll need to pick the leaves. The bigger, the better.
You don’t need a knife or a scissors to cut them. Instead, with one hand, hold the plant in place to prevent it from shifting around. With your dominant hand, hold a leaf close to its base and twist it off. It should break easily from the main plant.
For a single use, two small leaves are enough. But, for a large batch, use a few bigger leaves.
2. Leave upright
Wash the leaves to remove any dust or dirt. Place them upright in a container and leave for 15 minutes or so.
You’ll see the base of the leaves develop this dusty, yellow color. That is the natural resin in the aloe – it’s called aloin.
Aloin is a latex and has many commercial uses.
But, it can irritate your skin so leaving it to drain out is important.
Aloin is also a laxative when eaten. In high doses, it can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and uterine contractions in pregnant women. These only happen when you eat the undrained aloes.
Personally, I don’t eat or drink aloe vera gel in any form. I just use it on my skin.
3. Peel and remove gel
After 15 minutes, cut the spiked edges and the leaf base where the yellow aloin drained.
Cut the leaf in half. Using a spoon, scrape the gel from the green leaf.
You don’t want any green bits of the leaf in there – just the clear gel.
4. Blend and use
Add the gel to a blender and blend until smooth.
If you are not accustomed to using homemade aloe vera gel, be sure to patch test first.
Some people are allergic to aloe vera so patch testing is very important. I’m one! My skin is a little sensitive to undiluted aloe vera gel. So, test first.
Dab a little on the inside of your elbow and monitor the area for a couple minutes. If the area is fine and doesn’t turn red, then you may not be allergic. Use as normal.
If you’re not sensitive, you can use the gel immediately on your skin. Or refrigerate for later. The gel can last over a week in the fridge before oxidizing.
To make it last longer, freeze in ice trays and store the cubes in a freezer safe container. Use one cube at a time for your moisturizing needs.
My hubby adds tea tree essential oil to his gel and slathers it all over his back to fight off his mild back acne. It really works for him – the gel contains salicylic acid!
There are a ton of other uses for the gel – like diy zero waste face masks. The list is endless.
What do you use it for?
Do you make your own homemade aloe vera gel as part of your zero waste beauty routine?
I would love to hear from you.