Often described as a ‘wonder plant’, aloe vera is the perfect house plant to grow in your kitchen or corner of your garden. The succulent is a go-to treatment for sunburns, acne, and many other skin conditions. But did you know that this plant can also work wonders for your hair? Thanks to its moisturizing properties and useful compounds like vitamins, water, and minerals, aloe is gaining popularity as a cure for dry, damaged, or brittle hair. Research has shown that it might even help promote hair health and faster growth.
Here’s a peek at all the benefits associated with using aloe vera for your hair, and how to make your very own DIY aloe hair masks. If you’re a fan of natural hair remedies, you’ll definitely want to reach for one of the plant’s gel-filled leaves sooner rather than later.
What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a healing remedy across China, Japan, Greece, Egypt, and Mexico. It grows in sunny climates worldwide and is mainly cultivated for aloe gel, which is found in the fleshy leaves of the plant. Aloe was known in ancient Egypt as the “plant of immortality” and was first recorded for human use in the 16th century when it was noted in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical record. Odds are you or someone you know has aloe growing at home. You can also purchase pre cut aloe vera leaves at most natural food shops.
The benefits of using aloe vera in your hair
While research is a bit limited when it comes to aloe vera hair benefits, there is evidence that suggests the plant has a variety of positive effects. First, aloe contains anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that can soothe itching and flaking scalps, and combat dandruff. Not to mention that there are certain proteolytic enzymes that repair damaged cells and stimulate hair follicles, which supports hair growth. There is also evidence that aloe vera has a moisturizing effect and vitamins C, E, B-12, folic acid, and choline content that might help nourish and strength overall hair health. Basically, all good things for your hair.
What hair types is aloe vera best suited for?
Aloe vera can be used in any form, on all hair types. Hair care experts often recommend using an aloe vera hair treatment if you have one of the following:
- Oily hair
- Dry or damaged hair
- Curly hair
- Natural hair
A good way to see if aloe vera works for your hair is by simply giving it a try. Just remember to wash it out completely after using it as a conditioner or hair mask.
Is aloe vera safe?
It is typically considered safe to use the aloe plant on your hair and skin. However, you should avoid using aloe vera for severe cuts or burns. The plant also contains anthraquinone in the outer part of the leaf, which causes allergic reactions and skin irritation for many people. If you are using aloe for the first time, it’s a good idea to apply it to a small area of skin first. If you don’t notice any redness, burning, itching, or swelling after a few hours, it is probably safe to go ahead and try an aloe hair mask.
How to harvest aloe vera
Harvesting the aloe plant for gel and juice is pretty simple. To start, you’ll need a mature plant that’s at least a couple years old. Then, follow these steps:
- Remove 3-4 leaves at a time. It’s best to select leaves from the outer parts of the plant.
- Check to make sure the leaves do not have any mold or damage.
- Cut close to the stem, since most of the nutrients can be found at the base of the spine. Keep away from the roots.
- Wash and dry the leaves, trimming off the prickly edges with a knife.
- Use a knife or your fingers to separate the gel from the outside of the leaf. The interior gel is the part you’ll want to use.
Let the yellow sap drain from the leaf. You can either use this aloe vera latex or throw it away.
- Cut the gel into slices or cubes.
If you want the gel to be smooth, put it into a blender and then strain to remove pulp. You can either use it fresh, put it in the fridge for a few days, or store for longer amounts of time by keeping it in the freezer.
How to make your own aloe vera hair mask
Once you’ve harvested the aloe vera, you can get started whipping up a homemade hair mask. Since hair masks normally contain more oils than a typical conditioner and you can leave them in your hair for a longer amount of time, they are able to provide more intensive healing and repair than your regular hair care routine.
You can use many different ingredients in your mask, depending on your hair’s specific needs. To apply, rub the mask into your hair and scalp. Let it rest for about 30 to 40 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
4 best DIY aloe vera hair mask recipes
Here are some of our favorite, go-to aloe vera hair masks. Whether you’re looking for softer, shinier, or more moisturized locks, these simple and effective masks are sure to give your hair a boost.
Aloe vera + coconut oil hair mask for softer, frizz-free hair
Make your hair feel softer instantly with this classic hair mask. Coconut oil has plenty of magical powers, including the ability to make hair smoother, stronger, and healthier. It can even prevent and repair split ends.
2 tbsp. aloe vera gel (fresh or store-bought)
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil at room temperature
Stir aloe vera and coconut oil together until they are blended and form a smooth paste.
- Apply mask to your hair using your fingers. It’s best to divide hair into long sections for easier application.
- Start at the middle of your hair and work towards the ends. Once the mask has been worked into the ends of your hair, go back and gently rub it into your scalp.
- Once you’re done applying, comb the mask evenly through your hair with a wide-toothed comb.
- Cover up your hair with a shower cap, then wrap a towel around your head. This will prevent the mask from dripping and keep hair from drying out.
Let the mask sit for 30 minutes to one hour, then wash and rinse hair completely. You can replace your normal conditioner with this mask once a week to boost softness and strength.
Aloe vera + yogurt + honey for shiny hair
Shiny strands are just one step away with this miracle mask. Not only does it help restore your hair’s shine, but it also is great at eliminating dandruff.
3 tsp. aloe vera gel (fresh or store-bought)
- 2 tsp. yogurt
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- Mix ingredients together well and apply to the entire scalp and hair.
- Massage the mask onto the scalp for about 10 minutes.
- Let it rest for 30 minutes and then wash out hair thoroughly.
Aloe vera + banana + honey for super hydrated hair
If your hair is calling out for moisture, this mask has your name on it. Aloe vera is a great, all-natural conditioner that helps to calm frizz. When combined with banana, which contains magnesium and pantothenic acid, it leaves locks strong and luminous.
2 tbsp. aloe vera gel (fresh or store-bought)
- 1 ripe banana
- Dash of honey
- Put the ingredients into a blender and grind to a smooth consistency. Keep in mind that the chunkier it is, the harder it will be to wash off.
- Apply the mixture to your roots and entire length of hair before rinsing it off.
- This super-hydrating (and messy) mask will leave hair feeling smooth and hydrated.
Aloe vera + fenugreek + castor oil for hair growth
Fenugreek is known for promoting hair growth and rebuilding hair follicles. If you’re looking to get longer locks, this mask will help you reach your hair goals. You can also use hair extensions if you want to achieve new lengths instantly.
¼ cup aloe vera gel (fresh or store-bought)
- 2 tsp. fenugreek powder
- 2 tbsp. castor oil
- Blend ingredients together to form a paste.
- Apply mask all over hair and scalp.
- Keep it on for around 30 minutes.
- Wash hair and let it air dry.
The takeaway on aloe vera hair masks
In the end, aloe vera is not only meant for soothing sunburns on your skin. This versatile plant can also be used as a key ingredient in hair masks and treatments. You can either buy pre-made masks and conditioners at a store or online, or make your own DIY hair masks to help nourish, moisturize, and repair hair. If you haven’t used aloe vera on your hair or skin before, do a patch test first to ensure you aren’t allergic to the plant. Happy hair masking!
Written by: Mikayla Uber