Alas, aloe vera may have been dethroned as the best plant-based miracle ingredient in recent times – we are a fickle lot, but we’ll always be partial to this old faithful.
Used both topically and orally, aloe vera dates back to over 5000 years. Best known for treating a host of skin conditions, aloe vera is also good for the body.
Aloe vera gel comes from the inside of the green leafy skin of aloe vera plants. It is colourless, with gel-like consistency, and it’s brilliant for external use.
Aloe juice is produced from the outer leaf, and it’s just as good for internal use. It has a yellowish colour and is much more liquid than the gel found inside the leaf.
What are some of the benefits?
* It’s great for detoxing. Containing trace elements, vitamins and minerals, it helps the body flush out toxins.
* It helps with digestion. Aloe vera juice increases our protein absorption and improves bowel regularity. Yay for good digestion!
* It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. Containing 12 different substances that help reduce and prevent inflammation, it helps ease stiff and painful joints.
* It’s good for your teeth and gums. As aloe contains anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, it promotes healing in the mouth (hence why so many kinds of toothpaste contain aloe!).
Buying the best product
This marvellous plant is a common ingredient in commercial products, like face masks, ointments, or as a key ingredient in detox treatments. It can be in anything from your shampoo to your body wash – even in your make-up!
In order to find the best aloe vera gel available on the market, you have to read the label and make sure that the product is chemical-free. Also, check to see if it doesn’t contain any thickening agents, preservatives or colour enhancers.
So, whether you’ve had a blistery experience at the beach or you just want some everyday soothing, we’ve rounded up the best aloe vera products to start incorporating into your beauty routine now.
For hair: While poor old aloe has been dropped like an erm, hot aloe in favour of coconut and Argan oils, you can always count on Organics 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner Aloe Vera & Herbs Normal Hair, R49,95, available from Dis-Chem.
For relief from sunburn, dry skin and rashes: Aloe Unique Aloe Gel, R195, available online at Aloeunique.co.za.
For fighting signs of ageing: Dr. Gobac Cosmeceuticals Regenerating Serum, R420, available from the Dr. Gobac Apothecary in Sandton, selected salons and online at Drgobac.co.za.
For rebooting and rejuvenating your face: Aloe Unique Aloe and Honey Gel Mask, R108, available online at Aloeunique.co.za.
For pampering your sensitive skin: The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Body Butter, R170, available from The Body shop stores or online at thebodyshop.co.za