Beauty trends may come and go, but one that’s been around forever is aloe vera. Most commonly known for its healing and cooling effect on sunburned skin, aloe is actually very versatile. Aloe vera gel, which is made from the gel inside of aloe plants, has pain and inflammation reduction properties as well as antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Aloe vera can also be ingested to heal your body from within.
As with other popular beauty products, the price of prepared aloe vera has gone up. Fortunately, you can make your own aloe vera gel at home for a fraction of the price. Here’s how!
Find aloe vera plant.
You should be able to find aloe vera leaves at a grocery store near you. If you have an organic market or health store near you, you’ll have the best luck heading there first to find your aloe vera leaves.
You may even be lucky enough to find a store that sells aloe vera plants. Having a plant on hand will ensure that you always have aloe vera to use whenever you want. It will also help improve your home’s air quality. Plan to care for your plant as you would a cactus. This means you’ll need to keep it inside in sandy soil, in a pot that allows for good draining.
Regardless of whether you purchase a whole plant or a few leaves, the important part is that you have aloe vera leaves. Now you’re ready for the next step.
Gather the rest of your supplies.
In addition to having the aloe vera leaves, you’ll need to make sure you have the following tools so that you can harvest the aloe vera gel: sharp knife, blender and an airtight storage container.
Harvest the aloe vera gel.
You’ll need to harvest the aloe vera gel, which is the thick fleshy part on the inside of the leaves, in order to reap their rewards. Carefully follow these steps to harvest the gel:
- To make the leaves more manageable, cut them down. Aim to cut each section to about 8 inches long or less.
- Carefully cut off the leaves’ serrated edge. If you cut off more than the serrated edge, you’ll lose out on gel.
- After you’ve removed the serrated edges, it’s time to cut the sections down even more. Take each section and cut it into two or three strips lengthwise.
- Turn the blade of your knife sideways. Very carefully, slide the blade just under the skin at the end of one of the strip sections.
- Keeping your edge at the same angle, slide it along the skin’s edge. Again, try to avoid taking away too much gel. You can accomplish this by staying as close to the skin as possible.
- Flip the section over, and repeat steps 4-5 again. Cut the remaining flesh into 2 or 3 chunks and put into blender.
- Repeat steps 4-6 as many times as necessary, depending on the number of leaves you have.
- Once all your pieces are in the blender, turn it on and blend the pieces together until they are smooth. Don’t worry if the mixture gets frothy—that’s totally normal!
- Once mixture is smooth, you can transfer it to an airtight storage container. Then, put that container in the fridge. The gel will not hold if it’s left unrefrigerated.
- Use your gel for up to 1 week. After that, you’ll have to make more!
Helpful Preservation Tips and Tricks
DIY-ing your own aloe vera gel may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you’d think. Here are some helpful tips and tricks that you can use to make your homemade aloe vera gel last as long as possible.
- Natural preservatives—Not all preservatives are bad for you! Adding about 2,000 mg of powdered vitamin C and 1 Tbsp. of vitamin E to 1 cup of blended aloe vera gel can increase the life of your refrigerated aloe vera gel from 1 week to 8 months! Make sure to let the mixture sit and the vitamins to dissolve before putting it in the fridge.
- Freezing the gel—You can increase the life of your DIY-ed aloe vera gel by freezing it. After you set aside the amount of gel you need for the week, transfer the gel to ice cube trays. Freeze them until they’ve solidified. Then, pop the frozen cubes out of the tray molds and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.
Thanks to its countless health benefits, aloe vera gel has become a beauty staple. Offering everything from antiseptic properties to healing properties, aloe vera gel should be in your fridge at home. Now that you know how to make it yourself, you have no excuse not to have it waiting for you in your fridge.