By Choya Randolph
I first got introduced to aloe vera when I was a kid. I burned myself playing with firecrackers so my grandma snipped a piece of aloe vera from her garden. When she cut the aloe and it had this gooey stuff in it. I was like “You not putting that gross stuff on me Grandma.” (Just kidding, my mom would’ve slapped me.) My grandma put that gooey liquid on my burn and it did wonders. Since then, me and aloe vera have been good friends. Anytime I had a cut or burn, I used my handy dandy aloe vera.
One day, while binge watching natural hair videos, I saw a fellow natural put aloe vera gel in her hair. I was taken aback because why didn’t I think of that? If aloe vera gel can do wonders for our skin, what could it do for our hair? Turns out, aloe vera gel could be just as beneficial to our hair as it is to our burns.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant used agriculturally and medicinally. Inside the succulent is aloe vera gel. This gel has been used for thousands of years to treat skin disorders. Just like it helps our skin, it can help our scalps. It soothes the scalp which reduces dandruff and combats hair loss. If you’ve oiled your scalp a little too well, aloe vera gel can unblock the hair follicles to get rid of that excessive oil. This makes it a great ingredient to add to your shampoo.
Along with being good for our scalp, aloe vera gel works as a great conditioner for all hair types. It will have your hair looking all luxurious like you’re about to be a Shea Moisture commercial. It also lives up to its name by working as a hair gel. If you’re looking to replace your store-bought gel with an organic alternative, I do suggest using flaxseed gel over aloe vera gel. But if you ain’t got time to make your own gel, aloe vera gel will not disappoint in giving you curl definition.
There are many ways we can use aloe vera gel on our hair. We can put it in our shampoos and deep conditioners to give our products a boost. We can use it to make our own hair treatments or hair masks. For my naturals who like to prepoo, aloe vera can soften your hair and make it easier to detangle and prepare for wash day. We can even use it for styling.
A great way to incorporate aloe vera gel into your hair regimen is lathering it on to your scalp and hair the day before wash day. Don’t worry, it’s safe to leave in your hair overnight. You will wake up with hair so soft, you’ll probably want to style it instead of washing it. You should still wash your hair though.
For those who ain’t got a garden like my grandma, you can buy aloe vera at your local grocery store for only a couple of bucks. It does have spiky sides so be careful when holding it. If you buy it from the grocery store, cut the end off so you can get to that juicy gel. Cut about two inches of the aloe vera gel. You can cut as many pieces as you’d like. If you got a big head, ain’t no shame in cutting about four or five pieces sis. Once you have your chunks, cut the spiky sides off then cut the aloe vera chunks in half so each half has a good amount of gel ready to be applied to your hair. This can get messy so be prepared.
Some people like to scoop the aloe vera gel out and blend it. I’m a lazy natural so I let the chunky pieces be. I simply apply the gel to my scalp then work it in my hair. Whenever the gel seems to dry out, press your thumbs in the gel to get that aloe vera gel back to its slimy texture. This may sound gross but it’s actually fun and brings out my inner kid. Once it’s applied to your hair, put on a shower cap and let the aloe vera gel do it’s thing until it’s time to wash.
To store your aloe vera, wrap it in foil and put it in a large plastic bag. Ziploc will do. Make sure you put it in a safe and cool place. Aloe vera can last up to two weeks so don’t be afraid to use the leftover gel on your skin. To know if your aloe vera has expired, all you have to do is smell it. If you find that your aloe vera expired before you used all of it, remember, it was probably only two dollars. So next time you’re buying food at your local grocery store, buy some aloe vera gel for your hair too.