When it comes to using natural remedies, like aloe vera for hair loss, lots of people agree with this more organic approach. It makes sense. Hair growth should be a natural thing and we should encourage it to sprout with kinder measures than harsh chemicals.
It’s like using manure as a fertiliser. For our heads. Mmm.
You see, one of Mother Nature’s greatest green gifts is the aloe vera plant. This “lily of the desert”, as it’s also known, has been used in herbal medicines for over 6,000 years. So it’s pretty old. And pretty wise.
With 18 amino acids contained within its fleshy leaves, this baby comes with a lot of health benefits. Wanna know a few of them? Go on, then. I’ll tell you.
Aloe vera helps you to absorb nutrients faster than Usain likes to Bolt. It also removes harmful elements from your system and keeps gastrointestinal conditions far away. And a healthy gut = a healthier body and mind. Yay!
Drink or eat a little aloe and you’ll be consuming some pretty powerful antioxidants. These cleanse the digestive and circulatory systems, improving blood circulation and your overall health. Your cells get more nutrients, meaning they can ward off infections more efficiently, and your immune system becomes stronger than Chris Hemsworth’s abs. (Mmm. Abs.)
Fried yourself at the beach and need a balsam to soothe that sunburn? Aloe vera’s your best bet. You can find it in lots of aftersun lotions but the best way to desizzle is to apply the pure gel wherever you’re at your pinkest. One, two, three, ahhhh…
Aloe gel is also great for treating skin abrasions, or just for keeping the skin smooth, supple and moisturised. Whether you apply it topically or drink it in a juice, aloe vera will help you glow from the inside out.
Now this is where it gets exciting. Because hair lossers and alopecians will be happy to know that aloe vera actually contains a specific proteolytic enzyme to stimulate hair follicles and repair damaged cells in your scalp. Which in turn, can lead to hair growth.
Plus, its anti-inflammatory component, choline salicylate, can be used to treat conditions like androgenetic alopecia from taking over your head (and your life).
And since aloe vera contains plenty of goodies like polysaccharides and glycoproteins, which keeps your locks healthy and moisturised, it can prevent hair loss from occuring in the first place. New best friend, thy surname is Vera.
There are plenty more health benefits to this green goddess… but I won’t get into them just now. Instead, I’ll focus on the practical stuff – like how you can introduce it into your life.
The plant works best in its purest form, before it’s been processed or oxidised. Simply peel back the leaves to reveal the thick sticky gel contained within; that’s where the magic lies.
Massage the gel directly onto your scalp (you can add a little water to thin it out, if you like) and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Sometimes I apply it in the evening and enjoy its cooling effects all night. Or if I’m wearing a headscarf that day, I’ll just leave it to do its thing beneath.
Note: If you don’t want the sticky residue on your head for long, mix it into your favourite shampoo or conditioner instead. The effects won’t be quite the same (as you’ll be rinsing too soon to enjoy the full benefits) but it still gently cleanses your hair while soothing the scalp, providing a healthier foundation for growth.
You can also eat a small lump of aloe gel in the morning to aid digestion and strengthen your immune system. If the taste is too strong, just stick some in a yoghurt or blend in your favourite green juice.
If you don’t happen to live in a tropical climate and can’t get hold of the real stuff easily, don’t worry. There are plenty of products out there that contain high levels of aloe vera, along with some other elements to foster a healthy head of hair.
Just make sure that you choose a product that’s organic and cold pressed – meaning it keeps its natural components and ingredients. You should also check that it contains at least 99.75% of aloe vera. I know, that’s a pretty exact figure to be looking for – but it means that it’s as close to the natural stuff as you can get. Any products with less than 90% probably contain acidic components that could damage the scalp. Yikes.
Always research the brand before you buy; some of them often turn out to be fakes. Or just pick one of the reputable products from the following list!
100% natural? Check. 99.75% aloe vera content? Check. No nasty additives like fragrances, colours or alcohol? Check, check, check.
The money-back guarantee alone is reason enough to try it. But this gel by Amara Organics appears to have lots more benefits squeezed into the modest bottle. Reviewers love the consistency of it – it’s non-sticky and fast-absorbing, unlike pure aloe vera gel. So you can easily apply it to your hair without looking like an extra from Grease.
It’s pretty tough on skin conditions, too; for instance it can clear up acne, psoriasis and dandruff to promote a healthy scalp. Finally, the plant stem cells work as anti-ageing ninjas to ward off wrinkles while the Vitamin C serum brightens the skin and reduces pigmentation issues.
Something that can be used as a moisturiser, a treatment for breakouts and as a hair loss solution? Sounds pretty good to me.
Again, this gel is made up of 99.75% aloe vera. A good start. Plus, it’s cold-pressed from certified organic aloe vera plants. Even better.
It’s free from unwanted additions like parabens, petrochemicals or dyes… although it does contain a natural vegetable-based thickener called Xanthan.
Like all aloe products, it can be used for lots of things – from soothing sunburn to shrinking stretch marks. But customers also rave about its moisturising and shine-inducing effects on their hair. Nice.
So use this gel as a leave-in hair mask for damaged locks, adding a little honey for extra moisture. (Psst… if you do add honey, you should really rinse it off after 30 minutes or so. Especially if there are bees about.)
I won’t judge these guys on their inability to spell. (Maybe they’re playing on ‘gel’ and ‘jelly’? Hmm.)
Anyway, their product seems pretty legit. Even though it does contain a few preservatives (so you don’t need to refrigerate it), that other 1% is composed mainly of Vitamins A, C and E – which come with their own healing properties for skin and hair.
Lots of the happy customers who have bought this product use it as a hair gel. So it is a little sticky, but hey, that just means it’s more like the real thing.
If you can’t get hold of the real stuff, and if you don’t like the texture of gel, then aloe vera oil is the next best thing. It’s made from soaking aloe leaves in a carrier oil, and extracting most of the active ingredients and nutrients. However, since it isn’t 100% aloe vera, it can’t be classed as a true essential oil.
FYI: There’s no such thing as 100% pure aloe vera oil; despite what many manufacturers claim.
However, the extracted oil can offer many of the same benefits as the gel, plus the added goodness of whatever carrier oil is used.
To make your own oil:
Or you can save yourself the hassle and simply buy an organic cold-pressed oil, like this one from Cammile.
They use soybean oil as a carrier and also add Vitamin E for skin replenishing purposes. The resulting oil works great as a moisturiser, while nourishing the scalp and keeping hair soft ‘n’ shiny.
Use it like a leave-in conditioner and don’t rinse it out again for at least 30 minutes (or until the next morning, if you like). You could even heat the oil gently beforehand (by placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water for up to 1 minute); this’ll open up the pores of your scalp, essentially allowing the full benefits of aloe to sink in. Sweet.
Personally, I love rubbing oils into my noggin as I get all that plant-filled goodness, much-needed moisture and a massage in the mix. What’s not to like?!
We tend to rinse shampoo off fairly quickly – that is, unless our singing-in-the-shower setlist is 20 minutes long. Still, it means that the active ingredients in shampoo don’t really get a chance to penetrate the scalp properly. They might cleanse the hair and leave it smelling nice but still, hair loss shampoos aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.
In saying that, they do come with certain benefits. For instance, aloe vera shampoos can improve blood circulation and reduce stress; they literally cool you down and prevent you from becoming too hot-headed! Plus, they cleanse your hair more gently than other shampoos… and if you’re an alopecian, or if you suffer from skin conditions like psoriasis, it’s best to tread lightly when it comes to your locks.
I love this shampoo and conditioner set from JĀSÖN. (I leave the conditioner in for 30 minutes when I can, letting it work its magic for longer).
Even though both products are only 84% aloe – and well under the “97.75% or more” rule – they’re also sulfate and paraben-free. And the other 16%? It’s made up of healthy hair stuff like Vitamin E, spirulina and jojoba seed oil.
You might smell a bit earthy because of it but hey, that’s just Mother Nature doing her thang.
Don’t trust the products on the market? That’s ok, you can make your own!
There are some amazing recipes for aloe vera hair masks out there. DIY concoctions that you’ll be able to whip up from the humble contents of your kitchen cupboard!
Check out these 3 masks for size:
Castor oil contains Ricinoleic acid, an Omega-9 fatty acid and one of the essential aminos that the body needs to keep healthy. Combined with aloe vera, it helps to nourish the scalp and repair damaged cells, strengthening each hair follicle and preventing breakage.
Honestly, there appears to be no scientific evidence to back up castor oil as a treatment for hair loss. But a lot of people in hair loss forums claim that it has made a difference in their lives. So… worth a try, right?!
Follow this recipe twice a week.
How to make it:
I was told by an ayurvedic doctor that foods such as garlic, onion and ginger are wonderful for stimulating hair growth. Thinking he meant to include more in my diet, I assured him that it wouldn’t be a problem; I loved eating those foods!
But actually, he meant that they’re most effective when used topically. Cue a week of me alternating between rubbing bulbs of garlic, chunks of onions and a fresh root of ginger all over my patches. My head was like the base of a stirfry (and that was before I got into sesame oil).
But you know what? When I rubbed red onion on the patches, I noticed an immediate effect. My scalp began to tingle and I could almost see the blood rushing back to where it had refused to go before. It basically felt awake where it had once felt numb. After just a week of slathering onion juice on my scalp, I could see some white fuzz struggling through.
And I’m not the only one – a study of patients with alopecia areata showed a distinct improvement in hair growth after using onion juice for just 2 weeks.
You can rub ½ an onion on your scalp twice a day, or try this hair mask once a week.
How to make it:
Coconut oil is another versatile gift from Mother Nature. I won’t go into all its health benefits here but it acts as an amazing moisturiser for the skin and hair. It also reduces inflammation, which can damage the hair follicles, and locks in protein when it’s needed most. The milk is the main source of nutrients and moisture, while the deeply penetrating abilities of the oil lets this goodness gets through.
Honey, apart from smelling great, works to regulate and retain moisture while strengthening the hair follicle.
Coupled with all the many benefits of aloe vera, you’ve got a winning hair growth mask on your hands. (Or rather, on your head). Try it once a week, or however often you want to smell like holidays.
How to make it:
When it comes to natural hair loss treatments, it’s always hard to gauge their effectiveness. You rarely get instant results. And since there are no real controls on claims made by manufacturers, sometimes you don’t even know whether the product you’re using is the genuine article.
Not to mention the fact that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding aloe vera’s use in the health and beauty industry.
The thing is, while aloe vera might not magically cause hair growth, it does soothe and calm the scalp. I noticed that whenever I felt stressed or had a headache, rubbing some cool aloe vera onto my head offered instant relief. (It calms my angry red patch of inflammation at the base of my neck, too.)
With stress being one of the leading causes of alopecia, I call that progress. 🙂
Aloe vera also improves the scalp’s condition by reducing flakiness and dandruff, plus it can limit the amount of sebum produced. (FYI: too much sebum mixes with dirt to block pores and stop growth. Ugh.)
Basically, whenever the scalp gets irritated and itchy, the hair follicles get pretty p***ed off, too. They refuse to grow in these conditions and they make existing hair weaker, too. (The brats.)
So anything that keeps your pores clean, your scalp healthy and your follicles happy is A Good Thing. And aloe vera does all three.
Take Lady Alopecia’s advice: Use aloe vera on a regular basis. Watch how it moisturises your scalp and nourishes your hair. Try out a few hair masks and enjoy experimenting with hair loss products, the natural way.
After a while, let a lustrous mane be your reward.
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