Although it resembles a cactus, the aloe vera plant is actually in the lily family and is known as the "lily of the desert." In many cultures throughout history, aloe vera has been used for healing. It is commonly used for treating burns and skin irritations, but is also good for repairing damaged hair, due to its humectant properties and to enzymes which work to soothe the hair shaft. Aloe vera also contains amino acids, essential oils and vitamins C and E.
Purchase aloe vera gel. Choose a product with a high percentage of aloe vera, preferably organic. If you have an aloe plant at home, cut several leaves off and squeeze or scrape the gel out and into an airtight container. Store the aloe vera in the refrigerator.
Wash your hair as usual and towel dry. Condition hair with a mixture of aloe vera and olive oil and allow it to sink into your hair for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse it out and towel dry your hair again.
Work 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel through your hair from the roots to the ends. If your hair is significantly damaged, rub in a few drops of oil or your favorite moisturizer before applying the aloe vera. Allow it to completely penetrate.
Part your hair and rub the aloe vera into your scalp to soothe it and add moisture. Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, so try to cover as much of the scalp as possible. Add a drop of essential oil such as lavender or rosemary if desired. Lavender has regenerative properties and rosemary is known for stimulating hair growth and repair; they both have a pleasant aroma, as well.
Make your own hair elixir by combining one cup of distilled water with 1 tablespoon of aloe vera into a spray bottle. Shake and spray onto hair as needed. This treatment can be used daily and also serves as a way to refresh your hair in between washes.
- "Pharmaceutical Biology"; Medicinal Applications and Toxicological Activities of Aloe Products; V. Steenkamp, et al.; June 2007
- "Total Health"; Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera; May/June 2007
- "Alive: Canada's Natural Health & Wellness Magazine"; The Ancient Wonders of Aloe Vera; April 2002
Angela De Schrijver holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and communication technology. She has written for companies within a variety of industries, including information technology, law, nonprofit, insurance and financial services.