Aloe Vera

What is it? In cosmetics and skin care aloe vera is typically some refined form of the gooey substance found in the fleshy leaves of the aloe vera plant. The most common formats are extracts, concentrated powders, and the water-like juice. The concentrated powders are sold with the concentration noted so you can hydrate them with the correct amount of water.

At drug stores, aloe vera is typically a bright green gel. This is not what you want for making skin care products with. Store bought aloe vera gels also contain fragrances, gelling agents, pigments, and other ingredients—we want just aloe vera.

INCI Aloe Barbadensis
Appearance Depends on the format purchased. The juice is typically a clear, watery liquid.
Usage rate This also depends on the format purchased; refer to your supplier for guidance. I typically use the re-hydrated liquid at up to 50%.
Texture Water-like.
Scent Low; lightly herbal.
pH 4–6.5
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? Aloe vera is an excellent skin-soothing and moisturizing ingredient. It has been found to boost healing, collagen production, and hyaluronic acid production in the skin. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antiseptic effects (source).
Do you need it? I’d highly recommend it.
Strengths Excellent soothing, moisturizing ingredient.
Weaknesses It is high in electrolytes, so it can emulsions to thin if used in high concentrations. It is also incompatible with anything that isn’t electrolyte compatible.
Alternatives & Substitutions If you are using aloe vera for skin-soothing properties, consider a chamomile hydrosol or calendula extract.

If aloe vera is being included for moisturizing and film forming effects, consider a hydrolyzed protein like oat or silk.

How to Work with It I recommend re-hydrating the concentrated powder to create your own juice—this is typically much more economical than purchasing the juice. For a 100x concentrated powder you would mix 1% aloe vera powder, 0.5% liquid germall plus, and 98.5% distilled water to create a single-strength solution of aloe vera juice to use in your projects (for 200x you would use 50% the aloe powder, making up the difference with more water; for 50x you would use 2x the amount of concentrated powder and remove that extra amount from the water). Include it in the heated water phase of recipes, or cold process if no heat is required for the recipe.
Storage & Shelf Life It depends on the format; check with your supplier.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, and E (source).
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz) for the liquid. 30g (1oz) for the concentrated powder.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Aloe Vera

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