Make your own Aloe Vera Gel!
This succulent plant with the weird, slimy gel insides is a treasure of nature – and the more I study it, the more uses I find for it. According to research, aloe vera can be very good for the skin. This is fairly common knowledge. Specifically, it’s perfect for first degree burns and some swear by it as a “miracle cure”. A 2007 review has also mentioned that it can also heal herpes and psoriasis. It’s also considered excellent for stomach ulcers.
For beauty products, it’s a commonly used ingredient for mositurizers, soaps, lotions and shampoos. This reminds me of another way to make soaps . Other uses for extracts of aloe vera include as a fresh food preservative, or for water conservation in small farms.
With so many benefits, a lot of people have tried to use aloe vera in herbal medicine. There’s one problem though – how to keep the aloe vera gel fresh for a long time. Here’s the good news – it is possible to make some DIY aloe vera gel. With this, you can enjoy the many benefits of aloe vera and there’s a guarantee of using it for a long time.
You don’t need a lot of other ingredients for this gel. You just have to prepare it with some grapefruit seed extract, vitamin C and E or some essential oil – which act as preservatives.
Here’s some things I want to mention too: you can consider this DIY aloe vera gel as a part of your beauty kit – it’s perfect for skin pampering as well as for healing minor skin irritations and insect bites. You can also add some creativity with the essential oils – and give it away as part of an eco-friendly loot to your good friends. I am pretty sure they will appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness. Go explore the many fun options!
DIY: How To Make Aloe Vera Gel
Step 1: Aloe Vera Gel Ingredients, Tools & Materials
Project time:Approximately 45-minutes to 1-hour.
To make the gel, I use:
- 1/4-cup Aloe Vera pulp
- 1-tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4-teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional)
- 1/8-teaspoon citric acid (optional)
- Food processor
- clean container with lid
To Harvest Aloe from plant (Step 2):
- work gloves (optional)
- paper towels
- container to hold pulp (or measuring cup)
I have been growing the aloe vera plant for over fifteen years. I have transported a potted aloe vera plant from one home to the next at least twice that I can think of. I don’t have a green thumb by any means and have had my share of house plants and flowers die from mostly neglect. But my hearty and strong aloe vera plants have been thriving in my various gardens and pots for most of my lifetime.
The first photo in this step shows you the side of my house where the plant is growing. You can see that it is very prolific.
I also posted a photo of my work gloves, as the cactus-family plant may cause sensitive skin to itch as the spines are there for the plants protection, just as a rose plant has thorns.
For the purpose of this instructable, I yanked out one of the plants from its dirt home. Do not fret however, because the plant itself can re-grow from the root ball and it’s center stalk. It just has to be replanted.
To harvest the Aloe from the plant, you will need a work space, paper towels, a spoon, a knife, a container to put the pulp in, and (optionally) kitchen shears. It takes me a good half-an-hour (30-minutes) to scoop out the pulp and five extra minutes of mixing the ingredients.
In order to make about 1/4-cup of pulp, you will need anywhere from four (4) to six (6) leaves about 4 to 6 inches long.
With my work gloves, I pulled off the leaves at the base of the live plant near the center of the stalk.
This could have been done with kitchen shears to maximize the length of the plant, but you can tell the plant is healthy when the leaves snap off pretty easily.
The leaves you want to use should be at least 1-1/2-inches wide, and when you push a leaf in between your fingers, it should feel like you are pressing on your own finger. There should be some give, but you can’t squish it completely either.
The next step is to wash your hands. It’s important to do to minimize the amount of bacteria that could make mold grow quickly on the final product.
The step after that is to clean off the aloe leaves. That can be done with a moist, clean paper towel.
If you are sensitive to the spines of the plant, you can use a paper towel to wrap the leaf, OR prior to cleaning your plant, you can leave the work gloves on and slice or snip off the thorns using a knife or the shears. You could also “peel” the thorns using a potato peeler. I don’t do either one of these as I’m just used to getting the pulp out.
Slice through the top of the leaf skin using a clean knife, trying to get through just the top layer of skin.
Using your spoon, peel the skin back from the insides of the leaf, trying to capture as much of the pulp as possible.
After peeling the skin back, scoop out the pulp and place it in your clean container.
I do not recommend using a knife to scoop the insides out, as you can get more of the green-leaf portion rather than clear gel that you want to harvest.
If you do get a bit or two of green in the gel, you can slice it off with the knife and toss it. It’s not a bad bi-product, it just doesn’t spread as easily when rubbing the final product onto your skin.
That’s pretty much it. You now have made your own aloe vera gel! It might take a few tries to get the slicing open so that you can maximize the amount of pulp that comes out of the leaf, but you will get the hang of it.