Aloe vera is a plant that goes by many names: medicinal aloe, true aloe, Chinese aloe, Indian aloe, Barbados aloe, burn aloe. They all refer to the same plant, though--the spiky-leaved, green, succulent plant with serrated edges and incredible moisturising power. The soothing properties in aloe vera juice or gel make it a natural choice for dry, troubled hair.
How to Extract
To remove the juice or gel from an aloe vera plant, cut off a mature leaf with a sharp knife (older leaves have the most nutritional value). Remove the spiked edges and slice the leaf open. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the gel. For the juice, break the leaf and squeeze it into a cup. If you don't have your own aloe plant, you can purchase the leaves, gel and juice at health food stores.
Instead of your regular conditioner, whip up this moisturising, aloe-based gel. Use 1/4 cup aloe gel, and combine with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix in a few drops of your favourite essential oil(s) for fragrance and extra moisture. Apply after shampooing, leaving it on for three to five minutes.
For superb hydration, leave aloe vera juice in your hair overnight. You can mix it with cold-pressed oils such as olive or avocado for extra conditioning. Wet your hair with the mixture, put your hair in a shower cap, and drift off to sleep. In the morning, rinse well (if you used pure juice) or shampoo and condition (if you added oils).
The benefits of aloe vera are still being researched, but it contains two substances called "macrophages" and "superoxide dismutases"--both of which have been considered as possible hair growth stimulators. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe are wonderful for inflamed follicles, and the plant is so soothing that there's no harm trying it out. Apply aloe vera juice or gel directly to the scalp and massage it in. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight, and keep an eye out for new hair growth.
Aloe vera works to prevent or cure dandruff. Apply the juice or gel directly to your scalp, and rub it in well. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil for extra potency. Leave it on for 20-plus minutes before showering. Repeat this several times a week for two weeks, or until the problem goes away.
The gentle, soothing feeling of fresh aloe vera juice is wonderful for itchy, irritated or sunburned scalps. Break a leaf and squeeze it directly onto hair. Rub it gently into the scalp and leave in. Reapply whenever the irritation resurfaces.