Common Beauty Ingredient Spotlight: Aloe Vera

January 21, 2017 2 min read 0 Comments

By: Mo

What is it? Aloe Vera is actually the name of the short spiny succulent plant from the Aloe family from which the cosmetic ingredient is derived. Cosmetic products that include Aloe Vera include the gel-like center of the Aloe Vera plant.

Is it vegan or Cruelty-Free? Yes, Aloe Vera is a plant and is vegan. Aloe Vera gel straight from the Aloe Vera plant is Cruelty-Free. However, Aloe Vera is usually included with other ingredients in cosmetic products and those ingredients or the product as a whole may not be Cruelty-Free. Each product containing Aloe Vera should be evaluated for its Cruelty-Free status independently. That warning aside, Aloe Vera is largely found in “natural” skincare and as an alternative to other ingredients by Cruelty-Free and/or vegan cosmetic and skincare brands.

How is it produced? Aloe Vera grows in warm climates, was originally cultivated in Africa, and is now grown across the world. Aloe Vera is a hardy plant and many people keep them as house plants and harvest their own gel for DIY cosmetic and skincare or for consumption. Leaves are harvested off of the Aloe Vera plant and then stripped of their hard, spiny exterior for their gel-like interior flesh. Harvesting the Aloe Vera gel does not kill the plant, as the center can regrow the lost leaves. After the Aloe Vera gel is harvested, it is processed differently depending on its intended end use. There are many different varieties of Aloe but only 2 are used commercially with the most popular being Aloe Vera. Some Aloe varieties can even be poisonous so be careful if you plan to harvest your own Aloe Vera at home.

What does it do? Aloe Vera has been used on the skin all over the world for centuries. It was prized in ancient Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Africa just to name a few of the many cultures that have used the plant. Aloe Vera is most commonly used in cosmetic ingredients as a moisturizer. It can also have anti-irritant and cooling effects which are why it is often used as a treatment for mild sunburns. Scientific studies on Aloe Vera have been conflicting. While its effectiveness may be up for debate, there is little chance of Aloe Vera causing harm and at the very least may provide a basic moisturizing effect.

Where is it found? Aloe Vera is grown all over the world in warm climate areas.

What skin type is aloe vera ideal for? Aloe Vera is best for dry skin and to soothe irritation. This soothing property makes Aloe Vera an ingredient that may also be effective in moisturizers for acne prone or problem skin. Because it has a very low rate of side effects, Aloe Vera can be a good choice for sensitive skin as well.