Far from unsung, aloe vera has been everyone’s go-to for skin emergencies for as long as we can remember. But it’s not just for sunburn – here’s why the green goddess deserves a place in your daily skincare routine for good.
A remedy renowned for centuries for its healing powers, aloe vera is a true botanical force. A dab of its juice on cuts, scrapes and irritated areas can speed up skin repair while also calming inflammation and cleansing with its antimicrobial properties. Most popularly used to soothe sunburnt skin, it’s a staple in so many households, but its uses go far beyond the summer holiday period.
When applied to acne, aloe vera reduces redness while helping shorten the lifespan of any spots, especially when used alongside oil-controlling favourites like salicylic acid, clay, zinc and tea tree. If your skin is stressed out after using certain acids too frequently or simply from too many new products all at once, aloe can calm down inflammation to bring down any texture and redness.
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One of the big benefits of aloe vera is that it can be used in a number of different ways, including straight from the aloe leaf – something that’s available at most health food shops or a houseplant (just make sure to cut any leaves with a sanitised knife to avoid infections to the rest of the plant).
To get to the good stuff, cut the leaf lengthways and scoop out the fleshy meat of the leaf, and either apply straight onto the skin as a spot treatment or blend or mash it up and use it as a face mask for around 15 minutes. Aloe works great on its own but is at its best when combined with other kitchen beauty staples like honey, avocado oil, and turmeric for intense nourishment. If that’s too much DIY, look for skincare products with aloe juice or aloe leaf extract in the ingredients list – the higher up, the better.
Read on for the ones that make the cut for your most soothed, nurtured skin yet.
Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum
Soothing and renewing, this thirst-quenching, jelly-textured aloe serum is packed with hydrating ingredients like squalane, hyaluronic acid and moisture-attracting glycerin, for plump, dewy skin.
Shop Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum at Cult Beauty, £42
Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Cleanser
Gently (but thoroughly) cleanse your skin of environmental pollutants, dirt, make-up and daily debris with this aloe-enriched foaming cleanser.
Shop Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Cleanser at Cult Beauty, £20
Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe
A celebrity favourite, Mario Badescu’s facial spray is a non-irritating, fragrance and alcohol-free saviour for thirsty, stressed and riled-up skin.
Shop Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Adaptogens and Coconut Water at Cult Beauty, from £6.75
Alpha H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe Vera
Reparative and calming, the Alpha H Balancing Cleanser contains vitamin E and aloe vera to maintain the integrity of your skin barrier and prevent dryness while also actively removing make-up, SPF and dirt.
Shop Alpha H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe Vera at Cult Beauty, £25
Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel PHA 5% + Aloe Vera
Aloe’s usually found as a topical gel to leave on, but its microbial powers make it excellent in a cleanser. Typology has incorporated gentle PHA acids to micro-exfoliate dead skin – perfect for sensitive or sensitised skin.
Shop Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel PHA 5% + Aloe Vera, £19.20
Aesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum
For those with oily and combination skin types, this watery texture is for you. With a vitamin-enriched formula including ylang ylang and panthenol to comfort stressed skin, it dries down to a matte finish while working on any redness.
Shop Aesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum at Lookfantastic, £47
Dr. Barbara Sturm Aloe Vera Gel
Dr Barbara Sturm knows a thing or two about post-treatment care. With 90% organic aloe juice as the primary ingredient, this tube also brings in the doctor’s signature purslane active to protect sensitised skin cells against free radicals, plus panthenol to soothe.
Shop Dr Barbara Sturm Aloe Vera Gel at Cult Beauty, £50
The Body Shop Aloe Calming Cream Cleanser
Back to the cleansers – and this one’s creamy formula is perfect alone or as a prelude to another. Created for sensitive skin with fairtrade Mexican aloe, it’s free from fragrance, colour, or alcohol to avoid aggravating skin any further. The Body Shop has an entire aloe range for all your needs, including a foaming aloe cleanser for tougher or more healed skin conditions.
Shop The Body Shop Aloe Calming Cream Cleanser at Makeup UK, £12.23
Aurelia London Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser
Having won all the awards, this pot of magic is more than worthy – and it has aloe as the second ingredient after water. Merging probiotics (to feed the ‘good’ bacteria on the skin) together with botanical heroes, it protects and nurtures stressed skin with everything it needs. Plus, the dreamy lavender, neroli, mandarin and rose scent makes it the perfect bedtime hero.
Shop Aurelia London Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, £58
Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice
If your skin is sensitised or sensitive, then get to know another incredibly soothing ingredient: cica. Elemis’ serum uses its powers in its vegan and 75% organic aloe formula, plus prebiotics, to feed and calm skin and gradually build up its resistance over time. Wonderfully cooling, this is the one for summer – keep it in the fridge to really bring that redness down.
Shop Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice, £40
Garnier Skin Active 3-in-1 Hydrating Aloe Water Jelly
This jelly-like moisturiser can be applied layer after layer for continuous soothing after a particularly bad reaction. Using hyaluronic to hydrate any dry, flaky patches, it also locks moisture into the skin for up to 48 hours.
Shop Garnier Skin Active 3-in-1 Hydrating Aloe Water Jelly at Lookfantastic, £12.99
Images: Getty/courtesy of brands
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