How to extract the gel from an aloe vera plant, and a DIY face mask you can make with it!
Aloe vera gel has some of the most diverse uses out of any plant, from treating burns to helping with constipation. It’s one of the most common ingredients in many of my home DIY products, and best of all, it can be grown right at home in your garden!
Some of the many uses for aloe vera gel include:
- As a treatment for acne scars and craters. Simply rub the aloe gel on affected areas 2-3 times a day. It can take a while to fully take effect, with some anecdotal reports saying improvements were noticed after 1 1/2-2 years, and only when this treatment was applied consistently, day in, day out
- Rubbed into the scalp to promote hair growth
- Blended up in smoothies and juices for health-boosting effects
- Applied as a face mask
- Used after the bath/shower as a moisturiser
- Used in makeup; homemade mascara, eyeliner, etc.
I wanted to share this ‘how to’ today as… I’d recently learnt that I’d been removing the gel from aloe leaves all wrong! I was watching Plastic Free Mermaid’s YouTube video on how to extract aloe gel properly from the plant, and along the way I came to realise that the “correct” way to remove the gel was not my way at all, but her way was SO MUCH EASIER.
So, to pass on her wisdom, here’s how to remove the gel from an aloe vera leaf properly.
Before we get started in learning how to extract aloe gel from the leaf – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!
If you make this aloe face mask, please let me know! Leave a comment below, and if you take a picture and share it, please tag me on Instagram @simplynaturalnessa or use the hashtag #simplynaturalnessa so I can see! I’d love to know how you went!
Extracting Aloe Vera Gel from the Leaf
1. Choose your aloe leaf.
When picking the leaves opt for the outermost ones – go for the oldest and largest of the leaves to use.
2. Clean away the yellow liquid.
You may notice once you’ve brought your leaf inside, that a yellow liquid has begun to ooze from the cut. This yellow liquid is a sap called aloe latex. It’s not part of the aloe vera gel, which you’ll see is clear. Aloe latex contains laxative properties. To stop the liquid oozing everywhere, point the leaf vertically, with the cut facing down, into a bowl and allow the liquid to drain.
3. Cut away the top section of the leaf.
You’ll see that towards the top end of the leaf, it becomes much thinner. Rather than spending time fiddling with this tiny amount of gel, trying to extract every last bit, cut this portion off and compost it.
4. Cut away the spikes.
Remove the spikey edges on either side of the leaf by carefully sliding the knife along the edge of the leaf, keeping your hands a safe distance away. Cut as close to the spikes as possible to avoid losing some of the gel in the process.
5. Remove the top and bottom leaf ‘skin‘ layers.
The leaves have a flat side, and a curved side. Begin with the flat side. Lay your leaf flat on a cutting board, and carefully slice away the skin of the aloe vera leaf, pushing your knife down into the chopping board as you slide it along the bottom, and push the top of the leaf down onto the knife to make it as flat as possible. Your knife should be in between the gel and the green skin. Repeat on other side.
6. Making the gel.
At this point, you should have slabs of clear gel. If you notice any bits of leaf left on them, cut them away. Now, to make the smooth aloe gel, pop the gel into a blender and blend until it’s frothy and liquefied; which should only take a few seconds. Then, it’s ready to use! The gel will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze in ice cube trays for up to 6 months.
DIY Aloe Face Mask
Aloe gel can be rubbed into skin as is for a skin-nourishing face mask, or you can combine it with other ingredients to add more healthful properties.
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- Blend or mix ingredients until you get a spreadable consistency (make sure it’s not too runny).
- Apply mask onto face and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse your face well and pat dry.
- Apply a light layer of oil to keep all moisture in.
Extracting aloe gel from the leaf tutorial
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Before use, test a small amount of aloe vera on skin before using, to make sure there is no allergic reaction.
Have you used aloe vera before? How did it go? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,