Aloe vera has a variety of skin benefits, but you may have only ever used it as a soothing sunburn treatment. With summer in the rearview mirror, we were curious to find out if that tub of aloe we have left over could also work as an effective facial moisturizer. Read on to find out.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties. It’s used in tons of skin care products for its healing, soothing, and hydrating effects.
I’ve used aloe vera before, but only on problem areas—never my whole face. It’s helped me in the past in erasing dark spots and healing dry patches, and especially here in New York, it works wonders on chapped skin during cold winter months.
Honestly, because aloe vera gel has a very thick, rich texture, I was hesitant to apply the ingredient straight-up on my whole face as I have naturally oily skin and tend to shy away from anything thick enough to feel like it will clog my pores or produce excess sebum, but I decided to give it a try for one week.
What It Did For My Skin
I picked up a tub of 100% aloe vera gel from my local drugstore, and applied it as I would regularly apply my normal moisturizer – once in the morning, before makeup, and once at night, paired with my Curology (I use Curology less as a moisturizer and more as a breakout preventative, so using the two together didn’t interfere with the effects of the aloe vera).
My first impression of the aloe vera was that it felt very cooling and soothing. My face didn’t feel particular sensitive, but I still got a sense of relief when I applied the gel. Some might shy away from the slick and slimy texture, but surprisingly, it doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin at all.
After the first day of usage, when I applied my makeup with my fingertips the next morning, I was shocked at how silky smooth my cheeks felt. By day two, my complexion seemed to be glowing a bit more. I don’t often struggle with acne or breakouts, but I do get dark spots and a dull complexion, and the aloe vera instantly made me look radiant and more awake. Better yet, it also made my skin feel unbelievably soft and supple.
Throughout the rest of the week, my skin continued to look less and less dull, and my complexion was definitely more even and bright. On the third day, I started replacing my usual lip balm (Glossier’s Balm Dotcom) with aloe vera, and sure enough, my lips were softer and more moisturized than ever the next morning.
The only drawback I found with using aloe vera was that, depending on your skin type, you need to be very precise with how much you apply. Drier skin types might want to opt for using more of the gel for maximum benefits, but for oily skin types like me, a pea-sized amount is likely enough for each usage—it spreads evenly and quickly, and too much might cause your pores to feel suffocated. I did experience one minor breakout on my jawline while using aloe vera, but I’m unsure if it was due to the gel or if it was hormonal. At any rate, continuing to use the aloe vera gel after the breakout didn’t inflame it any more or make it worse, and it even helped to soothe the redness surrounding the breakout and calm the inflamed skin.
The Bottom Line
For me, aloe vera is truly a miracle product. There were no specific skin concerns I wanted to target with it, yet it still improved my complexion and made my skin feel unbelievably soft and smooth. Because of its harmless qualities, it never irritated my skin either, and its intense moisture and hydration wasn’t too much for even my oily skin to bear. During cooler months, this will absolutely be a staple in my skin care routine, and year-round, it will be a go-to cure-all for any rough patches, dark spots, or dullness I encounter. Plus, it’s my new favorite lip balm!
If you prefer products that contain aloe vera mixed with other beneficial ingredients over 100% aloe vera gel, shop some of our favorite aloe-infused moisturizers below!