You can use the clear gel scraped from a fresh leaf* if you have an aloe vera plant. You only need a tablespoon of aloe gel to mix up an aloe vera face mask.
You don't have to use aloe vera. Any type of aloe will work just the same. In fact, I usually use Tiger aloe on my face as the leaves are bigger and they contain less of the bitter yellow latex. All aloe species are safe to use.
Cut a large enough portion of the leaf off to give you 1 tablespoon of clear gel. Don't worry about cutting off a piece of the leaf. The plant will heal itself.
Rinse the leaf off. Slice off the long edges with a sharp knife to remove any thorns. Split the leaf down the center to expose the gel and juice inside. Scrape this off into a clean tea cup with a spoon.
Mash the gel and juice into a pulp with the spoon. Mix in the additional ingredients and spread immediately onto your freshly cleansed face avoiding your eyes and eyebrows.
Leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing the mask away with warm water.
*Fresh aloe juice or gel can stain fabric.
If you don't have an aloe plant, you can buy a cheap one here:
They are quite handy to have around. But, if you don't wish to
grow your own aloe vera,
you can just as easily use a store bought aloe vera gel.
Aubrey Organics is an excellent brand. Their aloe gel is all natural.
Any proprietary aloe vera gel will contain other ingredients. These are present to stabilize the product and keep it from going bad. Fresh aloe has a very short shelf life.
Using a store bought gel, you can easily mix the facials up in your palm. No need to dirty a cup.
1. Aloe Vera Face Brightener
This aloe vera face mask is good for women of a certain age who want to restore the radiance of youth to a complexion which has dulled.
To the tablespoon of aloe vera gel add a few drops of fresh lemon juice.
Lemon juice is a mild bleach which is safe to use on your skin. It can increase your skin's photo-sensitivity for a few hours after it is applied so apply it in the evening.
Aloe can cause age spots and superficial scars to fade when used regularly.
2. Aloe Vera Facial for Oily Skin
To the aloe gel, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of water, just enough to make a paste.
Baking soda is drying and will draw impurities out of the skin much like a clay mask would. It will also exfoliate your skin and leave it smoother than before.
3. Aloe Vera Face Mask for Dry Skin
Add a teaspoon of honey to the aloe gel.
Honey is a natural humectant which will moisturize your skin. It also possesses antibacterial properties.
Rose hip oil is anti-inflammatory and has a normalizing effect on the skin. If your skin is too oily or too dry it will balance it. It tends to also balance the complexion so that red or dark spots become less noticeable.
For sun damaged or sunburned skin substitute lavender essential oil for the rose hip oil. Do not apply this aloe vera face mask to a fresh sunburn. Until the pain subsides, apply just the plain aloe gel.
Lavender oil has skin regenerating properties. Both oils will help reduce wrinkles.
Never apply any pure essential oil directly to your skin. Always dilute it in a carrier oil, water or lotion first. The pure oil is much too strong.
5. Exfoliating Aloe Vera Face Mask
Add 1 teaspoon of plain, uncooked oatmeal (instant is o.k. and so is oat bran) and a few drops of warm water to soften it and make it milky.
Oats are soothing to irritated skin. As this mixture dries it will tighten and draw impurities from the skin but it is gentler and less drying than the oily skin mask above.
The dried oats will take any loose, flaky skin with them when you rinse it off.
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Go from Aloe Vera Face Mask to Aloe Vera Seeds
Aloe plants can be propagated from aloe vera seeds but this is not always the best way to grow aloe vera. Aloe seeds will usually produce aloe hybrids--similar to but not exact clones of aloe vera.