Most of the products we feature on this site are made specially for one or two purposes. Hair, face, eyes, bodies, hands and feet all have designated products which encourage us to spend to make sure we’re looking fabulous from head to toe. However, there are also products available that can be used for many things, and this is one: aloe vera gel. It has a multitude of uses. Holland & Barrett claim it’s good for ‘[helping] sooth, moisturise and soften dry skin’ and is useful for treating ‘stretch marks, dry or chapped skin and skin irritations’. This includes sunburn and post-shave soreness – it can also be used as a particularly gentle shaving gel! It also works brilliantly as a facial serum and as a moisturiser-booster for use under hand and body creams. And it can be applied to damp hair to smooth as it air-dries and on dry hair to tame frizz! It has to be certified by the International Aloe Science Council – like this one is – to make sure of the products purity. Avoid anything with green dye or fragrance (totally unnecessary), and a dispenser that helps to reduce the amount of air that gets to the gel is a better bet than a squeezy tube or open-cap bottle.

Here Are Some Of My Preferred Uses:]

Dry Skin

Anywhere you have dry skin, you can use this gel to soften and nourish, be it on your face or body. It doesn’t sting at all, and feels very soothing. Because it sinks in so quickly and leaves no residue you can also use it underneath your regular moisturiser for maximum replenishment. Elbows, backs of hands and knees all benefits from aloe vera gel.  It also helps calm itchy eczema or dermatitis, but should be used in conjunction with dedicated treatments for maximum effect.

Sore Skin

After waxing my eyebrows I apply a little gel to a cotton wool pad and gently swipe over the affected area to calm redness and cool down irritated brows. Even here there’s no stinging sensation and it means I can wax in the morning on the day of an evening engagement and not suffer from any tell-tale redness. It also helps to soothe and calm shaved legs (and underarms!), and tackles razor rash on men’s faces.  For sunburn you can keep this gel in the fridge for maximum cooling effects, if you’re feeling brave!  Try adding some to your regular moisturiser for an extra nourishing treat.

Face Serum

When I get hot and bothered in summer (yes, we do have sweltering days here in the U.K.!) I switch to lighter skincare formulas and use fewer products. I find aloe vera gel works well as a cooling, lighter alternative to my normal serum. It has a very gentle tightening effect and as it sinks in fast, you don’t have to wait long before you can apply your sunscreen on top. The pump dispenser that comes with Holland & Barrett’s large size gel dispenses just the right amount of product to cover your entire face and neck, so there’s no wastage, either. Clearly aloe vera gel is not only one of the more versatile products on the market, but it’s the one product I wouldn’t want to live without. It has so many uses, and so few downfalls (does lack of glamour count as a negative?) I feel it’s probably the one commodity I’d take to a dessert island if I was restricted to a single beauty product. You do have to be careful not to buy a cheap alternative, or anything with colourants or artificial fragrance added – aloe gel doesn’t really smell of anything significant nor does it have any colour, but other than that it’s widely available.If you make the right choice you’ll be rewarded with a product that you can use almost anywhere, at any time and with any complimentary product you like. It’s well priced, too, and big-value 500 ml tubs are available (with a twelve month lifespan).  Give it a go, you’ll be surprised at its versatility and efficacy!

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Acrylkates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Dosium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Benzoic Acid.

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