I have very fine wavy hair which is really prone to breakage and shedding. I used to think it was because I man-handled it but even since switching to all natural hair products and making my hair routine very low manipulation, I still seem to have way more shedding/breakage than I would like to see. And finding what looking like a small mammal in your shower drain after washing your hair is really very disappointing!
Finding something that was effective but wasn’t chemical laden was a tough process. It involved a lot of reading and research and some very intense label reading. Finally, I came across one ingredient that made me super excited to try it: aloe vera.
Most of what I’ve found on aloe vera for hair shedding/breakage was anecdotal evidence so I decided to do my own little n=1 experiment to see if it works. And I’m here to tell you that it does!
Aloe Vera Options:
1. The best option is to get an aloe vera plant or buy it by-the-leaf from a place like Whole Foods. This is the only way to know that you’re getting aloe vera gel that’s absolutely pure. I start by peeling the leaf and scraping out the gooey insides. Then I run it all through the blender and decant into a disc-top bottle. Definitely keep in the fridge and use it in 1-2 weeks.
2. Food grade aloe vera: this is your second best option since it will have the least amount of additives. You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of your local health food store.
3. Shelf-stable aloe vera gel: these are usually made shelf stable with additives such as citric acid and potassium sorbate and thickened with compounds such as carrageenan and gaur gum. The very small quantities of these additives most likely makes it ok to use these if it’s all you can find but do your own research first to see how you feel about it. I know carrageenan is something that makes people nervous due to the potential carcinogenic worries that have been brought up but from what I understand, it’s not likely you’ll absorb much, if any, through your scalp. But use your own best judgement. One company that I tried is Lily of the Desert aloe vera gel which I thought worked pretty well but I do prefer the real thing better.
How I Use Aloe Vera for Hair Shedding/Breakage:
I essentially use the aloe vera as a scalp mask before I shower. I start with dry hair, part my hair one section at a time, and apply a dollop of aloe vera goo on each section. Mostly I aim to get it all over my scalp but I don’t go out of my way to avoid getting it on my hair since I see no reason it would harm the hair shaft. Then I throw on a shower cap (so sexy!) and do chores and such around the house for up to an hour. Then I shampoo and condition as usual.
I’ve noticed much less hair in the drain after my showers now and I don’t seem to lose hair quite as often when I comb/style it. As an added bonus, my scalp feels really fresh and non-greasy for longer so I’m able to stretch time between washes (less manipulation=less hair fall!).
I’m not sure if it’s in my head (pun intended) but my hair seems to love this stuff too. It seems to be a little less frizzy and feels pretty soft afterwards. I use it in my hair in this deep conditioning treatment or in my latest favorite all natural strengthening shampoo. I also like to use it as an all natural alternative to gel for my curly hair; this may work better for people with finer hair but I think it’s worth a shot for anyone given how benign it is. I even use it as a leave-in with my rose water nourishing hair mister. Can you tell I’ve come to love this stuff??
I’d love to hear about your experiences with aloe vera gel to decrease hair shedding/breakage so leave me a comment if you try it out 🙂