Why Aloe Vera Shampoo is a better choice
People today are attempting to make healthier choices when it comes to the products they buy and consume. If it’s a food, individuals regularly check labels and ask about the product’s origins. Less thought is given to personal care products such as shampoo because these aren’t ingested, but that can be a mistake. Many people have never actually read an ingredient label on a shampoo bottle, which is perfectly understandable since it almost seems to be in a foreign language. However, those difficult to decipher terms can hide a myriad of potentially unhealthy substances:
• DMDM Hydantoin and Quaternium-15. These are preservatives that release formaldehyde, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
• Alkyloamides. This is a term used to collectively identify a group of emulsifiers/thickeners often listed on labels as DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), and MEA (monoethanolamine). Besides irritating skin, there is concern that, in conjunction with formaldehyde-releasers, these substances may combine to form carcinogens.
• Fragrance. The thought of substances that smell like flowers and rainforests being unhealthy may seem incongruous, but the problem is that the term isn’t regulated by the FDA, so the chemical composition of the fragrances is completely unknown.
• Methylchloroisothiazolinone. A preservative known to be an allergen and found in test tube studies to be neurotoxic.
These are but some of the scary chemicals that can be found among the dozens of ingredients used in shampoos sold in stores. One way to reduce exposure to these substances is to use products made with natural components such as aloe vera.
Properties of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera, also known as aloe barbadensis, is a succulent, which is plant that has thick, fleshy leaves meant to help it retain water. Today, different products are derived from the aloe plant, some for use as foods and others for topical use. For the formulation of personal care products, the gel found inside the leaves is the part of the plant that is of interest (not to be confused with aloe vera juice which can contain parts of the whole leaf). Glycoproteins found in aloe vera gel are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant effects.
The gel has vitamins A, C, E, and several B vitamins, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium, and magnesium, and it is also a source of antioxidants. In fact, the list of all of the plant’s components includes several dozen distinct substances (Vogler BK, Ernst E., Aloe vera: A systematic review of its clinical effectiveness., Br J Gen Pract 1999;49:823-828.). The plant also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties (Klein, Alan D. et al., Aloe Vera, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 18, Issue 4, 714 – 720).
What makes Aloe Vera good for hair care
As an ingredient in a shampoo or other cosmetic products, aloe vera is properly considered a botanical, which is an ingredient originating or derived from a plant. Before the advent of modern chemistry and manufacturing, natural botanicals were the principal source of ingredients for cosmetics and toiletries. Since shampooing means exposing the scalp along with the hair to whatever is in the shampoo, it’s best if the ingredients are beneficial for both the skin and hair, as aloe vera’s are.
It contains polysaccharides, which may be responsible for its moisturizing and hydrating effects (Dal’Belo, S. E., Rigo Gaspar, L. and Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos, P. M. (2006), Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques, Skin Research and Technology, 12: 241–246. doi: 10.1111/j.0909-752X.2006.00155.x).
Choline, which helps skin retain moisture, is another substance found in aloe. Thus, the plant’s humectant properties can be moisturizing for the hair and restorative for the scalp, which very probably is dry and has been stripped of its natural oils by the harsh detergents in today’s shampoos. Aloe helps promote a healthy, balanced pH, boosting hair growth and retarding hair loss. Since it helps with irritation and inflammation, it can aid in the treatment of itchy scalp and dandruff.
Making your own Aloe Vera Shampoo
Making one’s own shampoo can seem daunting to someone who’s never done it (and who, perhaps, is turned off by memories of past, made-from-scratch kitchen disasters), but it can be a simple process. The first and most important step is to assure that the ingredients used are of good quality, which means using organic aloe vera gel. There are several ways to obtain this gel. The first is to get it from a living plant. If there is already one in the garden or house, it’s a sure bet it will be organically grown, as few people use hazardous chemicals and fertilizers in their very own homes. New plants can be obtained from nurseries, home improvement stores or big-box retailers with nursery departments. Occasionally, grocery stores stock the cut leaves in the produce department. If no fresh aloe vera is available, as a last resort, the gel can be found at vitamin and natural foods stores or right here on the Aloe Vera Headquarters products page. Here are a few examples of plants for sale and ready-made Aloe Gel. You can click images to read reviews.
How to make your own Aloe Vera Shampoo
When harvesting, it is important to obtain only the gel. Aloe vera leaves contain a brownish, yellowish sap called aloin. This liquid has laxative properties and should be drained out and discarded (doctors no longer recommend it even as a laxative). Afterward, the parts of the leaves with the spikes should be removed with a sharp knife. Then a slit can be made down the center or two slits on the sides–the important thing is to remove the green sheath to expose the gel inside. It should be scooped out and strained if desired.
A simple method for making shampoo, with few ingredients, is to combine equal parts of this gel and coconut milk and mix well until there are no lumps. The mixture should then be applied to wet hair and rinsed well. This recipe is especially good for hair with dandruff.
Another method calls for 1/8 of a cup of gel, two tablespoons of water, two drops of argan or jojoba oil, and two drops of rosemary oil. The ingredients should be pureed very well in a food processor and used immediately. Because natural shampoos contain no preservatives, what’s left over should be refrigerated.
A third method requires 1/4 cup gel, 1/4 cup liquid castile soap, one teaspoon of glycerin oil, and 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil. The preparation should be whisked together in a bowl and shaken well before applying in the shower. A few drops of essential oils such as tea tree or patchouli can be added before using. Different essential oils have different properties and aromas, so their use is completely optional and up to each individual.
Another recipe calls for two tablespoons of gel, two cups of distilled water, two ounces of dried herbs such as rosemary, mint or chamomile, six ounces of liquid castile soap, 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil, and 40 drops of essential oil (optional). The water should be brought to a boil and the herbs added. After reducing the heat, the mixture should be covered and steeped for 15 minutes. The herbs are then strained and discarded, and the gel, soap, and other ingredients are added and mixed well. Unused shampoo should be refrigerated.
Store bought Aloe Vera Shampoos
There will be some people who will be very interested in choosing a healthier alternative like aloe vera shampoo but will lack the time to gather/purchase the necessary ingredients and make their own. For these folks, buying this type of shampoo at a retailer would be a much more practical option. Since the motivation for using aloe vera shampoo is to choose a more natural product, it’s important to make sure that a store-bought version meets those expectations. To that end, the aloe vera and other botanical ingredients should be organically grown.
Organic produce refers to food and plants that have been grown using certain methods of farming where synthetic and chemical substances are generally forbidden. Organic farming methods assure that the soil in which the food is grown does not contain any of those prohibited substances, that none are used as additives and that pest and weed control are carried out with these practices in mind.
The best way to make sure something is organic is to look for one of the various certifications available from government entities in charge of regulating organic farms and labeling. It’s also important to check the shampoo’s other ingredients. They shouldn’t be any of the potentially harmful substances discussed above. A large proportion of fillers, such as water, thickeners, and foam boosters, are also not very desirable if the goal is to purchase a healthier and more natural product.
Top Aloe Vera Shampoos on the Market Today
The following products are available here online and are excellent examples of what a good quality aloe vera shampoo:
Please feel free to click on the above images to read reviews and check out the ingredients for each product and make sure to do your own research on what ingredients are acceptable for you and your health, if unsure always consult your general practitioner. We hope you have liked our article on how to make your own Aloe Vera Shampoo, feel free to share it with your friends or pin it to pinterest.
Stay Healthy Folks ;)