The One Dollar Healing Ingredient
I don't like to put myself into boxes so I won't say this is always true, but generally I'd rather use the bare minimum on my skin in terms of number of products. I feel better about putting rosehip oil on at night versus a night cream with a paragraph for an ingredient list. There's a fair amount of debate about natural vs. chemical skincare (I suggest giving this a read if you're interested) but ultimately you have to do what feels good to you.
While in a phase of enjoying more natural remedies (besides retinol which is life-changing and the subject of a later post), I was perusing the produce aisle of the supermarket and came across an aloe leaf. It was 99 cents. The sight of it brought visions of the me I've always dreamed of: a coconut-oil-dipped earth goddess tenderly cutting up an aloe leaf while tea tree oil misted through the air and baby chipmunks curled up by my feet.
The reality is that using fresh aloe is not a pleasant experience. Akin to wiping egg whites on your face. And be warned: whoever made us believe that aloe smells of fresh cut cucumber was a liar. Aloe smells terrible.
So why I am I writing this post? Because, despite my dismay at the way aloe actually smells, it works. Generally when you think of aloe you think of sunburn, but its healing properties can be helpful for other types of skin irritation. I use it whenever my skin feels sensitized. By that I mean: breaking out, red, or irritated by a harsh product. I think of it as a protective healing layer; a cocoon for the skin.
After cleansing my face I cut off a piece of aloe, open it up, and rub the gel over my face. Its texture is a cross between slime and a silicone primer. You can feel it adhere to the skin and then sink in. It doesn't leave a residue unless you pile it on. I generally follow with a hydrating mist because moisturizer doesn't sit well on top of it. Sometimes I just leave it alone.
In the morning, my skin always looks better. Red spots diminished and irritation minimized. I don't use it every night because it isn't hydrating (at least on my skin) and I prefer to use it when needed. That 99 cent leaf has lasted me months.
Not a big investment for a healing and soothing ingredient that actually works.