DIY Aloe Vera Gel

I first had the idea to make my own aloe vera gel when a dear friend and mentor propogated her aloe vera plant for me. I must’ve been a bit sunburned at the time, although I can’t say I remember exactly what inspired her to make the new plant. She grabbed an old tin Folgers can, grabbed some soil from her garden, and planted the sprig. After a lovely visit, she sent me on my way with some of her handmade ceramics and a freshly started aloe vera plant.

I didn’t realize how easy it was to make your own gel to deal with things like sunburns, cuts, and blisters. I had always heard of aloe vera to deal with sunburns, but didn’t realize how simple and natural the solution was, especially when it’s homemade. All you need are three ingredients to learn how to make alow vera gel.

The Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel

Keeping an aloe vera plant on hand is a great way to be prepared for unexpected burns. Plus, they’re full of antioxidants that benefit the skin on several levels. All you need to do is slice an alow leaf open to get the healing salve out of the plant. However, to keep aloe vera gel on hand, you’ll need to preserve it.

The Importance of A Natural Preservative

Although you can definitely take aloe vera gel directly from the plant itself (and we recommend it every now and then). The most efficient way to harvest alow vera is to purée the inside of the plant with a natural preservative and store it in a cool, dry place. (By the way, if you’d rather not add a preservative, you can always freeze your alow vera gel to keep it fresh.) So, what sorts of natural preservatives will do?

Natural preservatives prevent the alow vera from rotting and help it maintains it healing properties for moths and months. When it comes to finding a natural prervative, there are a few options that will do the trick. Essentially, you need some form of powedered Vitamin C, Vitamin E or grapefruit extract. I was able to pick up some citric acid from my local craft store, and this natural preservative was exactly what I needed.

What You’ll Need

  • Aloe Vera – You can find aloe vera plants at most plant nurseries. These plants are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Alternatively, you can also purchase an aloe vera succulent leaf in many healthfood stores.
  • Citric Acid – This ingredient sounds a bit scary, but it’s simply a preservative made from citrus extraction.

If you can’t get ahold of any citric acid, you can try a few other options as a preservative. Lemon juice will do the trick, as will a Vitamin E or Vitamin C powder.


Step 1 – Extract Aloe From Succulent Leaf

It takes a steady hand to smoothly extract aloe vera from the succulent leaf. Start by slicing along the longside of the plant. Carefully cut the leaf in half (pictured above) and remove one half of the leaf. Make excisions and dice the inside of the plant, as you would an avocado, and scoop out the gel. Beware: it will be a messy process.

Step 2 – Purée Aloe

Add the diced alow vera to a blender. Gradually increase the speed until a gel forms. If needed, add distilled water.

Step 3 – Mix in Preservative

Add in the citric acid. Use two teaspoons of citric acid for every cup of aloe vera. Mix in thoroughly. If needed, add distilled water.

Step 4 – Store Properly

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. For extended shelf life, store in the fridge.

Tips for Making Aloe Vera Gel

How long does homemade aloe vera gel last?

If stored in the refrigerator, the aloe vera can last for several months. If stored in a pantry or cabinet, this recipe should store for 2–4 weeks.

Can you use aloe vera straight from the plant?

Yes, absolutely. You can use alow vera straight from the plant. However, the aloe vera will begin losing freshness in a matter of hours, so it’s best to use a preservativ, like citric acid.

How do you know if aloe vera gel has gone bad?

When aloe vera gel goes bad, the texture will change. Instead of being smooth and thick, it will become inconsistent, watery, and slimy.

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