Aloe vera has healing powers that are proven by science – in studies it has been shown to heal minor wounds up to eight days faster than a standard dressing. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals as well as possessing antibacterial properties.

Read on to find out why you should be using this plant in your beauty routine. For best results, use 100% pure aloe vera gel, as it has no added dyes or fragrance that could irritate your skin.

1. Makeup Remover

Many commercially-made makeup removers contain chemicals and dyes that can dry out your skin, says Ildi Pekar, founder of a skin care line. She recommends that you put some pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and use it to remove your makeup, including stubborn mascara.

2. Shaving Gel

Pure aloe vera makes a great shaving cream, and it’s antibacterial, which means it takes care of any razor nicks. It allows for a close shave, and it moisturizes too. Use it on its own or combine it with nourishing ingredients for a luxury DIY beauty product.

3. Soothing Aloe Ice Cubes for Burns

Fill an ice cube tray with aloe gel, and then freeze. Use them after a bit too much sun, bug bites, poison ivy, or even to soothe psoriasis, says Corene Hejl, owner of feedmyskin, a beauty company.

4. Facial Wash

Mix 1 tbsp of aloe vera gel with 1tsp almond milk, and 1tsp lemon juice. Wash and leave it on your face for a few minutes before rinsing off. Pekar says this wash is ideal for people with sensitive skin, and those who suffer from breakouts and Rosacea. If you want to give your skin an anti-aging treat, mix 1 tbsp of aloe with 1 tsp 100% raw organic coconut oil. Massage into hands until the contents are warm, then wash and rinse off.

5. Exfoliator

skin

Exfoliating can be a chore, but it’s important if you want fresh and glowing skin. Aloe vera makes a good base for a homemade exfoliating scrub because it helps to soften the skin and supply oxygen to your skin cells, says Pekar.

Mix ½ cup aloe with just enough brown sugar or baking soda to get a gritty but not sharp texture. Rub this onto your elbows, heels, knees or anywhere else that needs softening. Do this in the shower so you can easily rinse off the mixture.

6. Breath Freshener

To combat bad breath, drink up to ¼ cup of pure aloe vera gel dissolved in ½ cup of water or apple juice, advises herbalist Letha Hadady, author of Healthy Beauty. Aloe vera contains a compound called B-sitosterol, which calms down acid indigestion – a common cause of bad breath. Don’t drink more than you should, though: aloe vera has a laxative effect in large doses!

7. As a Night Treatment

If you want a hydrating night mask that you can wear to bed, blend pure aloe juice with three inches of cucumber and half an egg white, says Tammie Umbel, founder of Shea Terra Organics.

8. Eyebrow Gel

If you have a problem with stray eyebrow hairs, try putting some aloe gel on a clean mascara wand and sweep it over the stray hairs. This should make them stay put without them going hard or getting sticky.

If you’ve overdone it with the tweezers, mix one part of aloe gel with one part castor oil and apply it to your brows. It seems to help over-plucked eyebrows grow in faster.

9. Dry, Cracked Feet

Try this ultimate foot mask to get soft feet: Mix ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup cornmeal, 4 tbsp aloe vera gel with ½ cup unscented body lotion. Rub all over feet until they are exfoliated. Leave the mixture on for ten minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

10. Hand Sanitizer

Commercial hand sanitizer dries out you hands, so try this recipe instead. Mix ½ cup aloe vera gel, ¼ cup alcohol and 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour into a spritz bottle and use on your hands.