Aloe Vera For Hair

Type of ingredient: Hydrator

Aloe Vera for Your Hair: What Are the Benefits?

Some claim aloe vera may help strengthen your hair and make your scalp healthier. While there’s no clinical evidence to support this claim, aloe vera is safe for most people and may be beneficial.

Aloe vera has been used for centuries for its healing properties. It’s a plant that has thick leaves with a gel-like substance inside of them. It’s found all over the world, and many people even grow their own.

Aloe vera gel is cooling and soothing when applied to the skin, which is why it’s sometimes used to treat burns and skin wounds.

The best form of aloe vera to use on your hair is the raw gel of the plant. You can buy this gel in almost any pharmacy or scoop it out of leaves cut fresh from a live plant if you have one. The gel is clear in color and slightly watery.

Rubbing aloe vera into your scalp and hair and letting it penetrate your hair follicles could condition and improve damaged, dry hair. After letting it sit for an hour, rinse the gel off with a mild shampoo.

Calms an itchy scalp

Seborrheic dermatitis is the clinical term for the condition we call dandruff. The symptoms of an itchy scalp and flaking skin under your hair can be treated with aloe vera.

A 1998 study found that aloe vera helped resolve the scalp inflammation that dandruff causes. The fatty acids found in the aloe plant have anti-inflammatory properties.

Deep cleans oily hair

Aloe vera cleanses the hair shaft efficiently, stripping off extra sebum (oil) and residue from other hair products.

But aloe vera doesn’t hurt your hair strands while it cleans. Unlike other chemicals in hair products, aloe vera is gentle and preserves the integrity of your hair.

Using aloe vera is a great way to get hair that looks healthier, shinier, and softer.

Strengthens and repairs hair strands

Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins contribute to cell turnover, promoting healthy cell growth and shiny hair.

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are also contained in aloe vera gel. Both of these components can keep your hair from falling out.

However, there are no studies that confirm conclusively that aloe vera has any benefit in preventing hair loss.

Aloe vera is a popular product that people use on their skin after sun exposure. This is because of its high collagen content and cooling properties. The vitamin content in aloe vera suggests that it might work to repair sun damage to your hair, too.

May promote hair growth

When your scalp has been cleansed and your hair has been conditioned with aloe vera, you might see that hair breakage and loss slows down.

There are plenty of people who claim that aloe vera actually causes hair to grow much faster. But as of now, there’s little clinical evidence to prove or disprove those claims.

There’s usually little cause for concern when using aloe vera gel, but some people are allergic to it.

Before using aloe vera topically, do a patch test. Rub a small bit of aloe vera on the inside of your wrist and wait up to 2 hours to see if your skin reacts poorly. This will let you know if you have an aloe sensitivity.

You should also be careful with topical aloe if you’re using hydrocortisone cream on your skin. Aloe vera can increase the amount of cortisone that’s absorbed by your skin when the two are used together.

More clinical evidence is needed to definitively prove the benefits of aloe vera gel for hair, and studies are ongoing.

But if you want your hair to look its best, you might want to consider trying aloe vera gel as part of your hair care routine. It might not work for everyone, but there’s little to no risk in trying it.

Last medically reviewed on October 15, 2020

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Lawrence R, et al. (2009). Isolation, purification and evaluation of antibacterial agents from Aloe vera.
    pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24031440/
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Aloe.
    mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-aloe/art-20362267
  • Surjushe A, et al. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. DOI:
    10.4103/0019-5154.44785
  • Vardy D, et al. (2009). A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. DOI:
    10.3109/09546639909055904
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Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

How to Use Aloe Vera for Shiny, Healthy Natural Hair

Bianca is a contributing writer for Byrdie specializing in natural hair and skincare. You can find her work in xoNecole, The Everygirl, POPSUGAR, Travel Noire, and more.

Updated on 02/04/22
Reviewed by
Nigella Miller is an NYC-based natural hair and grooming expert with over 13 years of experience.
Hairstylist
Fact checked by

Aimee has been in beauty editorial for over six years and started as senior beauty editor at Byrdie in June 2021.

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Liz deSousa for Byrdie

In This Article

What Is Aloe Vera? Benefits Side Effects
How To Use It Best Products With Aloe Frequently Asked Questions

Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a remedy to soothe burns, dry skin, and as an ingredient in beauty products. Many naturals across digital platforms tout aloe as a tool to keep natural hair supple, hydrated, and shiny. With their guidance, I went to Amazon and purchased a top-rated brand of aloe vera, mixed it with a quarter of water, and sprayed the concoction on my curls and scalp after washing and conditioning. To my delight, I found that Whitney White and other YouTube gurus were one hundred percent right to recommend using aloe on natural hair. My curls were hydrated, defined, and my scalp felt better than it had in months. A natural, affordable ingredient that mimics (or even rivals) more expensive treatments? Sign me up. But to make sure this wasn’t too good to be true, I reached out to cosmetic chemist Tonya Lane for her thoughts on using aloe vera consistently in your hair.

Meet the Expert

  • Tonya Lane is a North Carolina-based cosmetic chemist with a Master’s of Science in chemistry from North Carolina Central University.

Type of ingredient: Hydrator

Main benefits: Soothes itchy scalp, prevents hair loss, and hydrates the strand

Who should use it: In general, people who suffer from dry scalp and people who are concerned about maintaining their hair’s moisture level

How often can you use it: Once on wash day as well as a daily moisturizer to wake up and moisturize the hair

Works well with: Other water-based ingredients like glycerin and water

What is Aloe Vera?

Most of us know that the clear gel from the aloe plant soothes, but what makes aloe vera such a versatile ingredient for hair? “Aloe is a plant with multiple benefits for the body, skin, and of course, our hair,” says Lane. “Naturally, aloe has the ability to hold moisture, especially in dryer climates where water is scarce. This awesome property makes aloe the perfect candidate for obtaining and retaining moisture in our hair.” Lane also adds that aloe contains tons of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals for our hair, however, the main composition of aloe is water, and among its watery makeup, there are super cool chemical compounds called “polysaccharides.”

Polysaccharides

Long-chain sugar molecules that contain hydroxy groups (-OH) which create a hydrophilic (water-loving) environment. This helps reduce transepidermal water loss, protecting the cell barrier function. 

Aloe is especially powerful in terms of hydration in that it both locks and loads; it may host a moisture-retaining film on the hair, to help lock in moisture while still being able to attract moisture from the air due to its humectant properties.

Benefits of Aloe for Hair

Liz deSousa for Byrdie

Aside from drawing in and harboring moisture in the hair, many naturals credit aloe with promoting healthy hair growth. However, while aloe doesn’t actually help the hair grow, it contains vitamin E and vitamin C, both of which help to protect against free-radical damage,   meaning the integrity and strength of your hair may be better maintained.

Aloe is also quite soothing due to its hydrating nature and anti-inflammatory properties,   which make it an integral ingredient for those with itchy scalps and dandruff.

Side Effects of Aloe Vera

There’s usually little cause for concern when using aloe vera gel, but some people may be allergic to it. Before using aloe vera topically, do a patch test. Rub a small amount of aloe vera on the inside of your wrist and wait up a couple of hours to see if your skin reacts. This test will let you know if you have an aloe sensitivity.

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Though side effects are not common, aloe can leave a film on the hair. Testing out different product layering can help you figure out what works well with the water-rich plant.

How to Use It

Iryna Veklich / Getty Images

Lane explains that “Due to the hydrophilic (water-attracting) makeup of aloe, it works well with other water-based ingredients like glycerin and water, rather than an oil. You can still add a tablespoon or two of aloe vera juice to your favorite conditioner or moisturizer for extra moisturizing benefits.” If you’re planning to use it as a daily moisturizer, Lane recommends this formula for your spray bottle:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera juice (inner fillet)

One final note Lane adds is that there can be too much of a good thing—even moisture. After using the above spray in large doses, Lane says her hair “became too moisturized, and [she] had to get a protein treatment to revive [her] hair.” In other words, apply sparingly and only when your hair really feels like it could use some extra love.

The Best Products With Aloe

When looking for aloe-based products to adds to your hair routine, Lane recommends taking a look at the ingredients list first. “Unless aloe vera juice is in the first five ingredients of a product, it’s most likely in the formula at very small amounts. I recommend buying aloe vera juice from your local health food store. My favorite is Lily of the Desert Inner Fillet Aloe Vera Juice.”

With Lane’s advice in mind, we rounded up seven products that are fan favorites and have aloe within the first five ingredients.

Amara Beauty Organic Cold-Pressed Aloe Vera $16.00

Adding aloe to your hair care regimen can be as simple as finding a product to infuse into your conditioners, leave-ins, and shampoos. I can vouch for this cold-pressed organic aloe, as it has been a game-changer in my wash day routine.

Anita Grant Aloe Vera Conditioning Shampoo $24.00

How you start your wash day is vital to the end result, and Anita Grant’s aloe-based, sulfate-free blend is pH balanced. The shampoo will hydrate, ease frizz, and soothe the scalp without disrupting your hair’s natural oils.

Girl + Hair REFRESH+ Aloe Vera Biotin Hydrating Hair Milk $15.00

Made with glycerin, biotin, and aloe vera, this moisture-rich formula is ideal for maintaining your scalp and hair while promoting hair growth. Reviewers agree that the nozzle design of the bottle makes application simple and direct to avoid wasting product.

Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner $30.00

The Innersence Beauty brand is a favorite among many curly stylists due to its high quality nourishing ingredients. With aloe vera, shea butter, flaxseed, and monoi oil in this creamy conditioner, your coils will be the perfect canvas for your styling products.

Anita Grant Define & Curl Soft Hold Hair Gel $29.00

We’re a huge fan of gels because they define and moisturize depending on what type of gel you’re using. Anita Grant’s plant-based gel can help elongate and define curls while sealing in moisture without a flakey cast.

If you haven’t experimented with aloe yet, it’s worth a try. Finding a high-quality product is relatively inexpensive, and in the event that it doesn’t work for you, you can always use it on your body because aloe vera has a wealth of benefits beyond hair.

Does aloe vera help hair growth?

Aside from drawing in and harboring moisture in the hair, many naturals credit aloe with promoting healthy hair growth. However, while aloe doesn’t actually help the hair grow, it contains vitamin E and vitamin C, both of which help to protect against free-radical damage, meaning the integrity and strength of your hair may be better maintained.

How often can you use aloe vera on hair?
Once on wash day as well as a daily moisturizer to wake up and moisturize the hair.
What are the side effects of using aloe vera on hair?

There’s usually little cause for concern when using aloe vera gel, but some people may be allergic to it. Before using aloe vera topically, do a patch test. R

Article Sources

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Maia Campos P, de Melo M, de Camargo Junior F. Effects of polysaccharide-based formulations on human skin. Polysaccharides. 2014:1-18. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-03751-6_64-1
  2. Keen MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016;7(4):311-315. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.185494
  3. Rahmani AH, Aldebasi YH, Srikar S, Khan AA, Aly SM. Aloe vera: potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015;9(18):120-126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.162118

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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