Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

Aloe vera, honey, and lemon

Image by Alita Ong / Stocksy

May 8, 2023

Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may

earn a small commission.

Of all the tried-and-true botanicals out there, aloe vera is the reigning champ of multitasking beauty ingredients. The juice from the succulent is hailed as a hair hydrator, inflammation soother, skin brightener, and more. Not only is it a very popular DIY ingredient, but it can be found in a lot of product formulas. 

So what can you expect from adding aloe to your routine? Quite a lot, it turns out. The extract contains over 75 different active compounds1, including vitamins, minerals, sugars, enzymes, and amino acids, which all contribute to its reputation of being a star beauty ingredient. We’ve written about aloe our fair share, so I rounded up the best uses the ingredient has to offer. 


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Brightens tone


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Hydrates strands

Aloe vera can help both the scalp and hair fiber, which is why it’s often used in leave-in conditioners, masks, scalp treatments, and styling products. 

The juicy ingredient provides a splash of hydration (aloe has a high water content), as well as anti-inflammatory properties. This is particularly notable for anyone dealing with scalp conditions. One study found that aloe vera even calms inflammation caused by dandruff5 and dryness. On the flip side, it can help manage excess oil on the scalp. Essentially: It can help balance out the scalp. 

Deeply moisturizes

This may sound obvious, but in case you don’t know: You need water to moisturize the skin. Aloe, as we’ve noted, contains water inherently.

“The leaf of the aloe vera plant is rich in water, particularly in the innermost layer, so it helps to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture,” board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D., once told us about the ingredient. 

But its hydrating properties are actually twofold. “The sugars [it contains], also known as mucopolysaccharides, [also] help to retain moisture in the skin,” she continues. 

Mucopolysaccharides help retain moisture in the skin. When applied topically, aloe vera has been shown to increase the water content6 of the outermost layer of skin (called the stratum corneum). 


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Smooths fine lines

There are a lot of natural healthy aging ingredients out there—and I’d like to make an argument that aloe is a worthy addition to any formula that targets signs of premature aging. Not only is it great at targeting dark spots as noted above, but it can help even out texture and fine lines.

Part of its plumping qualities comes from the fact that it’s an excellent hydrator (see point above). But it also eases the appearance of fine lines thanks to its impressive antioxidant abilities. 

Aloe vera contains beta-carotene; vitamins C, E, and B12; and folic acid7. If all of those sound familiar, it’s because they’re often touted as some of the best antioxidants for the skin. Beta-carotene can support skin cell regeneration8. Vitamins C, E, and folic acid are necessary components for your body’s natural collagen production9 process. Vitamin B12 can improve skin’s moisture retention10

Calms irritation 

Last, but certainly not least, aloe vera can help calm inflamed skin. It’s best known for its ability to soothe sunburns, but it’s honestly just a great ingredient for calming any skin irritation. 

Its use for burns has both anecdotal and clinical evidence. In fact, research has shown that aloe vera may help heal11 first- and second-degree burns on the skin. Some research has found that aloin3, a compound found in the aloe plant, has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the skin-healing process. Additionally, aloe is also chock-full of antioxidants, and one antioxidant protein, in particular, called metallothionein, has been found to have a protective effect on skin4 that’s been exposed to and damaged by UV rays.


This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.