We Asked Hairstylists What They Think About the Viral Aloe Vera Hair Hack

The slimy, water-filled plant could be the key to solving all your hair woes.

Aloe vera is the well-known super-hydrator you've likely slathered on your face and body to help soothe sun-scorched skin—but did you know its healing benefits don't stop at sunburns and skincare? Most recently, the cooling, moisturizing plant has wowed the internet with its shine-enhancing and hair repair benefits.

YouTubers and TikTok-ers recently put the succulent in the spotlight with insanely simple DIY aloe vera hair mask videos that revealed head-turning results. One look at the salon-level glossiness (with just one application!) is enough to make us want to scoop out its jelly guts and slather from roots to ends.

To dive deeper, we looked beyond the public praise, trending #aloe hashtags, and millions of video views, and turned to actual experts to see what they think about rubbing raw aloe vera on hair.

"Aloe has long been a remedy for sunburnt skin because of its cooling and hydrating properties, and we have definitely been seeing amazing benefits to using it on your hair and scalp," says Kerrie Urban, an L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist. "The hype is true—aloe contains vitamins, antioxidants, and amino and fatty acids that moisturize your hair and scalp and reduce breakage. It's also chock-full of minerals like copper and zinc that have been proven to promote healthy hair growth."

There is a laundry list of reasons and uses that justify bringing an aloe plant into your life—including the simple fact that it's insanely low maintenance, requiring watering only once every three weeks. (Even those with a black thumb can keep an aloe plant thriving!) Here's everything you need to know about the green goodness—and how it can help you achieve healthier, shinier, and more beautiful hair.

Aloe Vera Benefits for Hair

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Aloe promotes scalp health

Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to soothe and nourish the scalp in the same way it does the skin on your face. "It's a great natural conditioner that can penetrate into the hair and scalp to hydrate strands and moisturize the scalp, helping to alleviate inflammation, itching, or irritation," says celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger. Aloe's powerful wound-healing properties also help treat and improve any irritations, itchiness, or dry patches that may appear on the scalp, helping to maintain a healthy foundation that promotes healthy hair growth. That doesn't mean it will cure your hair loss, but when applied directly to the scalp, it can serve as an effective scalp treatment and pampering conditioner that improves overall hair health.

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Aloe gently cleanses and hydrates

While aloe is more commonly known as a hydrator, its natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties also make it a gentle cleanser that effectively removes grease without stripping natural oils. "One of the most common mistakes that causes further damage to color-treated hair is over-shampooing, so aloe can be an effective way to get rid of excess oils and buildup without hurting the strands," says Gloria Bonilla, colorist at Sally Hershberger Nomad in New York City.

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Aloe preserves hair color

Speaking of hair color, "that's greatly impacted by sun exposure, too," says Urban. "Color can fade, become brassy, and dry out, causing strands to become more fragile and prone to breakage. Similar to your skin, using aloe on the hair and scalp helps alleviate some of the damage caused by UV rays."

"Since aloe doesn't contain all of the additional parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances in traditional shampoos, it provides a much gentler cleanse that preserves color and keeps hair healthy," says Bonilla.

How to Use Aloe Vera for Hair

While new aloe vera-spiked hair care formulas are appearing on the shelves each week, this healthy hair ingredient is best used au naturale. "The best aloe you can use is straight from the plant—that way you know it's 100% fresh, organic, and has no added chemicals," says Urban.

There's also the added sustainability factor (no wasted plastics and packaging), and the fact that an aloe plant will continue to grow and replenish itself after each use, making it environmentally friendly and cost-friendly. "Just remember, cutting into fresh aloe and using it right away is always best. Similar to when you're juicing veggies, they start to lose certain vitamins and amino acids as they are exposed to air and break down over time," says Urban.

To reap the most benefits when using aloe as a hair treatment, it's recommended for application as a weekly deep conditioning mask to replenish moisture, soothe scalp irritations, and restore vibrancy to both natural and color-treated hair. To apply, saturate the hair and scalp with a thin layer of aloe, and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. "No need to shampoo after; just make sure the hair feels like it's completely rinsed and no residue is left behind," says Urban.

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  1. Sánchez M, González-Burgos E, Iglesias I, et al. Pharmacological ppdate properties of aloe aera and its major active constituentsMolecules. 2020;25(6):1324. doi:10.3390/molecules25061324

  2. Hekmatpou D, Mehrabi F, Rahzani K, et al. The effect of aloe vera clinical trials on prevention and healing of skin wound: a systematic reviewIran J Med Sci. 2019;44(1):1-9.

  3. Saddiq AA, Al-Ghamdi H. Aloe vera extract: A novel antimicrobial and antibiofilm against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus strainsPak J Pharm Sci. 2018;31(5(Supplementary)):2123-2130.

  4. Rodrigues D, Viotto AC, Checchia R, et al. Mechanism of Aloe Vera extract protection against UVA: shelter of lysosomal membrane avoids photodamagePhotochem Photobiol Sci. 2016;15(3):334-350. doi:10.1039/c5pp00409h

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