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6 Reasons Aloe Vera Is The Only Self-Care Plant You Need

This multi-purpose plant is the truth.

Wellness

Honey, I don't know about you, but I love a good plant aesthetic. Yes, I'm that girl. Living in New York City, aka the concrete jungle, plants have been a great way of bringing nature into my home. My plants get me back to center; they listen to my problems and are always there to brighten up my day. Now, I must admit although my plants have been good to me, I haven't always been the best to them.


I believe the key to growth is being honest about your strengths and weaknesses, so here it is. My name is Celeste, and I am not a responsible plant mom. I have forgotten to water my plants, put them in the sun, and feed them plant food at times. Please don't cancel me. Finding the perfect plant for me felt more like dating. I swiped right on plenty of beautiful plants, read their profile, and brought them home after a few dates at my local plant store.

Everything was good in the beginning until a few of them showed their asses. Bringing flies into the house, smelling funky, and dying on the relationship altogether. I almost lost all hope until I met the aloe vera plant. Ever since I've been with aloe vera, life has been bliss. He only needs to be water about every 2-3 weeks and always cares for me. I'm in love! Here are 10 ways my aloe vera plant amplifies my self-care routine and my life.

Using Aloe Vera on the Skin

It's no secret the aloe vera plant can work miracles on your skin! I suffer from having acne-prone skin, and let me tell you, it is a struggle sometimes. When I have breakouts, I almost always have acne scarring. I have tried multiple acne products, but most of them are harsh on the skin. My skin is usually very irritated and dehydrated after using acne solution products. After numerous attempts, I decided to go the all-natural route, and that's when my aloe vera plant came in clutch.

Aloe vera is a natural treatment for multiple skin issues, including acne. The plant is anti-inflammatory and is excellent for safely clearing away any mild to moderate acne. Aloe vera has been a skin healer in many cultures. The aloe vera plant is perfect for combating both inflammatory acne and scarring. The remedy is simple, place the aloe vera gel on the problematic area before going to bed. Over time, the skin will become clearer and brighter.

Using Aloe Vera for Hair Growth

I was very against putting the aloe vera plant on my hair at first. In my opinion, the plant has a musky smell, and placing that on my hair frightened me. However, I couldn't help but run into everyone and their mama that swore on using aloe vera for hair growth. My mom always told me beauty is pain--if that pain meant me putting up with smelly aloe vera for a few inches, then I figured sacrificing my nose would be worth it. As a disclaimer: no research shows an aloe vera plant can contribute to hair growth.

I simply experimented from word of mouth, and I must say the rumors are true. Aloe vera naturally has intense hydration capabilities, and I believe this is what contributed to the rapid hair growth. The plant is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. I would highly suggest anyone suffering from dry scalp give the aloe vera plant a try! Simply use it as a pre-poo, leaving the gel (find a quick how-to here) in for about 30 minutes, and rinse when finished.

Using Aloe Vera for Oral Health

I am all about improving my oral health. My worst fear is catching the dragon, aka having bad breath. So any remedy to keep my teeth and breath in check, I am taking! At first, trying out aloe vera as a primary dental source was a bit of a nerve-racking experience. I didn't feel comfortable only using aloe vera to brush my teeth, rinse, and head out the door. Instead, I used my aloe vera plant as a pre-rinse and continued with my oral hygiene routine.

Aloe vera is highly effective in controlling bacteria that can eventually lead to oral issues. The most well-known prevention is cavities. Aloe vera has a natural way of removing toxic microorganisms. This factor can contribute to avoiding gum disease. In fact, according to Medical News Today, rinsing with 100 percent pure aloe vera gel can be more effective than using chlorhexidine, which is an ingredient found in mouth wash. I would suggest rinsing for about 30 seconds to one-minute a day.

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Aloe Vera Juice for Gut Health

It's funny how quickly your gut can switch up on you...or not. I miss the good ol' days when I could eat whatever I wanted with no consequences. Unfortunately, dairy had different plans for me. It took me a while to adjust to new eating habits. I ate cleaner, drank more water, but ultimately my gut needed an overall cleanse. I began drinking aloe juice, and it took some time, but the results finally kicked in.

Aloe vera is an effective and gentle way to keep your gut health in check. The plant contains enzymes, which helps in breaking down sugars and fats. Aloe can also help ease irritation in the intestines and the stomach. The best way to consume aloe vera is by blending the gel and straining the foam. Feel free to add a hint of lemon or mint for a more refreshing flavor.

Using Aloe Vera for Burns and Sores

Fun fact: your girl is clumsy! I am constantly bumping and bruising myself around my home. I swear one day I will get it together, but I will be healing myself with aloe vera until then. As I mentioned in my acne journey, aloe is the perfect skin healer. Not only for pimples, but cuts, sores, and burns. Growing up, I was taught to put butter on my burns (I know, I know). Truthfully, the butter wasn't very effective. Today, I use aloe vera whenever I hurt myself, and I find it much more calming.

Aloe vera is an excellent cooling resource for burns. The soothing properties of the aloe vera gel make it a calming aid for most skin abrasions. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce swelling and reduce pain. It's essential, however, to know never to use aloe vera on open wounds. Only use it for burns and minor skin irritations. Using aloe vera to heal the skin is easy. Just apply the aloe gel directly to the injury. Please remember to wash the plant before using it.

Using Aloe Vera for Shaving

Now, I know what you're thinking? Aloe vera dries so fast on the skin, how could it be used for shaving? I know, I thought the same thing until I ran out of shaving cream. Aloe vera has a lot of lip to it and holds up well in the shower, but the real key is to mix it with other natural ingredients. You can mix it with almond or coconut oil, castile soap, Vitamin E oil, eucalyptus oil, and warm water. If you want a more detailed how-to for making your own DIY aloe vera shaving gel, find that here.

Place your homemade shaving gel in a small bottle with a pointed tip, and boom! Be prepared for the softest legs of your life.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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