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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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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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