Monday, 28 April 2014

Using Aloe Vera on Natural Hair - Tricky as a fox

Despite all the glorious information about Aloe Vera, it is one of those things your hair either really adores or absolutely detests. I am sure that had I not had a first-hand experience, I would have joined everyone saying Aloe Vera lays down hair cuticles. Aloe vera is a very strong humectant, and at the same time, of acidic ph. If you use it on your hair, there are two things that can happen. It would either lay your cuticles down, giving you a smooth look, or it would act as a humectant, and do basically what humectants do. Please, note that many naturals have said Aloe vera dries out their hair, while some others say their hair thrives after using Aloe vera. With all said and done, I will share, in this post, my experience with this wonderful natural resource.

It all started when I twisted my hair, with the intention of achieving a twistout for a photoshoot I did for a fashion magazine interview.

I read a long time ago that a great recipe for leave-in conditioner is your regular leave-in conditioner + Jojoba oil + Aloe Vera gel (the famous kimmaytube recipe). So I tried this on my hair before doing the twists. The plan for the photoshoot was for me to have about three different hair style. (Well-defined curls, loosely defined curls, and a giant fro).

The Aloe Vera I used was raw Aloe Vera Gel directly from the plant. As you know, we manufacture hair products, African Naturalistas hair products, so I have my own small Aloe Vera plantation.

I did the twists, and three days later went for the shoot. By the time I got to the venue of the interview, and undid the twists, I knew something was definitely wrong, and the culprit was the Aloe Vera. Compare pics below.


So all that talk of Aloe Vera being acidic, thus laying your hair cuticles flat was arrant nonsense for me. It caused my hair to swell, be very big, and undefined. As a naturalista, since we are versatile, I found a way to make the epic fail work to my advantage. And I then noted that I would never use Aloe vera on my hair again, if the intention is to do a twistout in the end.

After the shoot, I got home, and retwisted the hair. Exactly, a week later, I was at a venue of another photoshoot. I untwisted the hair again, hoping the effect of the Aloe vera would have worn out, since it was almost 2 weeks. The picture below is what my hair looked like after I untwisted it: Still not defined, but not as bad as the previous week. We had like five sessions of shoot this time.



With all the photoshoot and manipulation of hair, I felt this would set me back in my hair journey, cos my hair doesn’t like being left out. I lose more hair when it is not in protective styles. So that same day, I did some corn rows. As the stylist was making the hair, I noticed I was losing a lot of hair. A week later, when I took down the corn rows, deep conditioned, and washed, I lost a lot of hair, like twice of what I lose on a normal day. I moaned and blamed it on the photoshoot, and the manipulation we had to do two weeks in a row.
After washing, I applied the Aloe vera leave-in recipe again. I did this because I did not plan on doing twist outs. Two days later, I had my hair in corn rows, and then two weeks later, I took it down.

Oh my gosh. My hair was the driest ever. It was terrible. Again, I lost a truck load of hair. I lost hair so much than I have ever lost since I started measuring my hair loss. I compared the loss to when I had twists on for 4 weeks, travelled out, took four flights, and used sulphate shampoo, and the Aloe vera had a worse effect than the former situation. My hair was as hard as a rock. I began to wonder who sent me message. It was then it occurred to me that even the previous massive hair loss was caused by the dryness due to Aloe Vera, and not the phantom manipulation I pictured in my head, cos all I was doing to my hair was pinning it to achieve different looks for the shoot.

Aloe vera causes my hair to swell, dries my hair, and causes me to lose all the hair on my head. It is not good for the kind of hair on my head, though it might be good for you.

I am done with Aloe vera. If I want the benefit, I will be content with the fact that it is already an ingredient in most of the products I use, which is enough for me. But to add it directly on my hair again, God forbid. It means I will go bald in about six months.

Now, I have to be looking for ways to undo the damage Aloe Vera did to my hair.

Have you tried using Aloe Vera on your hair? What was your experience?

P.S: This post was written first week in March. The damage occurred February/March. I have since cut part of my hair last week. Yea, the damage was that bad, but there's one more reason I cut it. I will upload the post in the next couple of weeks.

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15 comments :

  1. Ha! :o

    Never used aloe vera for my hair. Only used it once for my face and that was the first and the last time. Terrible reaction.

    How about Aloe Vera juice? What's the difference?

    ebunoluwole.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Packaged Aloe vera juice is just a preserved and more stabilised form of Aloe vera gel, using stabilisers like carbomer so they all have the same consistency, and safe preservatives.

      I doubt that it has a more different effect than raw Aloe vera, though I might be wrong since I have never used the packaged one.

      Delete
  2. Am sorry about your hair loss.
    Am also aware that there are different Species of aloe vera. There are some which are even poisonous. We should look in that maybe the issue is coming from there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never knew this. I will research more on poisonous Aloe vera. Although, I doubt the one I used is poisonous, cos I took it from my own plantation, which is an extension of a neighbour's own, who had I have been feeding aloe vera off for years.

      Off to do some research, thanks.

      Delete
  3. Oh wow! I've never heard of an aloe vera horror story! But you're right though - what works for one person, may not work for another. That's the lesson to be learned here.

    Sawry about your hair journey setback.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done my fair share of finger-biting for some weeks now. It's time to pick myself back up.

      Delete
  4. Wow, I never had it this bad. Sorry about that. At the start of my hair journey I used the raw stuff in my leave-in and a day after, my hair would be so dry. But when I put it in my deep conditioning mix(I sha wanted to use by force) I didn't notice dryness. There was no difference when I left it out though, so I stopped.
    Worse was on my face. It made my skin itch like mad. I'll just stick to the aloe vera in products. I guess whatever in it causes the bad effects is toned down in mixtures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I agree with you its adverse effects is toned down when mixed with other ingredients, cos it is no coincidence that most people who say their hair loves it are the ones who use the package ones, rather than the raw ones. The best thing is to enjoy its benefits in products.

      Delete
  5. I've never used aloe vera on my hair. But now i know it can either be good or bad for my hair, whenever i decide to use it, it will just be on a small portion of my hair to "test it".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's the wises decision one can make when trying something new. Patch testing. Thanks

      Delete
  6. i had the same reaction too with raw aloe vera,it was so bad that a strong wind would have blown all my hair off, right now i stay away from aloe vera even as an ingredient in products.i am now aloe vera phobic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank God there's someone who feels the pain I felt.

      Delete
  7. :o This is what happened to your hair that you had to cut it? Now i want to experiment and see if this will work for me as my hair is still small and hair loss wee not pain me this much..

    Chai! Sorry dear :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this, and one final straw that broke the camel's back. After that, I said, "you know what, I just can't do this anymore, I am cutting this damn hair." Loolll.

      Delete
  8. I also use the natural occuring form of aloe vera. I however allow the reddish liquid to drain from it before blending and using it together with moringa tea as my moisturiser.I have been experimenting with it for several months now and it has been great. Moringa is supposed to boost the effects of other nutrients.

    ReplyDelete

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