Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Aloe GEL (My first attempt at DIY product making)

This post is WAY over due, it kind of slipped my mind! So after viewing tons of You Tube tutorials on how to make products myself i decided that i was really looking for a better hold product. I have always wanted to venture out into an Aloe mixture since this and Flax seed are two of the most popular self made mixtures.  I came across this one video (begins at 30 sec) that seemed to be one of the easier ways of making your own Aloe gel from a pure Aloe leaf. So this is the video that i copied my idea from.

I could not find a leaf that was half as fresh as i would have liked and its probably because where we live is more cold than anything else, so there isn't really a great time or place to get these from where they will be perfect.  While i was at Meijer i picked this leaf up for about $2.00. 

I gathered...
*The Aloe leaf
*Cutting board
*Paring knife
*Paper towel
*(and SHOULD have gathered gloves but learned the hard way)

The above pictured leaf is before i altered it and it is in its whole and standard form just rinsed and dried.  As you can tell there are pointy sharper edges on the outer parts of the leaf and these will cut you if your not careful! These are on the leaf as personal defense mechanism's against outer predators.  So of course the edges and the dark colored tip were the first parts that i cut off. It is a must that you CUT these off clean, you will see when you do that that there is a thick inner gel layer which is what you will be extracting and it will begin to get all over your hands if your not wearing gloves as well!

Below is the leaf with the tip and sides cut off i did end up cutting the bottom off too about 2 inches worth as this area just oozes with the aloe gel and you must be ready to catch the gel as your cutting or at least cut over the cutting board so the gel is salvaged.

 I wondered at this point if there was an easier way to do this because this got really messy! REALLY MESSY and sticky. So i began shaving the top layer of the leaf off going away from me and noticed this was way harder than what it seemed and the layer didn't want to detach form the gel very well :( This led me to search for a solution to this problem and sure enough i found an amazing solution that makes this heck of alot easier and less messy! Click here to see how this lady prepares her Aloe leaf for cutting and how smoothly the gel is released if you cant see the video below (it begins at 50 sec). 

There is no sound and the quality isn't the best but its clear the technique she uses is amazing and really helps to soften the stubborn leaf layers. If you do not do it this way your Aloe gel may end up being grainy or stringy. So of course i did this search after i was already hacking away at the leaf so i just kept on doing what i was doing because for some odd reason i didn't own a rolling pin at this time nor did i have any type of substitute! Weird huh? So you can see below the result of using a paring knife as i peeled away at the top layer.

 If you look closely you can see the thick gel present and as i bent the leaf back the gel was just oozing from the top to the bottom. The smell of this was quite alarming at first possibly because Ive never smelled pure aloe before that wasn't processed. I quickly became used to it though. Here is my proof that if you use a rolling pin the layers will basically just peel easily... See above how there is better than a half inch worth of thick Aloe gel on the leaf, this layer seriously wouldn't come off well and maybe if i used a bigger sharper knife the process would have been more smooth. These are tid bits so YOU will have a more successful experience if you try this.

Here is the finished product and this picture gives you a good idea of how the gels texture is from the pure leaf extraction and about how much you can get from one leaf. Now if you will look at the leaf in the photo below you will see that there is still tons of gel left on the leaf that i didn't get to extracting yet so i had to upgrade my container to a oval/rectangular shape Tupperware and it held it all nicely with room to spare. 

 So because of this gel being extracted form a pure leaf it was a must for me to mix the gel with either a hand mixer or whip it with a whisk to soften up the gel chunks because i didn't plan on mixing this with any oils or anything else i wanted to see how this worked as just aloe by itself, so i opted for the whisk mixing and it did a good job it nearly pureed it to the perfect texture which doesn't look much different than the above picture but it sure felt creamier such as a regular thick gel feels.  

I was pleased with the overall results and overall this whole experiment took about 20 minutes. Not bad for a newbie! I ended up mixing some of this into our Cocoa Curlzshea butter for a more completed feel. It was nice and had great hold in her hair i was just concerned about the shelf life and possible build up since there were no preservatives of any kind involved.

Next time around i will be using the rolling pin, incorporating gloves, finding a better aloe leaf, using a better knife and mixing in some natural oils and maybe a hint of shea butter :)

In case anyone is wondering, the Aloe gel lasted in its pure state REFRIGERATED for about 2 weeks and it started turning pink which indicated it was time to throw out. The Aloe gel MUST be refrigerated or it will spoil in no time.

Next will be Flax Seed gel creating <3

Diva R's Mommy-Kim

1 comment:

UntrainedHairMom said...

Awesome, I must get us an Aloe plant, we always had them and used their gel when I was a kid, thanks for the extra info