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I tried the DIY aloe vera hair mask that is all over TikTok

When it comes to hair hacks, TikTok is the ultimate knowledge center (and the occasional failure also reminds us to always approach these hacks with caution). We learned how to nail heat-free curls and make DIY curtain bangs at home, but we also learned a thing or two about hair health. Recently, one particular hack has gone viral to transform dry hair and scalp that need urgent treatment: creating aloe vera hair masks from scratch. Aloe vera is easy to come by. If you go to a health food store or personal care store, you will likely discover tubes of aloe gel, typically used for sunburn and dry skin relief. The TikTok trend, however, is a bit more rustic than squeezing your hair products: TikToker cut open the aloe plant themselves, harvest the natural gel and turn it up into a natural hair mask. Applied directly to the scalp and length, it is said to soothe itchy skin, promote hair growth, moisturize dry hair, and improve hair strength. @theaussierapunzel results in the end ✨ #haircare #hairtips #hairtipsandtricks #aloevera #beautyhacks #hairhacks #beautytips ♬ Ash – Stellar Granted, the process looks a little messy, with some TikToker using blenders or even tights (yes, really) to do that to twist gel into a whipped consistency. But judging by the thousands of comments and likes, it works. Of course I had to try, just like skin glaze and snails, and the results surprised me. How to Make a DIY Aloe Vera Hair Mask? I started with a large stem of aloe vera cut from a plant that I had had for a while. Granted, I’m not a very good plant mom, but the best thing about aloe plants is that they require very little maintenance. I cut the stem into three sections to make it easier to extract the gel and cut through the middle with a sharp knife to separate the leaves. After they were separated, I considered cutting away the inside which should come loose in a gelatinous wedge, as the TikTok videos show. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared with a blender or pantyhose so I considered using a pestle and mortar to crush the gel into something that looked like white pulp. But I’ve found that you can also just rub the leaves over your hair for the same results. The sliminess didn’t bother me very much – but the smell did. I’ve used pure aloe vera gel products in the past and they didn’t smell like anything at all, but this had a very pungent aroma, like raw onions. I don’t know if it was my plant or if all fresh aloe vera smells like that, but it wasn’t pleasant and it filled the entire bathroom. Although it was pretty terrible, I still swayed from the videos and continued rubbing the gel over my dry roots, lengths and ends. The idea is that you let it sit for 30 minutes and then wash your hair as you normally would. So far, so easy. One thing I would recommend is to keep the leaves away from anything white as the bright green slime will stain my new fluffy towels. @ roils.co Aloe Vera for shiny and healthy hair #smallbiz #hairmask #aloeverahair #longhair #howtogrowyourhair ♬ Papi Chulo – Octavian & Skepta What are the advantages of an Aloe Vera hair mask? When I rinsed off the mask, the smell disappeared and my hair felt squeaky clean, like I had just used a detox shampoo. I panicked that my hair might feel dry and brittle, but I followed up with my usual Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and Pantene Hair Biology De-Frizz & Illuminate Conditioner [Pantene Nutrient Blends Illuminating Biotin Color Care Conditioner is the closest US equivalent]. After the towels were dry, I applied a pump styling cream with heat protection. My hair felt twice as thick and much stronger than usual. At first I didn’t notice an immediate difference in how it looked, but judging by the pictures on the back of my length, my hair looks a bit shinier after using the mask. (It looks a bit longer too, but I’m pretty sure this is just the angle as it is impossible for hair to grow in 30 minutes …) Interestingly, the DIY aloe vera hair mask did best on mine Scalp works, which is a little sensitive and sometimes flaky thanks to a combination of cold weather, central heating, and frequent switching of my hair routine. The gel really helped soothe and calm my skin, and I noticed less flakes. There was a pleasant cooling sensation too, so I doubled the spa-like experience and used a scalp massager (try the Briogeo Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager) to remove dry skin and product buildup. Regarding hair growing faster, the jury is still not there and I am skeptical. A natural remedy like aloe vera could boast anecdotal evidence, but I haven’t noticed any immediate effects and I doubt this would work for me in the long run. After speaking with many hair experts, I know that only one ingredient can make hair grow, and that is the over-the-counter treatment, minoxidil. According to hair expert Dr. Nilofer Farjo from the Farjo Hair Institute, Minoxidil is also known as Rogaine. It comes in either a foam or lotion form and can be bought at many pharmacies. Overall, the DIY aloe vera hair mask wasn’t as messy as I imagined it would be. I can’t forget the smell, however, so I’m not ready to come back to scalp issues like dandruff and itching in the future. When it comes to strengthening and adding shine to the hair, I stick with the actual hair products. If you are excited about the effects of aloe vera but prefer to avoid the clutter (and smell of raw materials), you can always use aloe gel as a booster ingredient in your existing products. Holika Holika Aloe Vera 99% Soothing Gel deserves rave reviews – and at $ 4, it may be cheaper than the plant itself. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this mind-blowing world of things. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something that we link to on our website, Refinery29 can earn a commission. Do you like what you see? How about a little more R29 grade, right here?