Like many of you, I used to buy Aloe Vera gel and totally expected it to be clear in colour or some pretty shade of blue or green. You know the kind, the stuff you buy in the drugstore in big economy bottles or tubes.
When I started using it in my products in place of plain water I was really pleased with myself. I thought I was seriously doing everything I possibly could to make sure my natural bath and beauty products were the BEST they could be.
As I mentioned, I was buying this stuff by the 20 kilo per container weight and it's EXPENSIVE!! This is what the "Pure" Aloe Vera gel I was buying looked like and let's just say the amount I was buying would leave me very little change out of £1000 every month.
I was told by my raw materials supplier of this that it was clear because it was "ultra pure" and organic with added Vitamin E to naturally preserve it. Okay, that made sense to me and this is a HUGE International supplier with branches in several countries so who was I to doubt?
As we in business are obliged to do from time to time, it came time for me to review my budget when doing my accounts for the year to submit to my accountants. I sat there staring at the spreadsheet of figures for my raw materials and the number for my Aloe Vera "habit" was just painful.
I said to myself, I simply MUST find a way to bring this cost down without compromising quality. I had a word with a Swedish fellow Cosmetic Chemist friend of mine and asked him if he knew of another source or way to use this magical ingredient without raising my prices.
He said to me, "Don't you make your own?"
Huh? Sure, I have an Aloe Vera plant on my windowsill at home and we use it for home purposes but it's not enough to supply me with endless kilos of raw gel.
He explained to me that making my own was not unlike making a simple emulsion...something we chemist do all the time. He gave me the formula for the gel and told me a reputable source to get my organic freeze-dried aloe from.
I was almost embarrassed that I wasn't aware of this really. I mean, he thought I was completely insane to be BUYING the gel and when I told him how much I'd spent this past fiscal year on Aloe Vera he laughed at me. I had spent literally 30x's MORE than I needed to at WHOLESALE cost.
I made my first batch of Aloe Gel according to his formula and THIS is what it looked like, you can see it sitting there in my mixer.
Now, you can imagine looking at this earthy green sludge that I immediately thought I did something wrong. I contacted my friend and he checked it all out for me and said, "No, this is exactly what it's supposed to look like. Furthermore, that is a beautiful batch!"
Wow, so THIS is the pure stuff?
He explained to me that within the cosmetics industry in order for Aloe Vera Gel to be labeled as "Pure" it needed only to contain 1% pure Aloe Vera. Furthermore, it is then further diluted with fillers to make it clear so it can then be recoloured to the stuff you see in your local drugstores.
Now imagine my fury when come to find out when I researched this 'pure' gel I had been using for years...it was pure alright...but it was a concentration of 1% aloe and the rest was.....water, a tiny amount of Vitamin E and glycerine!!!
Compared to the 10% concentration of my own mix which is what is needed to make 100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel when reconstituting from pure freeze-dried form.
Suffice it to say....this was me (from my throne but minus my crown since it was Casual Friday)
I am proud to say that my operating budget has been greatly slashed, no prices had to be raised and our products are EVEN BETTER. I have 100% control over my Aloe Vera and for this control freak, that suits me just fine!!
Love and Light,
As an added bonus, here is a recipe you can make at home by harvesting your own Aloe Vera plant or just use some pure Aloe (the kind from the health food store that is liquid).
- 2 C fine ground Sea Salt*
- 1 C Aloe Vera
- 2 Tablespoons pure raw Honey (Use an organic brand or Manuka honey)
- 2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
- 1 C Olive Oil
*Sea salt removes dry, flaky, dead skin. Do NOT use table salt, it is NOT the same thing!