Frozen Aloe Vera Facials
Cosmetic communities are like cliques: one minute, our Instagram posse is worshiping, endorsing, or even trolling the latest queen bee of skincare (hyaluronic acid, of course), while the next, we’re phasing out its “less-cool” rivals—which will be next?!! (Note to reader: remember in the early 00’s when topical vitamin E oil was a thing?…). Just when we thought granny’s aloe vera hack would meet the same fate—along with butterfly clips, hair crimping, and sunglasses at night—aloe’s reign lives on, only this time, it’s frozen!
While this TikTok skincare trend might seem overhyped or gimmicky, it’s actually one of the cleverest at-home skin treatments we’ve seen in a while. Let’s explore why it’s totally copy-worthy.
Frozen aloe vera 101
Pure, straight-from-the-plant aloe gel—it’s hard to find a DIY beauty hack as cheap and effective. In its pre-frozen state, aloe is known for its cell-repairing vitamins and proteins, delivering a simple and clean route to great skin! But now, with the added twist of an iced preparation, we can achieve even more of aloe’s incredible benefits.
How is frozen aloe used for skincare?
Making frozen aloe is simple. First we need an aloe plant, which we can find at an Asian grocery store or local supermarket. Next, after extracting the pulp from two aloe vera leaves, fill an ice cube tray with the fresh jelly. Then place the tray in the freezer and wait until the contents form gel cubes. Now we’re ready for application!
How to apply frozen aloe to your face
To apply the frozen aloe vera, start at the center of your face (your nose) and glide the cube in upward and outward strokes. Move the cube slowly, pressing gently yet firmly against your skin, allowing it to melt and release the nutrients into your pores.
Pro tip, use latex gloves during the process. This way, you can grip the aloe cube without your fingertips going numb!
Not ready to DIY your way to using frozen aloe vera with your own plant (we feel you!)? Skip to the end to learn a simple hack to yield the benefits without the mess.
Benefits of frozen aloe vera for skin
Freeze-dried or natural, aloe holds a mosaic of anti-aging compounds. This miracle jelly contains antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids—all working together to soothe, hydrate, and polish our skin!
According to a study published in the Journal of Skin Research and Technology, a group of Brazil-based cosmetic scientists explored the effects of freeze-dried aloe on skin hydration over a two-week period. Researchers found that frozen aloe had a significant impact on tissue repair and cell growth.
But with aloe, there’s so much more! To understand the nitty-gritty of it, we must get into the micro science of aloe’s benefits. Let’s go!
Calming and anti-inflammatory
Outshining most healing plants, aloe truly earns its rep as a natural medicine, especially for its ability to calm inflamed skin. To picture how aloe works as an anti-inflammatory, let’s review how skin irritation starts, and then how frozen aloe does damage control.
According to a team of dermatologists studying the medicinal properties of aloe, when aloe is applied to injured skin, it releases a unique healing compound (C-glucosyl chromone). This steroid-like molecule prevents an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (a reaction starter) from converting arachidonic acid (a skin-repairing agent) into prostaglandin E2 (a skin sweller)—and tadaaa, inflammation is averted!
These impressive effects grow even stronger when aloe is applied frozen. As the icy fluids melt into the skin, it adds a cryotherapy aspect, directing blood away from the infected area, leaving skin clearer and calmer.
Frozen aloe is considered an anti-aging remedy because of its pro-collagen properties. To increase these plumping proteins in the dermis, aloe works in two ways: 1) helps defend against UV photodamage and 2) soothes the dermis to support collagen production.
According to a study at the California State University Dominguez Hills, a group of chemists analyzed the phenolic content (a type of antioxidant) of aloe lyophilizate (freeze-dried). They found that the frozen version is high in phenols, working to protect the membranes of our skin cells from UV light.
These armor-like effects work in sync with aloe’s anti-inflammatory benefits. Since our dermal cells aren’t distracted by doing that whole swell-triggering process (as we just discussed earlier), there’s more energy left over to build collagen!
Gooey and dewy, aloe gel is drenched with water. So the neat thing about aloe’s frozen delivery is that all its water contents (which are loaded with nutrients) get absorbed by our skin.
In the Brazil-based study on the hydrating effects of frozen aloe on the skin, researchers found that “aloe vera extract increased the water content of the stratum corneum.” Ultimately, they concluded that it may be used in cosmetic formulations to treat dry skin. In respect to this science, Nuria has harnessed the power of aloe in the Moisturizing Toner and makeup removing Refreshing Micellar Water to pack more hydration into the skin. As a leader in vegan skincare, this regimen is built to benefit from the water-infusing, plumping perks of aloe.
Now if you’re thinking, “Wow aloe, you sound invincible!!!” you’re not totally wrong, because it can also curb acne! Containing 8 enzymes, aloe releases bradykinase (an inflammation healer) when applied to the skin topically, along with other enzymes that help break down sugars and fats, the leftover gunk that clogs our pores.
Through this combined action, frozen aloe delivers the dual benefits of anti-inflammation and cryotherapy. As a result, it works to de-swell pimples, while at the same time, dissolves excess sebum and glycation (the process whereby sugar instigates acne). By attacking blemishes on all fronts, frozen aloe is definitely one acne fighter we want in our beauty ring!
So, best case scenario, we all keep live aloe vera plants at home to make these magic cubes. But alas, we’re practical people and know that the average beauty experimentalist would rather skip the mess of dissecting this goopy plant. And if so, we need an alternate strategy—one that’s closest to the real thing! Whether that’s grabbing a Nuria aloe-based skincare ritual and popping it in the refrigerator to get that cooling effect, or scouring our local beauty boutique for similar products, there should always be a key priority in our search: a clean, natural formula.
About the author, Rachel Esco
Rachel Esco is freelance beauty copywriter based in Toronto, specializing in conscious cosmetics and natural skincare. Over her career, she’s collaborated on projects for leading global brands in skin care, hair care, makeup & nails. If stranded alone on a deserted island, she’d be content with the following two items: SPF and Netflix.