My fair skin is prone to sunburns, so aloe vera has been my post-sun savior on many occasions. Although I’ve become more diligent about using SPF as I’ve gotten older, I still love the way a good aloe gel soothes my shoulders, back, and arms after being in the sun. Yet I never thought about using aloe daily—or above my neck—until I came across two new drugstore facial products formulated with the superfood’s extract as their hero ingredient: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water with Hyaluronic Acid + Aloe ($16 for a 2-pack) and Garnier Green Labs Hyalu-Aloe Serum Gel 3-in-1 ($17).
The aloe-infused micellar water is the latest update to the brand’s best-selling line of micellar waters and offers plumping effects, while the serum delivers a triple-threat of benefits as a hydrating gel, revitalizing serum, and depuffing eye cream. And now that I’ve tried them, I want to use them every single day.
The benefits of using aloe for skin
While aloe might be typically thought of as an after-sun product, it makes an excellent moisturizer, skin protectant, and anti-irritant, says Joshua Zeichner, M., associate professor of Dermatology and the director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
“Aloe contains polysaccharides, or sugars, that coat the skin to form a breathable protective seal over the skin barrier,” he explains. “It acts as an emollient to soften rough cells in the outer skin layer while offering direct hydration because of its high water content. These attributes make it a perfect option not only to treat the skin after a mild sunburn, but also to use on a regular basis.”
Aloe has the added benefits of being suitable for use on all skin types and won’t irritate sensitive skin or weigh down oily or acne-prone skin. When paired with hyaluronic acid, aloe gives double the hydration benefits, says Dr. Zeichner. “While aloe offers direct hydration and protection, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge to pull in water to the outer skin layer to moisturize and plump the skin,” he adds
What happened when I used Garnier’s aloe products every day
I’ve been using Garnier Water Rose Micellar Cleansing Water ($9) as part of my nighttime cleansing routine for years because the product works well at an excellent price point. After washing my face and applying the aloe/hyaluronic acid micellar water with a cotton pad, it did a similarly great job of removing lingering impurities and leaving my skin feeling clean and refreshed. The formula is very light and doesn’t leave a greasy film left behind. I also tried using the micellar water on my neck and was surprised to see how much dirt it removed—who knew?—and have now added this step to my nightly skincare routine.
The serum gel comes in a small pump dispenser and looks like a typical aloe gel—thick with small floating bubbles—but as promised, it’s quite lightweight. My biggest thought after applying the gel at the end of a hot summer day was how nice it felt on my skin, as if a cool breeze had gently blown across my face and lingered there. The gel kept my skin—including under my eyes—soothed and hydrated throughout the day with none of the stickiness typical of many aloe-based body products. While I liked the lightweight texture of the product when wearing it alone (under SPF sunscreen if I went outside) during the day, I did prefer to layer it under thicker moisturizers for my face and eye area at night.
While my shoulders and back will always beg for aloe after a day at the beach or pool, I’m happy to discover aloe also can benefit my face all year round. And I’ll be putting it to work long after the summer is over.
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