As a life-long vegetarian, pet owner and mother of two I am constantly looking for beauty products that are natural, not tested on animals, honest with their claims and worth diving into my purse for. Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly aware of Aloe Vera being used in beauty products and for healing skin conditions as the new exciting wonder plant. My only prior experience of Aloe Vera has been using it in a cold jelly-like form as an aftersun treatment when I’ve accidentally turned lobster red on a sun lounger abroad, which usually comes in a plastic bottle from the supermarket looking rather uninteresting and bland. After doing a spot of research I have since discovered that Aloe Barbadensis Millie, aka Aloe Vera, is a member of the lily family for which there are over two hundred varieties of Aloe alone; uniquely it stays moist when other plants wilt and die and was first discovered in 1862 by George Ebers. Greek and Roman physicians used it as a medicinal herb, along with ancient Chinese and Indian cultures, whist Egyptian queens used it for beauty. The Bible also gives reference to Alexander the Great conquering the island of Socotra in order to source aloe plants and treat his wounded soldiers.
With todays modern medicine, and ‘a tablet and pill for everything’ culture, the natural remedies had been somewhat overlooked these past few decades. However with every medicine having side effects and some causing long-term damage that was previously undetected, there has been a major influx in natural remedies and demand for effective healthy resources across the world. The Aloe Vera plant has to be grown, carefully stabilised to maintain its natural qualities and processed in order to protect it from the air, much like an apple that turns brown when you cut it up. It only grows in certain climates and as a result it takes expert knowledge to harvest, preserve and ship it worldwide, and the leading manufacturers of this are Forever Living.
Forever Living was founded in 1978 creating skincare products primarily from aloe vera, rather than using it as an additive; this now covers health care, weight management, personal care, makeup and skincare products. With plantations in the Rio Grande Valley, Southern Texas and the Dominican Republic, the aloe vera plants are expertly nurtured and cultivated through carefully timed hand harvesting. Only mature plants are harvested once they’ve reached their full potency after four years of growth, and no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilisers are used.
The aloe vera gel is extracted from the harvested leaves and stabilised within hours to protect the nutritional content, a process that is patented by by chairman of the board. No artificial colours or flavourings are added to the products so the colour and taste varies throughout the year with each harvest, unlike other companies who use bleaching agents to achieve consistency. The aloe vera is not homogenised, filtered or boiled so the products contain as much of the natural goodness and enzymes as possible.
Their sister company, Aloe Vera of America (AVA) formulates the products to time order so that stock does not become stagnant and arrives to the customer just weeks after harvesting. Many of their products carry the International Aloe Science Council Seal of Approval certifying the quality of the aloe used which is unrivalled. Also a key member of the Direct Selling Association, Forever Living are approved by the Office Of Fair Trading and have been awarded the highest level of Investors in People accolade, the IIP Champion. With nine million distributors in over one hundred and fifty countries, worldwide sales in 2012 were in excess of $2.8 billion.
For more information on the wonders of Aloe Vera and the full range of products available you can visit Forever Living here. I sourced mine directly through Forever Living distributor and representative Hazel Loutsis.