The Body Shop’s Aloe Soothing Gel caught my interest when it was released about a year ago and I made the purchase during a store-wide sale. A sales associate had assured me of its healing abilities, and I was really interested to see how it differed from the standard aloe gel you can pick up for a few bucks at the drugstore.
In terms of the effectiveness, I really enjoy this. I’ve used it in a few different ways over the time that I’ve had it, and I think it’s a fairly flexible product. I like it best as a gel to apply to my whole face and layer among my other skincare products. It’s cooling on first application and it sets pretty quickly (the cooling sensation goes away once it sets), and I haven’t experienced any stickiness or pilling as I layer other products on top of it. It’s fairly lightweight and makes my skin feel soft, smooth, and very lightly hydrated. Ultimately, I actually enjoy this more than The Body Shop’s aloe serum (review), which does sometimes pill when layered in a skincare routine and isn’t any more effective at soothing my skin.
I’ve also used it on irritated skin on my body, and while it’s nice that it can multitask as a general healing gel, I don’t find it to be miraculously effective at soothing very red, itchy skin.
There are two qualities that initially confused me about it, though. This gel from The Body Shop is really expensive compared to other aloe gels ($18 for 1 oz.), and aloe isn’t actually foremost on the ingredients list. It’s 6th on a list of 12 ingredients, in fact.
Because the ingredients list is pretty short, I’ve spent some time looking at what they put in it. CosDNA lists all of the ingredients with a safety risk of 3 or below (out of 5), and I do like seeing panthenol, a form of vitamin B5, on the list just above aloe. I feel like panthenol and aloe really should be the real star of the formulation, but is a little weird to see a few ingredients to control the viscosity and preserve it above those ingredients on the list. I guess the result of this is a nice texture for the product. It also bothers me that water is the first ingredient, rather than aloe, considering the price.
I haven’t had a more conventional aloe gel in a long time, so I wanted to grab one for the sake of comparison. I bought a gel from Fruit of the Earth that was $0.99 for 2 oz, twice the amount of product you get from The Body Shop. I was at Bed Bath and Beyond and the selection wasn’t very wide and I bought this one because it came in the small size, though you can buy a big 12 oz bottle for around $4. Side note: this one advertises that it’s 100% gel, which is one of the more confusing claims I’ve seen on a product.
Both aloes from The Body Shop and Fruit of the Earth have no alcohol and added color, and they’re both cruelty-free. I will say that the Fruit of the Earth aloe contains the preservative dmdm hydantoin that rates as a 7 on Environmental Working Group (for allergies and immunotoxicity), but I wouldn’t jump to judge all aloe gels based on this particular formulation.
Aloe is the first ingredient in Fruit of the Earth’s gel, which was really what I wanted to see. There’s no water, and there are 7 ingredients in total, including some vitamin E. The preservative is second to last on the list, as well. To get to the point, the textures of the two products are noticeably different. Fruit of the Earth’s doesn’t have as many bubbles in the bottle and it feels wetter on skin, which allows it to smooth thinly over a larger area of skin. It dries really quickly and leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and very lightly hydrated, but it does disappear better on skin than The Body Shop’s aloe does, as that one has what I’d describe as more of a primer-like presence on skin once it’s dry.
Honestly, I like both of them, though I do enjoy The Body Shop’s safer ingredients list, I also enjoy the value of Fruit of the Earth. I think ultimately I’d like to keep trying out other similar products to see if I can find a better balance between the two, and as much as I like The Body Shop’s aloe gel, it’s hard to drop $18 on it. Buying it during one of their 40% off sales, as I initially did, brings it to just under $11, which is better, but you still aren’t getting a ton of product.
If you aren’t on too tight of a budget, I’d recommend trying out the Aloe Soothing Gel from The Body Shop ($18 for 1 oz). In short, it has a nice texture and works well as part of a daily skincare regimen. If you have some seriously irritated skin, I’d probably suggest going for a product with aloe higher on the ingredients, though.
Have you tried it? Do you think it’s worth the price tag?