Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

It’s not often you read about collagen and war, but when we discovered New Jersey’s Magic of Aloe, we had to spread the word. Since 1971, Mr. Paul Aloe has been delivering quality aloe-based skin care products to Americans in search of healing, moisturizing goods; however, in 2003 he expanded his distribution channels when he decided to supply the troops in Iraq.

We beauty writers rarely speak of politics, which is exactly why we think Magic of Aloe has taken a fabulous approach. Whether you are for or against the war, everybody wants our troops to return home safe. Mr. Aloe feels the same way, and after evaluating the situation, he decided our soldiers could put the healing power of aloe to use to help sooth their skin from the scorching sun, and to treat cuts and bruises. We spoke to Mr. Aloe to get the lowdown on his company and find out why he thinks aloe is the key to wellness, both inside and out.

Where did your surname come from?
Aloe has been my family’s name for generations. My family came to America in the 1840′s. Settling in St. Louis in 1862, the AS Aloe Surgical Supply Company was established, supplying hospitals and doctors throughout the USA. The Aloe Plaza opposite the Union Station in St. Louis is named after my great uncle, Louis P. Aloe.

What inspired you start the business?
Why I started the business, a good question. Inasmuch as Aloe is my name, I was well aware of the aloe plant and its wonderful attributes. My marketing business necessitated advertising my company “Aloe Products”. This resulted in an outstanding response from many who were interested in becoming involved with aloe skin care products. There were other incidents that occurred, convincing me as to the need for such a company as Magic of Aloe.

What’s so special about aloe? Why is beneficial for aging and healing wounds?
Aloe Vera Gel itself contains so many botanical ingredients. In addition, depending on the specific skin care product, we use Liposomes that help deliver moisturizing ingredients directly into cells to boost needed hydration. In addition, here are just a few of the many botanicals used in Magic of Aloe products: Linoleic Acid to prevent moisture loss; Beta Carotene, necessary for growth and repair of body tissues; Sodium Hyaluronate; Sodium PCA; and Polypeptides.

Aloe Vera Gel itself is the effective ingredient as its secret quality is not only in its component ingredients, such as amino acids (provides seven of the essential amino acids which the body cannot synthesize); salicylic acid, an aspirin-like component possessing anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties; fatty acids, Campesterol, b-Sisosterol, cholesterol and the four plant steroids that are important anti-inflammatory agents. Also included are saponins, a soapy substance forming about 3 percent of the aloe vera gel, which can aid in cleansing because of antiseptic properties, thus acting powerfully as anti-microbials against bacteria, viruses and yeast. Aloe vera gel is rich in all vitamins (except vitamin D), polysaccharides, enzymes, minerals, sugars, minerals and anthraquinones.

As you can see, Aloe Vera Gel, truly a magical product, contains all the necessary botanicals and ingredients. All of these components have proven to provide the necessary ingredients to not only build the immune system, but also to moisturize, heal and rejuvenate. Aloe Vera Gel historically has been called “Nature’s Healing Miracle”. In terms of its components, Aloe has been determined to contain substantial amounts of over 39 essential vitamins and minerals and all 23 amino acids. Out of over 150,000 botanicals, Aloe Vera is the only one that contains this many nutrients that are essential to human existence.

How did you decide aloe was the key ingredient you should work with?
As for the research, before I actually started Magic of Aloe, I researched all of the volumes written by doctors, Ph.D.s and scientists on aloe vera and all its benefits from moisturizing to healing to beautifying. Cleopatra was said to have used this magical ingredient. The aloe vera gel we use is grown, harvested, and processed by one of the largest producers, a company that is an important member of the International Aloe Science Council. It is impossible for me to attest to the purity of the aloe vera gel used by others. However, it is most important that aloe vera is a major percentage of the product used by the consumer.

We have succeeded because once the products are used over a 14-day period, she/he is so impressed with the results that they remain a loyal customer.

Why did you decide to send products to the troops in Iraq?
Iraq was our first for the Troop Pack. It seemed to me that our wonderful men and women in uniform were fighting in an inhospitable climate and they seemed to be forgotten by so many here at home. When I sent the first packs overseas they were received with so much appreciation that I decided we should make it available for others to order for their loved ones.

Mr. Aloe’s words touched me and I know they must’ve inspired at least one reader, but let’s be honest – you didn’t think we’d bring you a Q&A and not give you lowdown on the goods, did you? I tested a variety of products including their aloe gel, which can be used as a topical or a beverage. I’ve tried two other brands of aloe juice/gel but the taste of this one is the subtlest; over ice, it’s a refreshing beverage that actually helps maintain a strong immune system. Mr. Aloe has been drinking 4 ounces of aloe juice daily for years and he’s convinced it’s the reason he never gets sick. Who are we to question an entrepreneur of his age that is going strong?

Magic of Aloe makes has an extensive collection of products from basic aloe cleansers and moisturizers to some with collagen and elastin. The first product I tried, the Collagen Cleansing Cream, is the perfect winter cleanser. It removes makeup and impurities but it also functions like a mask. You apply the cream in upward strokes and leave it for three minutes, after which your skin is fresh and a bit more taut. Think of this as a modern version of cold cream.

As for exfoliants, I tried two: Aloe Exfoliant and Honey Almond Facial Scrub. The former is a gel with tiny particles that helps clear dead skin cells; the latter is a surprisingly gentle cream-based formula with almond pieces.

However, the Photo-Refining Masque is most refreshing, quite literally. A creamy collagen-infused mask, the inclusion of kaolin ensures the extraction of impurities, but it’s the menthol that adds a cooling action that both soothes and stirs the spirit.

The collection also includes makeup, toners and creams, and a men’s line, including a unisex shaving prep product. However, one product fits no category: Satin Shield. The primer absorbs incredibly fast and though it can be used to smooth hair, it works best on the face. I tried it on my eyelids and despite heightened sensitivity stemming from years of wearing contacts; I experienced no pain at all. In fact, I didn’t feel anything and it did help prevent my eye shadow from bleeding.

Apart from the face and body collection, I’m most curious about the first aid products. The first aid collection includes Aloe Aid, a cream that helps heal sunburns, cuts, and contusions. One testimonial in the catalog is from a cancer survivor who said that using the product regularly helped her hair grow back within a month of completing chemotherapy. I say if it works for her, why not try it on razor burn, cradle cap or diaper rashes? You never know, it could be the next miracle cure-all.

Most Magic of Aloe products cost between $10 and 20, and many moisturizers and masks are 4oz tubs. All items are available at http://www.magicofaloe.com.

Originally published October 2006
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