Between the inner gel and the rind, is a layer of a yellow sap called aloin that has an obnoxious smell and can be irritating. I wash it off, and though some gel gets washed away too, there’s so much more in the leaf that to me it’s better to remove the sap.
After a quick rinse, you can then squeeze and scrape off the gel – it’s messy fun and what you’ll have is a lovely thick gel.
For me it’s sometimes easier to just plop the whole thing into blender and whizz it up with the coconut oil. The plant is made of 96% water, so it comes out like a juice, which you can then pour into a spray-bottle and spray onto your body, or onto your hair as a moisturizing treatment. Either way, gel or juice, you are getting all of the benefits!