Baking soda has been a kitchen staple for generations, but it’s also a major player in the beauty realm, should you give it a chance. It’s inexpensive, it’s beyond easy to find, it’s probably already in your kitchen—baking soda has countless beauty uses, so get inspired by these 8 DIY ideas.
As you already know if you keep a box of the stuff in your fridge, baking soda has natural deodorizing properties, which makes it a great DIY natural deodorant. Just mix it with water until it makes a slightly moist, not runny, paste, and apply to your underarms to prevent sweat stains and body odor. You can also add cornstarch for even better wetness-absorbing ability.
If you use lots of hair products, including—and especially—dry shampoo, your scalp definitely needs a deep exfoliating treatment from time to time. Baking soda makes a wonderful natural clarifier to cut right through the buildup. Just add a small amount of the powder into your shampoo and use as you normally would to clear out buildup and give your hair and scalp a refreshing reboot.
Baking soda is a tried-and-true teeth whitener, which is good news for anyone who wants to lighten their teeth up a few shades without undergoing a serious dental treatment. Dr. Jessica Emery of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago recommends a recipe of 1 tablespoon baking soda, 5 drops hydrogen peroxide, and a few drops of water mixed into a small container until a consistent paste develops. Use a toothbrush to apply the solution evenly to your teeth, and let it sit for five minutes. Brush it off with normal toothpaste and rinse thoroughly with water. To see serious results, repeat the process once a week. “If you’re not satisfied with the results,” Dr. Emery continues, “leave the mixture on for 10 minutes at a time,” but no longer than that, “because you can get an uneven application, and your teeth may get sensitive.”
If too many gel manicures have got your cuticles looking a little worse for the wear, a bit of baking soda mixed with warm water can set them right. Scrubbing your fingertips with the mixture will exfoliate dead, dry skin cells and leave you with smoother, healthier nail beds.
For oily and acne-prone skin types, baking soda can work as a great all-natural exfoliant. Just mix a bit with some water in your palm and gently scrub in circular motions to shed dead skin cells and reveal fresh, glowing skin underneath.
A teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a cup of pure distilled water makes an excellent solution for blackheads. “This is what many professional estheticians use,”says esthetician Pearl Dworkin, “either with steam or with galvanic current prior to extractions. It helps draw out the blackheads and makes extractions come out very easily.” You can do this at home by first cleansing the skin, then mixing up the solution and holding your head over a basin of hot water with a towel over your head to help concentrate the heat and steam. Extractions should be done gently with fingers wrapped in cotton, never nails or fingertips.
Baking soda also makes a great detox bath to get deep within the pores: Mix it with equal parts sea salt and add your favorite essential oil for a spa-like indulgence.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while we wouldn’t wish a lack of dry shampoo upon our worst enemy, baking soda makes an easy replacement in a pinch. Sprinkle about a dime-sized amount onto your scalp, then comb, fluff, and enjoy, as you would with the real thing.
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