10 Ways to Use Baking Soda as a Beauty Treatment

Updated: Mar. 29, 2017

This pantry staple comes out of the kitchen to perform everyday beauty miracles, whitening teeth, deep-cleaning hair, softening skin, and so much more

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You may have noticed that some people keep a box of baking soda in their refrigerator even though it needn’t be kept cold. That’s because baking soda has natural deodorizing properties that neutralize funky smells—including the ones under your arms. Baking soda neutralizes acids and bases, so it will stop B.O. in its tracks. It’s also great for sensitive skin and won’t stain clothes the way many antiperspirants can. Simply mix four tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water, until it turns into a creamy (not runny) paste. You can add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a natural scent. Apply a thin layer of the baking soda paste to your underarms using your hands or a brush, and you’ll notice how well it prevents sweat-stains and body odor throughout the day. Check out these other homemade deodorant recipes.

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Teeth whitener

Drugstore teeth whitening kits are full of chemicals that can leave your gums aching or your teeth hyper sensitive to very cold and hot foods. Baking soda, on the other hand, is an excellent, natural alternative that will whiten your teeth without posing any risk of of annoying side effects. Just dip a damp toothbrush into baking soda and brush your teeth in gentle, circular motions for two to three minutes. Then rinse out your mouth and follow with your normal toothpaste. For noticeable results, repeat the process twice a week. Don’t miss these tips for healthy, white teeth.

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Clarifying shampoo

It’s frustrating to find lingering product buildup after a hairwash. Mousses, hair sprays, serums, and texturizers can all leave behind greasy residue that’s difficult to fully remove. Luckily, baking soda is an easy way to eradicate buildup and prevent your hair from falling limp or looking dirty. Just add a teaspoon of baking soda to a dollop of your regular shampoo (preferably not moisturizing shampoo, as that often contributes to oil buildup). Wash and rinse as usual, and you’ll find your hair looking cleaner, shinier, and more manageable than before. Check out these other ways to get gorgeous hair without expensive products.

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Nail buffer

Pushing back and cutting cuticles before a manicure can be painful and dangerous, upping your risk of infection. Instead, use a baking soda scrub to exfoliate and smooth nails before applying polish. Simply dip a clean nail brush or Q-Tip into a paste made of three parts baking soda and one part water; then brush it onto your nails in a circular motion. After rinsing your hands with warm water, you’ll find your nails looking healthier, smoother, brighter, and ready for the perfect polish. You definitely don’t need a fancy nail kit for a great-looking mani/pedi—these household items will get your nails in top shape.

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Acne treatment

You might have heard that toothpaste can remove zits overnight, but baking soda is better at drying out surface pimples. To create what is arguably the cheapest possible spot treatment, mix baking soda and water to create a thick paste. Use a clean fingertip or Q-Tip to apply it to any zits, and let it dry overnight for significant spot shrinking effects. Note: baking soda won’t do much for deep, cystic acne—you’ll have to see your dermatologist for treatment. Read on for more home remedies for acne.

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Soothing bath soak

Nothing beats a relaxing bath at the end of a long day, and baking soda can make it even better. Pour half a cup of baking soda into your bathtub and stir it into the water. The baking soda will help wash away oil and perspiration, neutralize acids on skin, and help calm any skin irritations including rashes, sunburns, and bug bites. Much like Epsom salt, the baking soda will be at work softening your skin while you soak.

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Sunless tan remover

If your self-tanner comes out too orange or streaky, you don’t have to wait for it to fade naturally. The next time you have a self-tanner fail, create a baking soda body exfoliator made of three parts baking soda and one part water. Use it to easily scrub those orange stains off your elbows, knees, or ankles. You could also make a body scrub from sugar, in case you’ve already used up your baking soda on teeth whitening, shampooing, nail buffing, and bathing.

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Facial scrub

Baking soda has a number of qualities that make it an ideal facial scrub. It exfoliates, removes oil, brightens dull skin, and helps draw out blackheads, which is why many professional estheticians use baking soda with steam prior to performing extractions. To get your own spa-grade facial at home, combine one teaspoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of raw, organic honey—the honey prevents the cream from becoming too harsh and has anti-fungal properties. Massage the mixture into your face in gentle, circular motions. Let it sit for two minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Don’t miss these other homemade face mask recipes.

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Callus softener

Calluses are unflattering and tough, and it’s easy to develop them, but baking soda can stop them in their tracks. To soften calluses on your feet or hands, blend two tablespoons of baking soda in a basin of warm water, and soak for at least five minutes. Afterward, pat dry and scrub the calluses away using a paste that is 60 percent baking soda, 20 percent water, and 20 percent brown sugar. Once you’ve rinsed, apply moisturizer and wrap your hands or feet in a clean towel for five minutes to seal in the moisture. These are the secrets your feet wish they could tell you.

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Razor burn soother

Razor burn can be irritating, itchy, painful, and unsightly. To soothe any skin that’s been damaged by shaving (including your bikini line), mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water. Apply to the affected area and allow the solution to dry, which should take around five minutes. Once the mixture has dried, rinse your skin with cool water. Banish razor burn in the future by avoiding these shaving mistakes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest