Secret Ways You Can Use Baking Soda In Your Beauty Routine

Baking soda isn't just something you keep in your fridge to absorb odors, or use in the occasional recipe that calls for it instead of its frequently mistaken-for soundalike, baking powder. There are actually a wealth of household hints and hacks that make use of baking soda, ranging from cleaning an oven to unclogging a sink to tenderizing meat. Did you know, though, that baking soda is one of those household items you can use for cosmetic purposes? Strange as it may seem, this common — and dirt cheap — kitchen staple could soon become an indispensable part of your beauty routine.

How to use baking soda on your face

Baking soda has a mildly abrasive quality to it which makes it an ideal exfoliant to help slough off your skin's dead cells and reveal the fresh, glowing skin underneath. One way to use it, suggested by Femina, is to make a thick paste — about 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of water — and use it to gently scrub your freshly-washed face. Rinse it off with water, and apply moisturizer right away to prevent skin irritation. This treatment should only be used once a week, and avoided altogether if your skin is dry or sensitive.

Another DIY skin brightener involves mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of orange juice — this latter ingredient is just packed with skin-friendly vitamin C, which complements baking soda's exfoliant properties. Apply this mix to your face and neck, again making sure both are clean before doing so. Let this solution dry for about 15 minutes, and then remove it with a wet cotton ball and a splash of cool water. As with the first treatment, you should only use this once per week.

Baking soda can be used as a natural deodorant

As we all know, horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies simply glow. If you're a lady who "glows" to the point where it can get a little embarrassing (and smelly), baking soda can be your secret helper. It has anti-bacterial properties which can actually kill the bacteria that give sweat its distinctive stink, and it also helps to absorb the extra moisture. In fact, baking soda's alkalinity can even reset your body chemistry to the point where you're no longer producing quite so much sweat.

To use baking soda in place of deodorant, you can mix it in an equal proportion with lemon juice and apply the paste to your sweaty bits (underarms, neck, feet, etc.). Let it sit for 15 minutes, then hit the shower. Try doing this every day, and see if you don't start perspiring a lot less. In fact, if you find this natural sweat-buster to be effective, you should be able to cut back to using it on alternate days.

Use baking soda to refresh your hair

All of the shampoos, conditioners, and styling products you use on your hair can, over time, build up and leave it feeling weighted down and gunky. When your hair starts to feel this way, there's one thing that can help get the gunk out, and of course that miracle product is our old friend baking soda. Beauty blog Byrdie suggests mixing it with water, three or four parts of the latter to one of baking soda, and applying the mix to your scalp and hair. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then rinse it out with plain water. Finish up by rinsing your hair with diluted apple cider vinegar (about four parts water to one of vinegar) in order to restore a healthy pH balance (via Byrdie).

While you probably won't want to replace your everyday shampoo with baking soda, it's a good idea to skip the shampoo and use this clarifying baking soda treatment on a weekly basis. Baking soda will help your hair stay shiny clean and buildup-free, and — bonus! — can also help prevent dandruff.

Baking soda makes a great teeth whitener

Want a smile like a movie star? Take a tip from a lady who makes the list of Hollywood's best teeth (via Fame Focus): The Pretty Woman herself, Julia Roberts, claims she owes her dazzling pearly whites to the fact that she brushes with baking soda. If you want to brush like Roberts — or like her grandpa, a man who only ever suffered a single cavity in his life, she says — you can just pour straight-up baking soda on your toothbrush. 

Hawaii Family Dental also recommends mixing your own paste using baking soda and water, or, in place of water, using hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar, as these ingredients have a bleaching effect of their own. Coconut oil combined with baking soda and a little peppermint oil makes a healthy, minty paste, but if you want a familiar feel, you can still get the benefits of baking soda by sprinkling it on top of your regular toothpaste.