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Ten Cosmetic Uses for Baking Soda

Updated on April 19, 2016
Jayne Lancer profile image

A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for over 20 years.

If you're looking for alternative beauty and personal hygiene products, take a look on your kitchen shelf. Here are ten of the most effective cosmetic uses for baking soda.

Don’t panic if you’ve run out of a particular beauty or personal hygiene item; the perfect alternative is on your kitchen shelf. Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) isn’t just a raising agent for cakes and breads, it’s also a skin softener, cleanser and odor neutralizer that can be used from head to toe.

But don’t reserve it for emergencies only.

You may find baking soda so effective as a cosmetic that you’ll end up including it in your regular beauty regimen. And why not? What doesn’t harm the inside of your body certainly won’t harm the outside.

The following uses are all tried and tested and easy to implement.

Skin Care

1. Facial Cleanser

For a soft complexion that's pore-deep clean, stir one teaspoon of baking soda into a basin of lukewarm water and wash your face with it. There's no need to rinse or tone afterwards; just pat dry before applying moisturizer.

This simple facial cleanser is suitable for all skin types, but particularly the acne prone. Don't, however, use it to remove makeup—this is best done with an oil-based cleanser.

2. Facial Scrub

To exfoliate, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a dollop of cleansing lotion, and very gently massage over your face and neck, avoiding the mouth and eye areas.

Instead of cleansing lotion, you could also mix with a face wash or, if you want a moisturizing scrub, an oil. Use noncomedogenic jojoba oil for acne prone skin, and almond oil for dry and mature skin.

Baking soda scrubs may also be used for the body, and are especially useful for removing self-tanner that has turned out uneven or of an undesirable color.

3. Face Mask for Acne Prone Skin

Acne sufferers can benefit from a face mask of baking soda and clear honey.

Mix together two teaspoons of each ingredient, spread over the face and neck avoiding the mouth and eye areas, and leave to work for about 20 minutes.

4. Bath Additive

Relaxing in the tub doesn't have to be an unhealthy pastime. Instead of adding soap-based products to your bathwater, which have a drying effect, add four ounces of baking soda. This improves circulation, and softens and cleanses without stripping the skin of its protective barrier.

It can also relieve itchiness caused be dry skin or insect bites, and sooth mild sunburn.

When bathing, make sure the water temperature is no higher than just above lukewarm.

5. Hands and Feet

Manicure and Pedicure

Before doing a manicure or pedicure, soak your hands or feet for about ten minutes in a solution of baking soda and warm water. This softens nails, cuticles and hard skin.

For feet, you’ll need two or three tablespoons of baking soda in an appropriate sized bowl, and for hands one tablespoon. If you want to brighten your nails, add the juice of one lemon.

Aching Feet

To refresh tired, stressed feet, soak for about 20 minutes in a bowl of very warm (but not hot) water and four tablespoons of baking soda. Finish by running cold water over your feet for at least 30 seconds, then apply a revitalizing foot gel or cream.


6. Deodorant

Are you worried about what commercial deodorants might be doing to your health? Then why not use baking soda instead?

To neutralize body odor and absorb perspiration, mix baking soda with cornstarch to a ratio of 1-to-1. To apply, pick up on a cotton ball or cosmetic brush and dab under your arms. It will keep you smelling fresh all day long, and there'll be no sweat stains on your clothes.

This also works well as a foot deodorant if you suffer from sweaty feet. Additionally, you can sprinkle pure baking soda into your shoes to prevent them smelling.

7. Mouthwash

To neutralize bad breath, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of lukewarm water and use as a gargle and mouthwash. This not only freshens breath; it keeps gums healthy, especially if used daily.

Are you worried about what commercial deodorants might be doing to your health?
Are you worried about what commercial deodorants might be doing to your health?

Hair Care

8. Clarifying Shampoo

Deep conditioning treatments work much better if you use a clarifying (or purifying) shampoo beforehand to free hair of product build-up. If you haven’t got one, just mix a teaspoon of mild shampoo with a teaspoon of baking soda. As with regular clarifying shampoos, apply twice.

This will also revive and bring bounce back to limp hair.

9. Dry Shampoo

If you’ve run out of dry shampoo, mix baking soda 1-to-1 with cornstarch or baby powder. This absorbs excess oil and leaves hair feeling clean and smelling fresh.

Sprinkle into the crown and roots and brush through to the ends.

Oral Hygiene

10. Cleaner for Dentures, Dental Retainers and Natural Teeth

To Clean Natural Teeth

Baking soda can’t bleach teeth, but it can return them to their natural brightness.

Use baking soda—either on its own or sprinkled on your regular toothpaste—to brush away coffee, tea and tobacco stains. In order not to damage tooth enamel, use only once or twice a fortnight.

To Clean Dentures and Retainers

You can clean dentures and removable dental retainers by soaking for a few hours in a baking soda solution. This also neutralizes the nasty taste that often lingers on the dental plate.

To make the solution, stir a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of lukewarm water.

Baking soda can return teeth to their natural brightness.
Baking soda can return teeth to their natural brightness.

Photo Credits

First image by Jayne Lancer using detail of Arm & Hammer brand packaging.

Second image by Th145 (photo taken by Th145) [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons [brightness and contrast modified]

Third image by Public Domain Pictures (

© 2015 Jayne Lancer


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