Baking Soda: Cheap, Natural and Effective Skin Care

Baking soda natural exfoliant

[NOTE: Green Beauty Team no longer recommends a protocol of using pure baking soda as a face scrub daily. Please read why here. However, many of the tips for using baking soda are still relevant below.]

One of my favorite ways to wake up each morning, is with a baking soda face scrub.

This is the perfect scrub for a number of reasons. It is cheap, effective, natural — the perfect degree of exfoliation … not too rough, but gets the job done.

For years, I’ve kept a box in the refrigerator to absorb smells, another under the sink as a natural cleaning aid. On the very rare occasion I get around to baking, soda is of course a necessary staple. I can’t even claim this is a new discovery in my beauty routine as I have added this ingredient to a number of homemade scrubs, soaks, etc., but it never really occurred to me to use this on its own until a couple of years ago.

Here’s how you can slough away dead skin for pennies on the dollar:

Step 1 Roll out of bed and make your way to the bathroom.

Step 2 Splash cool water onto your face, waking up your cells and stirring your circulation.

Step 3 Sprinkle a couple teaspoons of baking soda into the palm of your wet hand, adding drops of water as necessary to form a smooth paste. You can also add baking soda straight to your regular facial cleanser or a creamy lotion in place of the water though I adore the simplicity of this alone.

Step 4 Smooth over your skin, gently massaging in small circles and avoiding your delicate eye area. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Step 5 Rinse completely with cool to lukewarm water.

Step 6 Pat dry and follow with your favorite “green” moisturizer.

>> >> For more expert advice read The Facts of Exfoliation

A few other great ways to use baking soda in your eco beauty routine:

Hair Care:
Add a tablespoon to your shampoo and wash as usual. Rubbing this concoction into your scalp helps to remove traces of styling product residue, environmental pollution, dirt and oil.

Body or foot soak:
Add half a cup or more to a bath before you sit down to relax. The baking soda neutralizes acids on the skin and gently washes away the grime of your day. A few tablespoons to a foot soak provides odor protection and relaxation and prepares your toes for a massage or pedicure.
toothbrushMouth cleansing and refreshing:
Sprinkle baking soda in your palm. Dip your wet toothbrush to cover and simply brush your teeth. Use this back to basics method to keep teeth clean, white and healthy. Swishing with a teaspoon of soda in half a glass of water neutralizes odors and leaves your mouth perfectly prepped for puckering up!

Note: Please do a patch test if you have sensitive skin. This is an exfoliant so be gentle with yourself. If you have inflamed acne, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and do a rinse rather than scrub.

Your skin is delicate. Do what feels good.

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May Lindstrom

May Lindstrom

May Lindstrom is a beauty romantic, spending half her time in the studio formulating luxury organic skin care for her namesake line and the other re-learning the magic of the world with her baby girl and loving husband. Entranced with ancient bathing rituals and embracing a return to our roots, May celebrates and inspires the beauty that comes from being well within.

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    • Green Beauty Team says

      They aren’t the same thing at all…so I’m gonna have to say no you can’t substitute baking soda with baking powder.

      • says

        You are harming your skin by putting baking soda on it every morning.

        “An alkaline cleanser disrupts the skin’s acid mantle (affecting the skin barrier), and changes the bacterial flora composition on the skin and the activity of the enzymes in the upper layers of skin, as these have an optimal pH level. And the damage is cumulative: The longer you use it, the more damage it does to your skin.”

        • Green Beauty Team says

          Hi Dale, you are right about what you shared here. This article was originally published in 2011 by one of our writers at that time. I will look into making updates to that so it reflects better information. Thanks for finding that in our archives and taking the time to comment!

  1. Lindsay says

    I usually just wash with manuka honey in the am but this morning I decided to add baking soda to my manuka. Loved it! My skin felt incredibly clean, soft, and balanced.

  2. MsClogs says

    Really wouldn’t recommend doing this every morning (as the opening paragraph suggests) – as your article on exfoliation rightly states, your skin does not need exfoliating on a daily basis and you could end up irritating your delicate facial skin by doing this.

    • Green Beauty Team says

      Thanks for the comment. May’s skin seems to be tougher than most then. There’s a dermatologist we are going to do a story on who believes that skin should be aggressively exfoliated (with the right product) every day to really look its best. So with his view point and documentation, it’s going to be an interesting discussion! Stay tuned and thanks for offering up a good opinion.

      • says

        I’ve been washing my face nightly with baking soda for well over a year and have had no issues with my skin being irritated; I use coconut oil for moisturizer & my skin is fantastic!

        But…not everyone’s skin is the same so definitely try it out. It’s way cheaper and way more multi-purpose!


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