Believe it or not, the household staple can pull double duty as a top-notch beautifier.

By Melanie Rud
January 02, 2020

We’re willing to bet that there’s currently a box of baking soda sitting in your pantry and refrigerator. But there should be one in your bathroom too. Along with being a staple ingredient for cleaning and baking purposes, it can also be used in a variety of ways in your beauty routine.

“Baking soda, chemically known as sodium bicarbonate, can be a great ingredient to add to your beauty routine because its alkaline properties make it versatile and a little goes a long way,” says green-beauty expert Jenny Duranski, owner and founder of Lena Rose Beauty, Chicago’s first green-beauty boutique and spa. Think of it this way: When used in cooking or cleaning, a small amount creates a chemical reaction with acids to help food rise or clean a surface. It’s the same in beauty—you only need a small amount to be effective, she says. And let’s not forget to mention how affordable an ingredient it is. Below, Duranksi shares five ways to use the multitasker for your hair, skin, and more.

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1
As Dry Shampoo

There’s no denying that dry shampoo is a serious time-saver, but if you ran out of your go-to spray and are in a pinch, try making your own. You can either rub a small amount of baking soda directly onto your scalp to absorb excess oil or combine equal parts baking soda and corn starch. “The corn starch absorbs excess oil, while the baking soda purifies,” Duranski says.

2
As a Spot Treatment

Have a pesky pimple that’s popped up? Mix 2 teaspoons baking soda (it helps combat inflammation) with an equal amount of purifying bentonite clay ($4.77, Walmart) and a dash of lemon juice to form a pastelike consistency. Baking soda is an effective spot treatment, but too much can be damaging to the skin so apply this just to pimples, Duranski cautions. Leave on for 20 minutes then rinse off.

3
As a Deodorant

Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural, aluminum-free deodorants. And you can easily make your own. “It’s all about getting the proper ratio of ingredients. Mix 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil and arrowroot powder with ½ teaspoon baking powder,” she says. For a scent, add 5 to 7 drops of your choice of essential oil. However, some people can be sensitive to baking soda and may develop a rash, cautions Duranski. She recommends applying a small amount of the mixture to test, and stop using if a rash appears.

Related: This Mineral Deodorant Stone Actually Passes the Sweat Test

4
As a Foot Soak

When there’s no time to hit the salon for a pedi, reap the same sense of relief for weary feet with baking soda. “Add a few spoonfuls of baking soda to some warm water along with tea tree and lemon essential oils for a purifying foot soak that will also help relieve dry skin,” Duranski says. This combo also makes a soothing soak for the whole body in a bath.

5
As a Toothpaste

“This is an extremely easy and effective way to both freshen breath and whiten teeth,” Duranski says. Combine equal parts baking soda and fine-grain sea salt, then add a few dashes of cinnamon essential oil. “The fine grit of the baking soda and sea salt will gently polish enamel and remove plaque buildup. Cinnamon oil is antibacterial and will kill germs that cause bad breath,” she explains.

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