Yes. You heard us right. Baking soda: Possibly the most versatile household ingredient that costs pennies to buy. Sodium Bicarbonate, its chemical name, is an ingredient in many top shelf beauty products and you can add it to your own regime with ease.
You can get small packets of baking soda in any supermarket which will be the perfect size for occasional treatments that only need a spoonful of powder. If you want to use it for soaks, or fancy having a go at making your own bath bombs (tutorial coming soon!), then you might want to buy a bigger bag. It has loads of uses around the house to make cleaning products too, so we go through a lot of the stuff!
We get ours from FreshSkin via Amazon.
(This is a personal recommendation and not a paid endorsement. We do participate in Amazon’s affiliate scheme though, so if you buy something we get a few extra pennies towards running the site.)
Here are our top 10 tips for using baking soda to replace expensive products.
1. Volumise your favourite shampoo
Build up of residues in hair can leave it looking dull and lifeless. This makes it much more difficult to add volume and to style. Baking soda cuts right through oil, grease and residues to reveal your bright healthy hair underneath. Simply take a teaspoon of baking soda and a good squeeze of your normal shampoo and massage it into your hair and scalp. Leave it in for a couple of minutes before washing it out. Instant shiny hair!
Don’t do it too regularly though. Baking soda will alter the pH of the hair which could lead to brittle dryness, so consider this as an occasional treatment
2. Use it as a dry shampoo
Got up too late to have a shower? Been working out at the gym? Any time you need a little bit of lift and to dry up oily hair just sprinkle in a little baking soda and work it through evenly. Make up a little pot and add your favourite essential oils for a luxury touch.
Pro Tip: If you have dark brown or black hair you might want to mix in a little bit of cocoa powder or activated charcoal so you don’t end up with grey streaks.
3. Whiten stained teeth
There’s a fortune being made in the tooth whitening remedy market. Many treatments use harsh chemicals and require visits to specialist salons. Did you know that most of the discolouration is simply staining that can be removed with baking soda? It can gently remove coffee, red wine and cigarette staining. Why do you think so many whitening toothpastes contain it?
Add a sprinkle on top of your regular toothpaste and brush as normal. It’s a bit salty, but definitely worth the results.
4. Soften hard skin
Simply add a cup of baking soda to your bath or a few tablespoons to a basin to soak your hands or feet. The baking soda will work its magic on your skin and over time improve even the toughest patches of hard skin. Follow up with your favourite moisturiser.
5. Clean your make-up brushes
Nothing ruins your make-up routine more than bad brushes. Over time your brushes will pick up residue from the make up and oils from your skin. Pop them in a jar with some water and a spoon or two of baking soda to strip out the gunk without damaging the bristles. Work the solution through the bristles, rinse and let them air dry.
6. Exfoliation minus the microbeads
Microbeads are causing ecological havoc. Those tiny pieces of plastic are ending up in the oceans and inside of all manner of sea creatures. If you want to get great exfoliating action without the plastic simply take a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda, add a few drops of water to make it into a paste then scrub away. Try to avoid the eye area as it’s a bit stingy!
7. Dry up spots and blackheads
Using the same paste as above you can apply a small amount of baking soda over spots or blackheads and leave it on for about 10 mins then rinse it off. The baking soda dries up the oils and takes away dead skin. Close the pores up again by rinsing off with cold water.
8. Brighten up your nails
If you take a spoonful of baking soda and add a little bit of lemon juice to make a paste you can brush this onto your nails and give them a good buffing. This will help remove the yellowing that comes from lots of bright coloured nail coatings and generally shine up the nails and nail bed. It also helps to prevent and treat any fungal infections especially on your feet. (Hey, we’re not afraid to tackle icky feet!)
9. Self-tan disaster rescue
If you have managed to give yourself a bright orange or streaky self tan, fear not! Mix baking soda with lemon juice until you get a thin paste then scrub yourself with it. By a mixture of exfoliation and absorption you’ll take off the offending streaks. Have a quick shower to rinse the remainder off and heave a huge sigh of relief.
10. Use as a deodorant
Baking soda as a powdered deodorant has been around for a long time. You can use it as it is, add a little bit of your favourite essential oil for fragrance or mix it up with a little coconut oil. Whilst many people use deodorants with baking soda daily without problems there are some forum posts online where people got itchy red skin due for a variety of reasons after making the switch. The general cause appears to be using too much baking soda, so go light on the dustings.
Cautionary note for Baking Soda on Skin
Baking soda can be very drying and may cause irritation to those with sensitive skin. Make sure you do a patch test and discontinue use if you experience any unwanted side effects.
Baking soda may alter the pH balance of the skin, so don’t go overboard. Try to use baking soda remedies on your skin twice a week at most.
Have a go for yourself! Do you have any great uses for baking soda that we didn’t include? Do you have any questions about the remedies described? Just comment below and start the discussion.