Love that deep-clean feeling you get from a facial scrub with microbeads? These products may do wonders for your skin, but they’re also doing a number on our environment. These tiny plastic beads slip through water filtration systems and are making their way into our streams and oceans, posing risk to fish and other wildlife. A safe alternative: Make your own exfoliating facial scrub using baking soda. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Rub onto your face with gentle, circular strokes, then rinse with warm water.
- Body exfoliator
Your skin will look dull and ashy if you allow dry, dead cells to build up on the surface. Speed cell turnover and get an enviable all-over glow by exfoliating once a week. No need to buy an expensive scrub; make your own with baking soda by using the same formula as your face: one part water to three parts baking soda.
- Artificial tan remover
Have you ever applied self-tanner expecting a summery bronzed glow and instead ended up with orange skin or unsightly streaks? Next time you have a self-tanner mishap, you don’t have to wait for it to fade away. Use the body exfoliator formula—one part water to three parts baking soda—to gently scrub it away.
If you have sensitive skin, you may be able to use a dusting of baking soda in place of store-bought deodorant. Baking soda neutralizes acids and bases, so it removes odors. It also won’t stain your clothes the way many antiperspirants can.
- Razor burn soother
A razor burned bikini line can be painful, not to mention unsightly. Soothe your sensitive skin with a solution of 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Allow the solution to dry on your skin (it will take about 5 minutes), and then rinse with cool water. Men can also use this same formula for a pre-shave or after-shave treatment on their face as long as they avoid the eye area.
- Nail scrub
Instead of snipping off your cuticles after pushing them back, which can lead to infection, try using a baking soda scrub to exfoliate and smooth. Just dip a nail brush into a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water, run in a circular motion over your hands and fingers, and rinse clean with warm water. Then apply nail polish as usual.
You can repeat the nail scrub on your toes, and you can take your at-home pedicure a step further by making a soothing footbath using a solution of thee parts baking soda to one part warm water. Let your feet soak in a basin for about 10 minutes, and then apply a rich lotion to your legs and feet. Wrap a warm towel around them, and let sit for another 5 to 10 minutes. Your legs and feet will then be salon smooth.
- Itchy skin reliever
You don’t have to settle for skin that’s dry, itchy, and uncomfortable in the cold winter months.Taking a warm bath (not hot—that’ll make your dry skin problem worse!) with a half-cup of baking soda will soften and soothe your whole body. You can also take a cool baking soda bath in the summer to relieve sunburn or bug bites.
- Tooth whitener
For whiter teeth without all the chemicals that come with home whitening kits, simply sprinkle baking soda into your palm, dip a damp toothbrush into it, and brush your teeth for about a minute. Note: you shouldn’t use baking soda as a replacement for toothpaste. Toothpaste contains fluoride, which is important for preventing cavities.