How Baking Soda and Lemon Can Change Your Beauty Regime Forever

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Natural products. YAY! Who doesn’t love natural goodies? And there’s even more to love when those products are cheap and guaranteed to be on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Baking soda and lemons are both staples in alternative health and wellbeing circles where they replace a ton of expensive chemical concoctions.

Lemons are natural cleansers, toner and clarifiers, making them perfect for everything to cleaning up an oily complexion to conditioning your hair. And baking soda cleanses and exfoliates skin, and even whitens teeth. So if you’re sick of paying high prices for grungy goop in plastic bottles, keep reading to discover how baking soda and lemon juice can give you cut price beauty products with high end results.

Let’s start with baking soda.

Clarifying Shampoo

Shampoo and conditioner residue, and styling product build-up can all leave hair looking dull, greasy and limp, with a sticky feel.

Baking soda will whip the build up away and uncover the clean, healthy hair hiding underneath.

Take one teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with a regular amount of your normal shampoo. Massage into your hair and let it get work for a couple minutes, then rinse out. Wash once more with regular shampoo, for hair so clean it squeaks.

Baking soda should only be used to pull out the buildup once a month because it will affect the pH balance of your hair and scalp.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo? Pah, who needs it! When you’re running late and don’t have time to wash your hair, or when your hair just needs some extra body, baking soda is all that you need.

Take a liberal amount of baking soda in your hand and work it through your hair, it will absorb grease and odors. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential to the baking soda to give your hair a lovely fresh smell.

If your hair is blonde to light brown, you can use baking soda as is, and just brush it back out again, but for those with darker hair the baking soda can leave an ashy gray look behind. To avoid that, mix it with a little cocoa powder first.

Hair Brush Cleaner

Take a close look at your hair brush. Even when you’ve cleaned it by pulling out all of the loose strands of hair, the bristles are still coated with a layer of oil, grime and styling product residue.

Baking soda will take this layer off for you and leave your brush clean.  A clean brush is nicer to use and it won’t deposit gunk in your hair.

Just fill a bowl with hot water, add half a cup of baking soda, and drop your brush in for a 15 minute soak. Then rinse it in clean water and leave it to dry.

Make Up Brush Cleaner

Seventy two percent of women admit to not cleaning their makeup tools on a regular basis. Tut, tut! All of that old makeup and bacteria on the bristles is not nice and it can be the cause of breakouts.

Cleaning your brushes with baking soda couldn’t be easier. Once a week, fill a small bowl with hot water, add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda then take your brushes and swirl them in the water. Leave them to soak for 20 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Blot dry with a towel and leave your brushes out to finish air drying.

Facial Scrub

Facial Scrub lemon and baking soda

For an effective face scrub that doesn’t contain environment wrecking microbeads, (which are due to be banned in the UK by the end of 2017 – take a bow you Brits) use simple and safe baking soda.

Baking soda removes sebum and dead skin cells from the skin, and thanks to its antimicrobial properties it helps to prevent skin infections.

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste, then massage onto your skin using circular motions. Keep the paste away from your delicate eye area. Once you’ve given your skin a light massage, rinse off with cool water, pat dry and moisturize.

Don’t use baking soda if you have very dry or sensitive skin.

Pimple Treatment

Baking soda removes excess oil, dries out pimples and kills bacteria.

Make a thick paste with baking soda and a few drops of water, and apply to the pimple. Leave it to work for 20 minutes, then rinse off.

Blackhead Buster

Baking soda is one of the most effective ways to rid yourself of blackheads.

First, wash or cleanse your skin. Mix a paste of two teaspoons of baking soda, two teaspoons of table sugar and one tablespoon of water. Fill a bowl or basin with hot water and steam your face for a minute to open up your pores. Massage in the baking soda and sugar paste then rinse off. Repeat this treatment once a week until the blackheads are all gone.

Nail Treatment

Whiten your nails and exfoliate your cuticles with baking soda. Dip an old toothbrush into a paste with baking soda and water, and rub the paste over your nails and cuticles. You can use the same paste to exfoliate your fingers too, to leave your hands super soft. Rinse with clean water and finish up with a rich moisturizer like coconut oil.

Soften And Remove Calluses

Calluses are areas of tough, thick skin caused by repeated pressure or friction. These hard flat areas of skin are your body’s way of protecting the delicate inner layers of skin.

Calluses don’t look pretty and they can be painful, but a baking soda foot soak will take care of them for you.

The foot soak is best done before bed, or at a time of day when you can use a rich moisturizer after the soak.

Add 3 tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet for half an hour. To make the soak more relaxing you can add a few drops of lavender or orange blossom oil to the water too.

Then mix a small amount of baking soda with a few drops of water and use the paste to exfoliate right over the callus. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly before applying a rich moisturizing cream or oil. Slip on a pair of light cotton soaks and in the morning your feet will be soft all over and the callus will be greatly reduced. Repeat as needed until the callus is all gone.

Soothe An Itch

Whatever the reason for your itchy skin – dryness, insect bites, nettle rash, razor burn, etc. – baking soda will quickly calm the irritation.

Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply to the affected area. Leave it on long enough to dry, then rinse with clean water and pat dry. Follow with light, cooling moisturizer.

Body Scrub

Guess how many dead skin cells your body sheds every minute? 100, 1,000, 10,000? Try 40,000!

All of that dust in your house is your dead skin spread thin.

Even though our skin is really good at shedding its unwanted cells, there’s always a thick layer of them still attached that haven’t been shed yet, and this layer makes skin look dull, dry and tired. To get glowing fresh skin, you need to exfoliate.

Just mix up a baking soda and water paste and give your wet skin a rub down in the shower. Moisturize well afterwards.

DIY Deodorant

Your sweat doesn’t smell, it’s the bacteria that feed on it that creates body odor.

Store bought deodorant is bad for your skin. It’s very drying and can cause irritation. There’s also the concern that some of the ingredients in deodorant, like aluminum, could be toxic.

The safe and inexpensive alternative to deodorant is baking soda. Baking soda’s antibacterial properties, prevent bacteria from multiplying, and if you don’t have bacteria, then you won’t have body odor.

For a quick, rough-and-ready DIY deodorant, mix up 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Take about ¼ teaspoon of the powder and mix it with ½ teaspoon of water. Pat this onto clean skin, wait for it to dry and you’re all set. Don’t use the dry powder by itself because it will chafe your skin, you must dissolve it in water first.

For a more polished product you’ll need a few more ingredients.

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  • Essential Oils (optional)


  1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a bowl in the microwave.
  2. Stir in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
  3. Add a few drops of whichever essential oils you fancy, then pour the mixture into a container to set up. It will take a few hours to harden, but you can speed this up by putting the mixture in the fridge.
  4. Once it’s solid, you can pop it into an old deodorant stick for easy use.

Tooth Whitener

Tooth Whitener lemon and baking soda

Baking soda gently removes stains caused by red wine, cigarettes, coffee and tea, and whitens teeth. Many people think that baking soda is too abrasive and will damage tooth enamel, but nothing could be further from the truth. Baking soda is less abrasive than every toothpaste on the market.

Before a toothpaste can be sold it has to be evaluated by the FDA for its abrasiveness. This is measured, and the product is given an RDA score . RDA stands for relative dentin abrasivity. The lower the RDA score, the less abrasive the substance and the less harm it will do to tooth enamel. The FDA set the upper limit at an RDA of 200.

  • Baking soda has an RDA score of 7
  • Colgate Total has an RDA score of 70
  • Colgate Whitening has an RDA of 124

I could go on, but you get the picture. Baking soda is nowhere near as abrasive as regular toothpastes, and it’s a much better option than whitening toothpastes.

All you need to do is wet your toothbrush and dip it into a little baking soda, then brush away.

Freshening Mouth Rinse

There’s no need to use antiseptic mouth washes. Baking soda will kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda into half a cup of water. Swoosh this around your mouth and gargle with it, don’t swallow. Repeat daily for fresh breath and healthier teeth and gums.

If you want a minty fresh feeling, add 1 drop of peppermint essential oil.

Kill Toenail Fungus

The fungus that lives underneath your toenails thrives in an acidic environment. Kick it out, with alkaline baking soda. Make a foot soak with two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of water.

Okay that’s baking soda covered, let’s switch to lemons.

Lemon Hair Rinse

Lemons can replace your hair conditioner. When you wash your hair with shampoo, you rough up the cuticle and this makes hair dull, dry and a mess of tangles.

The cuticle on each hair shaft, is composed of layers that overlap one another like the shingles on a roof. When the cuticle is smooth, it keeps moisture locked in and provides nice, tangle free, shiny hair.

Normal conditioners smooth the cuticle back down by coating it with a fine layer of product that sits on your hair even after you’ve rinsed. This layer attracts dirt and makes your hair (especially fine hair) look limp very quickly. Which means that you need to wash it again, which causes more damage, which needs more conditioner and around it goes.

All hair actually needs to enable the cuticle to lie flat again is a rinse with a mild acid. And that’s where lemon juice comes in.

Mix  one quarter cup of lemon juice into two cups of warm water and slowly pour over your hair, massaging it in as you go. Let the rinse sit for a few minutes then rinse with clean water. Squeeze the water from your hair and blot dry with a towel.

You will be able to comb your hair with ease and your hair will look beautiful and shiny. And because you don’t have a layer of conditioner sitting on your hair attracting dirt and weighing your hair down, you can go longer between washes.

BUT WAIT. It gets better. Lemon juice can replace your shampoo too, because lemon juice cuts through grease, and unlike shampoos it gets the grease out without roughing up your cuticle.

That’s right. With a lemon juice rinse you get a shampoo and conditioner in one natural, inexpensive, non damaging, sweet smelling package.

When you cut shampoo out of your life, your hair will be healthier and shinier and after 3 or 4 weeks it will have more natural body.

A lemon juice rinse is the perfect follow up to the baking soda clarifying shampoo.

Hair Highlights

Lemons are an easy and safe, bleach free way to add highlights to your hair. Just dilute with a little water, apply the juice where you want the highlights and sit in the sun until the juice has dried. Lemon juice is photosensitive, which means that it reacts with sunlight.

The highlights will be very subtle, if you want to go lighter you can repeat the process until you get the shade that you want.

Oily Skin Treatment

Lemon juice is the perfect solution to oily skin. Dip a cotton ball into a little lemon juice and wipe it over your face. Lemon juice cuts through grease and kills pimple causing bacteria.

Enzymatic Exfoliation

While baking soda uses physical exfoliation, lemon juice removes rough skin by enzymatic action. That means it can get rid of rough and flaky skin without any scrubbing.

Lemon juice is a good choice for the rough skin on your elbows and heels and it will even restore softness to chapped lips.

Just apply some fresh lemon juice to any areas of skin that need exfoliating and leave overnight. Rinse with clean water in the morning, pat dry and moisturize.

Strengthen Fingernails

Dry, brittle nails will benefit from a lemon juice and olive oil soak. This combination strengthens fingernails and whitens them at the same time. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil, then rub over your nails.

Another Blackhead Buster

Lemon juice will clear blackheads and spots. It draws out impurities from your skin and kills bacteria. Just use a cotton ball to dab fresh lemon juice onto the problem areas.

Fade Age Spots

Lemon juice lightens age spots. Apply the neat juice to the discolored area, leave for 15 minutes and then rinse. Repeat daily.

Dandruff Treatment

Lemon juice can help to eradicate the dandruff caused by dry scalp, and the dandruff caused by fungal infection.

Its antimicrobial properties kill fungus and yeasts and its acidic pH restores the optimum balance to dry scalps, allowing skin to produce the correct levels of moisturizing sebum.

Juice 2 to 3 lemons and apply directly to your scalp. Massage well, then rinse.

Wart Removal

With daily use, lemon juice can make conditions inhospitable for the virus that causes warts. Apply neat juice to the wart twice a day until it’s gone.

Fake Tan Remover – Lemon and Baking Soda Combo

When your fake tan is looking worn, or if you’ve made a streaky mess of your application and you want it all gone, make a paste with baking soda and lemon juice. Apply the paste to the areas that you need to deal with. Rub over with a washcloth, then rinse off in the shower.

That’s just a sampling of the benefits that lemon juice and baking soda can bring to your beauty routine. And they do it all for just a few pennies a day!

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.