EDIT 2014: while baking soda is a versatile ingredient, it should be used only in emergencies, when you don’t have anything else in the house. That’s because it’s quite harsh and can be irritating, especially to sensitive skin.
Who doesn’t have a box of baking soda in the kitchen? Baking soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, is an ingredient often found in cooking recipes and doubles up as a cleaning agent too. But there’s more you can do with it than bake a dessert or clean out the fridge. This versatile, and very inexpensive, ingredient is also very useful as a beauty aid:
1. Body scrub
Baking soda is a great body scrub. Just create a paste by mixing it with water (I use 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water), massage it onto your body and then rise it off. It will remove the dead skin cells on the surface, leaving your skin soft and smooth. This scrub is particularly good for those very rough areas such as elbows and kneecaps. You can use baking soda to exfoliate your face as well, but I don’t recommend it as it can be quite abrasive. If you’re willing to try it anyway, do it only once or twice a week (never more!) and use only a very small amount of baking soda. This should avoid irritations.
2. Dry shampoo
If you have oily hair, try using baking soda as a dry shampoo. Simply distribute it evenly throughout your hair and don’t get scared when the baking soda will make it look white. Next, brush or comb your hair until it gets back to its natural colour. Then, style your hair however you like. The baking soda will keep the oiliness in check and make your hair really soft.
3. Clarifying shampoo
If you use a lot of hair care products, you can remove the buildup they leave on your hair by mixing baking soda with your shampoo. This will make your hair really clean. But don’t do it often. Baking soda acts like a clarifying shampoo which, although beneficial once in a while, can be too harsh on hair if used too often.
This is a trick I’ve learned recently. I had run out of my usual deodorant and, instead than rushing to the store, I thought I’d try and make my own. I mixed equal parts (a quarter of teaspoon is enough) of baking soda and water, then I applied the paste on my underarms. You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil if you like. The baking soda eliminates the odour caused by sweating and makes you feel fresh all day.
Isn’t it wonderful what you can do with this simple, cheap ingredient? Do you know other ways to use baking soda as a beauty aid?