Just to be clear, I am reviewing this from a skincare/haircare point of view only - I think baking soda is awesome for, you know, cooking and cleaning, etc!
My favourite exfoliant/cleanser/face-mask has to be rolled oats (I've written quite the glowing review about it :P), so I'm always quite keen to try out other 'natural'/'kitcheny' things as skincare. Unfortunately, baking soda has not turned out to be my friend.
My skin: combination, but tending towards being more dry, not acne-prone, a bit of uneven skin-tone, some noticeable pores around my nose, etc. Overall, not super problematic, but with a few normal issues. A lot of cleansers dry my skin out, and I like to use a fairly rich moisturiser.
I've read so many glowing reviews about using baking soda as a mask or exfoliant, so I tried it out a few times. I found out straight away that using it as a mask was too drying for my skin, but the first time I used it as just an exfoliant, I really liked it. I mixed less than a teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to make it into an easily spreadable paste, massaged it over my face (focusing on the T-zone), then rinsed off with warm water. Seriously, my face looked glowy, my pores seemed less noticeable, and my skin felt SUPER smooth. It did seem to be a little drying, but I've experienced much worse, so I just used a bit extra of my moisturiser, and all was well.
No matter how well this works for you, you shouldn't be using an exfoliant everyday, so I left it for nearly a week before trying it again. The results weren't quite as amazing as the first time, and it seemed a bit more drying, but again i just used a lot of moisturiser and waited for another week before trying it again. Well, every time I've used it since then (which isn't that many, as I don't like torturing my poor face unnecessarily), my skin has been left feeling parched, I've experienced a few dry patches around my chin and nose, and nothing good has come of it. I've tried using it mixed with honey, with coconut oil, with a regular cream cleanser, and while some of those have meant that it hasn't been as harsh, I haven't experienced any great benefits. I've got to the point where I'm not ever planning to use it again, and I'm sticking to my beloved oat routine!
So, if you have skin like mine (or more dry/sensitive) I wouldn't recommend this. Obviously every person can experience different results with the same product, but when it's your skin you're talking about I think it's better to be on the safe side!
The reason that I'm giving this two lippies instead of one, is that I do occasionally use baking soda to help clarify my hair if I have a bit of product buildup, and it works well for that. I just mix a couple of teaspoons into my shampoo (I have very long hair, so I need quite a bit), massage it into my scalp, and then rinse and follow up with a rich conditioner, as it can be (again) a bit drying without something afterwards, and it does work well for that purpose.
This stuff BURNS! Also not much of a scrubby feeling so it feels like I have not scrubbed away any dead skin cells. Cheap but ineffective
Some warnings and suggestions:
- baking soda IS abrasive - you can use it as an over cleanser... that says a lot, right?
- it is basic, while your skin needs to be SOUR to protect itself - bacteria thrive better if the skins's pH is basic, so this strips your protective barrier. Can washing your face with this make the skin bleed? Oh yes, it can. If you're using this and leaving it on your face, 30 seconds should be more than enough. Would I use it with my sensitive skin to exfoliate? NEVER.
- it's not good for teeth. It can be used to whiten them, but it will dissolve the enamel. If you have sensitive teeth or problems with carries, don't use this on your teeth!
- DO NOT PUT IT NEAR YOUR GENITALS!!! Your genitals are supposed to be SOUR. If you unbalance the pH, you weaken the protective barrier and can get bacterial vaginosis, which comes with, amongst other things, a fishy smell from your genitals
- I would not want to get this into my eyes, but it's not that bad, really, just wash it out
Truth is: those who can use this on their skin have though skin, although they might not be aware of it.
What I use baking soda for:
- baking - I love it for baking! ;D
- can be used to neutralize glycolic acids: one teaspoon of it in a glass of water (notice how dissolved that is). Glycolic acid by itself is kinda viscous, but when neutralized, it's much easier to rinse off the face
- insect bites - works decently
- a clarifying treatment after using hair oils to avoid build-up (I follow up with white vinegar in water: 2 parts water, one of vinegar, for conditioning). When using this, I just mix some into my shampoo
- to clean glasses. Soetimes my glasses get very oily, to the point that wiping them clean doesn't work - there will still be oily streaks. I then just make a little bit of thick baking powder paste and apply it to the glasses - it dissolved all of the oils - no need for any scrybbing, just apply paste, leave for a little and run the glasses under water :)
Yes YES YES! Listen, I'm no hippy, but I LOVE Baking Soda for everything! It's so cheap and effective, finding out about this finally let me leave all of the expensive store bought scrubs in the dust, and actually get my skin to where I wanted it to be!
Exfolliating with Baking Soda:
I don't exfolliate with just baking soda. Mix it into a thin paste with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Cold pressed EVOO's chemical structure is extremely similar to that of human sebum (oil), therefore it won't clog your pores like other moisturizers. Because of these structural similarities, it's one of the best moisturizers you can use. It's also very good for cleaning your skin. You may have heard of "like likes like" from high school chemistry. Well, oil and water don't mix, but oil and oil do, the more similar they are, the better it works. So because EVOO and human sebum are so similar, EVOO easily carries away excess human sebum that has accumulated on the skin's surface, and in the pores. This is great, because your natural oils have collected dirt, and dead skin overtime, so the EVOO helps break that up, and carry it away.
Baking soda is a very very mild abrasive. Unlike other exfolliants like fruit pits, "micro" beads, or salt who's pieces are large, and far too course for the skin. Baking soda is very fine, smooth, gentle abbrasive so when you exfoliate with it gently it helps slough off dead skin, polishing the skin's surface to a healthy, smooth glow. So long as you're gentle and use the EVOO as a lubracatoin agent. I would try a test patch to be sure, but if you have really sensitive skin maybe stick to a wash cloth.
In comparison, salt, and fruit pits scrape the skin's surface leaving it raw, and dull looking. In addition, Baking soda helps kill bacteria, which helps reduce, and prevent acne. Though be warned, baking soda is alkaline (basic pH) therefore if you have broken or irritated skin (you shouldn't be exfoliating in the first place) but it may also sting a bit. This mix can be used all over the body, and face (exluding sensitive areas like the eyes, or genitals). Once finished, rinse with warm water, and use a mild soap to remove any excess oil. Vola! Super smooth, soft skin. This mixture won't be on your skin for long enough to affect the overall pH of your skin, this is proven time and time again with why salicylic acid soaps aren't useful. It's there just long enough to clean.
Use as a "shampoo":
My hair had suffered quite a bit of damage. We all know shampoo is horrible for your hair, and I had weeded it down to using it only about 1-2 times a week, but my hair was still dry even with hot oil treatments. So, I gave it a go. You have to rinse your hair with a vinegar/water mix after wards.
After I did this, I COULDN'T BELIEVE THE VOLUME! It turns out that my intense conditioning left LOTS of buildup. Baking soda and vinegar both act as clairifyers, and got rid of the excess. How to? Create a thin mixture of baking soda and water. Put this in whatever your want, I used a squeeze bottle (this can be stored in the shower like shampoo). Rinse your hair with warm water. Apply mixture to only the roots. Gently massage mixture over entire scalp. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to absorb oil, and kill bacteria. Rinse hair thoughrally. The baking soda will clean the rest of your hair while it's being rinsed, but your scalp is the main target.
I have dry hair, so I add a keratin conditioner on after this for 2-3 minutes. Rinse, then apply the vinegar rinse. Apple cidar vinegar is great for most people, but for blondes, use white vinegar so that it doesn't tint your hair. ACV is less acidic, so you need a 1:1 ratio apparently (I haven't used this), White Vinegar is much more acidic so it's a 1:10 ratio to water, I also add a bit of honey for extra moisture and shine. Apply to hair and let this sit for 2-3 minutes. Not only does the vinegar help neutralize the basic pH that the baking soda leaves on your hair, but hair is naturally healthiest when it has a slightly acidic pH (who knew?). Some people don't rinse this, saying that once it dries the smell goes away and actually keeps your hair smelling clean bc of vinegar's natural deoderizing capabilities, but I rinse it.
Once it dried, I couldn't stop touching it. It was so light and feathery, silky smooth, and had so much volume. I had been so skeptical but to see is to believe I guess. I mean, this is dirt cheap, and most people have everything for this in their house anyways, you could honestly try it tonight. I still think I'll shampoo maybe once a week just because I put so much coconut oil in my hair to fight off the dryness, but maybe this is also because I have so much shampoo left? Most commercial shampoos and conditioners rely heavily on silicons to conceal hair damage. Claiming their products repair hair, I had believed them for a while because my hair FELT soft, but it wasn't my hair, it was the wax layre of buildup I was feeling. If you use this routin it will remove that build up and you'll see your real hair. Silicon doesn't fix anything, it just hides it. So if you use this and your hair looks damaged, it didn't cause it, that's just the real condition of your hair you're seeing for the first time. :( Anyways, try it if you want. It's cheap and easy, and you can always go back if you don't like it.
Toothpaste: I don't personally use this bc it tastes gross, but dentists have stated that you can use baking soda to periodically augment your routine. They state that using commercial products w baking soda is best because they include lubricating agents (similar to why you use EVOO with the skin). This cannot "dissolve" your enamal, but daily exfoliation is usually not a good thing.
Speaking from experience as a medical practitioner, baking soda is a good alternative to other cleansing products that contain irritants for sensitive skin such as dyes and perfumes. Though always do a tes
Update. So a few days ago I did the baking soda mask... It burned & stinger do bad. Was supposed to leave it on 30 minutes but only tolerated 15. Ok well the burning spots on my face have now scabbed up. I don't regiment this on anyone's face!
I use baking soda when I make Snickerdoodles, Snickerdoodles make me happy, happiness warms my soul and probably brightens my skin, therefore, baking soda is kind of a beauty product.
But rubbing this alkaline business on my face? Recipe for disaster, and I don't understand how people use this as a substitute for shampoo.
2 lippies for contributing to the deliciousness of cookies.
Baking soda or bicarbonate is a standard for clean and beauty. Should be done in evening before rest.
As with anything, be careful and use common sense and adjust to your needs
Used as toothpaste, it will not harm enamel to whiten as with many new 'whitening' pastes containing acids which dissolve your enamel..forever. Mix bsoda with a little water or add to toothpaste and gently brush your teeth.
Not abrasive --it totally dissolves out in breads, cakes and cookies!
For face skin and otherwheres: with water, use hands to lather up some soft bar soap as Dove, then add teaspn+ bicarb to make a smooth paste.
[DO NOT use b/soda alone/or + water only on your skin! It needs something to carry it to be correctly effective.]
Wet your skin and then GENTLY and evenly scrub all over --with your fingers-- your moistened skin wih this paste in small circular motions for not more than 10-15+ secs --just count as you go. The paste should gently glide over your skin. Do all area, including neck, decollete, ear lobes, around eyes, eybrow, etc.
Rinse with comfortably warm/hot --not cold-- water. Skin should be fresh, clean and supple. This can be repeated. The key is GENTLE.
Establish your routine of 1-2/week should be adequate maintenance. Adjust as needed.
Do not rub dry.
Exfoliating and stimulating circulation, so EXPECT your skin to 'worsen' as it now excretes what was locked in lower levels moving up to surface and out. As the water is absorbed [prune skin] it swells and forces the excretions and other debris to the surface. Skin takes about 6-8+ weeks to renew and replace itself, so work with it and give it time: the b/soda does not 'add' or 'do' anything you did not put there --it rinses away-- and helps release...what other products and blocks accumulated in your skin! The products you use in certain locations and will be released there and not elsewhere.
With wetted fingertips, apply your mositurizer or a few drops of glycerin. That is all.
CAUTION: moistened and softened, skin will therefore tear easily --DO NOT squeeze or pinch or damage! No abusive handling! The purpose of the cleansing is to disrupt and move out the buildup in the skin.
For body skin and those areas able to support a stronger scrub --as your feet-- just add a pinch regular iodized table salt and use a washcloth if desired. Experiment.
Done for 3-4+ months and many/most scars and discolorations should fade out. Gentle continued care will bring results, with the basic ingredients of expensive skin cares and scrubs. Of course, no sun exposure!
Oh HELL NOO...I'm going to try and put into words the horrendous effects this product had on my skin and it's hard for me to comprehend the good reviews, maybe others have more resilient skin than I do.
About a year-and-a-half ago, my skin was at its worst: enlarged pores, blemishes throughout, and terrible cystic acne concentrated on my jawline/chin area. I decided to go the natural route although topicals have always been the solution for my skin type. I washed my face then applied this on my moistened skin and rubbed in gentle, circular motions once per week with disastrous results. Every time I used Baking Soda, a breakout seemed to follow, it clogged my pores beyond belief, and turned my sensitive skin beet red and itchy.
The result was flaky, inflamed skin with more acne and I attempted to use BS as a spot-mask for a last ditch effort, and I didn't notice any improvement in the tone of my skin. Ladies and gents, if you suffer from sensitive, acne-prone skin please proceed with caution before trying this! Imo it's the equivelent of rubbing sandpaper across your face--abrasive, harsh, and damaging. Look elsewhere! If 0 stars were an option, this would garner that rating as there's nothing positive I can say even though I hate writing poor reviews. SIGH..
I have very sensitive skin and I get occasional breakouts, but I tend to get blackheads that I can never seem to get rid of. I used baking soda and Dickinson's witch hazel and mix them together until a paste forms and then I put it on in the shower for about 3 minutes and then use circular motions to exfoliate but being very gentle at the same time! My skin wasn't dry after or anything and later that night when I took my makeup off my skin felt even better! However the next morning I did it again and it burnt my skin. My skin was stinging and it looked like I was sunburnt everywhere else but my eyes! So I just drank lots of water and didn't mess with my skin and the redness went away. Thank gosh! I would definitely only use this once-twice a week but not back to back!
I used this as a facial and body exfoliator durring an entire summer. I was amazed by all the positive reviews posted on MUA and loved the idea of using a natural household product as an exfoliator. It took me an entire summer to figure out why I was getting huge, painful systic acne on my chin and on my back? After eliminating all possible factors I realized that it was BAKING SODA that was ravaging my skin. Stoped using it and my skin cleared out in a few months. Took forever for the scar marks to fade. Wow! Just a note to everyone: "natural" does't always equate "beneficial" A word of caution to everyone.