Photo: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
You know how it goes: Your skin is broken out or isn't radiant the way it should be. When you go to the store for a facial mask, you shell out hard-earned money, apply the mask, and end up still broken out and still without skin that glows. If you've had enough of that old routine, trying an inexpensive baking soda facial mask may be your ticket to the best skin you've had.
Baking Soda Basics
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a fine white powder ladies have used for centuries for cleaning and baking. Chemically, this nifty substance is slightly alkaline, which means it neutralizes acids well. Its ability to do this to some degree is what makes it good at fighting odors in your fridge, your sexy stilettos or the living room carpet. From the beauty standpoint, baking soda rocks because the powder is so mildly abrasive. It can slough off dead skin cells and dirt without tearing up your face.
Baking Soda in Facials
Baking soda is an effective ingredient in a homemade facial because of the way it gently exfoliates. The simplest way to make a baking soda facial is to use three parts baking soda to one part water. After cleansing your face with a gentle wash, apply the mixture to your face. Let it dry as you do a few other things around the house. Wash it off when the facial mixture has dried.
If your skin's chemistry works well with baking soda facials, your skin will appear smoother after using the mixture. It may help clear up acne and blackheads because it removes the oil, dirt and dead skin that can clog your pores. Your skin will have a healthy glow without having to spend a fortune on a formal spa treatment.
Even though baking soda is fairly gentle, it is still a chemical. Every lady's facial chemistry is a little different, so baking soda facials aren't for everybody. Some people find that baking soda facials are too harsh and irritating, making their skin itchy and red. If you are one of these people, try diluting the mixture so the concentration of baking soda isn't so high. Another great trick is to mix the baking soda with other foods that are known for helping improve complexions. Oatmeal and honey creates a good facial base to which you can easily add a little baking soda. You also can mix it with pastes made from fruits, juices and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, orange juice and avocados. Depending on the exact recipe you use, you can leave a baking soda facial on for anywhere from five minutes to half an hour. Baking soda has a tendency to dry out the skin, so moisturizing before and after you use a baking soda facial is a good idea.
In addition to being useful as a mask, baking soda works well as a simple face wash. Simply dilute it in water, use the water to wash your face, and rinse with plain, fresh water. You also can use the basic facial mask recipes, slightly more diluted, as quick facial scrubs. Lastly, because baking soda is such a gentle exfoliating agent, adding a few teaspoons to your bath is a quick way to leave all of your skin soft and smooth.