Save Money By Exfoliating With Baking Soda

We love how baking soda is the answer to every hygiene problem. Just shove baking soda in every available orifice, we’re sure it’ll work miracles. There should be an episode of House, M.D. where House cures people with baking soda. Anyhow, 2 Pennies Earned has a tip for some cheap face exfoliating and we thought, “Oh, why not?”

    “Instead of paying extra money for a facial exfoliant that is probably too harsh for the delicate skin on your face (despite what the manufacturer would have you believe), just add a little bit of baking soda to some Cetaphil (an excellent mild face wash that I use twice a day), mix with your fingertips, massage in circles all over your face, and rinse. For a gentler exfoliant, simply use more Cetaphil and less baking soda in your mixture.

Let us know how that works out. —MEGHANN MARCO

Save Money By Exfoliating With Baking Soda [2 Pennies Earned]


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  1. Amy Alkon says:

    Oh, please. St. Ives apricot scrub is $2.99 a tube. Isn’t your time worth something? How many years of your life do you spend gathering ingredients, mixing baking soda in a little bowl, then washing the bowl, blah blah blah? It’s 2007, no need to live like we’re all starring in a remake of “Little House On The Prairie.”

    In the time you’ll save, over a lifetime, if you avoid mixing up your own face potions, I recommend reading “Passionate Minds,” by David Bodanis, about the love affaire of Emilie du Chatelet and Voltaire.

    And P.S. As I believe I’ve posted here before, the only face potions you really need are: Cetaphil (about $12 for a Costco vat of the stuff that lasts at least six months, St. Ives, and sunblock that actually blocks sun. No moisturizer made from sheep feces that requires a second mortgage to purchase, none of that).

    But, still, let’s move on from the Laura Ingalls Wilder days, shall we?

    • Rebekah Lynn Osorio says:

      @Amy Alkon: I would only caution that many exfoliants (such as the apricot scrub) are far too abrasive for the skin. They will literally leave micro tears in your dermis layers. If buying is easier, by all means, buy. But baking soda and white sugar are perfect (and better than most store bought items) because of their extremely fine, non-abrasive texture. And I hardly see taking a small 1/8 a teaspoon, dipping it into a container of baking soda and then adding it to your palm and mixing it with your cleanser to be an issue of time. If that is too much time and mess for our day and age, I think our society may have another issue at hand.

  2. AcilletaM says:

    Wither Almanzo?

  3. Dustbunny says:

    “No moisturizer made from sheep feces”

    Umm…that’s a joke right? Right??

    (Hurrying off to read the labels on all the moisturizers in my medicine cabinet)

  4. kenposan says:

    My wife also uses aspirin to make a facial out of.
    I’ll suggest she read Passionate Mind, however.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    kenposan: Aspirin is also a great zit-killer. Crush one with the back of a spoon, add a bit of water to make a paste, apply to zit, go to bed for the night. Models use this to remove the redness from break-out areas on their faces.

    Or, in the spirit of Amy Alkon’s comment above, you can purchase Clean ‘n’ Clear (or other brand) blemish-healing gel with salicylic acid — the active aspirin ingredent.

    OK, now I want to read Passionate Minds. That is, as soon as I finish hand-grinding the flour to make our bread. (yes, that last part was a joke)

  6. William Mize says:

    Mmmmm. Melissa Sue Anderson.

    Oh. Wait. Never mind.

  7. spanky says:

    I sometimes mix Cetaphil (actually, a store brand Cetaphil knockoff) with ground up oatmeal. And for the aspirin masks, headache powders like Goody’s and BC are cheap, and they’re pre-crushed. (Plus, they’re all crazy and old timey. Bonus.)

    I have to admit that Amy Alkon is right about the time thing, but there are other benefits besides just saving money. A lot of homemade and cobbled together stuff is actually better than most commercially available versions. You can adjust proportions and ingredients when you make something yourself. It simplifies shopping and storage to use the same basic ingredients for multiple uses. It reduces waste.

    But most of all, apparently I like doing crap like that enough to come up with a whole assload of hindsight justifications for it.

    It’s like I think I’m sticking it to the man or something. I am so pathetic.

  8. Citron says:

    You can exfoliate with a loofa or facial brush, too. And you only have to buy that once. For about two dollars.

  9. A dab of toothpaste on a zit, left overnight, helps get rid of ’em too.

    What works the best is is applying a series of hot towels to the face. It helps stop the swelling. They need to be clean though.

  10. Sheik says:

    Isn’t salicylic acid that stuff that eats through skin that is in Carmex? Any down side to using that on your face? The baking soda actually sounds safer. What if you get that salicylic acid in your eyes?

  11. TinaT says:

    Gathering ingredients and mixing? I just use straight baking soda. I started using it ages ago not for money savings but because it’s gentle. And since it only has one ingredient, I don’t have to worry about what chemicals I’m putting on my face and whether I’m allergic to any of them.

  12. Hirayuki says:

    I’ve been using this combo for years. Just squirt some Cetaphil (or other mild cleanser of choice) in the palm of your hand and tap in some baking soda. Rub with your finger to mix it up a little, no bowls required. ::rolls eyes:: It works really well, but don’t overdo it on the baking soda–the stuff can be gritty.

    Salicylic acid is in most of the acne treatments out there, either alone or in combination with benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid used to make me break out, though; go figure.

    Also, for whiter teeth: Burn a piece of toast. Scrape off the carbon into a small bowl. Add enough honey to make a paste and brush your teeth with it. It’s not as nasty as it sounds and it gets your teeth squeaky-smooth and whiter (but it’s no WhiteStrips, obviously).

  13. konstantConsumer says:

    also, for zits, you can use that pink stuff that you put on when you had chicken pocks. what’s is called? camoline lotion? something like that.

  14. CookiesEtc says:

    Honey on zits works too.

  15. mattkorey says:

    Sounds like none of you guys have any zits anymore and also like just about everything cures zits. I don’t guess rubbing on anything from Taco Bell would be near as effective.

  16. pestie says:

    To all the women here: you’re beautiful just the way you are. Yes, even you, over there in the corner saying, “you haven’t seen me in the morning/without makeup/ever!” You don’t need any of this crap to be beautiful.

  17. Citron says:

    Salicyclic acid breaks down skin cells so that they don’t clog pores, and is a mild antiseptic. It’s good acne treatment, but never worked for me. Benzoyl peroxide seems to work better.

    A hot saline compress on a zit will bring the sebaceous pus to the top of the skin, if you feel like popping it — but you shouldn’t do that, honestly. It’s bad.

  18. lookzgood2me says:

    Taco Bell mild or hot sauce cleans dirty coins.

    Just throwing that out there.

  19. HawkWolf says:

    what did people do before we had all this commercially available crap? did they make homemade remedies? or did they just not care about their zits?

    I c ertainly don’t do anything when I get a zit. oh no, what do I do? not much, it goes away on its own. or, I pop it because I’m one of those zit popping people. :P

  20. denki says:

    Cetaphil is non-comedogenic? Does that mean if you use it, you can’t do stand up comedy?

  21. Katie says:

    You can use a mix of brown sugar and olive oil as a gentle exfoliationg scrub, too, if you have combination or dry skin.

  22. rdm says:

    Wow, I think Amy has some anger issues.

    Anyway, good idea. I’ll try all the ones that are posted here. Since we are in the middle of an ice storm, baking soda is much more convenient for me than St. Ives ;)

  23. The Real Quiz says:

    Oh my gosh, Denki – I was showering just this morning and saw that “non-comedogenic” line on my bottle of Cetephil and thought of the same joke. I even laughed out-loud, which lead my wife (in the bathroom applying make-up at the time) to remark, “laugh it up because it’s not getting any bigger either – it’s a wonder we ever conceived by that toothpick of yours.” I love my wife.

  24. HotChocolate says:

    One of my favorite parts of being a self-sufficient, employed adult with disposable income is that I can put sheep feces on my face if I want to.

    If anyone else out there is allergic to Cetaphil and most other face cleansers, Aveda Cream Cleanser is truly the most gentle product ever and worth every penny.

    Of course, drinking lots of water if the cheapest, easiest way to have clear skin. Ever since I started drinking 8 glasses a day a few years ago, I’ve only had about three zits and my skin glows. You won’t even need an exfoliator.

  25. healthdog says:

    @pestie: Oh pestie. I love you.

  26. Lilyara says:

    I’m going to guess that I shouldn’t use the baking soda soaking in the odors in my fridge.

  27. hang says:

    @Lilyara: Too late for me.