DIY Beauty: Lemon + Baking Soda Face Mask



DIY lemon juice + baking soda face mask //

In my endless search to find products that will help me finally nix the issues I’m having with my skin lately, I decided to stop spending heaps of money on products and reel myself in a little. After hours of research on the interwebs, I came across some rave reviews advocating the use of some really common kitchen items, which I’ll be happy to share with you here. It’s like a science experiment for my face… cooooool.

One of the skin issues I have that frustrates me almost more than the breakouts themselves is the redness that they leave behind. For the record, I am a chronic picker, which I know is not a good thing, but I just cannot leave something poppable alone. It’s a weakness, and unfortunately that compounds my issues with redness and hyperpigmentation. But when I did my initial google search for easy at-home remedies, a few very basic kitchen staples popped up that made a lot of sense: lemons and baking soda.

When I was a kid, my mom used to squeeze lemon juice into my hair on summer vacation for some easy and cheap at-home highlights. The acid in the lemon juice acts as a bleaching agent (which I suppose the theory goes on to show that its effects may be amplified by the sun, but truthfully I’m no chemist so I don’t know), and thus it makes sense that it should act in the same way when applied to your skin.

To make a face mask out of the lemon juice, you can add baking soda into the mix, stirring it together until it becomes a paste. This can be applied to your face and left on for anywhere from 5-30 minutes (I like extremes, so I go for 30), depending on how comfortable it is for you. Just make sure you don’t add too much liquid, because that will turn your home brew into a gooey, drippy mess that will not stay on your face. The baking soda doesn’t do too much while the mask is applied to your face, but when washing everything off it acts as a gentle exfoliant, leaving you with amazingly smooth skin as a result. I actually saw really great results with this mask, using it about 1-2 times per week, so I wanted to go a bit further with it. I decided to squeezed some lemon juice onto a cotton pad and use it as a toner morning and night. The lemon juice toner visibly reduced the redness over the course of just a few days, and it acted as a disinfectant to help clean and clear up my active breakouts much quicker. Major win!

Whether you’re having some unpleasant skin issues, or just feel like your complexion is a bit dull, I definitely recommend you give this little at-home treatment a try. Besides the fact that it costs mere dollars per application, it’s a natural way to give your skin a little boost. It is worth mentioning that my boyfriend and housemate do think I’m a bit of a weirdo when they see me “wiping acid all over my face” (umm, do they know that Salicylic Acid is an active ingredient in 50% of facial cleansers? Pshh), but the reality is that it’s just too cheap and too raved about not to give it a try! So next time life gives you lemons, forgo the refreshing drink and give your face a pick me up instead. Let me know if you’ve ever tried lemon juice + baking soda for your skin (or if you’re going to), and what kind of results you’ve seen. So far, I’m sold!


  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, maybe less
  • 4 drops tea tree oil (optional)


  1. Put baking soda in a small bowl. Add lemon juice a few drops at a time, just enough to make a paste. Mixture will foam slightly, that’s normal.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of tea tree oil*
  3. Apply paste to face and neck, and leave for 5-30 minutes, depending on what’s comfortable for you. The mixture will dry hard, so be careful not to move your face too much or you’ll get baking soda everywhere as it flakes off!
  4. When ready, wet face slightly and gently rub cheeks and forehead in circular motions. Exfoliate while rinsing off.
  5. If desired, follow with lemon juice as a toner. Let dry for 5 minutes, then apply lots of moisturizer!

*Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and is fantastic for the skin. I’ve been using it for years on my face and it really helps reduce the severity and healing time of new breakouts. It can be quite dry though, so be prepared with a good moisturizer.

  • Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop

    You are brilliant! Lemon juice toner. Awesome. Totally doing this!

    • Erica Wodzak

      Yea I was shocked at how well it worked, and how nice it made my skin feel! Let me know how it works out for ya!

  • lucent imagery

    Oh my gosh, I remember the days of putting lemon juice in my hair for natural highlights! Just last week I went out and bought myself some new makeup. I’ve had sensitive, dry skin for a couple of years. I’ve tried all sorts of theories. It occurred to me last week that my makeup was embarrassingly old (my blush is ….ahem… 6 years old, oops) – I’m now wondering if it was contributing to my sensitive skin! Hope yours settles soon.

    • Erica Wodzak

      Did you ever have bees chasing you when you put lemon in your hair? Haha that was the only downside to lemon highlights, the bees loved the smell of the juice! Hm, I wonder if new makeup would help, I definitely have some old blushes as well… I always clean my brushes each week but never thought about what could be lurking in that old makeup! Good call!

  • Meghan

    I use this often, it is so amazing for your skin. Great post!

    xo Meg<3

    • Erica Wodzak

      Ah, I’m glad to hear someone else loves it as much as I do! Now I’ll feel a little less silly rubbing food on my face… haha

  • synyster

    Thanks =D even though i’m a dude this is the only thing that stops pimples =D

    • Erica | cupcakes+coffee breaks

      Excellent! It’s so nice to find something that works that doesn’t cost a fortune, isn’t it? It’s so unfair that we’re made to think that only people willing to drop tons of coin on skin products are able to have a great complexion!

  • shankari sukumaran

    how often can I use this?? because I just feel like using it everyday !!!

    • Erica Wodzak

      It’s so awesome, right!? Depending on how your skin tolerates it, I’d say you can use the lemon juice on its own daily. Just be careful exfoliating too much, because you don’t want to make your skin raw! I use lemon juice as a toner morning and night, and although I admittedly have pretty resilient and not-sensitive skin, I’m totally fine with it. Just use your discretion :)

      But certainly there are a lot harsher products out there that people use daily (Retin-A, things like that), so this stuff can’t be so bad right?

    • Erica | cupcakes+coffee breaks

      Ummm, I think every day might be a bit harsh in terms of the scrubbing, but I use the lemon daily and it’s ok!

  • Tasha Walker

    I just tried this for the first time and my skin feels awesome! I’m going to start using lemon juice as a toner, too. I have a big problem with blackheads and cysts, and both look better already. I left it on for 15 minutes. Thanks for the guide! This might just be the solution I was looking for c:

    • Erica | cupcakes+coffee breaks

      That’s great news! And how awesome does it feel that you DON’T have to pay tons of money for nicer skin!?

      • Tasha Walker

        I did it again yesterday and for the first time EVER my blackheads are going away!!! The ones on my nose are pale, the ones beside are gone. I’m loving it c:

  • Nea Vi

    You are awesome for posting this, I’m gonna try it right away. :D I actually have lemons at home so voilá. :D

  • April Kummrow

    you can use the exact same mix to naturally whiten teeth too! Use a cotton ball to “paint” it on your teeth and then brush them with some toothpaste. WAY cheaper than whitening strips.