DIY Beauty: Lemon + Baking Soda Face Mask

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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.

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