I Smeared Baking Soda On My Face Every Night For A Week. Here’s How My Skin Looked 7 Days Later

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Baking soda is an incredible ingredient.

We all have it sitting in our cabinets for when we want to clean or cook with it, but baking soda actually has a ton of other uses as well, including as an odor eliminator, a teeth whitener, and a drain unclogger.

But there’s another use for this product that beauty bloggers all over the world can’t stop talking about: baking soda as a face cleanser!

When I first learned that people were using baking soda on their faces, I immediately thought it sounded kind of crazy. However, I then looked into it a little more and was surprised to find that there are actually a lot of benefits to using a baking soda face wash.

Even better, baking soda is a much more affordable option than many fancy store-bought cleansers, and beauty gurus claim it works just as well.

Since I already had baking soda in my spice cabinet, I figured I might as well give it a shot. So, I carried my trusty orange box into the bathroom to see if the rumors were true!

Baking Soda Face Wash Benefits

baking soda LT
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Baking soda has a lot of beauty uses, including as a dry shampoo, a hair volumizer, and a nail cleaner.

The biggest trend among beauty enthusiasts right now, though, is using it as a way to clean and exfoliate your skin.

According to Dr. Oz, baking soda can be used to clear acne and can help exfoliate your skin, making it softer and more vibrant.

Healthy And Natural World explains that baking soda can be used as a daily cleanser, a face mask, and an exfoliator. In addition, it can unclog your pores, remove dirt and oils from your skin, and even prevent acne.

With all these potential benefits, I couldn’t wait to try using my own DIY baking soda face wash…

Baking Soda Face Wash Controversy

baking soda controversy
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However, I eventually read about the potential negative effects.

It wasn’t until after I’d been using baking soda on my face for a few days that I found out how baking soda could negatively impact my skin.

I read multiple studies from Dermatology, the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, and Acta Dermato-venereologica about the ways in which baking soda can affect your skin.

It was a lot of information, but what it all boils down to is that everyone’s skin has an “acid mantle” — or an acidic layer — that acts as a barrier to viruses, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants.

Essential Day Spa put it simply when they explained that baking soda (which is alkaline, or naturally basic) can disrupt the skin’s acid mantle. This can cause skin irritation, hyperpigmentation, moisture loss, skin aging, and sun sensitivity.

That being said, many manufactured facial products are also alkaline. The difference with these cleansers and with baking soda is that baking soda is also a physical exfoliant, according to Future Derm.

The longer you use alkaline cleansers, the more damage they can do to your skin.

According to Skin and Tonics, the acid mantle can repair itself after being compromised, but it can take up to 20 hours for the pH to return to normal. In that time, the skin is more susceptible to damage.

Note: Some people react negatively to baking soda, so do a patch test on your arm before trying it on your face.

The Experiment

<u>The Experiment</u>
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OK, so now that you have all this information, let me tell you a little about the experiment.

Basically, the only thing I could wash my face with for the entire week would be baking soda and water, mixed together into a paste.

Each day, I would wash my face once in the morning and once in the evening. I’d photograph myself each evening to document the experience.

Day 1

Day 1
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Let me preface this by explaining that I don’t have the best skin care routine in the world.

Normally, I wash my face with a store-bought facial wash every time I shower (every day or every other day), and each morning and evening I use a witch hazel toner.

My skin is usually pretty oily, with a few pimples here and there, but I’ve never had bad acne.

day 1 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you see it), I had some extra zits when I started this experiment.

I hoped that the baking soda would clear up the bit of acne that I had!

baking soda bowl
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Using baking soda the way Healthy And Natural World recommended, I dumped a little bit of the powder straight from the box into a small bowl, then added some water to turn it into a paste.

baking soda mixture
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I had to go back and forth with baking soda and water until I created a texture I was comfortable with.

It was harder than I expected to achieve a good paste-like consistency, as it was either too drippy or too thick. This was a problem I had throughout the entire week.

baking soda on face
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Once I rubbed the baking soda mixture all over my face, I let it sit for about a minute before washing it off.

On day one, I got into the shower after putting the baking soda on my face, which made it extremely easy to wash off. Afterward, my skin felt tighter and cleaner than it had before.

Day 2

day 2 baking soda
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I spent most of the second day marveling about how matte my face felt.

Even with no toner, no foundation, and no setting powder, my face didn’t look oily. Usually by mid-morning, my face starts to get shiny and oily, but with the baking soda, it was staying nice and shine-free!

baking soda second day
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I thought the baking soda would feel rough on my skin, but it was surprisingly soft and smooth. Exfoliating with baking soda seemed to be working pretty well.

After the success I’d had during the day two, I was excited to keep seeing results (hopefully).

soft skin
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I felt more confident with the way my skin looked, despite the fact that I still had some unsightly pimples.

I had never realized that the oiliness of my skin bothered me so much, but since I noticed such a difference with the baking soda, I didn’t want to have to go back to my normal oily skin.

Day 3

day 3 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Unfortunately, my matte skin was short-lived.

On day three, my face felt oily once again, and I started noticing my pimples more.

Needless to say, I was definitely disappointed.

third day baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Day three was definitely a low point for me during this experiment. I had felt so great on days one and day two that I thought the baking soda was really working. Sadly, that didn’t seem to be the case.

Although my face still felt matte directly after rinsing off the baking soda, it didn’t stay oil-free for as long as it had before.

Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Day three was also when I learned about all the potential negatives baking soda could have on my skin, so my disappointment may have also been somewhat psychosomatic.

Since I wasn’t feeling the benefits as much anymore, I felt like the negatives were outweighing the benefits.

Day 4

day 4 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

On day four, I was definitely still disappointed in the results.

Yet again, my face was oily and greasy throughout the day. I was starting to get frustrated with the process of making the baking soda face wash and using it every morning and evening.

day 4
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

As you can tell from my use of all-caps in the photo above, I was getting kind of angry that I wasn’t seeing any long-lasting benefits.

Where was the acne reduction, cleaner skin, and unclogged pores?

Day 5

day 5 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

On day five, I was still frustrated.

My zits weren’t going away, new pimples had popped up, and my pores definitely weren’t feeling any cleaner. In fact, I started noticing more blackheads.

Plus, even though it didn’t take much time to apply the face wash, it kept dripping on the floor and on my clothes. It wasn’t nearly as user-friendly as a store-bought face wash.

Day 6

day 6 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I didn’t think I’d be so excited to get back to my normal skin-care routine, but every night when I went to apply the baking soda, I saw my witch hazel toner staring at me, begging to be used.

over it baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

By day six, I was more than annoyed with the baking soda. I couldn’t wait to be done with the experiment.

I kept finding patches of baking soda on my skin throughout the day, and it was really annoying.

Day 7

day 7 baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

On day seven, I was grateful to be finishing the experiment.

I was glad I had followed through on using the baking soda face wash the entire week, but I was also happy to go back to my boring old skin-care routine.

Is Baking Soda Face Wash Worth It?

before and after baking soda
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Above is a “before” and “after” photo, and I’m only noticing very minor changes.

On day seven, I felt like my face was even oilier than before. Although some of my old pimples had gone away, new ones had popped up.

That being said, here are my overall thoughts on the experiment:

Pros: Baking soda definitely works as a short-term mattifying solution. It’s a soft exfoliator, and it’s a great cleanser in a pinch.

Cons: It’s annoying to have to make the mixture every day. It’s also messy to use, it only works for a few days, and it doesn’t have noticeable long-term benefits (plus, there are all those potential problems I outlined about the skin mantle).

Final Thoughts

baking soda final thoughts
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Would I use it again? I’d only use it for a quick fix to oily skin, or if I had absolutely nothing else to use. I think I’ll stick to store-bought facial cleansers in the future.

Would I recommend it to a friend? In all honesty, probably not. Obviously, everyone’s skin is different, so this might work better for someone else. With all the potential negatives, though, I just don’t think it’s worth it.

Please SHARE this article with your friends if you think baking soda’s uses are fascinating!