Make Brightening Lemon and Baking Soda Exfoliant
I love things that are good for me, easy to make, and made of things I already have. This exfoliating face wash meets all three of those things. Before discovering this homemade mix, I used Modern Friction by Origins for my twice-a-week exfoliant. To exfoliate, brighten, and soothe, Modern Friction contains rice starch bits, lemon oil, and aloe, among other ingredients. But although I love Origins, I thought Modern Friction felt a little rough on my face, and I also didn’t like the price. These days, I’m using a homemade mix modeled after Modern Friction to mimic the effects of a store-bought exfoliant wash.
What I Use and Why
For my exfoliating granules, I use baking soda. I like using baking soda as an exfoliant because it’s a very fine grain that doesn’t cause my face much irritation. I use sugar- and salt-based body scrubs, but sugar and salt aren’t great exfoliants for my face. I like to think of sugar and salt as sanding, while using baking soda is more like buffing. I don’t want to sand my face.
For brightening, cleansing, and removing dead skin cells, I add lemon juice, which contains citric acid. Citric acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid, many of which have become popular skincare ingredients. According to the Cleveland Clinic, alpha-hydroxy acids may help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation and age spots, and enlarged pores. (Read more about citric acids here.) Some articles advise against using citric acids in homemade skincare products because they cause short-term increased sun sensitivity and could irritate sensitive skin. But while I agree that it’s best not to rub straight lemon juice on your face, I don’t think you should overlook citric acid’s benefits. If you’re worried, I suggest doing a test spot to gauge your skin’s reaction, diluting your lemon juice with water, or chatting with a dermatologist. All skin types should avoid direct sunlight or slather on the sunblock for the 24 hours after application.
For moisture, I add coconut oil, which prevents my skin from getting too angry after being exfoliated and negates the need for additional lotion after the scrub. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil is optional, and I only add them when my skin is in the midst of a particularly problematic phase.
How I Make Mine
(This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here. Thank you!)
- 1 tbsp baking soda.
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (from a bottle is okay if you don’t have lemons).
- 1/8 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 drops tea tree essential oil (optional—good if you are prone to breakouts)
- Small bowl, stirring spoon, and measuring spoons
Step #1: First I mix 1/2 tbsp lemon juice with 1 tbsp baking soda. It will fizz. I stir until it becomes a paste.
Step #3: Finally, I stir well and apply. I put a layer on my dry face, let it sit for about 30 seconds, add a bit of warm water and scrub into my skin for another 30 seconds, and then wash off.
Note: I find it’s easier to make a new mixture each time I want to use this scrub.
Remember: Over-exfoliating will irritate the skin. Most store-bought exfoliants recommend exfoliating once or twice per week. And I always apply extra sunscreen if I’m going outside after using citric acid on my skin!
**December 2018 update!**
I received a message on my Facebook page from a reader. I promised her I’d pass it on as she took the time to message me and seems to be passionate about the topic of coconut oil. (There was more discussion after this, but I’ve left that out.) This is a DIY blog where I share what works best for me, and what works for me might not work for everyone. I’d encourage you to read many blogs and recipes that inspire you to find what’s best for you 🙂
Personally, I’m keeping the coconut oil!