Sometimes an oldie really is a goodie — vinyl records, The Golden Girls, shower caps (without which I cannot live). My current new/old love interest? Baking soda. I recently attended a seminar on a million ways to use it (sponsored, of course, by Arm & Hammer ($3)) and I can actually say I was impressed by how versatile a product it really is. Here are some road-tested new ways to use the contents of that orange box that actually work (and one I don't think I'll try again):
1. Skin soother: I like variety, so instead of a salt- or oatmeal-based bath soak, sometimes I throw a baking soda one into the rotation. It softens my skin and helps calm irritation caused by bites or burns. Just be sure to rinse off afterwards. Otherwise, you'll look (and feel) like a salt-crusted rib roast for the rest of the day.
2. Deodorizer: I'm not ready to ditch my deodorant any time soon, but every so often, odor in the underarm region seems to survive even the most aggressive attack with traditional sticks. A light dusting of baking soda neutralizes and absorbs odor instead of masking it, so I'm actually smell-free and not some tragic combination of BO and "spring fresh." Unfortunately for my new silk shirt, I have also discovered that baking soda is not quite as effective as an antiperspirant.)
3. Exfoliant: Who knew the orange box you keep in the fridge to eliminate funky smells is also a fantastic way to polish skin smooth? If you're going the self-mani/pedi route, massage a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water into hands and feet to soften rough skin and naturally buff away cuticles. In the shower, rub a small handful into skin to scrub away oil and grime. With this at-home craftiness, I honestly haven't had to go to the nail salon or purchase my absurdly overpriced body scrub in a month — and my bank account has been thanking me.
4. Hair cleanser: Given my infrequent shampooing schedule, sensitive skin, and addiction to hair products, my scalp gets easily irritated. A dollop of baking soda mixed with shampoo helps create a deep cleansing wash. The only problem? It takes forever to completely rinse out, and my head feels ever-so-slightly gritty afterwards. I think I'll stick with a clarifying shampoo for this one.
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