All-Natural DIY Clarifying Face Exfoliant

Body DIY DIY Skincare & Beauty Natural DIY

Feeling dull?

Skip work and do something adventurous! Looking dull (your skin, that is)? Scrub it up with this all-natural DIY clarifying face exfoliant!

This is one of my favorite all-natural beauty DIYs, and I use it about twice a week. It helps to both brighten and clarify my complexion. Though I was saddled with troubled skin for years, this scrub helped me tremendously from two angles: it helps to treat current breakouts and also fade dark spots from previous blemishes.


Yep, that’s it! Easy-peasy as always.

How it works

Baking soda is an amazing exfoliant. Amazing. Should I say it a third time? Amazing! Since it is very fine-grained, it is not as abrasive as other natural exfoliants such as crushed nut shell or sugar. It really is more of a polish, helping remove dead skin cells and create a perfectly smooth complexion without causing much irritation. Exfoliation helps to clear blocked pores and is vital to treat and prevent acne.

Lemon juice applied topically has multiple benefits. The antibacterial properties of lemon juice make it a great natural treatment for acne, helping blemishes heal while preventing future breakouts. The citric acid contained in lemon juice also helps exfoliate skin. And since lemon juice is loaded with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, it has been proven to fade dark spots and even skin tone. Vitamin C applied topically has also been clinically proven to regenerate collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Last but not least, lemon juice helps balance skin’s pH; unbalanced pH has been attributed to acne.

Tea tree oil has powerful antibacterial properties and helps fight acne-causing bacteria on the skin.

How to make it

I mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of baking soda, and add three or so drops of tea tree oil. As lemon juice is very acidic, it can be irritating. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you might want to dilute the juice with water in a 1:1 ratio.

Simply mix the ingredients into a smooth paste, and apply to your face with your fingertips, gently massaging it into your skin in circles. Wash off with warm water and pat dry.

Over-exfoliating can irritate skin and actually promote acne. It is commonly recommended to exfoliate just once a week of you have normal or dry skin, and twice a week if you have oily skin.


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  1. I just tried this a minute ago – my skin feels and looks so beautiful!
    Question – can we use it on decolte area? If not, can you suggest something for the decolte area? I just can’t stand how my pores clog there.

  2. Well everybody’s skin is different – some more sensitive than others. I love baking soda and am not irritated by it, so stand by its “awesomeness.” Those with more sensitive skin can try a different natural exfoliant. It’s unfortunate since baking soda is really very effective (both as an exfoliant and in natural deodorant).

  3. Backing up comments from Mary and Cathy — I don’t know about PH levels, but baking soda is definitely not “awesome” for everyone’s skin. I briefly used a homemade deodorant with baking soda, which irritated my arm pits horribly, did a bit of internet research, and found that it’s actually not that uncommon for it to bother people’s faces. It’s also not uncommon for tea tree oil to aggravate sensitive skin (it definitely leaves huge dry patches on my face). Which is a bummer for me because this exfoliant looks great. I appreciate these recipes because I too want to use all-natural products as often as I can, but just because something is all natural doesn’t mean it’s gentle or “awesome” for everybody.

  4. Hi, Sara! Good question – I just give my face a good scrubbing with the paste, rubbing with medium pressure in small circles, focusing on particularly acne-prone areas. In all, I probably work the scrub into the skin for 30 seconds to a minute, then rinse off.

  5. I noticed you didn’t mention how long to leave this clarifying face exfoliant on the skin. How long do you recommend leaving it on before washing it off?

  6. Hi, Lacy. I really need to put a post together for how I have been able to manage my acne through diet and natural topical remedies. I am 23 and have suffered from acne since I was 17 (I still say I suffer from it even though you wouldn’t think that looking at me since I am able to manage it, but it does take quite a bit of management). Thanks for inspiring me to get on this!!

    I would say if you have the ingredients already laying around your kitchen, take a small dime-sized dollop and mix it with some baking soda *only* and spot test it on your inner arm. Then do the same with arrowroot on the other arm. See if you have a reaction to one or both and then proceed from there.

    Good for you! It can be daunting when making such a big change, but your body will thank you! Plus, sweating is the body’s way of getting rid of impurities; it needs to happen. As long as you’re not stinky, a little sweat is fine 🙂 (at least this is what I go for!)

  7. Wow I really need to get some Tea tree oil! I really need to try this! I have always had problems with some sort of acne on my face since I was 13. I am now 19 and for the past year I have also had some on my upper back as well now. I have been trying alternatives to prescription creams that never work long term.

    Also want to try out some of the suggestions for the natural deodorant that is in a later post. Any suggestions as to how I can tell if I am allergic to any of the ingredients? I would assume just test them out on my hand before applying to a more sensitive area. I HAD been using a “Really bad for you” clinical strength deodorant for years. “Only because I thought it would help with the always wet feeling under my arms” I was always paranoid about the mass amount of aluminum in the product. I no longer use that kind. So I am glad to find so many suggestions under the one article about the natural deodorant.

  8. Hi, Cathy. Hmm I have not heard this. Baking soda has a pH of 8.5 (slightly more alkaline than acidic, 7 being neutral) so it is pretty neutral. I don’t think it has much effect on the skin other than being an AWESOME exfoliant.

  9. I have read that baking soda can disturb the ph balance of the skin. Does the lemon have enough of an affect to counter balance the baking soda?

  10. This may seem odd, but what type of bowl/spoon combo is it in your picture? I LOVE IT!

  11. Is there anything I can use instead of baking soda? Unfortunately I seem to have an adverse reaction to it that leaves my skin (and scalp) red, swollen and itchy when I use it. Thanks!

  12. Hi, Minnie. For scent – definitely! But tea tree oil is a great antibacterial and helps clarify skin which is why I include it in this recipe.

  13. While that would be really convenient, Heather, I think it unfortunately would not keep. Luckily with only three ingredients, it doesn’t take too long to throw together when you want to use it! I hope it works as well for you as it does for me 🙂

  14. If I wanted to make a large quantity ahead of time, do you think it would keep?

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