6 Ways to Use Lemons in Your Beauty Routine

Lemons in blue bowls on a wood table.

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Just like cooking meals at home, the best way to know what's in our beauty products is to make them ourselves. Lemons have a number of properties that make them a great ingredient in many organic beauty recipes. Also, there's the added benefit that all the ideas below smell great.

1. Organic face scrub

Lemon, rolled oats and honey with a wood dipper.

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Lemon juice has been shown to have antibacterial properties, which may mean it can be used to fight acne. Unfortunately, there have been no studies to test the effectiveness of lemon juice on acne, but there is lots of anecdotal evidence that it works. Here's a simple face scrub that works particularly well on oily skin, without the harsh chemicals of most acne washes:

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats (which serves as an exfoliant)
1/2 tablespoon honey (to soften skin)

Mix it all up in a small bowl. Massage onto face for 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

2. Lemon cucumber toner

Slice cucumber and lemon on a marble counter.

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Another way to use lemons to fight acne and get happy skin is to make a soothing toner.

In a jar, combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a half cup of cucumber slices, and 3 cups cold water. You can also add some lemon slices if you like. Apply with a cotton ball or pad. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

3. Lemon body scrub

Lemon and salt exfoliator in a glass jar on a wood table.

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Since lemon is good for your face, it's probably no surprise that it can be nice on the rest of your skin. Lemon oils are used in aromatherapy to fight depression and add a happy smell to DIY salt scrub. Salt scrubs are too abrasive for everyday use, and work best if you use them a couple of times per week. Here's the recipe:

Zest from 1 lemon
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup almond oil

Combine the ingredients in a clean jar with a tightly fitting lid. Shake and it's ready to use! It's best to scoop your scrub with a spoon and not your fingers, so that oils from your hands don't end up in your scrub. It keeps for about 6 months at room temperature.

4. Natural highlights

Flatlay of lemon juice squeezed in a bowl beside a brush on a green and white cloth.

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There are lots and lots of chemicals in hair dye, which is why salon professionals use gloves and foil to minimize its contact with skin. If you want a cheaper and more organic approach to summery highlights, try the old lemon juice solution. Unfortunately, this works best on people who already have fairly light hair. For full instructions, check out this excellent Instructables post.

5. Hair rinse

Lemon being squeezed into a glass of water outside.

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Regardless of whether you're skipping shampoo or not, lemon juice can reduce the dullness created by hard water (and soap residue), leaving your hair shinier. Combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with one cup of warm water, and pour it slowly over your hair. Allow it to sit for at least a minute before rinsing out. Again, I'll make the disclaimer that this may not work for all hair types.

6. Sugaring

Lemons being sliced with a knife on a wood cutting board by white hands.

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For many Treehuggers, natural beauty means embracing body hair. But if you do want an organic hair removal option, there's this three-ingredient lemon sugar wax that I've demonstrated in the video below.

View Article Sources
  1. Klimek-Szczykutowicz, Marta et al. “Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon-A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 9, iss. 1, 2020, pp. 119., doi:10.3390/plants9010119