7 Surprising Beauty Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

by Miki Hayes
Originally Published: 
Portrait of mid adult woman using mouthwash.
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You know that little brown bottle of basically first-aid water that you probably keep under your bathroom sink? Turns out, it can do so much more than fizz up and disinfect a cut. Hydrogen peroxide actually has a number of beauty uses that you might never have considered. Even though it's generally sold in the pharmaceutical section of stores (and only costs, like, a dollar), H2O2 is an MVP product.

If you've ever had your hair dyed or used a commercial bathroom cleaner, you might have noticed that hydrogen peroxide is usually an active ingredient thanks to its bleaching properties. And maybe you've even tried to lighten your hair or roots at home using just hydrogen peroxide — hey, it's a great hack. But hair isn't the only area this traditional antiseptic works wonders. It can also benefit your skin, teeth, nails, and even feet. If your beauty routine isn't about to become a whole lot more natural by incorporating hydrogen peroxide, it may at least become a little less cluttered and expensive. And that's rarely a bad thing. Here are seven beauty uses for hydrogen peroxide (buy the 3 percent formula to avoid irritation) that you'll want to start doing ASAP. Because that little brown bottle deserves a permanent spot on your vanity.

1. Clean Makeup Brushes & Tools

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Dirty makeup brushes can wreak havoc on your skin thanks to the potential buildup of dirt and bacteria that can be swiped on your face. To keep brushes and tools nice and clean, disinfect them every so often with a 1:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Let them soak in this solution for about five minutes before rinsing clean.

2. Whiten Teeth

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The same bleaching properties that make hydrogen peroxide a solid option for lightening hair make it a good option for whitening teeth. In fact, it's a common active ingredient in whitening toothpastes and strips. So just go straight to the source, and try swishing hydrogen peroxide for about 30 seconds, once a week. Because it can cause gum irritation though, just be sure to not swish H2O2 too frequently, or dilute it with water to lessen the intensity.

3. Brighten Nails

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If you have yellow or discolored nails thanks to that vampy shade of polish, hydrogen peroxide can help return your tips to their natural state. Simply rub a soaked cotton ball over your nails, or soak them in some hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes.

4. Heal Acne

Just as H2O2 can disinfect your makeup brushes, it can also disinfect your face. Using a cotton swab, dab some hydrogen peroxide on any breakouts to kill bacteria and help it clear up faster. Or if you have any particular spots that are prone to breaking out? Use hydrogen peroxide as a toner of sorts to treat the area to prevent future breakouts. When using as a preventative though, just be sure to focus only on the target area so as not to totally dry out or irritate your skin.

5. Soften Feet

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If your feet have corns or calluses, they can be softened by soaking your feet in a solution that is equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. After a nice soak, try one of these methods to keep your feet feeling soft.

6. Natural Deodorant

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If you're looking for a natural deodorant, it doesn't get much more natural (or simple) than this: Simply wipe or spritz some hydrogen peroxide on your underarms. It will kill odor-causing bacteria, keeping you fresh.

7. Natural Toothpaste

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As for a natural toothpaste, just mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a 3:1 ratio. Both have antibacterial properties that will keep your mouth clean and fresh, but you might want to add a third ingredient like vegetable-based glycerin or peppermint oil to make it taste a little better.

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