Green It Yourself

Published on March 19th, 2014 | by GrowWNY Intern


GIY Hygiene: Teeth Whitener & Cinnamon Face Mask


This past Sunday I spent some time in the kitchen. In anticipation for Spring, which happens to begin tomorrow, I had an overwhelming urge to clean something – anything. Spring is so close that I can taste it, and the facial mask that I made smelled so delicious that I wanted to taste that, too.

As part of my internship with the Western New York Environmental Alliance, we’ve started a new spring blog series ‘Green your Routine!,’ which focuses on incorporating reuse and reduction into our routines for more healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Below, I’d like to share the recipes of my first two GIY (Green it Yourself) projects of the series:

  • Clean and Simple Teeth Whitening Paste
  • Cinnamon Nutmeg Face Mask

Clean and Simple Teeth Whitening Paste

 After using both white strips and bleach gel to whiten my teeth, I was so happy to find a quick, simple, and natural way to brighten my smile. I have personally used this recipe once a week for the past few weeks and have noticed a significant difference in the brightness of my smile.

I have used 30 minute whitening strips and 5 minute whitening gel before. Both methods have left me with tooth sensitivity, generally in the form of sharp pain while I whiten. This recipe works for me because it only takes a minute, and I have yet to experience any sign of sensitivity.


Baking soda

Fresh lemon juice

Baking soda: Baking soda, or Sodium bicarbonate, is a jack-of-all-trades for its antimicrobial properties and texture, which proves very effective in cleaning and scrubbing. This will help remove surface stains from your teeth!

Lemon juice: The natural acid in lemon juice lends itself to a bleaching effect that is perfect for whitening teeth. The low pH (acidity) of the lemon juice makes it antibacterial as well!


  • Mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice (about a teaspoon of each) into a thick paste.
  • Wipe any excess saliva off of teeth using a tissue, towel, or cotton swab. Spread paste onto dry teeth and let sit for one minute.
  • Brush off paste and rinse with water.



After mixing the lemon juice into the baking soda, the mixture will bubble for a few seconds.


The paste should be thick enough to coat your teeth.

I’ve found that the easiest way to spread the paste on is with your toothbrush!


  • Only leave the paste on for one minute, and limit the whitening sessions to once per week to avoid enamel erosion due to acid.
  • For the minute that the paste is on your teeth, I find that smiling a big, goofy, and borderline scary smile helps to keep your saliva from dissolving the paste. Remember, it only takes a minute!


Cinnamon Nutmeg Face Mask

  • Used to even skin tone, reduce the appearance of acne scars and pore size, and create a nice glow!

This mask is my new favorite for a few reasons:

1) It smells delicious. While the mask is on your face the cinnamon smell is fantastic, and it even lingers on your skin after you rinse it off.

2) After rinsing and moisturizing, my skin was so soft and it had a glow to it.


½ teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon raw honey

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

Cinnamon: Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties and also reduces inflammation, which will aid in clearing skin and evening of skin tone.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg is anti-inflammatory and will aid in the treatment of acne scars.

Honey: Honey has antibacterial properties perfect for keeping skin clear. The antioxidants in honey aid in the reproduction of healthy skin cells to help restore damage. Honey also offers moisture to the skin.

Lemon juice: Lemon juice lends its antibacterial properties to help clean up skin, and will even out dark spots and scars.


  • Mix ingredients into thick paste.
  • Spread onto face and let it sit for 10-20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water and moisturize face afterwards.



Make sure the mask is thick enough to coat your face evenly!



  • This mask may cause a mild warming sensation for the first 5-10 minutes. I find it refreshing, especially after splashing cool water on my face after I rinse the mask off.
  • I leave the mask on my face for 20 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, I would suggest only leaving the mask on for 10 minutes.
  • This is a mask, not a scrub. Do not try to exfoliate with this recipe because it may hurt.

I tried to offer easy recipes that don’t require a special trip to the store with a separate shopping list. I’ve incorporated these two recipes into my routine and found that they have made a difference. It also feels really nice to remove some chemicals from my hygiene routine and use ingredients that I know are safe!

Do you have any green hygiene tips to share with us? Please comment below if you do!

Happy Cleaning and Happy Spring!

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One Response to GIY Hygiene: Teeth Whitener & Cinnamon Face Mask

  1. Makiah Husain says:

    Us girls will be using the cinnamon face mask all summer! i love it!

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