You might love lemonade and lemon chicken, but your skin and hair love lemons even more—they have an amazing range of beauty benefits. Here are some great uses for the sunny yellow fruit:
Clarifying moisturizer: Mix a few drops of coconut water with a few drops of lemon juice. The coconut will hydrate your skin, and lemon will clear and brighten it.
Elbow and knee bleacher: “If your elbows and knees appear dark, simply rub them with half of a lemon,” says Patrice Coleman, owner of DaBlot Beauty. “It’s like magic!”
Blackhead treatment: It may sound too good to be true, but because lemons are antibacterial, they can help treat acne. Just slice a lemon, and squeeze the juice on your face. Your blackheads will start to fade before you know it.
Cleansing wipes: “I like to mix a couple drops of lemon and tea tree essential oil in about 6 ounces of distilled water. I recommend it as a toner or for use with cotton pads as a cleansing wipe for problematic skin,” says Becky Sturm, founder of StormSister Spatique.
Teeth whitener: Mix baking soda and lemon juice, and apply it to your teeth with a clean Q-tip. Then, use your toothbrush to scrub your teeth and rinse. It’s way cheaper than going to your dentist’s office.
Canker sore treatment: Sturn also uses a few drops of the lemon essential oil on her canker sores to help them heal faster.
Skin brightener: Lemons are rich in vitamin C and citric acid, so they can help brighten and lighten your skin when used over time. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant for neutralizing free radicals and boosting collagen production, says Marina Peredo, M.D., a dermatologist. That means it can help lighten age spots, dark spots, or a fake tan gone wrong. Remember to wear SPF when using lemon juice on your skin, though, since the citrus fruit can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
Shine eliminator: Lemon is great for reducing excess oil.
Lip exfoliator: Put a little lemon juice on your lips before bedtime, and wash it off in the morning to help remove dead skin cells and dried skin. One caveat: “Obviously, if you already have severely chapped lips that have any cuts, do not try this,” says Gary Goldfaden, M.D., a dermatologist.
Nail strengthener: Have you been getting too many gel manicures? Make a mixture of your favorite cooking oil (try olive oil) with lemon juice, and soak your nails. This is a good practice if your nails are dry and brittle, but it’s also a great way to help fix nails that have yellowed.
Hair Lightener: Score dye-free DIY highlights with lemon juice. Apply it before you expose your hair to sunlight to score a sun-kissed color. The lemon juice can also help treat a dry scalp and dandruff, so apply it liberally.