What can you do with rubbing alcohol? Using it simply as a disinfecting agent is like using water only for drinking.

You can use rubbing alcohol for various cleaning hacks, and beyond that, you can also use rubbing alcohol for health and beauty purposes.

how to use rubbing alcohol for health and beauty

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, has been used topically in various scenarios – from a disinfectant to a heat rash treatment – since the early 1900s. It has many properties like astringent and deodorizing properties that also make it suitable for different health and beauty applications.

There are many cool DIY things that you can do with rubbing alcohol. These simple and hassle-free tricks provide safe and effective alternatives to commercial products ranging from deodorants to lice treatments.

Note: Rubbing alcohol is flammable and must not be consumed, so keep it out of the reach of children.

Here’s how to use rubbing alcohol for health and beauty in everyday life.

Contents

Rubbing Alcohol Health Aids

Contrary to what you what you may believe, there are multiple health applications of rubbing alcohol. It can be used topically to remedy numerous health concerns, which are listed below. Always check your skin’s sensitivity to rubbing alcohol before using it as a remedy.

Method 1: Cold Sore Treatment

Rubbing alcohol is a great remedy for cold sores. Spot treating the cold sores disinfects them, lessening the intensity of the infection at the surface and preventing secondary infections in the area.

Rubbing alcohol will also dry out the cold sore blisters, greatly speeding up the healing process.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply rubbing alcohol on cold sores

apply rubbing alcohol on cold sores

  • Dip a sterile cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and apply it directly on the cold sore blisters.
  • Hold the cotton swab over the spot for a few seconds.
  • Discard the cotton swabs after each use.

Continue with the remedy several times a day to get rid of the cold sore in as little as two days.

Method 2: Gel Ice Pack

Ice packs are quite the boon for bruises and sore backs. But a lumpy, hard ice pack or a bag of frozen peas sometimes fails to provide the comfort that you need.

The solution comes in a simple form – a gel ice pack that is flexible enough to be shaped and molded to your body contours. You can easily make one by freezing a rubbing alcohol solution. Rubbing alcohol keeps the water from becoming solid, so you get a slushy or gel-like consistency instead.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - gel ice pack

  • Water – ⅔ cup
  • Rubbing alcohol (keeps the water from freezing solid) – ⅓ cup
  • Ziplock bag

Step 1. Mix rubbing alcohol and water

mix rubbing alcohol and water

  • Pour ⅓ cup of rubbing alcohol into ⅔ cup of water.
  • Mix the liquids well.

Step 2. Freeze the solution in a ziplock bag

freeze the solution in a ziplock bag

  • Pour the diluted rubbing alcohol into a ziplock bag and seal it. Do not fill the bag all the way.
  • Put it in the freezer for about 2 to 3 hours to make the gel ice pack and use as needed.
  • You can also put the ziplock bag with the diluted rubbing alcohol into another ziplock bag to minimize the chance of leakage.
  • Even though it’s not completely frozen, the pack will still be ice cold. So, always use a towel as a buffer when using the rubbing alcohol gel ice pack on bare skin to prevent a cold burn.

Method 3: Razor Bumps Treatment

Razor bumps in the aftermath of shaving are incredibly common, but so are the remedies for treating razor bumps. Rubbing alcohol dries them out, which results in scabbing and healing. It also disinfects and prevents razor burns from becoming infected, which is a major concern.

The salicylic acid present in aspirin acts as an exfoliating agent, and clears the pores of the skin to speed up the healing process.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - razor bumps treatment

  • Aspirin (exfoliating agent) – 2 or 3 tablets
  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfectant and astringent) – 1 tablespoon
  • Lukewarm water – 2 tablespoons
  • Spray bottle

Step 1. Mix the ingredients together

mix the ingredients together

  • Add 2 or 3 uncoated aspirin tablets to 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water to dissolve them.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to it.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Store the solution in a spray bottle for easy use

store the solution in spray bottle for easy use

  • Pour the solution into a small spray bottle for easy use. Use a funnel to avoid spilling the liquids.
  • Spray the solution over the razor bumps and allow it to dry. Wash it off with lukewarm water.

Repeat the remedy 3 times a day for 2 to 3 days to get optimal results.

Method 4: Acne Treatment

Rubbing alcohol can be used as an effective treatment for acne, as it eliminates the bacteria causing it and helps dry out the acne.

Note: Always use diluted rubbing alcohol as a spot treatment to get rid of acne. Prolonged use of rubbing alcohol is not advised.

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle

combine the ingredients

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol into a small spray bottle.
  • Pour in an equal amount of water.
  • Put the spray nozzle back on the bottle and shake it well to mix the ingredients.

Step 2. Use the diluted rubbing alcohol to spot treat your acne

spot treat acne with diluted rubbing alcohol

  • Spray the diluted rubbing alcohol on the skin affected by the acne.

Use it as a spot treatment twice a day to dry out your acne overnight or within a couple of days.

Method 5: Head Lice Treatment

Dealing with head lice is a nightmare for many parents, but rubbing alcohol can rescue you. Being a potent disinfectant, it should be diluted before being used on the scalp.

The diluted rubbing alcohol stuns lice, making it easier to remove them. It also dissolves the adhesive that the lice use to attach their nits (eggs) to hair shafts. Plus, it prevents secondary infections on the scalp, which may be sore and irritated due to scratching.

This remedy may sting a little if the scalp is a bit raw from incessant scratching.

Step 1. Dilute the rubbing alcohol

dilute rubbing alcohol

  • Pour some rubbing alcohol into a small spray bottle.
  • Pour in an equal amount of water to dilute it.
  • Put the cap back on and give it a shake to mix the ingredients.

Step 2. Spray the solution on the scalp and hair

spray the solution on scalp and hair

  • Spray the diluted rubbing alcohol liberally on the hair strands and the scalp.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 3. Comb out the stunned lice, then shampoo and blow-dry the hair

remove lice with nit-comb, then shampoo and blow dry

  • Use a nit comb to comb out the stunned lice as well as the nits.
  • Shampoo your hair as usual, then blow-dry it. The hot air from the blow-dryer is lethal to lice as well as nits.

Repeat twice a week for 2 months to break the lifecycle of the lice and eradicate them completely.

Method 6: Earwax Removal

Rubbing alcohol can also be helpful in earwax removal. When mixed with white vinegar, it helps soften the hardened earwax. The dissolved earwax can then easily drain out of the ear.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - earwax removal

  • Rubbing alcohol (softens hardened earwax)
  • White vinegar (softens hardened earwax)

Step 1. Mix rubbing alcohol and vinegar in equal parts

mix rubbing alcohol and vinegar in equal parts

  • Pour equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into a small bottle. Use a small funnel to prevent spilling the liquids.
  • Put the cap on the bottle and give it a shake to mix the ingredients.

Step 2. Use the mixture to clean out the earwax

clean earwax with the mixture

  • Saturate a sterile cotton ball with the mixture. You can use a small spray bottle or a normal bottle to do this.
  • Tilt your head so that the affected ear is level and faces up. Squeeze a few drops of the liquid from the cotton ball into the ear.
  • Keep your head tilted for 1 minute to allow the liquid to dissolve the wax.
  • Sit back up and let the dissolved wax drain out of the ear.
  • Repeat this process twice a day for 3 to 4 days to clear up your ears.

Method 7: Poison Ivy Rash Treatment

If you were unfortunate enough to have a brush with poison Ivy, rubbing alcohol can come to your aid. Rubbing alcohol helps effectively remove the urushiol, the oily resin from the plant that acts as the allergen.

When applied immediately, the rubbing alcohol can prevent the rashes from developing. If the rashes have already appeared, this mixture of rubbing alcohol, calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream can help you get relief from the discomfort and itchiness of the rashes.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - poison ivy rash treatment

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfects the skin)
  • Calamine lotion (soothes the skin)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (provides relief from rashes)

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in equal parts

combine the ingredients in equal parts

  • Put some hydrocortisone cream in a bowl.
  • Add equal parts of calamine lotion and rubbing alcohol to it.

Step 2. Mix well and apply the paste on the rashes

apply paste on the rash

  • Mix the ingredients well to make a paste.
  • Cover the poison ivy rash with the paste and let it dry.
  • Let it sit for as long as you can. Then, rinse it off with plain water and pat dry your skin with a soft towel.

Repeat the remedy 3 times a day for 2 to 3 days to treat the poison ivy rashes.

Method 8: Jock Itch Treatment

Although it stings a little, rubbing alcohol can be used to get relief from jock itch, which is a form of ringworm. Rubbing alcohol works as a disinfectant against the fungal infection that causes jock itch. It relieves the itch and also prevents secondary infections in the area.

Single-Step Treatment: Treat the affected area with rubbing alcohol

treat the affected area with rubbing alcohol

  • Soak a sterile cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and apply it on the skin affected with jock itch.

Repeat several times a day for a few days to cure the jock itch completely.

Rubbing Alcohol Beauty Hacks

You can use rubbing alcohol for scores of beauty hacks. To help you get going, here are half a dozen beauty-related uses of rubbing alcohol. Just be sure to check whether rubbing alcohol is compatible with your skin before using any of the topical remedies.

Method 1: Nail Polish Remover

There are numerous hacks to remove nail polish without nail polish remover. While acetone is the obvious alternative to nail polish remover, it is too harsh and drying on the skin. Rubbing alcohol gets the job done without any hassle.

Bring some citrus essential oils into play and you’ve got a recipe that is nail-friendly and a great alternative to commercial removers, which contain toxic chemicals in the form of fragrance and other additives.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - nail polish remover

  • Rubbing alcohol (dissolves nail polish) – 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon essential oil (nourishes nails and imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Orange essential oil (nourishes nails and imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Cotton balls

Step 1. Combine the ingredients in a bottle

combine the ingredients

  • Put 2 or 3 drops each of lemon and orange essential oils into a small bottle.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into it.
  • Put the cap back on and shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Step 2. Use the solution to remove old nail polish

use the solution as nailpaint remover

  • Use as you would a normal nail polish remover. Simply soak a cotton ball with it and wipe off the old and chipped nail polish.
  • Shake well before each use.

Method 2: Deodorant

A rubbing alcohol-based deodorant gets rid of the stink instead of just masking it. It acts as a disinfectant and eliminates the bacteria responsible for the foul odor in your sweat. In a pinch, you can use it to defunk your smelly shoes.

Diluting the rubbing alcohol makes it gentle on the skin. The essential oils impart a pleasant fragrance that is natural and chemical-free. You can easily personalize this deodorant by using your preferred blend of essential oils.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - deodorant

  • Water – 2 tablespoons
  • Rubbing alcohol (deodorizing agent) – 1 tablespoon
  • Lemon essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Orange essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Lavender essential oil (imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops
  • Spray bottle

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of water into a container.
  • Pour in 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.

combine the ingredients

  • Add 2 or 3 drops each of lavender, orange and lemon essential oils to it.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and use your DIY deodorant

store DIY deodorant in spray bottle

  • Pour the solution into a small spray bottle. Using a funnel will help prevent spills.
  • Use as you would a normal deodorant.
  • This DIY deodorant should keep well for 1 week under refrigeration. Substituting water with distilled water can extend the shelf life for up to 1 month.

Method 3: Hand Sanitizer

Most hand sanitizers contain alcohol as the main disinfecting agent. Using rubbing alcohol, you can make your own hand sanitizer that is free of additives and toxic chemicals.

This DIY hand sanitizer also contains aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil to keep your hands soft. The essential oils also act as antimicrobial agents.

If you have an aloe plant, you can use fresh gel from its leaves. Vitamin E oil also helps to extend the shelf life of the fresh aloe vera gel.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - hand sanitizer

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfectant) – 1 tablespoon
  • Aloe vera gel (hydrates and moisturizes) – 3 tablespoons
  • Vitamin E oil (hydrates and moisturizes) – ½ teaspoon
  • Tea tree essential oil (antimicrobial agent) – 15 or 16 drops
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial agent) – 8 to 10 drops

Step 1. Mix all the ingredients together

combine the ingredients

  • Pour 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel into a container.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into it.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil to it.

combine the ingredients

  • Add in 15 or 16 drops of tea tree oil and 8 to 10 drops of lavender oil.
  • Stir well to mix the ingredients completely.

Step 2. Transfer it to a bottle and use as required

store the solution in an old sanitizer bottle

  • Pour the mixture into an empty hand sanitizer bottle or other similar container for convenient use.

This DIY hand sanitizer should easily last for 1 month.

Method 4: Astringent Substitute

Rubbing alcohol comes in handy if you’ve run out of your go-to astringent and need a substitute pronto. Since rubbing alcohol can be drying, always dilute it first and avoid prolonged use.

Adding fresh lemon juice to this homemade astringent provides additional benefits. Lemon juice will act as a toner and also remove a suntan and improve your complexion.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - astringent substitute

  • Rubbing alcohol (astringent properties) – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – ½ cup
  • Lemon juice, fresh (improves skin complexion) – ¼ cup
  • Spray bottle

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into ½ cup of water.
  • Pour in ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice.

Step 2. Mix well and store in a spray bottle

mix and pour in a spray bottle

  • Stir well to blend the liquids.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle for convenient use.
  • Use as you would a normal astringent.
  • Store it in the refrigerator and use it within 1 week. Keeping the proportions the same, you can adjust the quantities of the ingredients to suit your needs.

Method 5: Sanitize Makeup Brushes

Dirty makeup brushes are not only unhygienic; they may also be the cause of recurring breakouts of pimples or acne.

Use rubbing alcohol for regularly cleaning and sanitizing your makeup brushes can stop even the most persistent acne from coming back and keep pimples and other skin problems at bay. You should also regularly clean your makeup sponges.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for rubbing alcohol health and beauty hacks - sanitize makeup brushes

  • Rubbing alcohol (disinfectant and solvent) – ¼ cup
  • Water
  • Liquid hand soap (cleaning agent)
  • Soft towel

Step 1. Dilute the rubbing alcohol with water

mix rubbing alcohol and water

  • Pour ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol into a glass. You can also use a cup or bowl.
  • Pour in ½ cup of water to dilute the rubbing alcohol.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Disinfect your makeup brushes in the solution

swirl dirty makeup brushes in the solution

  • Swirl the bristles of your makeup brushes in the diluted rubbing alcohol to disinfect them completely.
  • Keep the ferrule of the brushes above the solution, as rubbing alcohol could dissolve the glue holding the bristles together.
  • The rubbing alcohol will also act as a solvent on the stubborn pigments from your makeup that are stuck to the brushes. You’ll notice it streaking into the solution.

Step 3. Make a mild soap solution

ad a little liquid handwash to water

  • Add a couple drops of liquid hand soap to a glass of fresh water.
  • Mix the soap thoroughly into the water.

Step 4. Further clean the brushes in the soapy water

swril makeup brushes into soapy water

  • Swish the makeup brushes around in the soapy water to deep clean them.
  • This should remove any remaining makeup buildup and dead skin cells from the brushes.

Step 5. Rinse the brushes

rinse the brushes

  • Hold the bristles under running water to rinse out the soap along with the makeup dissolved by it.

Step 6. Dry the brushes

dry the brushes

  • Soak up the water dripping from the bristles with a paper towel.
  • Place the brushes on a soft towel to air-dry. Lay the brushes on their sides with the handles elevated, so the water flows down the bristles and into the towel. This prevents the moisture from damaging the ferrule and handles.

final rubbing alcohol beauty hacks to sanitize makeup brushes

Method 6: Fix Broken Makeup (Powder, Blush or Eye Shadow)

Got a smashed compact or eye shadow that seems shattered beyond repair? Rubbing alcohol is your one-ingredient fix for broken makeup. This works well for powder, blush or eye shadow.

Rubbing alcohol dissolves the makeup and leaves solid makeup behind as it evaporates. For best results, use 70 percent or higher concentration of rubbing alcohol.

Note: Use this hack only as an emergency fix. Using it frequently would change the composition of the makeup, making it a bit difficult to apply.

Step 1. Soak the makeup with rubbing alcohol

  • Collect the broken makeup in its container. For an even smoother texture, crush the broken makeup into a fine powder before attempting to reset it.
  • Pour some rubbing alcohol into it. Add more if needed. The mixture should not look too dry.
  • Use a brush to smooth down the makeup and pack it tightly into the container. You can also use the back of a spoon for this.

Step 2. Let it dry overnight

let it dry overnight

  • Let the makeup dry overnight.
  • In the morning, your makeup should look good as new!

Tips

  • Liquid dish soap, hair gel, corn syrup and salt are some alternatives to rubbing alcohol that you can use to make a gel ice pack.
  • For the head lice treatment, you can also add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil to ½ cup of the diluted rubbing alcohol for additional benefits.
  • If the rubbing alcohol lice treatment is making your hair dry, you can restore the moisture in your locks by conditioning your hair with aloe vera gel.
  • You can also get rid of toenail fungal infections with regular applications of rubbing alcohol.
  • Avoid sun exposure after using a homemade astringent with lemon juice, as lemon can make the skin photosensitive.
  • In the rubbing alcohol-based nail polish remover, you can also use other citrus essential oils like lime, grapefruit, bergamot or tangerine.
  • Rubbing alcohol can also be used to prevent sweat stains on your clothing and to remove deodorant stains from your clothes.

Summary of How to Use Rubbing Alcohol for Health and Beauty

how to use rubbing alcohol for health and beauty

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