The Kitchen Cosmetician: Oatmeal

The Kitchen Cosmetician: Oatmeal

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What’s the deal with oatmeal as a DIY beauty ingredient?

As a Kitchen Cosmetician, I am always exploring beauty myths, legends and folklore – so you know I am an avid label reader too. Lately I’ve noticed a plethora of products include that breakfast staple: oatmeal. I decided it was time to explore this not-so-favorite of mine.

As a child I felt like an oatmeal bath was more of a punishment than a spa treatment. (Not that I had idea what a spa treatment was.) But my opinion may have been clouded under flu, fever and other illness so I decided to test this DIY staple as a (spa-loving) adult.


Oatmeal is a simple and humble ingredient found in many pantries. It is not considered sexy, exotic or cutting edge. Nobody is bragging they ate it or did anything with it. Yet, If you read labels oatmeal is in more beauty items than you would think – especially those labeled calming, soothing and/or natural.

I started out at the bulk section on my local grocery store where I stocked up for my oatmeal adventure. Next I got out my Magic Bullet and ground it into a fine powder.

Fun Fact: Did you know finely ground oatmeal is called colloidal oatmeal? I shake my head when I think of various makeup counters and spas trying to talk me into something because it has colloidal oatmeal.

Right on cue, I happened to get an allergy flare-up and felt itchy all over. I figured this was a good as time as any to try out the oatmeal bath. I took one cup of “colloidal oatmeal” and added it to my hot bath water. I made sure I mixed this in the water because I did not want oatmeal clumps or worse a bathtub that needed cleaning when I was done.

I will say an advantage to having the oatmeal so finely ground is that it did mix well in the bath tub with little effort. Even better the oatmeal bath soothed my skin and reduced the irritated itchy feeling I had. I did feel better!

Tip: When you make the colloidal oatmeal considering putting one cup in individual ziplock bags. This saves time, mess and portioning.

Mom had the right idea when she “sentenced” me to an oatmeal bath as a child when I had poison ivy, a bad sunburn or chicken pox. And I continued to use this family tradition. Not two weeks after my oatmeal experiment, I came down with shingles, which is the same virus as the chicken pox. It was not pretty or glamorous just very itchy and painful. I took an oatmeal bath almost every single day for relief.

So pull the oatmeal out the next time you feel itchy: you know if it makes shingles feel better it will also great on dry chapped skin and eczema.

Inexpensive natural solution
No side effects

A bit messy

we heartsters – Have you used oatmeal for any beauty related DIYs? Share your favorite uses in the comments!

Holly is a Midwestern gal living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves gardening, animals and is a skin care junkie. Holly is always on the quest to try something new or old and live the best life possible.
skin tone: NW 20
skin type: a true combo; normal, dry and oily
favorite beauty product: skincare

7 thoughts on “The Kitchen Cosmetician: Oatmeal”

  1. I haven’t had an oatmeal bath in years, but I remember it being incredibly soothing. I have a sunscreen allergy and I returned from my honeymoon very itchy and rashy. (So much for being a lovely bride!) I used packets from Aveeno that had oatmeal in them, but I bet using @hao9703‘s method would be cheaper and even better. Less ingredients=happy skin, the last thing you want to do it irritate a rash even further…

    I wonder if using a paste of colloidal oatmeal would work on specific areas? I feel like it might, but the soothing water plus the oatmeal might do more good than just oatmeal…
    And did you use regular oatmeal or steel cut oats? I know those make a difference in cooking, but I don’t know if it makes a difference in the bathtub! :-)

  2. What a great post! I had shingles a few years back, too, and even a mild case was misery. I did use oatmeal soaks, but had no idea that the exotic ingredient “colloidal oatmeal” was just finely ground oatmeal! I can’t wait to pour myself an oatmeal bath the next time my skin is feeling dry or itchy.

  3. Aww sorry to hear about your case of the shingles, Holly :( One of my favorite science vocab phrases was “colloid suspension” (“a substance in which microscopically dispersed insoluble particles are suspended throughout another substance”)… milk is an example. And yes, I’m that super nerdy haha. I haven’t used oatmeal for any DIYs but I do love how inexpensive it is!

  4. This is such a simple and great idea, to grind the oats–I’m totally going to do a honey/oatmeal mask, I think. Also, I had shingles ON MY FACE like three years ago and it was sooooo wretched; I still have faint marks from that nightmare. Much shingles sympathy to you!

    P.S. I love that Warhol-ian oatmeal picture.

  5. @hao9703 this was a great article!! I was never forced to take an oatmeal bath my mother must not have loved me. LOL!! I too am going to make myself an oatmeal mask soon. Thanks for the inspiration and tip about grinding it up first!!

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