I remember my mom putting oatmeal in my bath to soothe my childhood rashes, so I vaguely remembered that it’s good for itchy skin. What I didn’t know is that oatmeal can be used as a mild hair cleanser, conditioning rinse, and inexpensive face mask.
For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with oatmeal in my beauty routine and I love the results. Following are my favorite uses for oatmeal.
DIY Oatmeal Cleanser
I learned about using oat water to cleanse the hair on The Natural Haven, where blogger JC showed that oat water cleans the hair as well as shampoo, without the unpronounceable ingredients. Store-bought shampoo ingredients aren’t necessarily harmful, but I do enjoy DIYs that allow me to have more control over what I’m putting on my body.
This cleanser is perfect if you have sensitive skin like I do. The less I put on my skin, the less detective work I need to do if something irritates it. I’m also sensitive to strong scents whether they be from essential oils or synthetic fragrances, so I like being able to add essential oils, or not, to my liking.
DIY oatmeal cleanser recipe
- 1 tbsp whole oats
- 1/2 C water
Boil the oats for 2 minutes, cool, and strain. Add essential oils of your choice. I like to at least quadruple the recipe (4 tbsp oats in 2 C water), which gives me enough to cover all of my hair. The amount you will need depends on the length and density of your hair.
The longer you leave the oatmeal in the water the more it will break down, which can lead to getting small pieces of oatmeal in your water if you’re not using an extra fine strainer. Cheesecloth is ideal to strain out the tiniest pieces, but you can also remove the oats sooner with a regular strainer or process it in a Nutribullet or similar tool to make the mixture as smooth as possible.
If you rub the oat water between your fingers, you’ll notice that it feels slippery. This is caused by a substance called beta-glucan, a type of fiber. The slipperiness aids in detangling your hair.
To use the oat water, put it in a pitcher and pour it over your wet, sectioned hair in the shower. I use the pads of my fingers to gently scrub my scalp, then slowly finger detangle my hair.
I have tried leaning over the edge of the tub and pouring the mixture over my hair, catching the excess in a bowl so that I can pour it over several times, but I’ve found that I don’t need to do that if I make more of it to begin with.
You can definitely eat the oatmeal you strain out to make this rinse. If you don’t like oatmeal (I don’t, unless it’s baked), throw it in a smoothie. It will add creaminess without the taste being noticeable.
DIY Oatmeal Leave-In Rinse
Natural hair care expert Cassandre Beccai advocates using oatmeal as a leave-in rinse.
DIY oatmeal rinse recipe
- 4 tbsp very finely ground or colloidal oatmeal
- 8 C of water
Mix thoroughly. After shampooing and conditioning, pour the mixture over your hair. Do not rinse.
Remember beta-glucan? In addition to helping with detangling, it helps your hair retain moisture by forming a light film on your hair. Unlike films formed by ingredients like silicones, this film gives you all the benefits of retaining moisture without resisting being washed out and causing dryness over time.
DIY Oatmeal Mask
If you suffer from acne, other inflammatory skin conditions, or oily skin, oatmeal can work wonders. I love doing an oatmeal mask once or twice a week, especially when I get hormonal breakouts. Oatmeal masks work especially well if you are already having a breakout, since it won’t further irritate your skin, and will calm redness and irritation.
I like this oatmeal mask recipe from Healthy Skin Glows (number four on the list).
I cut down the amounts, as I’ve found the original recipe makes a lot and I end up throwing it away before I can use it up.
DIY oatmeal mask recipe
- 1/2 tbsp oat flour (be sure you’re using whole grain oat flour to get all of the benefits)
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1 tsp honey
Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then apply and leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes. Removal is easiest and most gentle on your skin if you wash it off before it’s completely dry. I use a microfiber washcloth with warm water. Follow with your usual moisturizer.
So, there you have it, a “miracle” ingredient that may be sitting in your kitchen cabinet right now. Do you use oatmeal in your beauty routine?