This Secret Beauty Weapon Is In Your Pantry 

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A hot bowl of oatmeal works wonders for your spirits on a cold Monday morning. But one form of the heart-healthy grains in particular—colloidal oats—are also amazing for skin. The stuff may just become your secret beauty weapon this winter.

You know that ooey gooey (but undeniably delicious) texture you get when you mix your oats with hot water? It’s pretty much a miracle moisturizer. Colloidal oats aren’t exactly the same as your trusty maple-flavored Quaker Instant. They’re ground much more thoroughly into an ultra-fine powder which, upon adding water, creates a goopy substance with a laundry list of skin-healing properties. Used topically, colloidal oatmeal can decrease itching, quench dry patches, soothe irritation, reduce redness, and soothe a rash. Even the most perfect complexion will appear softer and smoother after an oatmeal dip.

And you can make your own! Just pick up some old-fashioned oats (the plain kind—skip the raisins, brown sugar, etc.) and grind to a powder in a blender, food processor, or kitchen mill. Now that you’re in the know, here are a few ways to put the miracle grains to good use.

Oatmeal Bath

Draw a hot bath and add 3 /4 cup of colloidal oats to the water. Soaking in the mixture may bring on a case of déja vu—it’s an old-school recipe for soothing itchiness and irritation from chickenpox. When you dry off, your ultra-soft skin will almost make you forget about your favorite body lotion (although we recommend following up with it while you’re still damp to lock in hydration).

Oatmeal Facial Mask

Mix a tablespoon of colloidal oats with a couple teaspoons of warm water to form a thick paste. Spread onto your face (keep your hair pulled back to avoid a mess) and leave on for 15 minutes until dry. Rinse it all off with warm water, follow with a splash of cold, and smooth on a daily moisturizer. This is a great morning treatment to get you glowing all day.

Oatmeal Scrub

Combine one teaspoon of colloidal oats with a tablespoon of quick-cooking oatmeal in a small bowl. Mix in 1 tablespoon honey and 2 teaspoons warm water. Combine well and massage into face and neck in the shower for a gentle scrub that hydrates as it buffs and adds radiance.

Not handy in the kitchen? Plenty of beauty brands sell plain colloidal oats in ready-to-use form, like the classic Aveeno Eczema Therapy Bath Treatment.

Photo: Kelly Cline