Kitchen Beauty: DIY Oatmeal Lavender Bath Soak

Not everything that I mix up in the kitchen is meant for eating. I'm also a little bit obsessed with using the same ingredients I cook with to make simple home remedies and DIY natural beauty products that are safe, natural, and (bonus!) incredibly affordable. I've decided to start sharing some of these with you here in a new section called Kitchen Beauty.

Summer is officially here, and along with all the loveliness, it can also mean that a few minor skin issues have returned. It's the time for everything from annoying mosquito bites and poison ivy to sunburns and heat rash.

This DIY Soothing Oatmeal Lavender Soak takes just about 3 minutes to prepare, but is one of the best home remedies I know for soothing and cooling itchy and painful skin. The oatmeal naturally calms and moisturizes your skin, the baking soda helps to cool and reduce itchiness, and the lavender will provide aromatherapy relaxation (it also leaves your skin delicately scented). If you were to go to a drugstore, you would find boxes of similar oatmeal baths available for up to $15, but my natural homemade version can be made for mere pennies per use!

A note on colloidal oatmeal: many store-bought oatmeal soaks say they are made up of "100% colloidal oatmeal." This isn't some kind of special oatmeal; it's just regular oatmeal that has been very finely milled so that it evenly distributes in the water. You can easily make homemade colloidal oatmeal by grinding it finely in your food processor, spice grinder, or grain mill. (FYI: "colloid" means "a suspension of finely divided particles")

Tip: Don't have lavender? No worries! You can skip it for a plain unscented oatmeal bath.

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DIY Oatmeal Lavender Bath Soak
Makes enough for about 5 baths

4 cups plain old fashioned oats
3 tablespoons dried lavender buds (look for "culinary" lavender, which hasn't been sprayed with anything funky)
1 cup baking soda

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and grind until very fine and almost powdery--about 3 minutes. Pour the powder into a sealable jar or bag and store in a cool and dry area.

To Use:
Add 1 cup of the oatmeal soak to warm (not hot) bath water and stir to distribute. Soak your body or affected area in the water for 15 to 30 minutes. The baking soda acts as a natural and delicate cleanser so there is no need to use any kind of additional soap.

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