Aaah the beautiful long days of the British summer….dreary, rainy, windy…I’d much rather have burrowed deep under my duvet and hibernated for the last few weeks. Does anyone remember the freak spell of hot weather a few weeks back? I do, just about, but I cheated – more about that later. But mid-week, I gave up and turned on the central heating again. Just for two hours a day, so that I wouldn’t fall over in the shower from excessive shivering! Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame is asking everyone in a poll: Is your central heating on? Good question…what’s your answer as we rapidly approach the summer solstice?
In all honesty, I do love wintry things like snuggling up in cosy pyjamas, wearing fluffy warm slippers and eating comfort food – anything with gravy and mash! And because it’s not been all that warm I’ve had the best of both worlds I guess – longer days and cosy nights. And having the heavens water my garden for me is not something I feel the need to complain about, even though as of yesterday, the hose pipe ban in my area was lifted thanks to the recent heavy rain!
So in the spirit of this year’s very temperamental British summer, I’m going to share something comforting that reminds me of cosy mornings. The smell of it awakens memories of getting up in the dark, wrapping myself in anything as akin to a blanket as possible and shuffling downstairs in thick socks to breakfast: porridge. Truly comforting, the smell of oats is indulgent and yet so familiar it warms you from the inside.
Well…not quite porridge – an oatmeal face scrub-mask. Yep, it smells like putting really yummy porridge on your face. Although I can’t say I feel like licking something off my face after I’ve used it to suck the dirt out of my pores. Because that is exactly what it does. After using it for the first time, not only had the redness around my nostrils calmed down, the blackheads (eww, sorry) that had started accumulating on my nose had been REMOVED too. Amazing!
I am going to describe the pure version and then a more glorified version that I made up by combining ingredients I like. I tried, tested and loved the second mask, and it’s personally very good for me.
- My skin-type: quite sensitive, combination-dry.
- Disclaimer: try them carefully on a inconspicuous patch of skin first in case you have an allergy. Always be careful to apply away from the eye area.
Pure Oat Scrub-Mask
- 1 teaspoon oats
- 1 tablespoon water (temperature of your choosing, I prefer cold to tepid)
I first saw this on Bubzbeauty “Beautiful Skin Remedy“. I place the ingredients in a small dish and knead the oats a bit to get all the goodness out. I find these quantities are sufficient for a simple 2 minute wash but you might want to vary them according to your preference. The longer you soak the oats for beforehand, the more they swell up and make the water milky.
Make sure you don’t drain it off. The oat “milk” is lovely and nourishing! I just apply it all with my fingertips and hands. If you are using it as a mask, simply leave it to set for a few minutes before washing off, massaging your skin in circular motions.
Brightening Oat Mask
- 1 teaspoon natural yoghurt
- 1/2 teaspoon gram flour
- 1/2 teaspoon rice water
- 1 teaspoon crushed oats (I used a pestle and mortar)
This mask is great for brightening your skin and refining your pores. Mix ingredients into a smooth paste and apply to face. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Wash off by wetting your fingertips and massaging mask off gently in circular motions.
I like to apply this cold – using the yoghurt straight from the fridge is very soothing and refreshing on the face. Gram flour is made from chickpeas and can be found in South Asian supermarkets or the world section of your local supermarket. It has gentle exfoliating properties and is better than wheat flour if you can get it.
I collected the cold rice water from the last time I washed some rice I was about to cook. I infused it with oats and left to steep for the amount of time it took me to eat my dinner and wash up. I then pressed the oats, strained off the water into a small bottle and kept it in the fridge.
Is anyone watching Euro 2012 by the way? It’s half time in the England v Sweden match now, I think I need to dash to the loo. You have a few minutes to get a quick mask on if you’re swift! 😉