It’s winter solstice today (or summer solstice for our friends in the northern hemisphere), which means that it is officially the shortest day of the year! Before you start celebrating, however, I have some bad news. Earth’s atmosphere lags about three weeks in its heating and cooling cycle. That means that after today, the day will get longer, but… the coldest weather is yet to come. If that’s not enough to have you shivering in your boots, then you’re a lot tougher than I am!
If you have dry skin like me, then winter can be a time of singular frustration. I am constantly striving to get as close as humanely possible to sources of heat – heaters, hot showers, electric blankets, fire – even though I know the terrible effect that it has on my skin. There’s nothing on earth that warms your chilled bones to the core better than a steaming hot bathtub full of bubbles – and unfortunately, almost nothing that is worse for your poor skin. Hot water not only irritates your skin, it also dries it, and most commercial bubble baths have the same effect.
All that aside, I don’t care.
I WILL NOT GIVE UP MY BATHS.
But I have whipped up a few helpful remedies to make sure that bath time can now be a guilt free time of relaxation.
COLLOIDAL OATMEAL BATH MILK
Those of you with eczema may have come across this “colloidal oatmeal” thing before. Basically, it is very fine particles of oatmeal, suspended in something else – water, oil, etc. To make a colloidal oatmeal bath, you only need two ingredients: oats, and water.
I used Mumsy Sue’s thermomix to grind the oats into a very fine powder. If you’re not lucky enough to have access to a thermomix, a normal blender or food processor will work just as well, and if you are even less privileged than that, a mortar and pestle will do the job (eventually). I would highly recommend sifting your oat powder after grinding it, because you want only the finest powder. Otherwise, your bath tub doesn’t look so crash hot after all the water drains out, and you also feel like you’re sitting in porridge. The aim of colloidal oatmeal is that it is suspended through the water – not collecting at the bottom of it.
I added a few (quite a few) drops of lavender essential oil while I was grinding up my oats, to make them smell nice. Make sure you get an oil that is safe for use on skin – some are just meant to be used in a burner.
After that, find a pretty container, and enjoy! I usually use about 1-2 cups of oatmeal in my bath, and it feels absolutely wonderful. After a soak in an oatmeal bath, you will feel as relaxed as porridge yourself, and have beautiful skin to boot.
- 1kg Oats (I bypassed the organic for the Uncle Toby’s – it was cheaper): $6.70
- French Lavender essential oil: $11.95
- Pretty container: $5.00
LAVENDER AND COCONUT MOISTURISER
To repair some of the damage after your scalding hot shower or bath, here is a recipe for an absolutely luxurious home made moisturiser. I was inspired by this wonderful recipe, but made a few changes to quantities and instructions.
To make it you will need:
- Some of your oatmeal powder
- A jar of organic coconut oil
- A small amount of olive oil
- A skin friendly essential oil (I used lavender again)
To begin, prepare about 3/4 of a cup of your finest oatmeal powder – if you didn’t sift it when making your oatmeal bath, it’s worth doing it now.
Next, place your coconut oil in a small pan. I used the entire jar, which was 300 ml (about 1 1/3 cups). The oil is solid at room temperature, so heat it gently until it is liquid.
I removed it from the flame to add a few drops of essential oil, and the oatmeal. I didn’t want to cook the oatmeal! I then added 3 tbsp of olive oil to the mix, and stirred until the consistency was… consistent.
The moisturiser takes a few hours to cool and harden. I saved the little I had left over in a ceramic saucer to keep in the kitchen.
Once it has hardened, apply and enjoy! It feels particularly luxurious on your skin right after you get out of the shower or bath, and the coconut and lavender scent is much more subtle than you would expect. Best of all, it’s 100% natural goodness.
- Oats: $6.70 (or free if you have some at home already)
- 300 ml Organic coconut oil: $6.95
- Olive oil: who doesn’t already have this at home?
- Essential oil: $11.95