Colloidal Oatmeal

What is Colloidal Oatmeal? Colloidal Oatmeal is an ultra-fine, very refined oat flour made from whole oats (including the beneficial bran). It’s a moisturizing skin protectant, recommended for soothing irritated skin. It is not the same thing as hydrolyzed oat protein, and it’s not the same thing as oats you’d grind up at home. Definitely give this article a read to learn more as there are some funny oddities and intricacies.
INCI Avena Sativa Kernel Flour
Appearance Fine off-white powder; looks a lot like all-purpose wheat flour.
Usage rate I’ve found wildly varying ranges. New Directions Aromatics recommends 0.05–2% while Making Cosmetics recommends 5–30%. I tend to use it in the 1–5% range for emulsions, and higher for anhydrous products like bath soaks and cleansing powders.
Texture Fine, smooth powder
Scent Low; slightly oaty, but barely noticeable.
Solubility I’ve found it listed as water-soluble and minimally soluble. In my experience, colloidal oatmeal does not dissolve in water but is so fine that it disperses smoothly in emulsions.
Why do we use it in formulations? Colloidal oatmeal is a great anti-inflammatory/soothing moisturizer, making it great for dry, irritated skin.
Do you need it? No, but I love colloidal oatmeal as a versatile, gentle skincare active.
Refined or unrefined? Colloidal oatmeal only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Excellent skin-soothing moisturizer, all-natural, inexpensive.
Weaknesses If you have a topical sensitivity to gluten there is a chance of cross-contamination.
Alternatives & Substitutions Panthenol is both soothing and moisturizing, so it could be a good alternative. You could also look at combining something soothing (like calendula extract) with something moisturizing (glycerin, propanediol, hydrolyzed proteins, etc.). Urea is also worth considering.
How to Work with It Colloidal oatmeal can be hot or cold processed, depending on the needs of the formulation. In emulsions I like to include it in the heated oil phase so it doesn’t cook up into a gloppy porridge if heated with the water phase. You can include it in the heated water phase if you want to, but I find it is much neater/easier to include it in the heated oil phase.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, colloidal oatmeal can last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Check out this interesting article on the intricacies and oddities of colloidal oatmeal from LisaLise.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Colloidal Oatmeal


Posted on

February 2, 2020