On Loving Your Body (And Making An Oatmeal Mask): A Recipe For Self-Care Routines

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, #BBATX committee members have been sharing their strategies for self-care and mental health. In this post, #BBATX committee member Cara Cate walks us through her weekly routine of creating an oatmeal mask—and how this practice reminds her to take care of herself as a whole.

This blog post and recipe has been written by Cara Cate. Graphics by Jane Hervey.

STEP ONE: listen to and love on your body.

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it can be difficult to slow down and tune into our needs on a consistent basis. More often than not, we only realize we haven’t been taking care of ourselves when we start to feel it, and at that point it can be hard to pause and recalibrate. So, it’s important that we create routines and practices that provide us with the time and space to listen to and love on our bodies and our minds. If we take regular care of ourselves and slow down every once and a while, we’ll be more resilient in the long run.


Taking care of ourselves takes time and energy, but it’s life-giving and necessary. Although our modern concepts of self-care often conjure up imagery of massages and nails, loving on our bodies and minds must be a routine and a practice. So, we’ve got to make the most of our resources: What accessible forms of self-care exist around us? Self-care can be regular rest. It can be washing your hair. It can be moisturizing your skin. It can even be making an oatmeal mask.


I like to set aside time for myself each week to treat my skin with an at-home facial. I typically make a “leftover facial” using things that I already have in my kitchen. Here’s what that looks like:

1.) Do I have: Oatmeal? Lemon? Honey? Grapefruit? Sugar? Coffee Grounds? Banana? The beauty of using what I have is that my mask will always be slightly different, plus it’s green. Typically, I use:

1 cup cooked oatmeal (day old)

Juice from one lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons coffee grounds (from this morning)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 banana

Some other alternatives to my ingredient list: If you do not have oatmeal, you can solidify your mask with banana. If you do not have banana, use a little more honey to make the consistency thick enough to stick to your face. You can also use olive oil as a last resort, but olive oil works better as a moisturizer. Coconut oil can be good for some skin types too, but keep in mind that coconut oil is a notorious pore-clogger. You can also get fancy and add an essential oil, or turmeric powder to your mask as well. I will warn you that turmeric can stain your face, so you might want to add that in only if you are doing a before bed mask. Cinnamon is also great for skin and acts as a micro exfoliant.

2.) I grab what I have and set it up in a large bowl.

3.) I usually use day-old oatmeal that is already cooked, but if you need to cook your oatmeal you can add hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soften. A mask is easier to apply if you grind your oatmeal beforehand with a food processor, but I usually just go with it the way it is. (Sometimes, another part of self-care is letting go of what you cannot control.)

4.) I mix everything together, until I have a paste that will stick to my face. I like to mix with my hands because it's like a bonus mani, but the mixture just needs to be all wet. I usually end up with plenty to share (or I save the leftovers for a couple of days in the fridge).

5.) Before I apply the mask, I wash my face. (You probably should, too.)

6.) I apply the mask for 10-15 minutes.

7.) Then, I was off, pat and dry. (I then like to tone my face after with witch hazel and then I apply my moisturizer. I am currently using a vitamin E concentrate to reduce scars at night and rose hip oil during the day. After treating my skin, I also like to make sure that I am applying some level of SPF to protect my newly exfoliated skin from the sun.)

Your skin soaks up so much nutrition when you use natural ingredients. here are some of the benefits in the ingredients i shared:

  • Oatmeal is a humectant, which means that it helps your skin retain moisture. When used in conjunction with skin-hydrating ingredients (i.e.honey), oatmeal can help your skin take on a glowing, dewy appearance.

  • Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and is perfect for achieving that “glow” while fighting acne and nourishing aging skin. Honey also naturally opens pores.

  • Lemon contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to fight off acne and blackheads. Lemon juice contains citric acid that can help fade dark spots and acne scars. The juice can also help cut down on an abundance of oil. Lemon can sometimes burn if you have acne or sores, so just go slow until you know what makes your skin happy.

  • Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that can help tone your skin and fight free radicals.

  • Bananas contain good amounts of vitamin C that helps in maintaining the natural and youthful glow of the skin. Vitamin C helps get rid of dullness and reduces spots and blemishes. You can also rub the banana peel directly on your face to fight blemishes.  

  • Caffeine stimulates blood flow and widens, or dilates, the blood vessels. This increases blood flow, which can help the skin to naturally tighten. Other compounds in coffee, such as chlorogenic acid, may also reduce inflammation around the eyes. I use a finer ground because a coarse ground can be rough on the face. A coarse ground is great for the rest of the body though.

  • Sugar contains glycolic acid, which encourages cell turnover for youthful-looking skin, and its small particles make a great exfoliant. The type, or crystal size, is personal preference. I usually use a finer grain because it’s softer on my face. Larger grain sugar, like turbinado, is good for a body scrub with olive oil.

STEP Three: honor your needs.

I try and spend some time with my skin at least once a week, outside of my daily routine. For me, it makes me slow down, get a good look at myself and spend some time with me.

But your routine may need to be different. So, ask yourself: What are my needs? Where do I need to create time to take care of those needs? How can I build routines and practices that help me take better care of myself on a consistent basis?

PS: Our needs change based on what we go through and what we face in life—a face mask won’t solve trauma or struggles with depression and mental health (if you find a face mask that can, holler). So, remember that self-care can also look like seeking help from a medical professional, seeing a therapist or taking medication. It’s OK!

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