Colloidal Oats - Let's Make Our Own!

This is simply a matter of patience and a couple of good tools. And, if you happen to bake, there's double bonus here (all shall soon be revealed!).

Today, we're going to make our own version of colloidal oatmeal! Shall we get started?

What's Colloidal?

The word colloidal comes from the word colloid, which is a mixture in which one substance (such as oats) is microscopically dispersed in another (such as water, hydrosol, or any liquid).

Here's an illustration of a stable and an unstable colloid

Colloidal Oatmeal

As oats in their natural state (and size) will tend to act like the example you see on the right, the object of this exercise is to create an oaty powder so fine and light that it disperses evenly and effortlessly in our chosen liquid.

To disperse perfectly (and to make true colloidal oats) takes a bit more equipment and doing than we can do in a DIY setting. But we can approximate colloidal oatmeal and create a more evenly dispersible ingredient by grinding, sifting, and sifting some more.


You'll need
  • a coffee grinder (I used my dedicated cosmetics grinder) 
  • a sieve
  • bowls
  • container 

Start by grinding the oats thoroughly.
Tip: You're going to be using a bit more than you might think, so grind up a fair sized portion.

Pass the ground oats through your sieve.
Pass them through again.
And again.
And again.
As you continue sifting, remove the large oat bits and place them into a separate bowl.
Below: what was left in the sieve after 3 passes.

When you have achieved the silkiest, smoothest powder you think you can possibly achieve, your oats are ready to be packaged in an airtight container and labelled with a date until you choose to use them in your bath, face cleansing powder, or other lovely product.


If you check the picture at the very top of this post, you'll see how much there was left after grinding, sifting and sifting some more.

The cup on the left holds the sifted oats. The bowl on the right is the leftovers.

Now, if you're anything like me, you can't bear the thought of tossing the leftovers and want to find something to use them for.

Here's a Few Edible Oaty Ideas

Baked Oatmeal Cake by WholeNewMom
Oatmeal Pancakes by Chow & Chatter
Lowfat Oatmeal Banana Bread by MakeitBakeitBuyitFakeit


More Info

Colloid: Wikipedia
What Makes Colloidal Oatmeal Colloidal? (this blog)

Do Tell

Do you use ground or colloidal oats in any of your skincare products? Please share in a comment below.

Attribution: Illustration of colloid: SunKart at en.Wikipedia


María said…
Since I'm living in Scotland, I'm getting used to have porridge at breakfast. I really really love oats, they are soooooooo goooooooood for skin...
I love them sprinkled for rash skin, and I loooove an oats bath: put some oats in a muslin cloth with lavender essential oil and let it simmer like a tea bag on your bath water. Just amazing!
LisaLise said…
You and I both María! I'm a huge fan as well
Jennie Widdicombe said…
I make my own ground oats. I didn't realise I need to sieve so many times, I've just been doing it once. It certainly takes up a lot less space
LisaLise said…
Hi Jennie - You can kind of decide when you are finished by testing the feel and function of the powder. Some folks grind and leave it at that. It's a question of taste and of course what you want to use it in.
Anonymous said…
When you say left over what do you mean? The bowl isn't useable for the bath products? What makes it left over?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon - I mean the part of oats that is leftover after sifting and sifting and sifting. That's what I mean by leftover. :)
the ladybug said…
I didn't know it had to be sifted. That's great! Thank you Lisa!❤
LisaLise said…
Hi Ladybug - I suppose if you have a serious enough grinder, you could do without sifting.
Stephanie said…
I'm another one who did not know about the sifting step. Makes sense though. I love using finely ground oats as a gentle scrub... now I can make them even finer! Thanks Lise :)
LisaLise said…
HI Stephanie! Pleasure to hear from you! I found the sifting helps quite a bit - enough to where it works for my needs.
Paula M said…
Hello Lise,

I just discovered your blog through the interview you did with Marie from Humblebee. Glad to find another great resource on skincare! I also love colloidal oatmeal. Love it in the baby bath and mixed in with other goodies for a nourishing face mask. I'm actually working on a dry powder massage with some plant based ingredients and colloidal oatmeal for an upcoming workshop. I can't wait to check the rest of your blog.Thanks!
LisaLise said…
Hello Paula and thank you for stopping by! I hope you find a lot of useful info and inspiration :)
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa,
I read with interest your article about what is collodial oatmeal. The discussion came up in our soap group and somebody posted your link.
What I don't quite understand - you say here: ground up your oats - from the picture I would assume you mean rolled oats? But in the first article you state that collodial oats is made from whole oat grain?
So wouldn't it be the correct way to mill the whole oats and then grind the flour really super fine, then sieve?
LisaLise said…
Hi Heike - Thanks for your comment. Rolled oats are made using the whole kernel and include the bran. :)
Unknown said…
So about the sifting and the leftovers, why couldnt one just pop the left overs back into the grinder and give it a second go
LisaLise said…
Hi Mink Soap - Sounds like it might be worth a try. I did grind for a long time in my grinder and assumed mine had 'reached it's limit', but I do think I'll give your suggestion a whirl in my next batch.
Erin said…
Thanks for posting this method. I was excited to see how it would work compared to using new, clean pantyhose material, which is quite time consuming. I was rather impressed that it removed a lot of the bran rather quickly. However, I am not sure if my oats were ground too finely or if my purposes require a much finer powder. When using it as an alternative to dry shampoo (much silkier and less noticeable than most dry shampoos/arrowroot powder) or for skin care, a lot of tiny bran flakes were visible. For those who need a very fine powder, a finer mesh may be necessary.
LisaLise said…
Thanks for sharing Erin. It is indeed the bran that will clog up the filters. If you need the completely silky smooth powder then real colloidal oats is the only alternative.
Erin said…
LOL! Yes, it takes ages to sift out a decent amount of powder with pantyhose (or Gildan Foot Covers) for that reason. Although, the extremely fine powder clumps too, so I have to shake it down and use a brush to clear the mesh regularly. I think the next time around, I will try not to grind it quite as fine and see if the powder will sift out easier with your method.
LisaLise said…
Best of luck with it! Have you seen my post about What makes Coilloidal Oatmeal Colloidal? It explains the differences between ground oats and oat flour and colloidal oatmeal. What we are making here (in this post) is finely ground oats. The particle size has to be much smaller than we can make in a home setting for it to be true colloidal oatmeal. You atill get the same benefits using your own finely ground oats though. :)
Anna B said…
Hi Lise

Sorry a bit off tangent... I know that you've mentioned it in your book 'Get started making plant extracts....' (great book by the way!) that oats could be used but do you know if a macerate or a glycerite would be better?
Oat oil is particularly expensive and not easily available and I was thinking of making a macerate but not sure if it's worth the effort or if I'd get the health benefits from doing so. Have you tried making either and what are your thoughts?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anna B - Thanks for your kind comment! You ask a really good question here! Oats have all kinds of beneficial components - each of which are soluble in different mediums. Try doing a small batch of both types of infusions and see how it goes.

For the oil, you aren't going to get the same benefits as using oat oil, but you might try a side by side comparison of the oil to your maceration and see what you think.

Best of luck with it!
Donna said…
Hi Lisa Lise!
Thank you so much for sharing your technique. I always soak and dehydrate oats and store them in glass Mason jars. I need colloidal oats to add into my homemade soap. Will blending the pre-soaked-dehydrated oats in a high powered Vitamix blender work?
LisaLise said…
Hi Donna - Thanks for your kind comment. It is impossible to make true colloidal oats in a DIY setting, but if you are using a freshly made oat solution as the liquid for soapmaking then you are definitely getting a full range of 'oat goodness' in your soap. I would be tempted to try a 'homemade version' against a batch with a purchased version of colloidal oats and see how they compare. Best of luck with it
Anonymous said…
When sifting, how do we know that we're not mainly sifting out the bran, which is the most valuable part? Isn't the bran the fattiest part and therefore the most likely to be sifted out?
LisaLise said…
HI Anon - You would need an extremely fine-meshed sieve to be able to sift out the bran - finer than what is available for any kind of household use. :)
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa, your blogs are so informative and well researched. Thanks a ton. I was wondering about the leftovers too, couldn’t you throw them back into the processor to get smaller and continue the sifting process (almost indefinitely 🤣) to get all of the product to be the correct particle size?
LisaLise said…
HI Unknown - This is exactly what did. If you check this blog there is another post where I explain about the particle size in colloidal oatmeal. It simply isn't attainable with normal kitchen equipment. If it was, you can bet I would be working on it :)
Jen said…
The problem with the grinding method is still micron size as you said. You cannot stabilize the whole oat (I even tried a commercial grinder). The bigger particles such as fiber sink. I am going to try taking those ground oats and cooking and freeze drying to see if it breaks down the whole oat more completely. Wish me luck! Thank you so much Lisa Lise for the glycerine method. I have been enjoying them for years now. Making my own glycerites and hydrosol has been a game changer for me. Now if only I can crack the methodology on this one,🤔. For baths this works great BTW. Lotions not so much.
Jen said…
I managed a stable colloidal oat by grinding and hydrolyzing! The creams and lotions are amazing. The oats are not powdered of course but stable in my formulation. Colloidal was the goal and skin feel is perfection.😅 If you want to try the method I used just let me know🌹
LisaLise said…
HI Jen

Thanks so much for sharing -- I think I know what you did (as I have tried something that sounds like what you describe) and it worked (but admittedly had some limitations). Wishing you the best!
lovesranchlife said…
Maybe I have missed something in my reading o
on this site. I am just a bit confused!
In making a colliding oatmeal as you did buy grinding and sifting over and over, did you start with an actual oat kernel, regular "Quaker Oats" oatmeal or ???
LisaLise said…
HI lovesranchlife-- thanks for your comment. It's not really possible to make real colloidal oatmeal in a home setting, but it is possible to make a very fine oat flour (that includes the bran) by grinding and repeatedly sifting. I started with rolled oats (which include the bran). If you start with a whole kernel the process will take even longer. Hope this helps clarify :)