The Oatmeal Challenge

The results of our first ever Scrub Evaluation pointed us in the direction of improving an existing Oatmeal Scrub recipe of Brooke’s.

We got together at Puja’s house with the sole intention of brainstorming what we need to do differently to perk up our current existing recipe.

The oatmeal scrub tested in our scrub eval, while great, had some weaknesses we want to correct:

  • Weak scrubbing power due to only using brown sugar
  • Large oatmeal grain size, leading to excessive clumping, but fell apart once coming into contact with water.
  • Great moisturizing power, but was on a lot on the greasy side
  • Smells like a cookie, but was, for lack of better word, underwhelming for a scrub.

So, while we chomped on homemade blueberry yogurt cookies, stuffed down endless chips with guacamole and spicy chutney, we were listing out ideas for experimenting different variations that would lead us to the right recipe.

Just a little background – as engineers, we were trained the moment we start to pack as much factors into as little splits as possible. It didn’t take us long to figure out that we could do the entire experiment within three splits, and that should give us a good direction of what else needs to be done after we receive the response.

Here’s us, “brainstorming”, which is pretty much making Brooke work on the laptop while Puja and I chilled and acted busy in front of the camera. But I pinky swear we contributed!

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One thing we decided early on was to dress up the scent of our scrub. Since it already smells like a cookie due to the oats and coconut oil, we decided to go all out, and bump up the aroma by adding vanilla extract and cinnamon powder. The final product does smell a lot more like a festive oatmeal cookie and reminded us that Thanksgiving is just right round the corner!

The main factors we want to evaluate with these three splits are:

  • Scrubbing power – evaluated by brown, white or mix of both
  • Moisture and feel – evaluated by safflower oil only, coconut only, and both
  • Aroma is a mix of all ingredients since coconut oil and brown sugar added in a nutty and sweet molasses smell in addition to our vanilla and cinnamon powder.

This is what our plan looked like in the beginning. All we know is we wanted to start with half cup of grinded oatmeal. Everything else is a question mark.

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Once we are done planning, we need to lock down another key factor – the size of the oats. It has to be smaller as the original big grains were not doing our scrub any favor.

We processed the oats, tested the scrub efficiency for different oat size, and finally decided on three pulses on a Ninja blender. Think normal rolled oats, cut into quarters, and you will roughly get the final size.

Basically, anything smaller is too fine and got lost when scrubbing. Anything bigger simply falls apart during scrubbing since it’s too big and unable to bind to both oil and sugar. “Ahhh, a quarter of the original size is just right!” is what Goldilocks would have said, if she’s here sipping wine, and grinding up oats with us. But she’s probably still lost in the woods somewhere.

Once the oat size is determined, we rolled up our sleeves, topped up our wine glasses, and got to work chopping, measuring, mixing, testing the consistency, changing recipe ratios, adding in oil tablespoon by tablespoon, stopping only when we found the consistency we like while recording every increment for each ingredient. Breathe. Then we added vanilla essence and cinnamon powder. With each increment of the ingredient added, we sniffed the scrub, tested it by scrubbing our hands, sniffed our hands, added more cinnamon and vanilla, change record on our recipe sheet, breathe again, drink more wine, and finally we got a result we like for our first variation.

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Ecstatic, we spooned that into a jar, labelled it, top up our wine, clinked it, sipped that and repeat for test 2 and three.

And finally, after couple of iteration of testing and recording, we created three variations of our oatmeal scrub. And coming from a group claiming we are very “creative”, we stayed true to our engineering spirit by fondly naming it Test 1, Test 2 and Test 3.

131121 - 5Our final recipe for Test 1, 2 and 3.

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And now, it’s time to find some good friends and get them to test and provide feedback.

Will we ever change the recipe? Sure, it’s always going to be a work in progress. Plus, what worked for us may not be what everyone liked. But with loads of good wine and patience, we should be able to keep coming up with nice scrubs.

Oh, and while Mummy Puja is busy making grown up scrubs, little Twara is busy eating Brooke’s blueberry yogurt cookie. Such a delicious cookie, you gotta love it!

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For all of you out there – have you ever made a oatmeal scrub? What do you look out for in a oatmeal scrub? We are still learning, but so far the process was really fun 😀 If you are willing to share your recipe with us, we’ll really appreciate it.

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