Earlier this week, Meghan Markle's longtime hairdresser, George Northwood, finally broke his silence and came forward as the man behind the Duchess of Sussex's messy bun for the past two years. The public reveal, made possible by Markle and Prince Harry's decision to step down from their royal duties, marks one of the first times any member of Markle's glam team has been able to reveal the inner workings of the royal's routine.
After reading the British Vogue interview with Northwood, my mind went to Markle's facialist, London-based esthetician Nichola Joss, who prepped her skin for the royal wedding. The Duchess' official skin-care routine has yet to be disclosed, but Joss did impart her general wisdom on me in an interview last January, and passed along a few DIY face mask recipes in the process. What better time than right now, when I'm makeup-free in self-imposed isolation during COVID-19, to test out Joss' at-home tips?
So, I got out some oats, honey, and a small mixing bowl and stirred up one of the face-mask concoctions Joss recommended to me last year. My experience with the simple at-home treatment, ahead.
During my original interview with Joss, she told me why she loves a mix-it-yourself facial: You control exactly what ingredients you're putting on your skin. "I think at-home face masks are amazing, and I fully endorse them," she told me. "When you make a mask yourself, you know exactly what’s going on your skin." There are a few specific pantry ingredients she's particularly fond of. "Turmeric is an amazing ingredient with a lot of benefits. It’s calming and helps relieve inflammation and congestion, and you can mix in coconut oil, if your skin responds well to it," she said. "Egg whites may help with brightening. But my favorite recipe is oats and honey mixed together — it makes for a quick, easy, gentle exfoliating mask."
I'm sold on the "gentle exfoliating mask." Plus, I already have the two pantry ingredients it calls for: oats and honey. The oats have to be cooked, so I basically make oatmeal, combining a cup of dry oats with equal parts water before nuking it in the microwave for a minute and a half. Then, I add two tablespoons of honey, stir it all up, wait for it to cool (so I don't burn my face), and apply it. I leave the mask on for 15 minutes before washing it off.
More than just being super simple, this recipe delivered more than enough mask to cover my face in a thick layer of lukewarm oats, so my sister partook in the homemade treatment, too. We both started with dry skin and spooned the mixture straight from the bowl to our faces. The application was, in a word, messy. Because oatmeal is lumpy by nature, it was hard to spread the mixture evenly without globs of gummy oats sliding off my chin. It wasn't the most luxurious masking experience I've ever had — I looked like the victim of a cafeteria food fight during breakfast for lunch — but it felt pretty soothing, with zero stinging or tingling.
After washing my face with water from my kitchen sink (I didn't want to put clumpy oatmeal down my bathroom drain) and drying it off, my skin definitely felt softer and a little more hydrated, too. It wasn't a huge glow-up, like I get after a glycolic acid peel or deep moisturizing mask, but I definitely noticed that my cheeks looked more touchable afterwards, and my sister and I both received unsolicited compliments from my mom when she got home from the grocery store.
If you're looking for an at-home beauty treatment that's cheap, easy, and doesn't require you to leave your kitchen, it's worth giving this gentle oats-and-honey face mask a shot. That said, I'd consider splurging on oat flour next time instead of rolled oats to cut down on the mess — which seems like the kind of discerning upgrade Meghan Markle would approve of.