It's that time of year: pumpkin season! Whether you buy fresh pumpkins for jack o'lanterns, sip pumpkin lattes or load up on pumpkin puree to cook with, you may be missing one of its forgotten uses: natural beauty booster.
Pumpkin tastes delicious and is packed with more than your daily dose of vitamin A, plus plenty of vitamin C and potassium. But it helps more than just what's inside. Its special blend of antioxidants and moisturizing texture make it the perfect product to use on your skin and hair. Not only is it packed with disease- and wrinkle-fighting ingredients, but it also smells heavenly and is safe for most skin types. Read on to get five great ways to use it in your beauty routine.
Make a Face Mask
Pumpkin contains enzymes and antioxidants that mimic alpha-hydroxy acids, the compounds that naturally exfoliate your skin, reducing wrinkles and giving you a glowing complexion. Though there are many ways to use pumpkin in a face mask, we like this one: Start with two teaspoons of pumpkin puree, one-half teaspoon honey, one-half teaspoon milk and one-half teaspoon cinnamon (omit this ingredient if you have sensitive skin). Mix ingredients together, apply the mixture to your face for 10 minutes and then rinse with warm water. To get the most beauty bang for your buck, apply after the shower when your skin is still moist. The antioxidants from the pumpkin and humectant properties from the honey will you give you a fresh, moisturized face. [Self]
Create a Hair Beautifier
Does the cool, dry air make your hair coarse and brittle? Make it soft and shiny with a DIY pumpkin conditioner. All you need is a few household ingredients and a blender! Start with two cups of cooked, chopped pumpkin (pumpkin puree can also work) and one tablespoon of yogurt. Place both in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Pour the pumpkin-yogurt blend in a bowl and add in one tablespoon of both honey and coconut oil. Apply this hair mask to damp hair for 15 minutes, covering with a plastic cap if you have one, and then wash and dry your hair like normal. [Seventeen] The vitamin A in pumpkin may help hair grow and increases production of sebum, the natural oil that moisturizes your hair.
Make a Body Scrub
Can you feel your skin becoming dry and dull with the onset of fall? Get rid of dead skin cells and reveal a youthful skin tone with this face and body scrub. Combining the wrinkle-fighting vitamin A in pumpkin, the exfoliating properties of the enzyme papain in papaya and the moisture-locking characteristics of honey, and you've got a recipe for skin success. Take two tablespoons fresh pumpkin, one teaspoon papaya, one teaspoon honey and one teaspoon of sugar, and mix all the ingredients together. Apply to the areas of your skin that are rough and dry and massage for a few minutes. Then rinse the scrub off with cool water. Voila – beautiful skin! [Beauty Banter]
Try a Pumpkin Pedicure
Cramming your feet in wool socks and boots means your toes are in less-than-stellar condition. Nourish your feet with this pumpkin pedicure. The nutrients in pumpkin can speed up cell turnover, helping you get rid of dry skin on your feet. You'll need one-half cup pumpkin puree, one raw egg, a half-teaspoon honey and plastic wrap. Just mix the three ingredients, apply to your feet and wrap them up with plastic wrap. Let your feet sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse off the spread. [Beautylish]
Eat the Seeds
Rich In monounsaturated fats, magnesium and zinc, these seeds shouldn't be tossed with your pumpkin pulp. Instead, sprinkle them with olive oil and a bit of salt and pop them in the oven for a crunchy, skin-healthy snack. Since zinc is a big part of the cell metabolism process, getting your daily dose ensures all your cells, including the ones on your face, maintain collagen and turn over at a normal rate, all while protecting against cell damage and UV radiation. As a proven healer, it can also be an acne sufferer's best friend by relieving inflammation and minimizing any acne scars.