We can't make a twist or turn this time of the year without running into a pumpkin. The bright orange squash has taken over our parents' dining room tables, the entryway at Trader Joe's and the beer menu at our local pub. We're pretty excited about carving jack o'lanterns that look like these, but using the gooey leftovers for homemade beauty recipes is what really gets us hyped.
Pumpkins are rich in vitamins A, K and C and minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium and potassium -- nutrients that hydrate dry skin and stimulate hair growth. Beta-carotene, the antioxidant that gives a pumpkin its vibrant color, converts to vitamin A in the body and provides another layer of protection from sun damage.
Here are five guilt-free uses for pumpkin:
Hair Conditioner: Restore shine and moisture to dry and damaged strands with a homemade pumpkin hair mask. Combine one cup of pumpkin (you can purée chunks in a food processor or use the canned version), a half cup of yogurt and two tablespoons of honey into a bowl. Mix well, and then apply to hair from root to tip. Cover head with a plastic shower cap and sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash treatment out and follow up with a thorough cleansing using a shampoo and conditioner.
Body Moisturizer: Lock in moisture before heading out into the wintry climes by smoothing on a body cream made out of pumpkin, coconut oil and ground cinnamon. This can get pretty messy, so we suggest putting the mixture on while in the shower. Rinse off with warm water and dry skin gently with a towel.
Facial Mask: To get more use out of this fall pantry staple, dermatologist Dr. Ted Lain has shared with us a simple facial mask recipe that could be used on all skin types. You'll need: one cup of pumpkin, two tablespoons of brown sugar, one tablespoon of honey and a half cup of yogurt.
Spread on a thin coating with your fingertips or a facial pad. Leave on skin for 8-10 minutes. The brown sugar and yogurt are exfoliants that will slough away dead skin cells, while honey is a humectant that absorbs water from the air and naturally moisturizes skin. "This is an added benefit in the fall, when the air is dry and our skin needs the extra moisture," said Dr. Lain.
Facial Peel: Our friends at BellaSugar have mastered the perfect pumpkin peel to heal and protect the skin. By adding apple cider or cranberry juice to a mixture of pumpkin, egg and honey, you will get an astringent effect.
Exfoliating Scrub: For a full body treatment, you can also use purée pumpkin and brown sugar (oatmeal is another great exfoliant). Put the yummy medley onto a damp loofah or cloth and scrub onto skin in circular motions. This stimulates lymph nodes and helps to drain toxins from the body. Finish with a nice warm shower.
Are you suddenly inspired to add pumpkins to your beauty routine?
Take it easy on these foods:
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