An all-natural facial exfoliator & other surprising uses for pumpkin
Packed with antioxidants and enzymes, the humble pumpkin is as effective as it is inexpensive when used as a DIY beauty ingredient. A quick note: if you’re using canned pumpkin, make sure it’s sugar-free puree and not pumpkin pie filling—as much as we like to be sweet-smelling, we don’t need to go full dessert mode.
FACE EXFOLIATOR: Scoop out the seeds from a pumpkin and drop them in the food processor until they’re a fine-grain texture—don’t worry about removing the stringy bits, they’re great for your skin too, since the enzymes in pumpkin flesh can help dissolve dead skin cells. Add three tablespoons of honey, which creates a moisture barrier, and five drops of cinnamon oil, which has antibacterial properties. Scrub your face for a minute and then leave on as a mask for 10 more to take advantage of the concoction's full exfoliating effects.
HAIR MASK: You’ll need one cup of pureed pumpkin pulp (use your food processor), and 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil (pre-warmed to at least 75°, the point at which it turns liquid), honey and Greek yogurt. Mix together until totally smooth, then coat your hair and let the mask sit under a shower cap for 15 minutes. Rinse out before washing and conditioning your hair as usual.
BODY MASK: Blend together ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup warmed coconut oil and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Massage into skin while you’re in the shower (try tag-teaming it with the hair mask treatment) and after 10 minutes, rinse with warm water. In addition to smelling delicious, cinnamon contains antioxidants that provide a beneficial boost.
BODY SCRUB: This one couldn’t be easier—start with ¼ cup of brown sugar and mix in ¼ cup of pureed pumpkin and ... cup olive oil to create an exfoliating scrub with serious moisturizing properties. Apply to skin in a circular motion using a washcloth and rinse.
PEEL-OFF FACIAL TREATMENT: Mix ¼ pumpkin puree with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon milk, then spread on cleansed face and let dry for 10 minutes. Remove with warm water and follow with a toner & moisturizer.
FACE MASK: Your face will be giving thanks for the wrinkle-preventing enzymes that cranberries and pumpkin bring to this concoction. Mix ¼ cup cornmeal, 2 tablespoons freshly crushed raw cranberries, 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree, and 2 teaspoons honey with a fork. Gently massage into your skin for 2 minutes, then rinse.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.