The air is crisp, and the leaves have turned from green to a splendor of oranges and reds, scattered on the floor underfoot. The scarfs are out, and the sun is setting quicker and quicker - Autumn is finally here (for some of us). With autumn, it brings Halloween – and a rather large number of Jack-O-Lanterns!
This spooky day is less than a week away, and many of us know that we will finish the festive period with an overwhelming amount of pumpkin leftover. But, instead of throwing them away the moment we enter November, it is time to start taking advantage of those hollowed out lanterns…
That’s right! Pumpkins have more use then simply carving a few scary faces into and popping a candle inside – they have some amazing properties that can benefit your hair and skin care.
Beauty Benefits of Pumpkin
This large colorful gourd isn’t just delicious to cook with, it is also packed with antioxidants, both vitamin A and C and alpha hydroxy acids. These skin-loving nutrients can support your dermis in an abundance of ways – even helping to balance excess oil produced by oily skin and turn back the hands of time on those fine lines and wrinkles.
Pumpkin has a plethora of vitamin C which is an extremely powerful antioxidant that will help improve and repair any damaged or aging skin. One of the biggest causes of premature aging in the sun – and the damaging UV rays it produces. Vitamin C from the pumpkin can help reverse this cell destruction and promote the production of collagen, improving the skin's elasticity and helping it to appear firmer, plump and more youthful.
Along with vitamin C, this powerful orange fruit is also packing a high volume of niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate – or in other words, vitamin B. Niacin, in particular, has been proven to improve circulation which will in turn help treat acne, breakouts and other skin blemishes. While niacin is working on treating acne, folate will be encouraging cell renewal and turnover, leaving you with fewer blemishes and clear skin.
Promotes Hair Growth
Pumpkin doesn’t just benefit skin, it can also do wonder for your locks, too. Potassium and zinc are integral when it comes to healthy hair growth, helping to maintain collagen and stimulate individual hair growth by improving blood circulation.
Homemade Pumpkin Treatments
Although cooking with the extra pumpkin you gained from carving a week or two ago is wonderful, keeping some aside to use for your skin and hair is also extremely beneficial! Take a look at these 5 easy homemade treatments that you can do to your skin and hair with the leftover pumpkin!
1. Body Sugar Scrub
Giving your skin a needed exfoliation is great – it will remove the dead skin cells from the epidermis, exposing the newer and healthier layer underneath. Instead of venturing to the drug store and buying countless scrubs, lotions, and potions, you can use your pumpkin to do the trick.
Remove everything from your redundant Halloween decoration, cut it into small chunks and blend until the pumpkin becomes a smooth puree. Decant the puree into a mixing bowl and add a dash of olive oil, along with sugar – until you have a dense consistency. Take the pumpkin sugar scrub and gently, in circular motions, rub all over your body and face. Rinse off with warm water and dry as usual.
2. Body Butter
While an exfoliant is great for removing old skin cells that are no longer required, making your own pumpkin body butter is perfect for adding some valuable moisture to your skin. The winter air can be unforgiving when it comes to our skin hydration, so the extra moisture will be helpful and will give your skin the ability to stay full, plump and crack free.
Take your pumpkin and cut it into small cubes to make blending easier. Once blended into a puree and pour into a bowl. Next, take some coconut oil and add it to the mixture so that you have equal parts pumpkin/coconut. When you jump in the shower, take this pumpkin body butter with you and slather all over your skin. Rinse off thoroughly, dry and you will notice that your skin will be smooth, supple and soft.
3. Face Mask
When it comes to our skin, we all have our own hang-ups and issues. Some of us suffer from oily skin, some too dry and others struggle with both, not knowing how to manage the situation. Along with different skin tones and textures, some of us are victims of constant breakouts and acne, while there are others who deal with skin discoloration. Whatever your skin hang-ups, a pumpkin face mask could be the answer to your problems.
Once again, take your unwanted pumpkin and blend into a soft puree, so that it can be easily mixed into a facial mask. Add two cups of pumpkin puree to a mixing bowl and add one tablespoon of raw honey, two tablespoons of brown sugar and a half cup of organic yogurt. While the honey will behave as a humectant – adding moisture, the sugar and the yogurt will exfoliant the epidermis layer of skin. Apply the mixture over your face and leave to sit for 10 – 15 minutes, rinse off with warm water and gently pat your skin dry.
4. Hair Mask
Having shiny, luscious locks might feel like it is an unobtainable dream, but with this homemade hair mask, it could be a thing of reality. Whether your issue is lackluster hair, dry ends or a flaky scalp, this hair mask could make your hair dreams come true.
Very similar to the face mask, pop a cup of pumpkin puree and half a cup of plain yogurt to a mixing bowl and stir together. While the mask is blending together, add a tablespoon of honey (for the gentle moisturizer). Smear the content of the bowl onto your scalp and gradually smooth down to the ends of your hair. Scoop your hair up into a towel and leave to sit for 30 – 40 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water and continue your normal hair routine.
5. Hand Cream
Our hands can be a little neglected when it comes to our beauty routine. They are always exposed to the weather (less snuggled up in a mitten or a glove), and they are in use all day. Taking the time to give them a little TLC will do your skin wonders.
Pop half a cup of pumpkin puree into a bowl, add a dash of almond oil (or olive oil) and 1 teaspoon of raw honey. Mix together until you’re left with a smooth paste. Gradually massage the homemade cream into your hands, making sure you get between your fingers and don’t forget your fingernails. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
Carving pumpkins can be messy and fun but knowing that they will end up in the trash when Halloween is over can seem a little wasteful. Following these 5 simple and easy at-home skin and hair treatments is a great way to make full use of this wonderful and colorful winter fruit. During the winter months, our skin and hair can become dry and vulnerable to the cold, bitter wind, rain and snow – so giving them the extra boost and care will make a difference during the sudden weather changes. So save yourself from spending loads of dollars on high-end skin and hair care products and make yourself some amazing, natural ones from the comfort of your own home.