It's gonna get sappy up in here.
I’m going to be honest: I’m not really a huge fan of pumpkin pies. I don’t know if I just OD’d on them as a small child or if the deluge of pumpkin-pumpkin-everywhere advertising and recipes that fills my senses from Halloween until after Thanksgiving has just turned me against the whole thing. Truth be told, I just can’t get down with piles of the pumpkin anymore when it comes to eating it.
Even the news that the smell of pumpkin pie is considered a turn-on for most men doesn’t do it. If that’s the case, I can sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in my lingerie drawer and let him do what comes naturally. Eating it? Mmmm, that’s a nope for me.
However, having been surrounded by cans of the stuff for about 6-8 weeks each year for the past all-of-my-life it seems, I have come to love all the OTHER things can be done with raw and/or canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin is considered a superfood, filled with vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium, zinc and beta-carotene, which means it has insane antioxidant and nutrient properties. So, combined with a few choice ingredients, it can be more beneficial for your outsides without wreaking havoc on your waistline in pie, cookie, tart or candied form.
Here are three beauty uses for cooked-but-as-of-yet-unadulterated pumpkin that you can use to MacGyver your way into better skin and hair.
Hair Mask - I love a good hair mask, don’t you? Pry a can of cooked pumpkin away from the clutched hands of your relatives and mix about 2 cups or so with a tablespoon each of Greek yogurt, raw honey and organic coconut oil (use macadamia nut, almond oil or olive oil if that’s all you have on hand.) Add the ingredients to a blender in order from thick to thin (pumpkin and yogurt go in first, then honey and oil) and blend until smooth.
Then apply to wet hair and work the mixture in well, paying extra attention to the scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap for 15-30 minutes and then shampoo and condition as usual. The pumpkin and yogurt help clarify the scalp, while the honey and oil act as natural humectants.
Facial Mask - Let’s say you’ve got some serious redness the day after Thanksgiving thanks to an unauthorized, ill-advised move from wine at dinner to vodka with dessert. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of cooked pumpkin with a tablespoon each of honey and whole milk. Mix them together until they’re smooth, then apply the mixture to clean skin with clean hands or a large makeup brush.
The pumpkin mixture can help soothe any redness and will work with the lactic acid in the milk to gently exfoliate while the honey locks in moisture. Let the mask dry for 20 minutes, then remove with a warm, damp wash cloth. Drink water, take Advil, emerge a new human.
Body Scrub - Sometimes, the only thing that will wash away the strange feeling of When Bad Relatives Happen to Good People is a shower, which is made better with a pumpkin body scrub to soften your skin while enjoying the last bits of holiday memories as they wash down the drain. Mix 1/2 cup each of cooked pumpkin puree and organic brown sugar with a tablespoon each of honey and olive oil, mix and apply with gentle pressure. Your skin will be softer and your mind will be calm enough to sleep a little or phone a friend.
Do you have some other favorite uses for pumpkin that I’ve missed that don’t involve ingesting or baking? Do tell in the comments section.