Are You About To Turn Into A Pumpkin?

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We have a glut. Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere – and once Halloween’s over, there is truly a limit to the amount of pumpkin we want to eat. (After the first few butternut squash – packed as they are with vitamins – squash fatigue invariably sets in.) If you’re in the same boat, we thought this month we’d share some simple D-I-Y beauty recipes, using pumpkins as beauty bounty (rather than meals for the next three months…)

Because not only do pumpkins inspire creative carved sculptures; they can also be blended into a beauty regime for healthier skin. Pumpkin’s actually good news for skin: packed with nutrients that are as good for the outside of your body as they are for the inside. There’s vitamin A (retinol), which helps with cell turnover and soothes and softens all skintypes; powerfully antioxidant vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and revitalise the skin, and zinc, which is good for touchy complexions. So: no need for your heart to sink when you wonder what to do with the pumpkins that have scampered all over the back yard. Just try these ‘beauty recipes’…

PUMPKIN BODY-QUENCHER

1 small pumpkin
250 ml. (8 fl. oz.) yoghurt
1 lemon, juiced
15 ml. (1/2 fl. oz.) sweet almond oil

Peel the pumpkin and scoop out the pulp; cut it into chunks and compost the seeds. Put the pumpkin in a saucepan with a small amount of water, and keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t catch or boil dry. When it’s soft, remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher. While still warm (but not hot), add the almond oil, the yoghurt and the lemon juice. In a warm bathroom, sit in the bath or stand in the shower – don’t run the water yet – and slather yourself with the mixture. (Hair, too, if you like.) Sit for 10 minutes and then shower with warm water. Pat skin dry and apply moisturiser or body oil; shampoo and condition hair (if you used the ‘quencher’ on your hair, too). Pumpkin is a natural source of both fruit acids and vitamin A, which have a skin-brightening effect – and in addition to making skin glow silkily, pumpkin allows other ingredients to penetrate better.

PUMPKIN PIE FACIAL SCRUB

Mix a few tablespoons of cooked and mashed (or canned) pumpkin with two tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt (which is rich in lactic acid, a fantastic natural exfoliator) and 1 tablespoon of oats. Apply the scrub to your face and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the pumpkin and yogurt to start to soften dead skin cells before using your fingers to gently scrub your face in small curricular motions. The dead, dull skin cells will wash away and radiance will be restored – fab for a complexion that’s starting to get the ‘blahs’, now that autumn’s blasting in.

PUMPKIN FACE MASK

Blend a few tablespoons of puréed pumpkin with one whipped egg white (which will help tighten pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines), 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (to help exfoliate) and one tablespoon honey (which is anti-bacterial, and actually surprisingly great for clearing acne – albeit a bit too sticky to use on a daily basis). Apply to your entire face, avoiding the eye area, and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing. The yogurt and pumpkin will encourage cell turnover and exfoliate, and the honey acts as a ‘humectant’, attracting moisture to the complexion.

PUMPKIN PIE FOR FEET

To help slough off dead skin cells from feet (and hands – this makes a great hand treatment), blend a couple of tablespoons of soft pumpkin (puréed or canned) with two tablespoons of cane sugar, three tablespoons of oil (try olive oil, grapeseed, jojoba or almond), a pinch of cinnamon and a drop of natural vanilla extract (that’s for the scent, rather than any active beauty purpose). Blend thoroughly, and over a large bowl or a towel, massage the mixture into feet (and maybe your hands), working it into rough areas and cuticles. Allow to remain on for 15-20 minutes, rinse with warm water – and skin will be amazingly velvety.

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